A collage of the ‘Paris of the South’

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I thought I’d just post a collage of photographs of Buenos Aires, without too much ‘chat’.

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The yellow bus is a Hop on Hop off bus, worth the money even if it is only used to get around from one photo opportunity to another.

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Part of the main square of the city – Plaza de Mayo

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Still within the square

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Don Quixote at the intersection of Avenida de Mayo and Avenida 9 de Julio, it was a gift from Spain in 1980.

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A small area of Avenida 9 de Julio

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Cafe Torton, which is a famous cafe that opened in 1858.

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In the UK I had a hobby of painting 20 mm metal soldiers and I recreated quite a lot of the Battle of Waterloo – I gave everything away when we emigrated . . .  :- (

I took the above picture, during a visit to a Sunday market. I was tempted to buy a small squad . .  but didn’t.

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Rhodochrosite is the national gem stone of Argentina, and all of the above jewellery is made from this stone – this stall is one of the market stalls.

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Rhodochrosite

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The above reminded me of Penang – bottom right shows the covers of a few of the market stalls.

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I was impressed with many of the wide clear streets.

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Which one is John, is the far one Ringo, that’s not Paul surly . . .

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I just liked the building – no idea of any details.

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A beautiful day – National Congress Building

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Different – I wonder if the lawn is on the roof . . .

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A distant shot that I had to crop – the Russian Orthodox church, opened in 1904. There are about 170,000 Russians or of Russian decent, living in Argentina.

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The hop on hop off bus drove through this new area of the city , which appeared to have as much heart as that of a dead lettuce – boring.

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A major shopping street

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No idea what this building is called, I just liked the look of it , so I took the photograph.

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Clicked this one because I liked how the old is reflected in the new . . .

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If you are going to have a demo have a big one – workers marching because they can not find work.

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Different colours for different unions (I think).

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For all the shouting and drum beating it was quite peaceful – but we didn’t hang around – just in case things changed.

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I saw this and thought that’s for me  . . but Maureen disagreed  . . .

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We stopped on a corner and began to study our maps, when this policeman approached and asked if he could help. We didn’t realise, but we had stopped outside the Israeli embassy, and he was an Argentinian guard protecting the embassy.
His English was excellent, so what started as request for directions ended up as a long conversation of places that we and the guard had visited overseas, and life in general. A perfect gentleman and a credit to Argentina, for his consideration of ‘lost’ tourists.

He never took his eyes off the area around the embassy, even when he was chatting to us. Note the bullet proof vest, and he had a carbine and a pistol on his hip. He made one feel quite safe.

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This is a sort of cathedral I suppose . . .

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It is the ceiling of a shopping centre.

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Fountain and coffee bar

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Maureen and I stood near the information desk and we looked up at the ceiling area, which I think was the base of an escalator, it was very highly polished copper.

I took a photograph of us reflected in the copper – you can see us near the top of the picture. I have the camera pointing at the ‘ceiling’ so what you see in the photograph is of our reflection.

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I rotated another picture of just me taking my own picture in the copper ‘mirror’ – I’m on the left. I rotated the original picture horizontally before posting.

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The only way to end a spot of site seeing . . .

 

 

 

 

Walk the Walk in BA

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My first view of Buenos Aires from our balcony – not a very attractive site with the heavy rain clouds.

Our arrival meant that we would be alongside from early Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon, when the ship would sail with a new ‘cargo’ of passengers.

Our plan was to experience BA on Saturday morning, using a ‘walking guide’ to get an idea of the layout of the city.

We booked our walking tour via the internet with http://www.buenostours.com/ and for a small extra price besides picking us up from the ship (which was part of the basic price), they would return us to the ship, which meant that we would not have to experience using a local taxi.

I may be doing BA taxi drivers a disservice, but I had read many negative comments of taxi drivers taking advantage of  cruise passengers.

We would return to the ship and spend part of Saturday afternoon packing, and leave the ship on Sunday morning around 8.30 am, We’d booked transport via another company http://www.transferlubre.com.ar/ to take us all to our hotel.

I can recommend both companies, because they were both efficient and easy to deal with over the internet – and both spoke English.

Our guide was an American, Jack, who had lived in BA for five years – he was very good and answered all our questions and also suggested various places to visit and what to be careful about when out and about.

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We met Jack outside Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Rosario Convento de Santo Domingo.

The statue in front is the mausoleum of Manuel Belgrano, who took part in the fight for Independence and he also created the Argentinian flag.

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Flag of Argentina.

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Not your average BA taxi – something different.

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The one thing that Jack told us to do while out and about was to look up and view the tops of the buildings – very good advice.

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Many buildings reminded me of Paris & Madrid.

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The oldest pharmacy in BA

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Inside – it was as if it was yesteryear.

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Paintings on the wall and the ceiling

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Ceiling painting – first opened in 1835 and still trading.
As well as being the oldest pharmacy in S. America it is also the oldest shop in BA.

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The first book shop in Buenos Aires opened here in 1785, but it was originally a pharmacy that sold books, and later was where the first newspaper for BA was produced.
Later in 1830 it was the library for the nearby college. In 1926 the original building was demolished and the current building took its place.

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Literary café underground

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A copy of a painting of the original book shop in 1830 is shown in the current book shop’s window.

