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Showing posts with the label Buenos Aires

Ponte, Puente, Tulay, Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge (Image from Microsoft clip art)
The Golden Gate bridge turned 75 years old last week and the city of San Francisco celebrated this event in a big way with a Historic Watercraft Parade, dance, music and local bands performing at Marina Green and Crissy Field, and a host of other activities culminating in a spectacular display of fireworks.

I remember when I first saw the Golden Gate bridge decades ago and how disappointed I was then to see that the bridge wasn't really golden at all but a strange orangey color. In fact, it is painted in the International Orange hue. I didn't understand why they called it Golden Gate then but after many years, I learned to appreciate the bridge as it is.

Suspension Bridge, Bohol
While I'm on the topic of bridges, I found this photo of a suspension bridge over the Loboc River from our trip to Bohol a few years back. It was scary to try to cross this narrow hanging bridge. It swayed quite a bit when I tried to walk a few f…

Postscript: Buenos Aires

And one or more things about Buenos Aires:

Where to stay: I really liked my room at the Dazzler Hotel on Maipu 850, right in the center of town. The room was spacious and clean with laminated wood floor and breakfast was included. The hotel is a short walk to Calle Florida and Galerias Pacifico. My only complaint about the room was the noise from the street below as Maipu is a bus route. So ask for a room away from the street.

Parks: Buenos Aires has many beautiful parks, perfect for weary feet. Do go to a park where there are a lot of people so you're safe and be aware of what's going on around you. The plazoleta below is on Calle Arroyo and Avenida de 9 de Julio.


I also liked the Plaza de las Naciones where you have a great view of the Florialis Generica from under bright yellow outdoor umbrellas.

Another little square on Calle Arroyo was on the former site of the Israeli Embassy which was bombed in 1992. Today it is a quiet place for reflection. Rows of trees were planted her…

Shopping in Buenos Aires

Shopping in Buenos Aires can be sublime. At the Galerias Pacifico on Calle Florida, the frescoes in the central dome could be the destination more so than the expensive boutiques inside the mall. The frescoes depict the history of mankind and was painted by five well known Argentine artists in 1945. For a leisurely view of the frescoes, sit and order a drink at one of the cafés under the dome.


Calle Florida is packed full of shoppers and walking along this pedestrian only street is a slow crawl as there are so many things to check out and perhaps buy from the vendors on the street. There are toys, handbags and wallets, costume jewelry, clothes, socks, flowers, and an incredible assortment of goods.  There is free entertainment from musicians and tango dancers. If you take a picture with the tango dancers, you will have to pay for this privilege. There's something for everyone.


In the posh Retiro district, food shops like the one above in  the glass ceilinged Patio Bullrich and t…

Colorful La Boca

Of all the many attractions in Buenos Aires, I found the neighborhood of La Boca to be the most fun and interesting of the bunch. Though the conventillos (tenements) here are restored and freshly painted, this neighborhood is still one of  the oldest, the home for many Italian immigrants in the 1940's.


Colorful buildings shown above line the streets of La Boca. It is said that past residents of this barrio used remaining paint they found in the docks to coat their wood and corrugated zinc dwellings. This explosion of colors adds a festive air to the neighborhood.


Narrow alleys like this separate the conventillos in La Boca. Living in such close quarters, there's not much privacy in these tenements. The courtyards became the living room of residents and this is where the celebrated tango was performed by the immigrants who were said to have introduced the tango to these shores.


A whimsical mural in the Antiguo Mercado de La Boca reminds visitors that this barrio is the birth…

Cruising the Paraná Delta

Only 30 minutes from central Buenos Aires, the Tigre River is the jump off point for trips around the  Paraná Delta. State of the art boats ferry passengers through thousands of miles of waterways for a glimpse of life on the delta.


Summer homes, some elegant, others simple and basic, peek through lush flora on the banks of the river. There are about 3000 residents in the delta, more so during the summer months. It's beautiful and peaceful out here and there are many activities to indulge in or none at all, depending on your mood.

