Football & Flea Markets
La Boca & San Telmo
Sunday morning began lazily, with coffee, sweet croissants dulce de leche and a tall glass of OJ. We travelled across town to Buenos Aires bohemian heart, San Telmo for the weekly Sunday Feria to root around antique stores, flea market stalls and join the throng of tourists and Portenos taking in the boho chic vibe. We ambled through crowd filled streets listening to ‘rag tag’ orchestras of students consisting of accordions, pianos, double bass and a string section. Men garnished their jaws with stubble and wore their hair long a distinctively Latino look. Aching for lunch we ate at an overpriced cafe which was completely forgettable, we should have grabbed an empanada at one of the mouth watering street food stalls. With an eye on time, we stole ourselves away from the market ready for our 4:30pm pick up to visit the notorious Bombonera Stadium, an appointment to watch Maradonna’s old team, La Boca play league rivals Gimnasia. An epic atmosphere of football rivalry at the home of Argentina’s footie mecca. Our bus cut through hordes of blue and yellow clad fans, if IKEA did football this is what it’d look like. In fact the colours for the portside district were claimed from the Swedish freight boats. We were soon joined by 40 or so tourists and La Boca fans.
Arriving at the Bombonera an imposing wedding cake of a stadium, surrounded by security police checks (La Boca fans are known for their hot temper). We carved our way to the terraces to find a spot just under the overhang accommodating visiting fans where we stood check to jowl with ardent fans, bellowing their anthems willing their team to victory, the electric atmosphere at the stadium could have powered the capital for a few hours. The stadium was awash with yellow and blue banners, flags, scarves, balloons, placards and football strips painting a vision of pride. La Boca were rewarded with a 4 nil victory, the fans roaring with delight whilst the Gimnasia fans responded with water bombs filled by their bladders on the home fans below. Pleased with our position out of their trajectory we waited for 40 minutes for the opposing fans to b eushered out of the stadium by the zero tolerance police teams and we journeyed to a bar in La Boca and joined exuberant fans in their Quilmes consumption, mouth scorching pizza whizzed around the room delivering the sensation of lava like cheese tearing the roof of one’s mouth, quickly numbed by the ice cold beer. Celebrations were dampened by the news that the bar had literally been drunk dry, our quest for quench was satisfied in Palermo and our pounding heads were cradled by the comfort of goose feathers.