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We had a short trip on the metro, which began operating in December 1913, it is standard gauge, and the system was 55 km (34 miles), and was extended a further 7.1 km in the 1980’s.

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The station at which we boarded the train was named Peru.

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The platform going the other way – everywhere was spotlessly clean and I didn’t see any litter.

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Alejo Julio Argentino Roca Paz 1843 – 1914,
the area around this statue is a favourite place for demonstrations . . . 

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Now this is what you might call a wide street –

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An aerial view of the same street – which is called 9th of July Avenue.
(La Avenida 9 de Julio)

Seven lanes in each direction – parallel streets on either side, which each has two lanes, a total of eighteen lanes and through the centre area (the white centre pieces) are for bus lanes and rapid transit.
There are two wide medium strips between the side streets and the main roads. When we crossed at a normal walking pace we were never able to get from one side to the other in one ‘go’, before the pedestrian lights changed.
We (as were many others) were always stranded on islands waiting for the next pattern of pedestrian lights. This is not a complaint, because we never felt threatened by the traffic, but I wanted to emphasis just how wide is this avenue.
The avenue was planned in 1888, but it took until 1935 before work began, and it was eventually completed in the 1960s.

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It is said that this is the widest street in the world.

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As a comparison – Buenos Aires in 1820 (from a paining).

 

London City

Time for a short break and a cup of coffee at the London City

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Memories of a European coffee house . . .

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Some had tea, one couple shared a slice of cake, and as usual I had black coffee (lack of imagination).

London City opened in September of 1954 and was a refuge for poets, artists, politicians, who moved from the Municipal Palace to the Deliberative Council building, journalists who entered and left the neighbor building of the newspaper La Prensa and of the porteños and tourists who strolled and worked along the beautiful Avenida de Mayo.

“London City” was declared notable coffee by the Commission for the Protection and Promotion of the notable cafes, bars, billiards and confectioneries of the city of Buenos Aires.

The comments in italics have been copied from the London City web site.

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Our group and the guide at the end of the table.

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Had to take this guy in the corner and after a little research realised that he was one of the ‘refugee writers’, perhaps one the most famous, Julio Cortzázar 1914 -1984.

He was born in Belgium of Argentinian parents, his father was attached to the Argentinian diplomatic corps. Because Belgium was occupied by the Germans in WW1 the family moved to Switzerland, and even had a short time in Spain before moving back to Buenos Aires in 1919.

He planned and wrote his novel ‘The Awards‘ at one of the tables in London City. It was published in 1960.

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Our next stop was the Metropolitan Cathedral – the land for this site was set aside in 1580, and various churches have been built here since that date. The first church was replaced in 1605, and ever since there have been ongoing changes due to danger of collapsing, being rebuilt in 1684, being added to and changed until the final building was completed in 1863.

DSC05317rLooking towards the main alter area.

DSC05320rI was surprised to see a mausoleum within the cathedral guarded by armed soldiers.
DSC05321rcThey may look ornamental, but I don’t think they missed much of what was happening.

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The  mausoleum contains the remains of
General José Francisco de San Martín y Matorras Feb 1778 – Aug 1850.

There are three figure guarding the tomb, and they represent Argentina, Peru and Chile, which are the three regions freed by the general from Spanish rule.
The mausoleum also contains the remains of remains of  Generals Juan Gregorio de las Heras (1780 – 1866) – he was in business until he was twenty six and then joined the hussars and worked his way up in rank, and after many battles became the Governor of Buenos Aires Province.
Also in the mausoleum is Tomas Guido (1788 – 1866) after some military service he moved in to politics and eventually became vice president of the Senate of the Argentine Confederation in 1857.

Finally the mausoleum it is also the resting place of Unknown Soldier.

On to our final destination and the end of our walking tour.

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 Casa Rosada (Pink House)

Set at one end of Plaza de Mayo, which has been a large square for the people since 1580.

The origin of  Casa Rosada is that it used to be a fort and over time it transformed in to government offices for the colonial Spanish and eventually became Government House. It is no longer the residence of the President, but mainly a museum, which is free to enter on Saturday & Sunday.

The President lives in Quinta de Olivos,  which is located at the north side of Buenos Aires and has been the residency of the  President since the 1930’s.

For those who are interested the famous ‘balcony’ of Eva Perón (Evita) is the one with the five arches, not the one with the windows.

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Eva Perón (Evita) in 1944

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Born María Eva Duarte May 1919 – Died Eva Perón July 1952

After her death she was embalmed with glycerin (she was to be displayed in a similar way as Lenin), but while the monument, in which she would be displayed, was being built the governments changed and her body ‘went missing’ for sixteen years. It was not until 1971 that the government admitted that the body was in a crypt in Milan, Italy, under the name “María Maggi.”
In 1971 her body was flown to Spain where Juan Perón maintained the corpse in his home, and kept it in the dining room for two years.
Perón returned to Argentina in 1973 as President for the third time, but died in office in 1974. His third wife Isabel, who had been elected Vice President, succeeded him.
She had Eva Perón brought back to Argentina from Spain, and for a brief time Eva Perón was on display along side her husband.
Eventually Eva Perón was buried in the Duarte family tomb in Buenos Aires

In a later blog I’ll have more to say of where Eva Perón is buried.