This grocery boat traverses the river bringing necessary food and supplies to delta residents. Garbage pick-up barges also ply the river. There is a chapel, a gas station, a restaurant (or two) on these waterways.  It's as if you're living on dry land.

Beach goers enjoy swimming in the brown waters of the delta. The existence of silt in the waterways explains why it is brown. To keep waters flowing, the delta is constantly dredged to remove the…

The Fascination with Evita

The memory of Eva Perón (Evita) is certainly in the minds of many travelers to Buenos Aires.  The former First Lady of Argentina had as many detractors as followers in her own country during her time but today, her international cult is flourishing, due in part to the financial and critical success of the Broadway musical and later a film version simply called, Evita.


Perhaps the best place to start following in Evita's footsteps is to take a guided tour of the Casa Rosada which is across from the Plaza de Mayo. It's a free tour (on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) which leads visitors inside various rooms in the palace including the Scientists' Room where Evita's gold framed photo is prominently displayed on a desk, right beside the famous balcony from where she made public appearances from time to time, most notably in 1951 when crowds gathered outside the  palace waiting for her to accept the Vice Presidential nomination.


The Palm Tree Patio is an oasis in the cen…

Let's start the day with a medialuna!

Medialuna
To start the day with a medialuna is very nice indeed. My favorite is the buttered medialuna (half moon) which I found tasty though probably packed with calories, but who's counting?

Vegetarian  Burger
My "healthy" restaurant chain of choice in Buenos Aires is the Green & Co. where for about 40 Argentine pesos, I could get a combo plate with vegies, shrimps or salmon, and sprinkling of rice. They also have vegetarian burgers, tartas, ensaladas and wraps. There's a branch at the famous Galerias Pacifico (shopping mall) on San Martin and Calle Florida.

For  afternoon breaks, I indulged on empanadas. I like the chicken empanadas best. It goes well with a nice glass of white Argentine wine. Here's a link to the recipe for this favorite Argentine snack. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/chicken-empanadas-recipe/index.html
Empanada
There are empanadas with fruit fillings instead of meat. I find these at Mexican bakeries here in California. Th…

Café Crawl - Buenos Aires

Café Tortoni
A trip to Buenos Aires would not be complete without a visit to at least one of its "cafe notables".  If in Paris you make a pilgrimage to its famous cafés on the Left Bank like Café de la Paix and Deux Magots or to Fouquet's on the Champs Elysees, you do the same in Buenos Aires. 

Wax figures of Jose Luis Borges, Carlos Gardel and Nadia
Café Tortoni is the oldest café in Buenos Aires. It has been around since 1858 and its regulars included Jose Luis Borges - the  poet and short story writer, the poet Nadia and Carlos Gardel, the singer and actor who made tango music famous worldwide. Their wax figures stand in one corner of the main dining room.  There's a theatre at the back of the café where tango shows are presented nightly. When I visited recently, there was a line at the door. The Tortoni is on Avenida de Mayo, a short walk from the Casa Rosada.

The Bar at Florida Garden
I would not order lunch nor dinner at these cafés. The food was not good at …

And the March Continues

For three decades the Madres de Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of Plaza de Mayo) have been marching around the Pirámide in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires in memory of their missing children. The number of mothers are dwindling as the years pass yet those who are left persist and persevere with their quest for justice.

Plaza de Mayo from the Casa Rosada
In the the 70's (1976-1983) during what was called the Dirty War, thousands of Argentinians were kidnapped, tortured and killed by agents of the military dictatorship. Some of the abducted children were given to military families. There has yet to be a full accounting of the "desaparecidos" (the disappeared) although a civilian commission investigation puts the number at about 11,000 desaparacidos. Other sources claim the number to be as high as 30,000.
The Madres keep the memory and spirit of their missing children alive through their weekly march and other projects including free education and health care services, among oth…