I was brimming with article ideas, and needed to get them on paper…so I started writing this piece today in an old Spanish tavern called La Robla, in the heart of Buenos Aires.
Reminiscent of my favorite tapas bars in downtown Madrid, the tavern walls are of hand-painted tile and exposed brick, with colorful paintings and murals throughout. Serrano hams hang from the ceiling, and the bar is delightfully cluttered with hanging glasses, tins of olive oil, cakes, sweets, and dozens of bottles of wine from their excellent wine list.
It’s a great place to write about, because it’s not a tavern you’re likely to find on your first trip to Buenos Aires… or even your second. You have to be finished with the tourist attractions, historic sites, and the shopping on that grand pedestrian walkway—La Florida—to want to venture into this neighborhood, known unofficially among the locals as the Once district of Centro (pronounced OHN-seh).
And hanging out at La Robla is not the only reason to venture into these parts. I’ve also found prices in the shops to be far lower than in the more-popular parts of the city, so it’s a great area for gift-buying. And what’s more, the wine shops, restaurants, and cafés here are a good deal, too, offering low prices and a glimpse of the not-for-tourists part of Buenos Aires. I even discovered the best Indian restaurant that I’ve come across this side of Panama City.
But I won’t try to tell you that I didn’t have a look at the popular tourist haunts, as well…I did.
In fact, I spent the best part of a day among the visiting crowds… people-watching, browsing the flea market in San Telmo, and best of all, watching some of the talented tango dancers and musicians who work the streets in this city.
I’ve never seen so much young talent in one place. Buenos Aires is one of those cities—like New York—where you’ve got to be great just to play for tips on the street corner. Check out this couple dancing the tango here, and these kids I came across in La Boca, here.
All told, I have a lot that I can write about…even though this is my fourth trip to Buenos Aires. With just a little exploration, I’ve come up with four articles, for three publications. And Buenos Aires is right in my backyard so to speak…since I live in nearby Uruguay.
But I have to admit something. I’m not actually in Buenos Aires on a writing assignment… nothing as romantic as that.
I came for an appointment with my eye doctor. He’s just a couple of blocks from the Spanish tavern I started in, La Robla. Writing wasn’t even my primary reason for coming here this weekend.
But as you can see, the opportunities never stop for a travel writer… whether you’re headed off to exotic lands, or going somewhere as dreary as the doctor’s office.
Even the most mundane trip can turn into a profitable adventure, once you know what to look for, and which editors publish what you enjoy writing about.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]