Buenos Aires – November 2019 – Open House goes South

Out of sheer good luck we happen to be in Buenos Aires for their Open House. Their motto is 1 City, 2 Days, 140 Buildings and 760 Volunteers.




Without much notice I missed the sign up period for many of the more popular buildings, but we were still able to see some interesting examples of BsAs architecture.

Our first stop was the Casal de Catalunya. Built in the Barcelona style, the building dates from 1886. It has been home of the Catalan community in Buenos Aires for 130+ years.













Another building from the 1880s is Casa Bolivar. It is designed in a ‘Casa Chorizo (Sausage) style, so named as there are numerous small wings connected through a common hallway, much like links of sausage hanging in the butcher shop.

Casa Bolivar is in San Telmo, which was the main immigrant neighborhood for 100 years. These type of houses served as the first home for hundreds of thousands of immigrants – now it has been refurbished into an art studio and AirBnB.












The Instituto Superior Octobre is located amongst a number of 100 year old buildings, and from the outside fits in perfectly.

Inside is a completely different look – With the openness of the center court, and the steel and glass throughout, it is thoroughly modern.










The Teatro (Theater) Gran Rex is located along the main theater street in the city – Corrientes. It is modeled after Radio City Music Hall. I am unable to identify the statue in the lobby but for now we will call him the Argentina Dean Martin.




As noted previously it was designed to be similar to Radio City Music Hall with the shell roof, and lack of ornate decorations.

With over 3000 seats, it is one of the larger venues in town. On this day the roadies were setting up for a concert.










Our final stop was the Palacio Municipal, or City Hall. It is connected to the Edificio Del Diario La Prensa (a newspaper). Together they make up the Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture).

They are very impressive, ornate buildings.






























Olivos, Argentina – November 2019 – The Sun, The Sky, and The Sea

The Argentina National flag features a sun, which is appropriate as the sun shines quite often here. The official presidential residence is in the suburb of Olivos, and the small, but well kept park on part of the grounds features a number of sculptures depicting this Incan sun from the flag.













Olivos is situated along the Rio de La Plata, which is called a river. It is a 30 mile wide river near Olivos and Buenos Aires, widening to 150 miles at the mouth at the Atlantic.

Olivos has a small harbor full of sailboats.






















It is also in the landing path of Jorge Newberry Airport.




With the ‘river’ comes great sunrises, with this photo an interesting mix of clouds, sun and ‘sea’.





Tigre, Argentina – November 2019 – A Brief Visit to the Delta Town

Bienvenidos to Tigre, Argentina.




Tigre is at the end of one of the lines of the commuter rail from Buenos Aires. They have a very stylish station.




Tigre is known as the gateway to the Parana Delta. This area covers the size of Connecticut, and is made up of hundreds of islands (and no roads). All of the transportation into the delta is via boat.

As a result Tigre is a tourist destination, with many attractions throughout the delta.




We had no particular plans for this day so we wandered around town. There are numerous boat clubs along the Tigre River. In this case, they are across the street, so they have a unique rail system to get their boats to the river.




Many of the clubs have very ornate buildings.




The parilla is on the grill for later!




Where could this guy be going with his load of bamboo boxes?




Why to Puerto De Furtos (the Fruit Port) of course.



The port takes up a number of piers along the river.




Tourist boats are constantly going by.




While across the river are some unique structures.




It is an interesting blend of old and new.




We went looking for fruit, but were disappointed as the entire area has been restored into a tourist market area. Still is was an interesting area, with great photo ops.













On the way back to the rail station we passed by this interestingly decorated building, with American baseball greats of the past.

Tigre is an interesting town, and we look forward to spending more time there and adventure into the delta further.






Buenos Aires – October 2019 – La Chacarita Cemetery

While Buenos Aires is home to the famed Recoleta Cemetery, it is by no means the only impressive cemetery in town.

We went on a tour of La Chacarita Cemetery with Pablo, an interesting person with a vast amount of knowledge of the history of the city.




While it has some similarities to Recoleta, it is much larger.



There are many massive tombs that were used for societies, as this one dedicated to, and for the use of people of the Spanish immigrants society.





Chacarita has more famous Argentinians than Recoleta, including Jorge Newberry. Jorge lead a very interesting, if short, life as an early aviator.

One of the two airports for Buenos Aires is named after Jorge. He died in an early attempt to fly over the Andes Mountains. The plaques on the wall are dedications to him from other groups.



While most of the crypts are well kept, some are in need of repair.



Carlos Gadel was a singer, songwriter and actor. It is said he gave Sinatra pointers on how to become a more polished performer.

People often leave lit cigarettes in his right hand for good luck.



More scenes of Chacarita…
















But there is more to Chacarita than the large crypts, much much more. Built in the brutalist style there is a massive underground area.

It is an unreal sight with over 1/4 million people entombed below.















Beyond this area is an area dedicated to famous Argentina performers. These are not just statues, the performers are actually buried here.





Beyond that area is a massive ‘common grounds’




The crematorium is in the center of the cemetery. The place is so large taxi’s troll through looking for fares.

One urban legend says to never take a taxi in the cemetery – if you look in the mirror the driver will not have a reflection.




Additional monuments are scattered throughout.




Another stunning sight is the perimeter wall – it is lined with more crypts. In all there are well over a million people in the cemetery.




For the most part the cemetery is in nice shape, however there are portions that need some repair, as shown below.




We spent over 2 hours wandering about La Chacarita Cemetery. It was an amazing, and visually stunning experience.




When in Buenos Aires look up Pablo, under Walks with Pablo. He is an excellent guide.






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.