Anyone for TangoOctober 14, 2016 in Argentina
A little stormy when we arrived in Buenos Aires (BA) however initial impressions of the city are quite favourable. Buenos Aires, which means good air, had a lot of green leafy trees link the avenues and many green spaces for parks etc. It was late afternoon when we arrived at the Hotel Emperador and it is a very nice hotel with large rooms, big beds, large bathrooms and big fluffy towels. Ok, the view from our room is not great as we overlook the rail tracks and a shanty town but you can't have everything... right?
The next day - Thursday - we did a sightseeing tour of Buenos Aires taking in the make sights such as the pink Casa Rosada (Government House), and the city’s cathedral. The Casa Rosada is made famous as it was the place where Eva Peron (and Madonna who played her in Evita) gave a speech. I have not seen the musical but I am very familiar with the song 'Don't Cry for me Argentina'....... but more about that later. The cathedral housed the tomb of a famous General Redimio el Peru who fought many battles in order for Argentina to gain its independence (not sure of the details here)
Driving around we saw other sights such as the huge silver opening flower sculpture, and the rather unique pedestrian bridge that can open by pivoting, like a gate. A lot of the architecture in BA is very European influenced and I can see why it is often referred to as the Paris of the South. They even have an Avenue which is the widest in the world and it reminds me of the Champes Elysee (sp?) in Paris. BA residents love their dogs and people are employed as dogwalkers - as many as 12 dogs at a time. We saw them in the parks as we were driving past in the bus and didn't get the camera ready in time.
The next neighbourhood we visited was La Boca, a very poor, yet very colourful area. It had a very nice atmosphere and while we were constantly asked if we would like to tango or have a photo with Diego Maradona lookalike - a famous Argentinian footballer- a polite no thanks and they did not hassle you like people do in say Mexico.
Next was a visit to Café Tortoni, a coffee house established in 1880's where we enjoyed wine, cold cuts, cheese and olives, followed by coffee. The rest of the afternoon was free time so we visited Recoleta Cemetery which is unlike any other cemetery I have ever seen before. A real rabbit warren with massive tombs. - could easily get lost in there. We were looking specifically for the tomb of Evita..... took a while as it was tucked away a bit. The tomb would be considered quite ornate in Australia but here it was relatively plain amongst its neighbours.
Argentina is home of the tango and that evening we attended a dinner and show which was very good which sort of showed the development of Tango over the years. The last girl in particular came out in a very provocative almost nude body suit with strategically placed dark lace. The dance was so energetic that we were all exhausted by the end of it. Brad had to ask if there were any men dancing....tch! Typical! (No photos, sorry)
The next day we were going to attend a gaucho ranch for an Argentine BBQ and horse display and folk music but we were talked out of it by our guide as it was supposedly a long way so we went to Tigre and cruised the Paraná Delta. I always thought BA was an ocean port but it is actually beside the River Plate, a very wide river, the ocean is actually a couple of hundred kilometres away. So the delta flows into the river and is so high in sediment it makes the water look dirty. Houses built around the delta waterways range from a little as $33K up to $120K USD but still you need to rely on boats to get around and the delta frequently floods. A pleasant day but in hindsight should have still attended the gaucho ranch as the few that did still go said it was really good.
Fly to Rio today (Saturday), pouring rain this morning in BA but weather supposed to be good in Rio. Looking forward to it.Read more