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.
With the weekend by myself in Buenos Aires I was looking for something to do when I came across an 18km (11 mile) ‘Urban Trek’ across much of the city.
Note – with an all day hike this post is somewhat long…
The tour started out at the visitor information center in La Boca, a working class neighborhood along a seriously polluted river. It reminded me of Youngstown and Cleveland in the 1970s.
Our trek started out with 7 intrepid hikers and a guide. It would not finish that way.
The people of La Boca are proud of their neighborhood…
The center is a tourist area packed with colorful shops.
The area was setting up for a Sunday artist market.
We quickly left the area and passed by the colorful houses which legend says were painted various colors with the left over paint from ships.
La Boca is most known for their soccer team. The stadium is called La Bombonera, which translates to the Chocolate Box, from the shape of the stadium. The seating is in an incredibly steep pitch.
This 49,000 seat stadium is jammed in the middle of the neighborhood.
The walk through the rest of La Boca provided a number of interesting views.
Eventually we made our way to the San Telmo neighborhood, along with more diverse photo ops.
We passed under a freeway that once housed an interrogation center during the military dictatorship era in the 1970s. Sadly during the construction of the freeway they found remains of many who never made it out of the center. There are tributes to those lost during those times.
Port Madero is a new area of tall buildings built in the former port of Buenos Aires.
One young lady on our tour, who was from Mexico, took selfies at virtually every stop along the way. She was very entertaining in making sure she had the perfect look – and a great sport when I asked to photo her taking her photo.
Our final stop on the morning part of the hike was the Plaza de Mayo.
After a break for lunch we headed out for the afternoon with a new guide, and only 4 hikers.
Having spent a few weeks in this part of town I was familiar with much of what we were passing, but it was still entertaining as our new guide was a very funny young lady.
A review of San Martin Plaza and Palacio.
The Addams Family Palacio (not really but it seems as though it should be)
An finally a stop at Recoleta Cemetery. Our hike continued for another couple of miles but didn’t produce any interesting photo, or the photographer was too tired to take them 🙂
While long, it was a very worthwhile day. Both guides were knowledgeable and entertaining, and I was able to see many areas of the city that most don’t. If you have an entire Sunday to spend in Buenos Aires I highly recommend putting on your best walking shoes and heading out…
The city of Montreal was the host of the 1976 Summer Olympics. The area that most events were held still exist in the east side Olympic Park.
A number of the venues are still used for sporting events.
While it has recently been remodeled, the pool complex dates from the 1976 games. It is used for competitive events, with seating for 3,000, but is also used as the neighborhood pool when not in competitive use.
The Montreal Olympics are the poster child for cost overruns often associated with hosting the games. It is estimated it cost 720% (not a typo) more than originally planned.
Much of the cost overruns was due to the construction of Olympic Stadium.
Today there is a small museum dedicated to the games and the construction of the stadium.
The stadium looks like a 1970s sci-fi movie space ship. The large tower on the left was originally built to remove what was to be the first retractable stadium roof in history. Unfortunately it was not completed in time for the games, and when it was eventually completed it didn’t work.
So for the first 12 years or so of the stadium it was open air, and after that a permanently closed dome.
Walking around the large concrete plaza on this day with very few people gives one the feel of desolation in the middle of a large city.
Many North American stadiums used to sit in the middle of large concrete plazas like this – the newer generation of stadium more integrated into the cities are far nice, even if one can question the cost for holding so few events a year.
After the Olympics the stadium became home of the Montreal Expos baseball team. Unfortunately in 2004 they left town, moving to Washington DC. leaving the stadium largely quiet, except for a few concerts and other events like monster truck racing.
The cavernous domes stadium echos with the smallest noises. I did have the opportunity to attend a couple of baseball games here (one with the open stadium, the other with the roof in place). It was a great experience, baseball in French, with passionate fans using their own unique to Montreal style of cheering on their team.
Hopefully some day major league baseball returns to Montreal (but to a more appropriate venue).
The tower is now a tourist attraction. The inclined elevator is billed as the longest in the world.
The top of the tower offers panoramic views of Montreal.
The view of the Olympic Pool, and other venues in the park.
The Olympic Village apartments are still used. The soccer stadium is a recent addition.
The day was a bit hazy, but made the views towards downtown interesting.
Montreal’s east side is a working class neighborhood with numerous row houses.
The view of the islands in the middle of the St Lawrence River, as well as some of the bridges crossing the river.
Because much of Europe is fairly far north, the port of Montreal is the shortest route between a European port and North America.
Olympic Stadium cost the city of Montreal and all of Canada significant money, but as with most things Canadian, they have made the most of it.
For someone or something to come back after 20 or 30 years is amazing. In Cleveland the former stadium for the Indians baseball team has made a comeback after being unused for nearly 70 years.
League Park is located in the Hough neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland. In the early days of baseball many stadiums were located in the neighborhoods like this.
As with many other cities Cleveland built a larger, more centrally located stadium downtown and League Park was essentially torn down in 1951, with the exception of a small brick ticket office.
All that has changed in the last few years as the city of Cleveland has invested significant money in bringing back League Park. They have restored the ticket office, and remaining wall, and added a new field.
The field is once again available for baseball.
The ticket office now serves as a small museum commemorating baseball, with an emphasis on Cleveland.
While League Park will never again host major league baseball, it has found a great new life.
Since the Houston Astros had a home game, and we were staying a couple of blocks away, we checked out the scene. As with most stadiums they have sold the naming rights, so they play at Minute Maid Park 🙂
The crowd was gathering outside before the gates opened.
Anytime I visit a new stadium I like to get there early and walk around to check out the sights.
The TV people were preparing for their broadcast.
As with all the stadiums built in the last 25 years, all have ‘quirky’ features. This stadium has a retractable dome (which was closed because it was 90 and humid), as well as a giant glass wall facing the downtown buildings.
The bullpens were empty.
Some basic instructions were occurring.
Marketing + Marketing = Excess.
The left field scoreboard and stands.
Finally it was time for the game and the obligatory national anthem. This group of young string instrument players were excellent.
The Phillips 66 Home Run Pump, brought to you by Phillips 66.
They have a large train along the glass wall. This train weights 60,000 pounds, and the driver actually drives (and stops) it. In researching this there is no apparent reason why there is a train there other than someone liked the idea.
The massive main scoreboard – everything you need to know about Jose Abreu.
If you can’t hit a real baseball virtual reality gives you the chance.
They have cheerleader at a baseball game…. The most excited the crowd got was for the free t shirts.
Almost forgot – there was a baseball game played.
Crowds going for, or dodging, foul balls always make good subjects.