Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

 

           Buenos Aires has been referred to as the “Paris” of South America….it is our second visit to this city and I believe that the representation is quite accurate.   The architecture of the buildings is astonishing for its detail and extent.  The city is filled with opulent buildings and many monuments representing two centuries of roller coaster like history.  The main street in the city, Avenida 9 de Julio, is possibly the widest street in the world and it marks the date that Argentina acquired its independence from Spain. 

            Buenos Aries is not a Spanish colonial city for all its early history.   Revitalization came in the twentieth century as the new architecture of Paris emerged.   The 1930s saw a great building expansion taking place in the city.   The city grew in size along the River Plate between La Boca (the mouth) and the Tigre River, a delta suburb also referred to as the “Venice” of South America.  

            People remember Argentina and its capital, Buenos Aires most for Eva Peron and the part she and her husband, Juan Peron, the President of Argentina played in the history of this country.   The history of Argentina goes back to the settling of this country and much of South America by the Spanish in the 1500’s when they searched for gold and silver.   It was not until 1807 that Argentina declared its independence…Napoleon had conquered much of Europe and by that time the Spanish monarchy was restored but it was too late to regain this colony. 

            Conflict existed for some time between the people in the Pampas, the region which contained the cattle ranches and the merchants who lived in Buenos Aires.  But then new immigrants arrived and an economic boom occurred in the early 20th century.   During its history Argentina has had to sustain many periods of severe and oppressive rule, but it always seemed to move beyond these times and move forward.

 

Presidential Palace

Eva Peron's Burial Site

 

We had visited Buenos Aires four years ago just prior to our Antarctica trip, so this was a return to some familiar scenes.     We toured downtown….first in the Centro area beginning at Plaza de Mayo, the huge plaza with the Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace) located at one end of the plaza.   Then we walked through many sections of the city ending up in the area called Recoleta, where the cemetery that holds the remains of Eva Peron is located.   Eva Peron is buried there in her family’s mausoleum.  

            One evening, we attended a Tango show in a small, intimate cabaret.   The performances were excellent and consisted of dancers, singers and musicians performing to tango music.   In addition, native Indian performers playing unique musical instruments entertained us with local and international pieces.   

            After the show we went to dinner at a restaurant that we had dined in during our last visit to Buenos Aires.   Good dinner, but it did not exceed the lunch we had in Montevideo, Uruguay.   We had the typical Argentinean dinner ….baked Provolone cheese, empanada, blood pudding, sausage, French fries and steak. 

            The following day we went on a boat tour on the Tigre River.   There are a large group of islands in the river that have summer homes for the very rich.  All services to these homes is provided via the river.   For those who live on these islands they are supported with a school boat to the local school….and there are boats that ply the waters to sell groceries and vegetables….gas stations for boats are also located along the river.   Each home is equipped with a dock or pier for their personal boats or for visiting boats.  

            Crime is a persistent problem in Argentina, because of the spread of economic wealth (or lack of it) and the financial problems that the country has sustained.   Houses have barred windows and security systems.   People walking downtown have to be very careful about wearing jewelry, watches, cameras, cell phones, etc.              

 

Plaza de Mayo

Tigre River Home