Lately I’ve been staying awake all night, writing and reading. Around 5 am I hear a rooster crowing, which is really rather odd living within walking distance of downtown Buenos Aires. Often I decide to take my daily walk around sunrise. As any photographer knows, the morning sun provides remarkable light for viewing buildings.
One of my favorite routes is walking from San Telmo to Plaza San Martin and back, roughly fifty blocks. Being from Tennessee, I walk relatively slow so it takes me about two hours to do that circuit, not counting stoping in a cafe or at the park.
At this time of the day San Telmo is littered with remains of the garbage dissected by the cartoneros. Everything recyclable has been carried off during the night, even the plastic garbage bags, leaving only traces of the previous day’s dinner strewn along the street and sidewalks.
In the early mornings I see buildings in totally different ways. Details come out that are not noticeable in the bright midday sun. South and east facing sculptures high up on the towers of Basilica de San Francisco that are normally hidden in shadows are revealed in the direct light. The statue on top of the La Prensa buiding shines a brilliant gold. At 6:30am Plaza de Mayo is completely empty and peaceful. Calle Florida also is almost deserted. None of the stores are open as only a few employees stand outside waiting to go to work. The street is absent of all those aggressive touts. Into Retiro a few early morning walkers circle around Plaza San Martin. The rising sun shines from behind the Kavanagh building, as shown in the photo.
Past seven and the streets start coming alive. Porters are out polishing the little brass that remains on the posh buildings in Barrio Norte, while others are washing off the sidewalks. By the time I make it back to our apartment in San Telmo the city is bustling.
Everyone knows that Buenos Aires is a great city to experience at night but it’s worth getting up early on some days to wander around at dawn. Or, if you’re already been up till sunrise enjoying the nightlife, or just reading like me, then take a walk before climbing into the bed. You’ll see Buenos Aires differently.