Fri 19 Nov 2010
We are back in Argentina for a little vacation in November for the second straight year and we continue to be surprised by this hectic and quirky city.
One new place we discovered on this trip is a book store. Book stores may not be a destination for many while on vacation, as they are not normally tourist destinations. But we read about a book store in the Recoleta neighborhood that we just had to check out — El Ateneo Grand Splendid.
Located on Santa Fe, one of the city’s main shopping streets, El Ateneo Grand Splendid is the flagship store of the El Ateneo chain – think the Barnes & Noble of Argentina. This bookstore is amazing. It is pretty much like any other large bookstore as far as inventory – but this place is special as it is located inside a glorious old theater. Picture a theater with the seats removed and a bookstore put in.
The place is absolutely wonderful. Pictures do not do it justice. Basically the interior is as it was when it was a theater – complete with a café behind the curtains where the stage once was. We browsed around for a while – and bought a couple of books.
But we were truly impressed with an amazing setting for a bookstore. Places like El Ateneo Grand Splendid make you feel good – in a time when websites and e-readers threaten libraries and printed text – that there are still places that celebrate books in a grand fashion.