Iguazu to Salta

Wednesday 27th November

Our brief trip to the Iguazu was over and it was time to fly to Salta. About a 1.5 hour flight to the top left hand side of Argentina, which is very different again from the areas we have already visited. As we flew in to land you could already see the Andes mountains in the distance.

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After some last minute research we thought it would be good to hire a car in Salta and fortunately checked to see whether you need a international driving licence. Yep you do, but surprisingly this is very simple. You merely go to the post office with your licence and they copy your details into a little brown book, stamp it several times and for £5.50 you are ready to go. The post office lady didn’t quite match up the categories of vehicles I can drive and just seemed to stamp them all. So I was looking forward to being able to drive a coach or an HGV in Argentina ☺The book does look a little like a war ration card and a step back in time!

As we were going to be driving long distances and up very high we decided to upgrade from our usual tiny cheap car to a very comfortable saloon..very Mrs Bucket.

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Armed with a small map from the car hire company and Google maps (fortunately downloaded in the UK) we set off to find our next holiday home. We had chosen a B and B about 12km out of the centre of Salta and arrived about 40mins later to a very warm welcome from the owners. The house has 2 bedrooms for guests and a little cabin in the garden. It was set in a large garden in the small town of San Lorenzo.

Next on the list was to check out the medical centre to have my leg re -dressed. We were quickly shown through to the nurse and after showing her my Spanish medical letter she soon had the wound cleaned and re -bandaged. She asked for my passport number and details. On asking how much I had to pay I was informed that it was free, which was a nice surpirise.

20191129_082455Time for a little stroll in the Quebrada de San Lorenzo which is a vast nature reserve and cloud forest on the edge of the town. A very nice lunch beside the river before returning to our B &B.

Chill out time before a walk through the village to a restaurant for dinner. Then back to plan our road trip for the next day.

Iguazu Falls

Tuesday 26th November.

Iguazu national park lies in the top north east corner of Argentina. It is bordered by Brazil and Paraguay. The whole area is a tropical rain forest and was hot and humid as you would expect.

20191203_160759One of the reasons we had chosen our hotel, on the outskirts of Iguzau, was for the ease of getting to the national park. The bus station was a short walk away and buses run every 20 mins. The park opens at 8am and it is best to get there early to avoid the crowds. So we grabbed a couple of croissants and some juice from the bakery and caught the 7.20am bus.

On our arrival, about 40 mins later, we bought our tickets (about £18 per person) which we were told we could use for all areas including the train. The best way to visit the park is to get on the train which takes you to the top of the park first. So off we went to the train station and joined the queues. Fortunately a guide noticed we didn’t have the little white timed ticket for the train. So we retraced out steps to collect one, some clearer directions would have been useful but never mind.

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The train is not exactly high speed but takes you up through the trees where we spotted a number of toucans. To quick for me to photograph on my phone but it was wonderful to see them in their natural habitat.

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At the end of the journey it is about a 1km walk along metal walkways to the falls. I spotted beautiful butterflies, a turtle chilling out in the shallow water whilst a number of black vultures flew high above our heads.

It was an overcast day but that did not detract from how amazing the huge waterfalls are. You really cannot capture it on a photograph.

Then it was back to the little train and down to the midway station. From here you can walk both the upper and lower walkways which take you through the park. We started with the upper one and immediately spotted a couple of koatis. They particularly like the food areas, of course, and hang around for any leftovers.

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We passed by lower sections of the waterfalls and it was interesting to see the top of a waterfall, which looks fairly peaceful and innocuous. Then a side view and it tips over the edge and finally the vestness of the whole waterfall which belies the tranquillity at the top.

You can just about see the swifts which nest behind the curtain of water as they fly in and out. You can learn more on David Attenborough’s latest nature programme which we has seen just before we came to Argentina.

After completing the upper route we walked the lower one. Once again passing by different levels of the waterfalls. You can see across the river to the visitors on the Brazil side of Iguazu. The view from the other side gives a much broader perspective of the falls but not as close up.

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Just we finished our walk the heavens opened and we caught the train back to the bottom rather than walk. The visitors centre was very interesting telling of the history of the National park, the nature and previous inhabitants.

Back on the bus, dodging the heavier showers, and we soon returned to the hotel. Fortunately the rain had eased a little when we went out for dinner and we soon found a nice restaurant. Sitting next to us where a group of three young ladies (ranging from 22 to 33 yrs old) who were travelling around South America. The good thing about ‘Back packers’ is that they always know the chea bars. So when they suggested cocktails at a nearby bar it seemed rude not to join them. We spent a  lovely evening chatting and drinking and it is always so interesting talking to different people when you are travelling.

