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…
An earlier post had a single photo of the Palacio de Aguas Corrientes (Palace of Running Water), but with a brief break for lunch from work one day I was able to go check out the small museum, and the most amazing collection of toilets you will ever see (not something I thought I would ever note in this blog) shown on the feature photo for this posting.
Completed in 1894, it is an amazing building on the outside, hiding the basic functions of water pumping and filtration on the inside. A small museum details the history of plumbing in Argentina 🙂
The outside of the building is amazing from any angle. Amazing architecture and a huge toilet collection, what else could you ask for.
Another trip to Buenos Aires had me arriving early on a Sunday morning, so I headed over on the subway to the San Telmo neighborhood.
San Telmo has a famous Sunday market.
A former mission is now a gathering spot for the community.
The Nuestra Senora de Belen Church is the center of the neighborhood.
Back to the market. It went for blocks with antiques, trinkets and souvenir stands.
Along with a great collection of street performers were throughout the market.
Being winter (although it was about 15 Celsius) you could get coffee from the mobile coffee vendor. San Telmo Market warrants a second visit in the future when I have more time to really check out the sights.
It was a great 10 days in Buenos Aires. I am not certain what I was expecting but whatever it was, BA exceeded it!
The Nueve de Julio Avenue is the center of the city. Created in the 1930s by wiping out an entire city block wide, and nearly 3 miles long, it is an impressive sight.
The city exists because of the huge estuary of the Rio de La Plata, creating one of the world’s great ports.
The city is full of great architecture starting with the Retiro Train Station.
The Torre Monument is in the plaza in front of Retiro. The tower was completed in 1916 by the same architect who built Big Ben.
Just down the street is the Kavanagh Building, an Art Deco masterpiece.
One of the highlights of the city is the number of ‘Palacios’ remaining from the early 1900s. While there were once more than 100, less than 40 remain, but those that still stand are magnificent.
In addition to the Palacios there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of impressive buildings.
The city was the first city in South America to have a subway, starting over 100 years ago.
As with any city, not all are enjoying the good life. Buenos Aires has some ‘Villa’s, basically shantytowns for the very poor. The city says they have a plan to help improve the lives of the people living in the Villas, but only time will tell.
No visit to Buenos Aires is complete without a stop at the Obelisk.
For now it is time to fly, but not before joining the crowd to watch a soccer game while waiting on the plane. True Buenos Aires!
Of all the important streets in Buenos Aires, none is above Avenida de Mayo, May Avenue. Named in honor of the May Revolution of 1810 that lead to the Argentine independence, the street takes you from the Plaza of Congress to the Presidential Palace.
The Congressional Building graces the far end of the plaza.
The plaza has a massive fountain and a collection of statues.
The view from the plaza looking down Avenida de Mayo.
The Confiteria El Molino, an Art Noveau coffee house was completed in 1917. All of the marble, ceramics an glass was imported from Italy.
The windmill was in honor of the Molino Lorea, the first flour mill in Buenos Aires.
Across the plaza is the Senate Building.
Most of the buildings along the street have character.
None have more character than the Palacio Barolo. Once South America’s tallest building, the entire structure is an ode to Dante’s Divine Comedy.
The height of one hundred meters corresponds to the one hundred cantos of the story. There are nine access points within the building, representing nine circles and nine hierarchies of Hell.
The 22 floors of the building reflect the number of stanzas in the poem. Even moving up the building takes one through hell, purgatory and paradise.
The building is a beautiful masterpiece.
This relatively plain, Spanish mission looking building is the Cabildo. It was used as the center of government during the colonial era. Since 1610 there has been a government building on this site, with this one dating from the late 1700s.
The Piramide de Mayo, or May Pyramid, was originally constructed in 1811 in celebration of the revolution. It was renovated in the 1860s.
During the ‘Dirty War’ of the 1970s dictatorship in Argentina, up to 30,000 people ‘disappeared’, without a trace, including many children. During this time 3 people together was considered a mass assembly, with possible arrest.
Beginning in 1977 women began together in the plaza in public defiance of the ban on public gatherings, they wore white head scarves to symbolize the diapers of the ‘lost’ children. This is memorialized in the pavement of the plaza.
Many of the children taken were given to families of those in power, and raised as their own. To this day the ‘Mothers of the Mayo Plaza’ continue to pursue to reunification of the now older adults to their rightful families.
The Casa Rosada (Pink House), is the office of the President. While it is officially the Presidential Home, in reality the president lives elsewhere in Buenos Aires.
Soldiers from the Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers march from the Palace every few hours.
The Metropolitan Cathedral is the state church for Argentina. Before he became Pope, Francis was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in this cathedral.
The interior is impressive.
The tomb of General San Martin is located in the Cathedral. As the Father of the Nation of Argentina, he is honored with guards.
Argentina at times has had a volatile history, but they seem to make sure all aspects are remembered, and the Avenida de Mayo is the best way to understand what makes up Argentina of today, by understanding their past.