We had been recommended La Boca as a place to visit and having looked at some lovely photos of the area, we decided to check it out. Instead of getting a bus we thought it would be nice to walk there from where we were staying at the Ritz Hostel on Avenida De Mayo, as it was a crisp, sunny day.
Once through the central streets and walking away from Plaza De Mayo, we went down a busy Main Street, Avenida Paseo Colón. From here the area started to take on a new character and a more authentic perspective came into view. The buildings huddled together and leaned against one another with a tired façade, yet still proud to be standing strong.
Veering off down Avenue Almte Brown, Si spotted Estadio Alberto J. Armando football stadium and we popped down a side road to snap a quick picture. We clearly looked like blatant tourists, lost from the main drag, so wanted to stick to the main road until we found central La Boca.
On the paths, locals were cooking meats and bread on makeshift trolley grills and pushing carts with bakery goods to sell on the streets. Groups of people stood in pocketed areas, dispersed about the side roads as we walked down in search of the La Boca we’d seen in the pictures.
We knew we had reached La Boca when we’d passed the ‘welcome sign’ some way back, but it didn’t resemble what we’d seen from various website pictures. At the time we were frustrated and thought we were lost, but we were in fact walking through the wider reaches from the one street, ‘Caminito’, where the pictures had made out that the area looked like as a whole.
With no means to check our location in relation to what we perceived to be La Boca, we turned back, just streets away from Caminito. Old, beat-up cars, tired buildings, rickety pavements, graffiti, peeling paint and ‘real life’ was all around us, unashamed and blatant. Only in hindsight Do I feel that we saw some of the ‘lived in’ La Boca.
On our way back, we walked through the tiny Pargue Lezama to take a break from the noise of the main road. Here, some old guys were playing chess on the stone tables and chairs and a few people were walking their dogs amongst the scattered sculptures and canopied tree walkway.
Noticing a cobbled street, different from any of the others, it came as a welcome break from the main drag and unexpectedly lead us to an area we instantly liked – we found San Telmo.