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Esquina to B.A to Iguazu all in a day.

Monday 25th November

We returned to the bus station in Esquina to catch the overnight bus back to Buenos Aires, leaving at 11pm. We had wanted to travel direct to Iguazu Falls but there was no flight from Esquina and the bus took 18 hours!

Our seats this time didn’t quite recline the whole way but were pretty comfortable and plenty of leg room. No meals or champagne this time fortunately as were pretty stuffed from my birthday dinner.

I slept reasonably well although there were 3 very large men who formed a snoring choir, all at slightly different pitches, the whole journey 😔

We arrived back in Buenos Aires and caught a cab back to the hotel where we had previously stayed. We had agreed that we would buy breakfast there and they would kindly let us leave our bags at the hotel for the day. As it was, it was raining in B.A. so we were happy to chill out in the roof top lounge and I could rest my leg.

We had found a little pharmacy for some cold relief tablets for Mike and decided to ask if they knew of a medical centre where I could get my leg redressed. It would save time in Iguzu where we only had one day. As luck would have it they knew a nurse and called for her to come to the pharmacy. I had a letter from the surgeon which explained everything in Spanish. She was a typical old school nurse, who did a great job and wished me luck with a big hug and double cheek kisses. A bargain for 600 peseos (about £8) which included a tip.

Finally it was time to go the smaller airport in B.A to catch our 1.5hr flight to Iguazu. A very straight forward journey we were picked up by taxi to be taken to our hotel. As soon as you leave the airport you enter the Iguazu National park and see signs along the road warning you of the danger of different animals crossing. Not unlike the New Forest, apart from the fact that instead of deer, horses and cattle you seen warning signs for jaguars, koatis and taipirs!

Unfortunately we didn’t see any but it was not long before we reached our hotel. Out for a quick bite to eat before bed, ready for our early start the next day.

Birthday celebrations, stitches and sundowners.

Sunday 24th November

The sun was shining once more as I opened the birthday cards that I had brought with me from England. It was so lovely to read the cards and messages that I had been sent on Facebook.

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My furry friends, Sasha and Toro were waiting outside the bedroom door to wish me Happy birthday before breakfast.

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All set for our last ride, a leisurely couple of hours through the woodlands on the estancia. I had even got brave enough to carry my phone for photos.

20191124_091346There was a lovely cool breeze as we set off, led by Fabian and his father, Rocky who is the head gaucho.

 

As we rode through the fields we saw a calf which had been born during the night. It was even old enough to stand on its own.

After the calf had been checked out by Rocky we continued riding and into the woods. The start of which was quite narrow with a fairly deep step down into mud. Chocolate wasn’t feeling the mud so I took her slightly left to avoid it. As I tried to steer her way from the tree to my left (tricky with the one handed rein technique) she had other plans and rushed. Not taking into account that I was on top of her she barged past the tree bashing my lower leg into it..ouch!!! It blooming hurt and I could see a bit of blood had come through to my jeans but I didn’t want to stop riding so we continued. The rest of the ride was lovely and certainly a unique way to spend my birthday.

On our return, about 1.5hrs later, it was time for a refreshing drink and nibbles.

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Time to check my leg and clean up before lunch. Oh..it was a lot more bashed up than I had thought.
Unfortunately my skin is paper thin after being on steroids for such a long time that it was a bit of a bleeding mess. My 2 plasters were not going to cut the mustard!
It was on Sunday but fortunately our hosts (Diego and Angie) knew a Dr and his brother who is a surgeon who they managed to contact. A friend of theirs, Deryck who speaks perfect English, was also at the ranch. So we all went into the town, about 10 mins away to the medical centre (photo taken later that night)

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The Dr looked at it, shook his head and cleaned it and called his brother, the surgeon. He looked at it, shook his head and then stitched it up with a local anaesthetic. But it was tricky because the skin is papery. So it was more like criss cross of stitches, like darning. So now it looks a bit like Frankenstein! If he had had some pig skin he could have done a skin graft but he didn’t have any. Fortunately it wasn’t not deep but about 3 inches in diameter. It will then need re-dressing every couple of days and a course of antibiotics. I definitely won’t be doing any leg modelling again! A photo of the wound is really not needed for fear of any reader vomiting.

