Buenos Aires – December 2019 – Barracas Barrio

While we had a fail on Saturday with a tour of San Telmo, our day Sunday turned out much better with a tour along with Silvia from Buenos Aires Eclectic of the Barracas Barrio.




We started out at La Casa De Los Leones, the House of the Lions. Home to Eustoquio Diaz Velez, who was a rich land owner in the 1800s. Legend has it that Diaz Velez kept lions on the property, and one night one escaped and killed a boyfriend of one of his daughters.




Across the street is the historic house Ingles Montes.




Many of the buildings along the street have great detail.







Dating from the late 1800s the Santa Lucia Church graces the street amongst the 15 floor apartment buildings.




The area has gone through some gentrification, with these 30 floor apartment buildings standing along side 1800s buildings.




A Buenos Aires staple, the Aguila Chocolate factory was a major neighborhood employer. The company still exists, but the iconic factory is now a grocery store.




As with most Buenos Aires neighborhoods, there is some interesting graffiti.




Lanin Street is so cool I have dedicated an entire posting to it – following this posting.




Plaza Colombia has this great sculpture and flagpole.




While nearby is the spectacular Santa Felicitas Church. Built in German Gothic style it is one of, if not the only, example of this style in the world.




The courtyards are elegant.







The basement has what is known as the Tunnel Museum, with the history of the church and the neighborhood.




They had a collection of nun wardrobes!







Much of the museum was dedicated to the immigrant community.







A local cooking legend, Dona Petrona, was also featured.




The upper level had a nave, but is no longer used as a church – it now serves as a community center.




Many thanks to Silvia for an informative and entertaining tour.






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.






Buenos Aires – August 2019 – Various Views of the City

Some random views of the city.

Sunrise over the port.



A walk through the historic financial district.





The view of a school out from my 6th floor office window.



Where out of nowhere the window washer dropped down from above on this sketchy looking seat.



The Argentina relief on the Torre Monument.



The plaza in front of the Torre Monument.



Views from the top of the aforementioned monument.







Subway Art.



The Hall of Lost Steps at the Law School of The University of Buenos Aires.





The Floralisa Generica – a giant metal flower that opens and closes throughout the day.



Views from the 31st floor.





Sunrise on my last day in town for this trip. The more time I spend here the more I want to come back.





Buenos Aires – August 2019 – Day Long Urban Trek

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.









Pelligrini Plaza.



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…





Buenos Aires – August 2019 – Retiro Train Station Tour

A quiet Saturday morning was a great time to take a guided tour of Retiro Station – in Spanish!



The station actually is comprised of 3 separate terminus’. The largest and most grand is Retiro Mitre, named for the line that terminates there.



The center concourse has an excellent vaulted ceiling.



Nearly all of the trains departing from here are commuter rail, so they come and go frequently. It is easily one of the busiest in South America (but not so much on a Saturday morning).







Why are we outside a Burger King?



And why is our tour all looking up?



At this amazing skylight in the middle of Burger King. Obviously it used to be a much more grand restaurant than Burger King, but at least they have retained it.



The second, much smaller terminal is Retiro Belgrano.





The final is Retiro San Martin – graced by a statue of the father of Argentina, General San Martin.



They have kept a great old schedule board.



But it is time to kiss this place goodbye.





Buenos Aires – August 2019 – Palace of Running Water

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.








Boston – August 2019 – Diverse Architecture for a Historic City

As one of the oldest major American cities, Boston’s architecture represents a diverse collection of styles. You can find Gothic architecture framed by a post modern glass and steel skyscraper.




A quiet Sunday morning is the perfect time to explore a city for the architecture as the streets are empty, and parking is plentiful.



Once we arrived in the financial district the contrasts between old and new became even more apparent.


















Our primary objective however was to find Art Deco buildings, and Boston did not disappoint.