The Teatro Colon is considered by many as one of the best opera houses in the world.
The theater was completed in 1908, with a four year restoration finishing in 2010.
The entry hall and initial rooms have many artistic details.
The main hall has room for over 3000, including standing room. The acoustics in the hall are legendary, so perfect you can hear people on the stage having a normal conversation from anywhere in the hall.
In our travels across North America we have visited the Badlands in South Dakota, seen fossils in Arizona, and dinosaur bones in Colorado. In Southern Patagonia we had the chance to do this all in one place, La Leona.
And because it happens to be on a 30,000 acre ranch owned by one person, it is very restricted as to who can go there. We arranged a tour through one of the agencies in El Calafate, and were very pleased the next morning to see a mini van come to pick us up. Our group had 7 people, a driver and the guide!
The area is about 1.5 hours north of El Calafate – the scenery was fantastic along the way.
After a long drive up a bumpy dirt road, we got out and took off through the badlands.
It wasn’t long before we came upon the first dinosaur bone. They have been removing nearly full dinosaur skeletons from here for more than 20 years, so what is left are the ‘scraps’.
Still very impressive, they welcome you to touch them, hold them, and examine them – just leave them. They even gave us instructions on how to tell bone from rock – lick them. Or rather, lick your finger and press it against the object. If it sticks it is bone, otherwise it is rock.
There is even interesting vegetation throughout.
Our hike through the badlands continued with our guide Roci, until we reached the ‘petrified forest’. Roci was very knowledgeable and gave an excellent overview of what we were seeing, and how it got to be that way.
It is amazing how heavy small fragments of the petrified wood weighs.
We spent about 3 hours wandering around the badlands, finding plenty of petrified wood, and the occasional dinosaur bone.
What an amazing place, and fantastic day. To be able to see and touch these wonders of nature was great – and with such a small group at that.
Early in our time in Buenos Aires I made a stop, and a posting, on the Palacio de Aqua Corrientes – the Palace of Running Water. This time we get a more in depth look at the building, and what it contains.
The exterior is of course amazing. Comprised of over 300,000 terra cotta tiles from Royal Doulton, it is the best looking building in the city.
While it still functions as a pumping and water storage station, as well as an office for the water company, it has a nice museum.
We caught up to a tour that was going to the library, crossing this great tile floor.
A large area off of the main water museum had an art exhibit from recycled materials.
From this space we had a view of the interior sections.
Including the giant water storage tanks.
The Palacio de Aqua Corrients – one amazing place.
In the early part of the 1900s Buenos Aires had plenty of money, as it served as the meat and grain market for much of Europe. As a result there are many grand buildings from that era throughout the city, including numerous in the Art Nouveau style.
Much of the ornamentation of these buildings are on the upper floors, so when we went on a tour with the Art Nouveau club we spent much of the morning looking up – as did everyone who was walking by on the sidewalks.
Our tour met at the very cool Savoy Hotel on Callao. Before we started down the street we checked out the interior – including the bar (which was closed at the time!)
Across the street from the Savoy is a Louis Duboise classic apartment building. Duboise is considered one of the fathers of the movement in Buenos Aires.
The corner of Callao and Mitre have examples on all 4 corners.
Just down the street is the Palacio del Congresso Nacional Argentino, aka – The National Congress Building. While not Art Nouveau, it none the less has a lot of interesting detail.
The tour continued down Rivadavia.
The building at Rivadavia 2009 has a glass dome with more than 950 pieces of mirrored glass. In addition the terrace has iron replicas of the Dragon Gate in Barcelona.
Rivadavia has a number of great buildings.
Even some of the garages in this area are designed in the style.
On Hipolito Yrigoyen are two amazing buildings directly across from each other. At 2562 is Casa Calise, the work of Viginio Colombo.
With numerous statues from Ercole Pasina, it looks like a palace, but since it’s completion in 1911 it has always been an apartment building.
While across the street is another Colombo apartment building with amazing style.
As we returned to Rivadavia the area became far more commercial however there are still some Art Nouveau examples that have survived.
Once Train Station anchors the neighborhood. Built in the Renaissance style in the 1890s, it continues to serve tens of thousands of commuters each day.
We headed over to Corrientes for our final stops, passing by this classic Bank of Argentina building.
Our final stop is Abasto. For nearly 100 years buildings on this site, including this one, served as the main produce market for the city.
Today it is a shopping mall.
But an amazing architectural mall. The Art Nouveau tour was operated by the Art Nouveau Club of Buenos Aires – it was well done and thorough, showing us many places we likely would’ve never seen in the city.
Before our trip to Colonia I had read often that there were a number of old cars running around town. I went with the expectation it was a ‘mini Havana’, in reality there were few old cars and trucks, and most of those were parked in front of restaurants as advertising.
Still those that were there, including a number of VW Beetles, coupled with the street scenes, provided good photo ops.
We start however with one of the ‘fast ferries’ from Buenos Aires. These ferries can go up to 60 MPH.
With the tourist industry there were numerous places that rented golf carts and scooters, though most were not as cool as this one.
And with that we are headed on the ferry back to Buenos Aires – with the buildings of the city visible in the distance from 30 miles away.