To be fair just under 2 hours later we were back at the estancia and time for lunch. During the siesta I had a lovely bath and washed my hair before packing up. Then time to go to the fishing lodge. The Corrientes area is dominated by two huge rivers; The Parana which runs all the way through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentinia and is 4,880 km long, and the Corrientes river. Angie and Diego built a lodge beside the Corrientes river to accommodate 26 guests for fishing trips. They then generously gave it to one of their sons who runs the fishing business. It is a beautiful lodge, in such a tranquil setting.


I even had a go at fishing, but unfortunately didn’t catch anything.

20191124_200511-1It was the perfect spot to watch the sun set on my special birthday.

 

Back to the estancia for dinner and a delicious chocolate birthday cake made by the staff, accompanied by ‘Happy birthday’ sung in both English and Spanish. After which you cut the cut and make 3 wishes. Then you have to put 3 fingers in the cake which is a slightly strange custom.

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All too so it was time to leave. It really was a fabulous and memorable part of our holiday.

 

Ride, ride, repeat.

Saturday 23rd November

Feeling refreshed after a lovely sleep and breakfast we were all set for a long ride this morning. Aching limbs (and bum!) forgotten as we mounted up and set off. Angie and two gauchos, Fabian and Juan accompanied us as set off on our 3.5hrs ride all around the estancia.

There are over 170 species of different types of birds on the Estancia land. We saw too many to list all of them but it was incredible to see so many different varieties which we would normally only see in captivity. There were lots of storks, cormorents, egrets, ibis, spoonbills and particularly loud were the Southern Screamers. The burrowing owls live in pairs and we saw at least two pairs. Quite small, they were tricky to photograph with a phone from the back of a horse.

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The estancia has 8000 hectares (almost 20,000 acres) of woodland, grasslands, lagoons and rivers so it is very fertile. It makes the perfect conditions for raising cattle for beef and they have about 800, mainly Aberdeen Angus. It is also home to a large herd of Criollo and Criollo mix horses. It was lovely to see all the animals together,as they are allowed to roam and graze freely, and in beautiful condition.

At the end of a long ride, walking and cantering around the estancia it eas time fir a drink for the horse and lunch for us…and of course a well earned beer!

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After lunch I decided to ease my aching limbs with a dip in the pool. My horse friend had the same idea…

In the afternoon we had another ride but this time only for a couple of hours with the gauchos. A far more chilled out affair and accompanied as always by Sasha…

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And Toro..

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Finished riding for the day it was time for a beer (there’s a theme here!), shower, dinner and bed.

Caballos and Cooking

Friday 22nd November

We were picked up from the bus station by Diego Solanet, husband of Angie, who together with their family run Estancia Don Joaquin. When we were planning our trip to Argentina we really wanted to visit an Estancia,which is a working ranch usually used for raising cattle. Lots of the trips were very expensive and touristy and I really wanted to be able to ride too. So we searched the internet and came across the opportunity to stay at this Estancia. You can tailor make you holiday for a few or as many days as you wish and all the horse riding is included. There are horses for everyone, even those who have not ridden before.

On our arrival, only 30mins later, we were shown to our room and invited for breakfast at 8.30am. We immediately got our heads down for another snooze!

Time to get up and on with the day. We had a lovely breakfast of orange juice, coffee, fruit and gaucho bread,which is like a flat square of pastry, onto which you can spread anything but the most popular is dulce de leche.

Then into jeans, boots, riding hat (not compulsory but having always worn one it seemed silly not to) and long sleeved tops as the sun had come out and the temperature was rising. My horse for the morning was a chestnut mare whilst Mike was teamed with a grey mare called Rula.

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We met up with Jesse Packwood a youg professional photographer, who you can checkout on instagram https://instagram.com/jessepackwood?igshid=xukokn3b4xtu

He is touring with Shyanne Orvis an equally young female fly fishing guide from Denver, Colorado. https://instagram.com/shyanneorvis?igshid=simor3byyvgl

Neither had ridden before but together with Angie and 3 gauchos we set off for our first ride into the Wetlands. I didn’t have my phone or camera with me for the first day as it has been a while since I had ridden and didn’t want to break it or lose it! Actually it was really lovely just riding around, taking in the wonderful scenery and chatting with our new friends.

We rode for about 3 hours walking, trotting and cantering through the  fields and water…yes we did get very wet! The Argentinian style of riding is somewhat different to our English style. Forget holding the reins with two hands, you hold the reins with one hand and direct the horse with the reins on it’s neck. No rising trot either..sitting trot and no perfect position required either. But the saddles are a lot more comfortable, more like a western style saddle.

