Stories Make Places Come Alive: Trolley Tracks

We got in a taxi at Calle Florida, a very touristy part of Buenos Aires, and we asked to go to San Telmo, another touristy area. Luis, our driver, started giving us a little tour and some history on the way. Some cab drivers really want tourists to enjoy their time here, and so many others just like to talk.

A lot of the time, the conversations are so good, we don’t want the ride to end. We feel like we’re paying for conversations, not taxi rides.

We already know a lot about this city, since we’ve been here for four months, but there’s always more to learn. The bounced around as we drove over a cobbled street and Luis told us that the embedded rails were old trolley tracks. We already knew that from New York. 

The embedded trolley tracks reminded Luis‘ story made this street come alive for us
The embedded trolley tracks in this San Telmo street.

Luis, Our Cab Driver, Shares His Personal Moment

We had to lean forward to hear Luis better. He was remembering when he was a boy. His family lived in an abandoned trolley car that his father found and fixed up to make livable. Dan asked about bathrooms and Luis said there were community bathrooms for them.

We arrived but we sat in the taxi, listening to the rest of the story. Three people were waiting for us to get out so they could have the taxi.

Luis’ father grew up on the streets but a woman took him in. She taught him to work hard and to have values, and his father instilled those values in Luis and his two sisters. One sister became a clothing designer and the other sister became a teacher. Luis became an electrician and saved money to have his own taxi.

The woman who raised his father, Luis said, changed all of their lives. One person can have such an impact.

This was a story of gratitude, not sadness.

There’s still one functioning trolley in Buenos Aires. It’s a historic loop for tourists but we know of several natives here who have taken it.

If you follow me on Instagram, I’ll be posting a more concise version of this in a few days. If you don’t follow me, these are the kinds of stories yo’ll find.

Here’s another story about Buenos Aires that I think you’ll like…


  • Everyone has a story & some stand out as so meaningful. Especially when they bring out
    The positive parts . Obviously they are grateful for their life experiences. Others tend to
    Dwell on the negative things , that can’t be good. Meet them again for coffee or something.
    Sharing these encounters helps us to conclude that our lives are unique. Each one has
    A different life path to learn & hopefully grow from our experiences . Thanks again 🥰👏

    • So beautifully said, Sara! It’s so important to focus on the good and appreciate what you have more than on the things you don’t have.

  • What a wonderful taxi ride. Sounds as if Luis missed his vocation as a tourist guide. How fortunate you got in his taxi Aixa and had a chance to hear his stories. Lovely post.

    • I think we love taking taxis and Ubers for the conversations! We learn so much from these people! Thank you, Miriam!

  • What a fascinating story, and I think it shows how life can change so dramatically with your upbringing, like the father’s values being instilled and with Luis and his sisters blossoming careers further down the tracks.. x

    • That’s so true. We felt so lucky that he shared this story with us. It was a special ride.

  • What a beautiful story. It’s always helpful when parents have gifted their children good values that that they can take with then for the rest of their lives! Thanks for sharing Aixa!

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