Monday, January 26, 2009

Dias Tres y Quatro

Day Three: Recoleta

So, I started my day wanting to explore a new neighborhood. This is supposed to be one of the nicer parts of the city, and I wasn’t disappointed. The way Recoleta looked better matched what I expected all of Buenos Aires to be like.

I’ve never seen anything quite like the Cemetery in Recoleta.

It is a huge walled area full of family tombs. Not just any families though, only the top notch persons in Argentina are allowed to rest here, and not just any tombs, only the nicest monuments with embellishments and plaques are suitable for the fashionable homes of the dead. The sepulchers are locked up with chains or large doors; some are even encased in glass and you can see coffins inside or little stairways leading down to the tomb. The monuments themselves are incredible and the actual size of the place and density of the monuments makes it quite a sight to see. Some parts are overwhelmed by tourists, but it is possible to wind away through the different aisles to places that were quite somber and adequately creepy. I didn’t buy a map and go on a hunt of finding the most famous people in the cemetery; that might be a fun activity for me and any Buenos Aires guests I may have.

Oh, another creepy factor is all the feral cats strutting around and napping in the heat…must be good hunting for mice and rats. Eek! I think Edgar Allen Poe would have loved this place!

After having a coffee and snack at a nice little outdoor cafe, I made my way to the Museum of Fine Arts. Like the cemetery, I didn’t spend a great deal of time investigating the paintings and artists. I just strolled through the rooms and admired to beautiful museum and fine exhibitions. I was mainly grateful to be out of the sun and in the air conditioning.

Just a short way from the museum was a large metal statue of a flower. Apparently, it closes at night, but I doubt I’ll ever be in this area in the evening. A curiosity though, and I got my daytime snap of it.
My next destination was the central library. It’s a hideous building, but apparently it has great panoramic views of the city from the top floor.

Unfortunately, it’s closed until February. But, at least I could rest well knowing Seattle isn’t the only place with an unfortunate library building.

At this point in the day it was only 3pm. Even though my feet were killing me, I knew it was too early to head back to my room. So, I decided to broach a new field of study: the subway and a new neighborhood called Palermo. The subway was easy to use, fast, comfortable, and uneventful. Oh, one fun fact is that I got asked for directions again! Gosh, I love this strange superpower! By the time I got to Palermo and walked around for oh, 5 seconds, I discovered I was totally wrecked and overly exerted. I stumbled around totally disregarding street names and where I was going. (I generally maintained good direction though.) Finally, I staggered to a nice café, sat outside on a beautiful, quiet, tree-lined street, and drank a beer and ate a delicious caprese salad. I was wise enough at this point to head home, which was great because due to losing myself in the neighborhood and having a long and leisurely meal, it really was time to get home, shower, and relax! This excursion really ruined my feet though and I was worrying about which shoes I could bear to wear the next day.

Day Four: Puerto Madero

I wore my good old sneakers to Puerto Madero. This is an interesting and developing part of the city. It’s where a bunch of skyscrapers stand about ¾ of the way done…hinting and the potential of a brave new skyline for Buenos Aires.

This fancy area lines the river (slow, brown, and not too pretty) and boasts some of the high life for Buenos Aires like a palatial Hilton, Mercedes Benz dealership, and probably many more that I didn’t even notice.

I was mainly walking in this direction to find the Ecological Reserve. It was a lovely walk towards the entrance of the reserve and there were many families, singles, and couples strolling along as well. Lining the walk were parillas (or barbecues -- see the yellow stand in the background and all the smoke? Yum!)where they sold many things I had never heard of (variations of pieces of cow though.) I took a safe bet and got a big fat sausage and globbed some of the mystery sauces on there. Delicious! I even sprung for a cheap ice cream bar. When I finally got to the entrance of the ecological preserve though…it was hot, stuffy, dry, and I was full of some rich food and just wanted to sleep. Here's a bit of a view of the city from the walkway in the reserve: I might give this area another chance on another day. I just ended up sitting down in a park to gain the energy to walk back on the subway and get home. All in all though, it wasn't a bad way to spend a lazy Buenos Aires Sunday.


  1. I love that flower sculpture and, of course, hated the library. It does look eerily like ours. Blech.

    Sounds like you're settling in.

  2. Did you know that the name of this neighborhood comes from an old Spanish word meaning "to remember."? Its history dates to the late colonial period and the establishment of a convent where Recoleta Cemetery, Evita's final resting place, now sits. Once on the edge of Buenos Aires, Recoleta is now one of its most exclusive shopping and residential neighborhoods. Marble buildings reminiscent of Paris and green leafy streets make up the main impression of this area. The buenos aires apartment I rented when I was in Argentina was here so I was always shopping and checking out the lastest trends!