San Antonio de Areco, Argentina – November 2019 – Gaucho Festival

We have been fortunate to attend a number of amazing events, those truly unique in the world – I can’t believe what we just saw type of events.

The San Antonio de Areco Gaucho Festival is one of those events! (caution – something this cool has resulted in a fairly long posting with 40 photos)




The town of San Antonio de Areco is about 60 miles/100 KM from Buenos Aires, but in feel it is a world away.




It has a relaxed feel, where the local dogs just cruise around town greeting visitors. This little guy hung out with us for the first 1/2 hour we were there.




It is known as the ‘Cradle of Tradition’, or ‘Capital Nacional de la Tradicion’ for all of Argentina. The Gaucho Festival is their premier event of the year.

Lasting 5 days the Feast of Tradition culminates with an exhibit of traditional dance, followed by a parade of gauchos. The dancers wore authentic period clothes.













At the edge of town is the Ricardo Guiraldes Crillo Park. The park has a museum dedicated to the gaucho.







Nearby there were numerous vendors selling gaucho-ware.




The most amazing part of the day was the parade which consisted of over 4000 horses and riders! This view is of them making their way into town from the park.




Across the ‘Old Bridge’






Into another park that acted as a staging area.




It was here you began to get an appreciation of the beauty of the horses, as well as the very stylish look of the gauchos.






There were entire herds of horses just hanging out in the park.



With 4000 horses and riders some had to wait a bit for their turn to parade.




While most were in groups of two or three a few larger groups rode together.



Horses were everywhere, including on front lawns of houses.




But it was time for the parade. This rider, carrying the flag for the festival, lead the parade.




And for the next few hours we were treated to an amazingly stylish parade.































These gauchos gathered for the ‘Grand Finale’….




A number of riders showing their herding skills by driving a group of horses through the streets of the town by themselves.







What could be better than a beautiful warm spring day with a jacaranda tree blooming in the background, and a gaucho showing his skill.




With the parade over it was time for a cold cerveza while sitting on your horse! Our day in San Antonio de Areco was fantastic, a memory that will last forever.






San Isidro, Argentina – October 2019 – Racing Argentine Style

The San Isidro Hippodromo was opened in suburban Buenos Aires in 1935. In addition to horse racing, they often have concerts here.



Because it’s primary tracks are grass, it is known as the Casa de Turf.







Unlike most American tracks, the starting gates were far away from the finish, so the horses only passed the grandstands once.







On this day there the track was having an open house, with food trucks and entertainment in the infield.
















For the most part you could get up close to the horses and jockeys.










When we arrived the lady at the gate strongly encouraged us to take the free ‘bus tour’. This tour took us around the grounds.

It turned out we had a local model/tv ‘personality’ on our tour.




We stopped in the far back corner of the grounds at one of the starting gates where people were allowed to play on the starting gates before the horses arrived for the next race while our TV host did her story.




Our location allowed us a great close up of the start.




And they were off! It was a nice afternoon at the San Isidro Hippodromo.






Buenos Aires – October 2019 – Historic Coffee Shops and Bars

In 2000 the city of Buenos Aires passed a law that each October 26 will forever be ‘Day of Buenos Aires Bars’, as on that date in 1894 the famed cafe Tortoni first opened.

As part of this the historic society offered a walking tour of the historic bars and cafes of the city each October 26th.




We started outside the Colonial Bar/Cafe. This building still contains some of the bricks of the original building in the colonial area, made of baked clay and straw. It has been a favorite of journalists and writers during it’s 100 year existence, and has been featured in a number of movies.




The Otto Wulff Building is directly across the street from the Colonial Bar. It is not known so much for the very stylish Starbucks on the first floor, but rather the building itself.

Designed by Danish architect Morten Ronnow, it is one of several in the city with his signature look.




The columns of human figures are known as atlantes, and represent the arts and crafts used in the building.



During a 2012 remodeling, the wooden door was restored to it’s original splendor.



While not officially part of the tour, we passed by the Rey Castro. It is a ‘Disco Dinner Show’ theater, that transforms into a bowling alley, then a full blown disco. Oh yeah – it has absolutely nothing to do with Cuba or Castro.



The El Querandi is one of the original Tango Bars of the city, located in the historic neighborhood of San Telmo.



They believe in keeping the tradition alive, while offering a high end dining experience.



The Puerto Rico Cafe is also on the list of ‘notable bars and cafes’. Originally opened in 1887, it moved to this location in 1925.



Their medialunas are excellent (a long tour required a snack!)




The Liberia de Avila is the oldest bookstore in Buenos Aires, dating from the early 1800s. In 1926 the old building was destroyed, and this one was construction, but the bookstore remains.



Our guide lead us on to the most famous cafe of all…




The Cade Tortoni! There is always a line of tourists out the door.




The Castelar Hotel dates from 1929, and in those 90 years has hosted everyone from artists to revolutionaries. Even the construction of the hotel is controversial, as they flaunted the Avenida de Mayo height regulations by tilting the roofline back, to add a 14th floor.




Our tour finished outside the second oldest bar in the city, the Ibiera. Dating from 1897, it too hosted radicals, and other politically minded people. Many of them had exited Spain during a war, and settled in BA. Today the corner is known as the ‘most Spanish corner of Buenos Aires’, with the numerous Spanish restaurants and bars.

While the tour was in Spanish only, it gave us a good overview of the history of the bars and cafes of the city, and we came away with a few more Spanish words.






Chicago – October 2019 – Open House V3.0

Late October means it is time for Open House Chicago – our 3rd straight year! As always there were hundreds of volunteers making sure your visit to over 250 buildings went well.



This year ended up having an emphasis on theaters and churches. We started with the Goodman Theater.







Just around the corner is the Nederlander Theater. Built in 1926 and operated for nearly 100 years as the Oriental Theater, it was recently renamed for James Nederlander, the founder of Broadway in Chicago.



It is the most ornate theater I have ever seen.






Our morning of theaters ended with the Lyric Opera Theater.





Chicago was for many years the mail order center of the world, and as such had a massive main post office, located next to Union Station. Today it is being redeveloped into condos.







The Monroe Building is located along South Michigan Avenue. Built in 1912 it has one of the largest collections of Rookwood Pottery tiles in the world.





The Seventeenth Church of Christ is a modern style church located amongst the skyscrapers of Wacker Drive. Completed in 1968, it has a unique look for a church.



For something totally different we made a visit to the Prairie Concrete Company. It is the largest volume concrete dealer in the country, with the capability of creating enough concrete for a 2 car garage every 90 seconds!

This is their only pink cement truck.









The hundred year old Motley School was closed and refurbished into apartments.





Our final stops were churches in Ukranian Village.