We were very lucky that Jesse wanted to stop and take photos. He has taken some of us which he has promised to email when he has finished his trip. Shyanne says he takes wonderful photos…let’s hope he can make this old lady look half decent 😂

Time for lunch and a delicious rib eye steak with salad…you will definitely not eat a better or larger one. Washed down with beer/red or white wine…very spoilt. We were all looking forward to a siesta after our long ride and huge lunch.

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In the afternoon I was upgraded to a new horse as my morning mare was perfect for a beginner but a little lazy. Somehow I had shown I could ride well enough and my new horse was a brown mare called ‘Chocolate’..perfect for a chocolate lover. Mike and I rode out with 2 of the gauchos who work at the Estancia to check on the cattle..proper work! Another 2 hours later we were certainly beginning to ache but it was fabulous.

We returned to the Estancia, showered and a quick change before our cookery class. We learnt to make empanadas,  a dough filled pastry very similar to Cornish pasties.

Mix water, lard and flour together to form a dough and roll out nice and thinly.

Then add your filling, anything you like, but we had a meat filling and a spinach and cheese one. Seal the edge with water and fold in half. Then attractively  seal the edge by twisting and folding. This was actually quite tricky and they definitely did not all look very attractive.

Next bake (or fry) in an oven or in our case a huge BBQ oven. Eat with more beer or wine and they taste delicious regardless of what they look like!

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Time to say goodbye to our new friends who were off to Chille and we were off to bed.

On the buses.

Thursday 21st November

The next stop on our tour is Esquina in Corrientes and a 3 day stay at Estanzia Don Joaquin.

The train network in Argentina is fairly limited, as are internal flights which usually fly through Buenos Aires. One of the most popular forms of transport are the buses. These very in quality and you can choose from a basic seat to a luxury recliner. As we were travelling overnight for 8 hours Angie, our hostess, recommended the luxury recliner option which we readily agreed with. She kindly booked the tickets and all we needed to do was collect them at the ticket office and get on the right bus. Sounds simple but the bus station is huge and of course all in Spanish. We have a limited knowledge of Spanish and armed with clear directions from Angie we jumped in a cab to go to the bus station, as it is in an undesirable part of town.

On our arrival it was even bigger than I had imagined. With well over 100 small ticket booths on the top level. We found number 105 with relative ease and handed over the Spanish instructions. The very nice man seemed to be fully aware of our booking, quickly gave us our tickets and told us where to get the bus.

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Downstairs there were lots of little shops and cafes selling anything you might possibly need for your journey. The waiting area is similar to tgat if an airport and we sat in the area where we had been told our bus would arrive. You have to keep your eye on your luggage, theft is common, and the board that tells you which stop to go to when the bus arrives. You have be fairly quick off the mark when it comes to boarding and loading up your luggage as the bus aims to depart on time.

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We were on the upper deck of the coach in our very comfortable, fully reclining seats with blanket and pillow.

We were told that there would be a few snacks served on the journey and so had had a rather nice bowl of pasta not long before boarding. It was rather a surprise when the attendant trundled along the aisle serving a tray of individually wrapped items of food and then a hot meal.

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Drinks next..red or white wine (or non alcoholic)? When we had finished our food, which wasn’t all of it because we were full up and some of the snacks were a little strange, he cleared it all away. ‘Anything else?’, he said, ‘champagne, whisky?’. ‘Ha ha’ we laughed and said ‘oh yes Champagne’ , thinking he was joking. Two minutes later he came back with our plastic cups of champagne and whisky for the man sitting next to us! All for about £30 one way it was definitely better value than Ryan air and about the closest we would come to a First class plane experience.

Time for bed and I slept relatively well. Top tip..don’t wear a sweatshirt and joggers. Halfway through the night I don’t know if it was the temperature of the bus or an old lady sweat but I thought I was going to spontaneously combust. Thankfully the air con kicked in!

At 4.30am we arrived, bleary eyed, at Esquina bus station, 375 miles from Buenos Aires.

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Art is in the eye of the beholder

Thursday 21st November

Our last day in Buenos Aires until we return for a very brief stay at the end of our trip. It was still roasting hot so we decided it was a mooch about day. We jumped back on the subway intending to have a guided tour of the Teatro Colon but had missed the first English slot. It was a 2 hour wait until the next so we abandoned the idea and set off walking through Recoleta. This area was adopted by the upper class after yellow fever broke out in San Telmo, previously the main residential area of Buenos Aires. By 1871 13,614 people had died which was an unprecedented amount in Buenos Aires at that time.

