A typical Argentine breakfast buffet greeted the class this morning to give us the energy to tour the city. We loaded up into our two buses and began a guided tour. It began in Recoleta near the Floralis Generica and the law school. Education in Argentina is free for all residents unless you want to continue on for degrees beyond the BA. We drove by a number of things (streets, status, etc.) devoted to San Martin, a player in the freedom of Argentina from Spain. He also helped Chile to break free. Because of that, his most common statue is of him on a horse pointing toward the Andes mountains. Since Evita & Peron lived in this area, a large tribute to Evita is outside the Biblioteca Nacional. A large number of old wealthy homes are here and many have been converted into Embassies. We made a short stop at the Recoleta Cemetery to walk around and view Evita's tomb.
From there the bus took us to Palermo driving through the big park area full of local sports fields, community pool, gardens, museums, and a house track. The US Embassy is located in this area - a big ugly concrete
building and the ambassador then lives in one of the beautiful big old homes.
The bus drove on to the historic district, where we had some time to walk around. We walked around inside the Catedral Metropolitan's where the current Pope had been the Bishop. Inside was General San Martin's tomb. It even had two guards beside it. The remainder of the time was spent taking pictures of Casa Rosada. Soon we piled into the bus to drive over to La Boca.
La Boca is the most famous area of Buenos Aires because it is the birthplace of the tango. We drove by the Boca Junior's soccer stadium surrounded in murals of blue, yellow and white. The team colors came from a harbor ship from Sweden. This brought us to Caminita, the most colorful area of the city and heart of the tango. We were given time to wander the area while enjoying the street artists. From there we traveled onto the newest, most 'up and coming' area in the city - Puerto Madero. The majority of this area is new apartments, hotels, and restaurants. Most young professionals are moving to this area. This concluded the tour.
The bus kindly dropped us off near Plaza Dorrego. Our small group wandered through the market in search of a nice tapas place for lunch. We eventually made our way to Sagardi where we had a fantastic two hour lunch complete with appetizers, wine and fabulous entrees.
Afterward we weaved our way through the market. There were so many fun crafts and antiques to pick from. Tara and Nicole choose to acquire Hello Kitty earmuffs to keep them warm in the next leg of the trip. Andrew found a nice new leather wallet. I bought nothing but managed to lose my cell phone in all the shuffle of people. A number of people were playing music and selling food as well. It took hours to make our way back to Plaza De Mayo. We were exhausted, so decided to return to the hotel to refuel.
On the last block before the hotel, we made a pitstop at the grocery store for wine. It had numerous options from Argentina for a very nice price. We left with eight people and eight bottles. Once we returned to the hotel, plans changed and we partied in. Tara hosted and we finished
seven bottles between the seven of us. After a light dinner of pizza and empanadas from room service, the dance party began. Thanks to Michael Jackson and lots of 'Pants on, Dance on' music, we had a blast. It couldn't last all night, though, so a return to our rooms for sleep at about 1:30 am.
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