Day 25 - The Dead and Fine ArtsJanuary 22, 2019 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C
During yesterday's planning, we explored going to Brazil. Research showed that we'd need a visa so we headed to the Brazilian consulate. They told us to come back at 2:00. So, we went to the La Recoleta Cemetery.
The Cemetery is one of BA's most famous attractions. It was started in 1822 and now has about 4,800 mausoleums containing the mortal remains of BA's VERY rich and powerful (the saying is that it's cheaper to live an entire life of luxury than to be buried in La Recoleta). Also interred there are past presidents, military heroes, famous writers, and other notables. Free tours in English can be had but we were early for that and got an English-speaking guide. She showed us around the four-square blocks of tombs. The mausoleums are ornate and grandiose in a hodgepodge of styles, including art nouveau, art deco, classical, Greek, baroque, neo-gothic, and more. They are decorated with angels, crosses, wreaths, urns, gargoyles, and more in various types of marble, metal, and stone. Our guide showed us several specific tombs and related stories about them and the people buried there. Of particular note were the tombs of former president Sarmiento and, of course, Eva Duarte de Peron - Evita. Hers is the most visited but not the grandest. It is a fascinating place and one could wander and gawk for hours.
After the tour, we sat for a juice at and outdoor cafe then looked into the Fraciscan Basilica de Pilar next to the Cemetery (the city fathers took the Franciscan's gardens to create the Cemetery). We walked to the Museum of Fine Arts and wandered through that for an hour. The Museum has a wide-ranging collection of paintings and sculptures, including works by Monet, Degas, Rodin, Toulouse Lautrec, Sisley, Van Gogh, Manet, Renoir, Matisse, and many more. I was impressed with the breadth of the collection. We walked over to the huge (70 feet tall) polished metal sculpture of a generic flower (in United Nations Park). This flower was created and donated to BA by an architect in 2002. It originally opened in the morning and closed at night like a flower but the mechanism broke and hasn't been repaired.
Took a taxi back to the Brazilian Consulate but were a bit early so we had a salad lunch at a modern cafe up the street. At the Consulate, they wanted a complicated application for an expensive long-duration visa. We just wanted a few-day tourist visa. They gave us a website to visit for an online application. Another taxi to a site close to our apartment, the Zanjon de Granados. This architectural site is the privately funded restoration of a series of tunnels, cisterns, and aqueducts dating from the 1730s and 1850s that was discovered when the developer was going to build a restaurant on the site. He was so impressed that he had the site excavated and restored and now has guided tours. It was fascinating and quite different from anything else we'd seen.
Back at the apartment I tried to do the visa application but ran into various problems. We may just be satisfied with the view of Iguazu from the Argentine side of the falls. Ate in, relaxed, and did some planning for tomorrow.
The mausoleum with all the flowers is Evita's.Read more