We wandered all the way to the Floralis Generica (usually called the big flower) which is a metal sculpture made of stainless steel, aluminum and concrete. It weighs 18 tons and is 23 metres high. The flower was donated to the city by architect Eduardo Catalano, and opened in 2002. The most attractive feature of this sculpture is that it has an electrical system that opens and closes the six petals, depending on the time of day. Unfortunately it has been beset with technical problems and is now open for one week and closed for the next. It’s still a fascinating monument.

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Very hot by this point we sought refuge in the National Museum of decorative arts. It is located in the former mansion of the aristocratic family Errazuriz and each room of the former owners showcase different decorative styles, from medieval to baroque to art noveau. I especially liked The Kiss by Rodin.

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Back out into the heat and an ice cream was in order. It is s serious matter in Buenis Aires and there is an heladaria (ice cream parlor) every few blocks. Mike chose double scoop of 70% cocoa chocolate and  I opted for white chocolate and dulce de leche (sweet caramel that Argentines love) with Patagonia fruits in. They were huge..but delicious. Good thing we hadn’t had any lunch!

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Now we really needed to walk off some calories so we set off for Palmero Soho and in search of graffiti art.

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Buenos Aires is renowned for its vibrant street art and it is highly valued and more socially acceptable than in many other cities. Laws are relatively relaxed, with artists usually only needing the permission of the property owner or residents’ association to create their work. There are so many examples of  street art and some are especially commissioned.

There’s even one perfect for the W.I

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Time for dinner and then onto the night bus to Esquina.

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City centre walking tour.

Wednesday 20th November

Wednesday was a busy day, having been to the botanical gardens and the Evita museum in the morning it was back on the subway to meet our guide for a tour of the City centre. Fortunately the subway was far less busy but the day had got a great deal hotter!

We began the tour at the National Congress building which is home to Argentina’s parliament (unfortunately it was covered in scaffolding for maintenance work) Victoria, our tour guide, had studied history at university and gave us a very comprehensive explanation of all the bulidings and Argentina’s history. Don’t worry I’m certainly not going to reproduce all of it in my blog but its certainly worth reading up on.

In front of the National Congress building is the Monument of Two Congresses which celebrates the centenary of the 1816 declaration of independence. Within the Plaza de Congresso square is one of the original bronze statues by Rodin entitled The Thinker.

As you walk up the avenue you can’t fail to see the Barolo Palace which references and pays homage to the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighie. Now I’ll be honest I don’t know anything about the Divine comedy but I could appreciate that the bottom section of the building represent Hell, the middle section purgetory and the top heaven. Interestingly there is not a lift that goes from the top to the bottom as you can’t go straight from hell to heaven..so you have to change to a different lift after purgetory! It is certainly an interesting building and at exactly 100metres high was once the tallest building in Buenos Aires.

The Gran Café Tortoni is Buenos Aires’ most famous cafe. It is based on the cafes in Paris and has been a meeting place for famous artists and scholars. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop but the inside has majestic, intricate moldings, a $1.4 million Tiffany glass ceiling, and many Tiffany lamps.

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As move up towards the end of the avenue you reach Plaza de Mayo in wchich stands The Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral, the main Catholic church in Buenos Aires.

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It is very simple from the outside but stunning inside. In 1880, the remains of General José de San Martín, regarded as one of the fathers of Argentina, were brought from France. They were placed in a mausoleum which is protected by three female statues representing the countries of Argentina, Chile, and Peru.  It is guarded during the day by 2 soldiers, who we didn’t see in situ, but I managed to get a quick photo as they marched back from the cathedral to the Casa Rosada.

The Cabildo of Buenos Aires is one of the oldest remaining buildings in Buenos Aires. It has decreased in size over time but was originally used as seat of the town council during the colonial era and is now a museum.

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The Mothers of the Disappeared

On April 30, 1977, Azucena Villaflor de De Vincenti and a dozen other mothers walked to the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina’s capital city.

These women shared the experience of each having had at least one child who had been ‘taken’ by the military government. The mothers declared that between 1970 and 1980, more than 30,000 individuals became “Desaparecidos” or “the disappeared.” These people were erased from public record with no government traces of arrests or evidence of charges against them.

The women decided to risk a public protest, although gatherings of more than three people were banned, by linking arms in pairs, as if on a stroll just across the street from the la Casa Rosada. The mothers chose this site for its high visibility, and they were hoping for information on their whereabouts to recover imprisoned or to properly bury their children.

