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Dangit, I Should Have Lived in Rosario

“I think we might have made a mistake,” I told Mike as we walked by the river hand in hand. The sun was shining without a cloud in the sky and several small dogs were frolicking at our feet. All around us happy people jogged, cycled and roller bladed (along with mullets, roller blading never went out of style in Argentina). Mike nodded grimly.

We hadn’t been out of Buenos Aries for 24 hours and already I was falling in love with somewhere else. I had complicated feelings for BA, it’s beautiful, but it’s messy, stressful and polluted. Rosario on the other hand, is excellent. It’s just a three hour bus ride away but it’s a polar opposite. It’s not as glamorous as Buenos Aires but it’s cleaner, the people are a thousand times friendlier and everything is less expensive.

It’s probably the most livable city I have seen in South America. It’s full of tall leafy trees and sprawling park land. People bike and jog and sip mate on the sparkling grass by the riverfront. The place is crawling with dogs, more dogs per person than I’ve seen anywhere and I am a total sucker for dogs. Even the ice cream is cheaper and tastes better than Buenos Aires ice cream. It meets every requirement I want in a city (mainly: cute dogs and tasty ice cream).

So, why didn’t I even consider setting up shop anywhere but Buenos Aires? There are a couple reasons, some more practical than others.

  • Mike’s family lives in the BA suburbs, and we obviously wanted to spend time with them.
  • When in doubt my default is usually to head for the biggest city around. In my entire life, I’ve never lived in a metropolitan area of less than a million people, usually many more.
  • Everybody just says such amazing things about BA, so without even having visited I was sure I’d love it.

The error I made, that so many people make, is that what makes a city nice to visit isn’t the same as what makes it nice to live in. Visitors love Buenos Aires because of it’s faded old world elegance, it’s hectic pace and it’s big city urgency. When you live there though things are not so simple, and the BAExpats forum is full of the head aches that actually living in Buenos Aires entails.

Rosario on the other hand may not hold much for tourists, but the locals look super happy. There’s lots of public spaces, beautiful apartment buildings great, Southern California style weather. I could see myself happily installed in one of the apartments that line the avenue, typing away, taking a break for a sunset walk along the river…

Of course it’s easy to idealize a city you don’t live in (for example, there were some truly horrific slums we passed on the way into town- this seems to be a pan-Argentina issue). Nonetheless, the past couple days have been pretty eye-opening. Maybe in the future I need to think outside the box when choosing where to spend my time. I’m glad we had the time we did in Buenos Aires of course, but I will be more careful and less impulsive the next time we decide to live somewhere.

13 Responses to Dangit, I Should Have Lived in Rosario

  1. Abby April 24, 2012 at 1:27 PM #

    That’s how I feel about Santiago. I’ve never been a tourist here, but I have had lots of visitors and I don’t really think there’s THAT much to do as a tourist, but I absolutely love living here. Of course it’s still a big city in Latin America so there are obviously headaches associated with that, but I think overall it has a great quality of life.

  2. avaapollo April 24, 2012 at 2:09 PM #

    I’m sold from how colorful everything looks. How can you not be in a good mood with orange and yellow everywhere and a sky that blue above you?

  3. Alana Morgan - Gen Y Wanderer April 24, 2012 at 2:42 PM #

    There is a definite distinction between loving visiting a place and loving living in a place…I think Chiang Mai has a toooon to offer, but I don’t think I would like it as a tourist (even though it it is a traveler hub). I’ve found that it’s the places one step away from your first thought that are more liveable…

  4. Christine April 24, 2012 at 4:23 PM #

    I felt that way after traveling through Australia more–I loved Melbourne but I kept finding more and more cities I would have loved to live in! Perth was definitely one–the weather is such a winner!

  5. john | travel rinse repeat April 24, 2012 at 10:49 PM #

    I love your requirements for a city. What more can you ask for?

  6. Andrea April 24, 2012 at 11:10 PM #

    There’s still time–maybe you could move there next! 🙂

  7. Zach @ The Travel Abstract April 25, 2012 at 12:57 PM #

    I think we always become disillusioned with a city after living there for awhile. Once you start to see the day to day grind of living there it our views change.

    I loved Buenos Aires when I lived there. It is like a mixture of sprawling urban city like LA mixed with fast-paced grind of NYC.

    Of course After 7 months I found things I enjoyed and disliked about the city. I escaped to San Martin de Los Andes and loved the mountain village pace of life. But to live that everyday might make me start to resent having so much quiet time.

    Great post and those BAexpats love to cent their anger about BsAs!

  8. Margyle April 25, 2012 at 6:17 PM #

    It’s amazing how our perceptions change over time… Some people assume a place is amazing based on a few days of perfect conditions. All a part of the experience I guess!

  9. Helen April 25, 2012 at 6:40 PM #

    I totally understand your point about Buenos Aires. I lived there for about a year and a half and absolutely loved it, but it can wear on you after a while. A lot of the time things do not work the way they are supposed to: your bus doesn’t come on time or doesn’t come at all to take you to work. However, I look back and loved that part of it, the chaos of everything. It is part of the beauty that is Buenos Aires. I think whenever living in an urban metropolis like that, that you definitely need to get out once a month or so to be in nature, breathe, relax, and reflect. Rosario is wonderful for that. Also, Colonia is just a ferry ride away! I would run off to Uruguay quite a bit, to calm my nerves! I am jealous you are in Argentina – I miss the ice cream sooo much!

  10. Nate August 31, 2013 at 11:13 PM #

    Agree 100%!!!

    I stayed in Rosario for about 3 months. LOVED it. Easy paced life, beautiful streets and parks and lovely locals. Didnt really get in to BA so much either and i didnt like Cordoba at all.
    If i wasnt getting invited out for dinners or drinks at night I was dancing tango or salsa!
    Sociable, pretty, easy paced and cheaper, cleaner, safer than BA but still close to it. And yes, I loved the dogs too 🙂

    Fue Perfecto!

    • Nate August 31, 2013 at 11:18 PM #

      oh, another thing…
      So many beautiful women in Rosario. It has a reputation for having the most beautiful women in argentina and I think its true.

      • Anuar December 10, 2015 at 4:40 AM #

        I think the big heavyweight rivalry as to “the most beautiful women in Argentina” is:

        ROSARIO vs. CORDOBA

  11. Julieta August 10, 2015 at 3:50 PM #

    I’m planning a rtw trip so obviously started looking for info in different blogs and ended up here. I love the fact that you really liked my city!!!! Rosario is so beautiful and you are so true when comparig it to Buenos Aires. I mean BA is awesome but I couldn’t live there.
    Xoxo
    Julieta

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