Dec 172011

I was originally going to make this one post on sightseeing, but then going through pictures I realized just how much I’d seen on Saturday alone and decided to split this into a few different posts.  The cool thing about Buenos Aires to me was what a walkable city it was.  Wide avenues, lots of sidewalks, and tons of cool and unique things to see along the way.

First stop out of the hotel was the memorial to those killed in the Islas Malvinas / Falkland Islands war.  It’s proof the great sense of irony the Argentines have that they placed this directly across the street from the English Clock Tower which was a gift from England around World War I.  The two monuments now stand facing each other, as if to say “this isn’t over yet.”

Next stop was to continue walking about a mile or so until I got to the Recoleta Cemetery.  I’d been in the Recoleta neighbourhood a few times walking to the gym and such, but this was a chance to walk through the other side of the neighbourhood which was quite cool.  Lots of small stores and boutiques, an outdoors weekend market, and given the absolutely perfect weather it was a great day for the walk.  Except for the first day I was there, temperatures were constantly in the mid-80s fahrenheit with a light breeze that made it feel not quite so hot.  Amazing how many days of absolutely perfect weather in a row there were!

I’d read lots of descriptions of the Recolata Cemetery online, but nothing quite prepared me for what it was like.  When I read it was lots of small, medium, and large mausoleums right next to each other I didn’t really think they would be as amazingly ornate as they were.  I guess they were all built above ground due to some issue with the land shifting and things getting washed away.  Of course, everyone knows Recoleta’s now most-famous occupant, Eva Perón/Duarte/Evita/etc.  After her death her corpse went on a world tour of being hidden away, and supposedly a few “copycat” corpses also made appearances over the years.  Eventually, the real one was found, and a compromise was made to bury her in the Duarte family tomb in Recoleta.

Next stop after a stroll was the Obelisk.  It was built in the 1930s to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Buenos Aires.  It sits in the middle of the Plaza de la República in the middle of the busiest street in the Americas – some 16 lanes wide at points.

By this point I’d already walked over seven miles, so decided to keep going and headed to the Casa Rosada – the seat of the government executive.  Yes, also the place where Evita used to address adoring crowds from the balcony.  Even cooler, it was open for tours.  The entire thing was in Spanish, but I picked up enough to get a little of the history of the place.  Very cool.  I remember the days when tourists could just walk up to the White House and get a tour as well!

View from the “Evita Balcony”

These next too are out of sequence and a bit blurry, but I came back later that night because I also wanted to get a view of the building lit up at night.  It didn’t disappoint.

After the Casa Rosada I continued my walk into the Puerto Madero neighbourhood.  It reminded me lots of London’s Docklands, but without all the skyscrapers.  It has a similar history in that it was the old port and shipping area which had been neglected for years but has now seen lots of development and has become a hip, young, and fashionable place to live and hangout.  On a nice weekend it was packed with people rollerblading down the boardwalk.  I sat and had a coffee in sight of the Puente de la Mujer (women’s bridge) – supposedly named because many of the streets in the area are named after famous women.

By the end of the day I estimate I walked somewhere between 16-18 miles and my feet were incredibly sore…but it was an amazing city with so much to see!…and I still had Sunday to see more!

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