…you must be in San Telmo for the fabulous San Telmo Antiques Fair.

One of my most favorite days this year was a Saturday spent poking around the Portobello Road Market in London’s Notting Hill.  I had visited London and Portobello Road many times on previous trips,  but never on a Saturday when the street was in full market mode.

Somehow I had always been scared away by the scale of it, or the crowds or whatever.  Well, when I finally made my way to the Market on a sunny Saturday this past May, I was truly overwhelmed – in the best way possible – and I fell in love with Portobello Road and London all over again.

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I experienced a similar day this past Sunday on my first ever trip to Buenos Aires, the capital and largest city in Argentina.  In all of the research I conducted before the trip – in all the guidebooks, websites and personal interviews with past visitors – one thing came out consistently: you can’t miss a visit to San Telmo’s market on Sundays.

On Calle Defensa for several blocks, there are antique shops and galleries with stalls presented by multiple dealers.  You can walk down the street and enjoy browsing these shops and galleries any day of the week and it is a treat.  But on Sundays, the street comes alive with a marketplace – where hundreds more vendors and entertainers of all stripes converge in an exciting display of local color.

Feria de San Telmo” is centered around Plaza Dorrego and spreads up Calle Defensa for blocks in each direction with other side streets engulfed as well.  The market is a short walk from the city center and is just a couple of blocks from the Casa Rosada – the “Pink House“ and Presidential Palace where Eva “Evita“ Peron held forth from the balcony.

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When I arrived at the top of Calle Defensa last Sunday, I was full of anticipation, but was also prepared for a letdown with all the hype.  However, I must report that I enjoyed the experience from the very second I came upon the first vendor.

Within one block I had already purchased a painting from an artist who set up his wares on a blanket on the street.  I was intrigued by the variety of items for sale – from new arts and crafts to amazing antiques and collectibles.  In the stalls, I was further amazed by the unique items from a long history of wealth lost and found in this enigmatic city.

In addition to the vendors, every block brought entertainers out to perform – from jugglers to puppeteers to performance artists.  And of course, Tango dancers of all shapes, sizes and ages. 

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The whole setting was a pure treat.

But to the collector and admirer of antiques and all things old and quirky, the place is heaven.  As soon as I poked my head into the first stall that had a bunch of smaller items – I was on the hunt. 

My prey was a little gaucho figure to be a companion to the Lost Cowboy I found at a market earlier this summer.  I knew he was there somewhere in this gorgeous market, I just had to find him.