More water than dry land, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires’ newest and glossiest barrio, centres on a defunct port directly to the east of the historical centre. Here four enormous oblong diques, or docks, run parallel to the Río de la Plata, connecting on either side to the Dársena Sur (Southern Harbour), near Boca, and the Dársena Norte (Northern Harbour), near Retiro, from where ferries depart for Uruguay. Lining these docks – which are officially numbered one to four, Dock One being the most southerly – are a series of preserved and restored brick and iron warehouses, originally used to hold grain from the Pampas before it was shipped around the world. By 1898, before the port was even fully finished, it was already insufficient in scale to cope with the volume of maritime traffic, and a new port was constructed to the north. For most of the twentieth century, Puerto Madero sat as a forlorn industrial relic, but in the 1990s private money was injected and it began to be converted into a voguish mix of restaurants, luxury apartments and offices. While this dockside development is decidedly upmarket and somewhat lacking in colour, it’s nonetheless a relaxing place to stroll, and there are far worse ways to spend a lazy summer afternoon than sitting on a terrace here, sipping a clericó, watching the yachts bob on the water and enjoying the gentle breeze off the river. Docks Three and Four host the pick of the barrio’s restaurants and bars.
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