b u e n o s • a i r e s

Peep the non-ortho shoe choice — was it worth it??

Peep the non-ortho shoe choice — was it worth it??


A marathon is a prolonged moment of glory.


From the time when you or I cross the starting line, to 2-7 hours later when a volunteer hands over your piece of medal, there can be this exhilarating feeling. You’re just running, like so many days in training before, but now It counts. You have a number pinned on and you’re competing. The seconds you use will be recorded somewhere forever. There are spectators. There’s adrenaline. Strangers give you high fives and hold up signs that say you’re awesome. I guess as runners, we talk about the pain and discipline that goes into marathons, but on the other hand, there’s something so childish and easy about just moving forward for hours, one foot in front of the other, in this whole atmosphere that screams “you’re doing great”, and carefully gives you water.


Never mind the runners high, no wonder it feels so great at the end. Of course, all this comes at a price. The entry fee, the training, and days of soreness and recovery that follow.


For me, traveling to run marathons in different cities has amplified every part of the experience. Connecting with people over a new place and language, covering new ground, and then -


All the walking that comes with sight seeing in new city is done on marathon legs!


Which is a) humbling b)therapeutic c) necessary d)all of the above.


There are no rules to this thing, so of course because Buenos Aires is a great-looking city, and I wanted cute pictures, I wore cute shoes that matched my dress. What you should wear when you’re footsore after a marathon is probably   sneakers or recovery flip flops. 


Recovery flip flops (oofos!) after Comrades - a sensible choice

 Instead I wore the below, on a footsore tour of Buenos Aires that started with...

La Boca / Caminito



Appropriately, Caminito, the name of one of the most popular sightseeing places in Buenos Aires, literally means “Little Walk”. The eye it has to travel, even if the legs are screeching sore from yesterday’s marathon. Actually, the best way to recover from exercise is movement over being sedentary. So on we went.


Caminito is designed for tourists with movie-set like colorful allies, lots of street vendors, tango performers, and landmarks looking back at the Italian influence on Buenos Aires. We strolled through mid morning and I ouched my way up stairs like the ones pictured to take photos.


The other name of Caminito, “Boca” orients it in Buenos Aires, its right outside the Boca Juniors soccer stadium. The rivalry between Boca and River Plate, the two BA soccer teams, is TOO REAL. So pick your souvenirs wisely.




El Messi is always a good choice though  



Oh hi!

Oh hi!

Casa Rosada


OK, next I inched my way to the Casa Rosada and Plaza de los Madres for some political history! Actually we took the bus. The regular bus, although these are pretty much the same stops on the tourist bus.

If you want to go inside the pink house, it’s free but you need to reserve a tour online ahead of time. It’s like the White House but pink. Also the head of state in Argentina is a woman which is cool. She is doing a lot and lives with her family in the Air Force base actually to be protected.




The Casa Rosada museum shows more political artifacts and presidential portraits, plus these real life soldiers who are part of a special military branch that wears period costumes






Puerto Madero 


Inch inch inch. From the casa Rosada you can walk over to puerto madero!



classic shot of Buenos Aires taken in puerto Madero  


the walk over from the  casa rosada- many people passed us on the sidewalk because I was walking so slow !


and we had to take a break because Marathon legs! It’s a decent walk. age an apple and shared with this pigeon. 

Hi pigeon!

Hi pigeon!

Oh! A very cool Argentinian versión of high tea is called facturas- late afternoon cake and coffee / mate. It’s a good habit to have in your back pocket for when you need a break cause you’re a post marathon baby, but still want to have a cool experience



Mmmm... Facturas

Mmmm... Facturas

Puerto Madero is an important commercial center in BA. A lot of office buildings and hotels/ conference spaces like the Hilton and Sheraton. A nice place to have lunch - a lot of places have “executive menus” which are 3-4 courses for lunch and about $20 USD? but not to place to find an empanada, apparently, for that we walked on

We also toured this old timey ship with old cannonball guns you can pretend to fire over the water

We also toured this old timey ship with old cannonball guns you can pretend to fire over the water


And then we were on the quest for empanadas because, Marathon appetite



The Kirshner Cultural Center was a short walk and temporarily took our (my) mind off empanadas


We saw this sick photography exhibit shot in the north part of Argentina where the JuJuy culture lives. There are a ton of stairs here if you really want to test your tired legs ! Or take the escalator, whatever!

We saw this sick photography exhibit shot in the north part of Argentina where the JuJuy culture lives. There are a ton of stairs here if you really want to test your tired legs ! Or take the escalator, whatever!

Walking back to the Main Street for empanadas was slow going for me! Also the sidewalks are this tile that pops out in places so you have to be careful!! I even stopped for a dulce de leche latte at Starbucks before making it to the empanadas. A lot of stuff was still closed for Columbus Day, and well, I needed a moment of *basic* comfort


We finally found empanadas!! And enjoyed them with the Argentinian beer Quilmes and peanuts



These are actually different empanadas - the ones that came after the Monday post-marathon sight seeing and beer were devoured way before the camera could get a bite :)

s a n • s e b a s t i a n

The 7-hour local train to San Sebastian is a trip.  It is the train to Irun. About an hour outside of Donostia, the arid red clay courts of Spain turn to a lush, mountainous green.

When the moment came to jump into this scenery from the train platform, I forgot the weight of all my possessions stuffed into a tiny backpack. The setting sun gave me a familiar sense of urgency to get to the beach before the ocean's forms were covered in darkness. I stepped furiously in any direction, until, realizing my error, I overcame my shyness to ask in a painful accent, "Donde esta la playa Zurriola?".

San Sebastian follows a beautiful design around the coastline. There are three beaches. Two are placid, swimming shores separated by a wall, and the last, Zurriola, the surfing beach, lies on the other side of a  river and is exposed to rough ocean. Flanking Zurriola is the Gros neighborhood, a culture of its own within the Basque city, filled with surf shops and sunburnt pagans, both local and not. 

A black wetsuit zipped past me with a shortboard stowed on one side of his bicycle, and I felt relief. After thousands of miles, I must be in the right place.



m a d r i d

When faced with a trade-off, my first thought it how can I have it all anyway? It turns out, there are absolutely cases where you can't. When I chose to marathon on vacation, this meant I could only spend 12 jetlagged and bleary-eyed hours in Madrid before heading to the starting line. Madrid! If I retained anything from my K-12 education about the world, I knew Madrid was the capital of Spain and that Pablo Picasso painted Guernica.

Unfortunately, my stumble around the city only crossed the most obvious of monuments- here's a  run through of what I found before falling into an exhausted slumber while the light still shined through my hotel blinds.



PARQUE DE AVENIDAS (metro stop and neighborhood)
PLAZA DE TOROS DE LAS VENTAS (metro stop and bullfighting ring)
BANCO DE ESPANA (metro stop and central bank)

MADRID ATOCHA TRAIN STATION (bigger, high speed trains)

I planned a full half day of sights for Madrid, which, the city certainly merits, however, exhaustion set it and I let myself aimlessly wander in the delight of a new place. The metro system in Madrid is very easy, similar to New York and Barcelona, and many of the top tourist attractions double up as metro stops. A lazy way to knock out some "must-sees" is to see all the places with their own subway stop! Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, the colossal bullfighting arena in Madrid and quintessential Spanish monument inspired this move. It was actually the one of closest metro stops to my hotel and an accidental destination for my short time in Madrid. For my half day in Barcelona, I found Sagrada Famillia this way. I knew precious little about Gaudi until I got there, but one of my favorite moments was ascending the subway escalator on my tired marathon legs to see the delightful and grandiose four towers of the cathedral slowly come into view!