The “disappeared” were believed to have been abducted by agents of the Argentine government during the years known as the Dirty War (1976-1983). Those whose location was found, often had been tortured and killed and bodies disposed of in rural areas or unmarked graves.

They still walk every Thursday at 3pm wearing white head scarves to symbolize the nappies of their lost children, embroidered with the names and dates of birth of their offspring.

Finally at the end of Avenida de Mayo  is the Casa Rosada (Pink Palace). This is the executive mansion and office of the President of Argentina. The balcony to the left is the one from which Peron famously gave his speeches with Evita alongside. (It was used in the film Evita). It was under Domingo Sarmiento, that the Casa Rosada first donned its characteristic pink color. The first legend states, the Casa Rosada’s pink is the result of the mixing of cow’s blood into white paint, which was meant to protect the building from the ravages of Buenos Aires’s humid climate. The second possible answer, however, is that this color is the result of pure Argentine politics. By mixing the white of the Liberal party and the red of the Radicals, Sarmiento hoped to diffuse political tensions and symbolize the harmony of a grand nation.

 

 

Recoletta walking tour.

Tuesday 19th November 2019

 Started the morning with a run in the the local huge park ‘ Parque 3 de Febrero’. It was such a buzz encountering other runners and enjoying the beautiful jacarranda trees which are in full bloom, even though I got a little lost and ran further than anticipated! 

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After a shower and breakfast it was out into the sunshine once more to join the Buenos Aires free walks and the tour of Recoletta. But in order to get to the meeting point we caught the subway. Very straightforward using the SUBTE card which we had ‘loaded up’ at the station and then onto to the subway train. Boy was it hot and very crowded!

We were relieved to get off the train and meet the group, led by Santiago, outside the Teatro Colon. It is the main opera house and was built in 1908. It underwent a 4 year restoration programme from 2006 – 2010.

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Opposite the theatre is the Palace of Justice which houses the Supreme court and lower courts.

20191121_105516The next stop on tour was the Templo Libertad, one of the main synagogues in Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires has the largest Jewish population in Latin America, and one of the seven largest in the world. Plaza Embajada de Israel  is a very poignant spot, not just for the city’s Jewish population, but for all in Buenos Aires. The Israeli Embassy after which the square is named was destroyed by a terrorist bombing that killed 22 people on March 17, 1992. Part of the wall of the original building has been preserved in memory of the attack, and 22 linden trees commemorate each of the people who were killed.

At the centre of Plaza San Martin  stands the 19th-century monument to General San Martín and the Armies of Independence. He chose the area to locate the barracks of his mounted granadiers regiment and the square was so called to mark the centenary of the independence hero’s birth in 1878. On the downhill side of Plaza San Martín is the Monumento a los Caídos de Malvinas, a memorial to the 649 soldiers who died in the Falklands War (1982). Many  the soldiers who fought were young men doing national service and they were ill equipped for war. It was a sobering experience to hear it from the other perspective.

Opposite the Falklands memorial is the Torre de los Ingleses which was a gift from the local British community to the city. After the Falklands War in 1982, the tower was renamed Torre Monumental but most of the locals still call it the English Tower.

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Two more prominent buildings in the welthy area of Recoletta are the Basilica del Santísimo Sacramento and the huge art deco skyscraper.

Legend has it that the position of the building was chosen for revenge by Corina Kavanagh against the powerful Anchorena family – one of the most important families in the city. Corina had falled in love with the son and heir of the aristocratic Anchorenas, but they dissapproved of the match because, while Corina was wealthy, she wasn’t deemed to be of high enough birth. The Anchorenas lived in a palace on the Plaza San Martín and had built a church, the Basilica del Santísimo Sacramento, on the other side of the plaza. She asked her architects to ensure that her new skyscraper blocked any view of the church from the Anchorena’s palace. There is nothing like a woman scorned!

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We finished up the tour at the Recoletta cemetery. Set in 5.5 hectares (14 acres), the site contains 4691 vaults, all above ground. The cemetery contains all tyoes of architectural styles from the very ornate to the more unusual. It is laid out in sections divided by walkways. These mausoleums are still being used by rich families in Argentina that have their own vault and keep their deceased there. Many of the mausoleums are well-maintained, but others have fallen into disrepair. Some are littered with rubbish and broken glass which was a real shame to see. They rarely come up for sale. The last one being in 2014…if you had wanted to buy it it would have set you back about £250,000!