One of the most fascinating places to visit in Buenos Aires has to be La Boca. This district, and especially the pedestrian street Caminito, is colorful, with a bohemian and artistic atmosphere that is completely out of the ordinary. La Boca is a working-class neighborhood, where the immigrants who arrived at La Boca's port settled. Carminito is probably the best known and in any case the most colorful and famous pedestrian street (and most touristic) in Buenos Aires.
My travelcompanion and I booked a guided walking tour. It turned out to be a good idea. The guide was informative and gave us a good insight into the history of the district and the immigrants who have left their mark on the district. The port in La Boca was the port of Buenos Aires' for almost 200 years. Although Carminito is very tourist oriented, it has retained a certain distinctive character.
The guide gave us a short history lesson as a background to understand not only La Boca, but also Argentina as a coutry. Around the middle of the 16th century, Spain began the colonization of Argentina and in the late 1770s they made Buenos Aires the capital of its viceroyalty. After the war of independence, Argentina declared its independence in 1816. During the period between 1860 - 1930, a total of six million immigrants arrived from Europe. Mostly from Spain and Italy. La Boca was the port of arrival and it was here they settled. The guide told us that the immigration to Argentina at that time can be compared to the corresponding immigration to New York.
This is also the place where the tango originated. But the tango dancers in the street were not there to dance. However, you could take a photo with them, for a fee. Street art and vendors who sell art also help to provide an artistic and colorful image. A famous painter by the name of Benito Quinquela Martín was the one who took the initiative to paint the wooden houses and the cobbled stones. The whole area also has lots of street art. The guided tour made stops at some some of them to explain the significanse. Many of them have deep political and social meaning. Of course, our tour also went past La Bombonera - the soccer stadium of Boca Juniors. Those of you who follow football probably know that Diego Maradonna played in this club. Even Carminito is only a short street, we stayed almost all day here. To me, this is one of the most facinating places in Buenos Aires.
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