Published: February 26th 2011February 24th 2011
Buenos Aires is, quite rightly, known as the Paris of the South. Such a beautiful city, full of beef and wine! There are many 19th and early 20th century buildings and wide boulevards with a definite French air. We have an apartment overlooking Plaza San Martin, right next to Retiro station which means we can jump onto the subway easily. The smarter art and residential areas of Recoletta and Palermo have spread to the north and are not served on the subway so we have walked miles - best way to know a city!
Portenos, as residents of BA are called, are on the whole, very friendly and helpful - when looking discretely at a map, one has to assure quite a few folks that we are indeed ok! The 19th century parks are a joy and the sun seems to always shine. Many of the grand buildings were built by Argentines who had lived in Europe and imported designs they had seen and materials to transplant here. Some are open to the public (like Palacio Paz in our photos) and many are now smart shops and offices.
The Falklands war is still very much in evidence however with a semi
permanent display of placards and banners opposite the Prime Ministers offices. Also, just outside our flat there is a large war memorial to the fallen in that war, guarded by Grenadiers. It is not by accident just opposite the British Tower memorial. The whole area used to be called Plaza Britanica and now it is called Plaza Air Force!
We also learned more about Evita. We stumbled upon a museum to her which was unexpectedly interesting. Aside from an eventful life she had as a social innovator and wife of the president she died early (33) and was very photogenic. There were more than a few paralells with the Diana paradox. Even her funeral brought out thousands onto the streets with spontaneous emotional outpourings and flowers being thrown onto her coffin. There the parallel ends, thank heavens, as her remains were spirited out to Italy and only returned to Argentina in the 70's. She is buried at Recoleta cemetary and is unsignposted but always has fresh flowers - we found it easily.
We also went across to Urguay for one day. A lovely colonial town called Colonia. Settled by the Portugese and used by the British as a smuggling headquarters
in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was then Spanish and got independence in 1825. A good contrast to BA and a restful day out - recommended.
We leave BA, a city we could live in, refreshed and ready for the next adventure in Mendoza!
There are more photos below