What to Bring Home from BsAs

I wanted to start the day by including a quick post on shopping in Buenos Aires. No, not the type of shopping you might do along Florida or in some of the great shopping centers like Alto Palermo... rather, the fun and unique things you can find at some of the local markets that take place in Buenos Aires.

I'll keep this one short and simple... when heading to places like the antiques market at San Telmo, the weekend fair in Plaza Cortazar or the Feria Hippy in front of the Recolata Cemetery, here are the kinds of things to look for:

Jewelry - lots of handmade jewelry. From handblown glass penants and rings to intricate silver wire designs, you can find all types of inexpensive options. We found several great sellers at the weekend market in Recoleta and on Plaza Cortazar. I'm sure prices have gone up since our last trip but you'll still find them to be a steal.

Boxes - Boxes? Yes... what kind of boxes? Well, you have wood boxes with hammered metal decoration inlaid with precious stones, boxes carved from indigenous hardwoods and boxes with enameled bronze tops with indian-themed designs.

Wood - Speaking of wood, look for wood trays and serving platters used for traditional Argentine picadas (like the one below). Most are made out of gorgeous South American hardwoods. Palo santo wood is also used for greenish-tinted nativity scenes carved by indigenous tribes.

Leather - Well, not just any leather. Anyone can tell you about buying leather in Argentina. Be on the lookout for carpincho - a large water-loving rodent (below at the Buenos Aires zoo). Doesn't sound like what you have in mind? Well, get your hands on some carpincho leather and you'll see why it's worth seeking out.

Mate - Mate applies not only to the tea but also to the container used for drinking and sharing this ubiquitous potion. Options range from the basic mate to expensive silver masterpieces.

Gaucho souvenirs - Stirrups, facons, boleadoras, belts... the San Telmo antiques fare is a good place to look for gaucho gear. Some stores around BsAs also specialize in traditional items from around the country. Some are new while others are antiques or... "antiques".

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