Thursday, October 24, 2013

Buenos Aires: City Tour

Another highlight of our trip was a city tour. But not just any city tour, this one was in a vintage car!
We stumbled across the tour unexpectedly one afternoon and thought it would be a more interesting ride than the traditional big bus.  And we were right.
Cafe Tortoni is one of the oldest coffee shops in the city. We had breakfast there and it was awesome! The waiters are all in their 50s or 60s and have been working there forever. Not always the most friendly, but very knowledgeable and efficient. So different from the very young, unknowledgeable and inexperienced servers we're used to in Abu Dhabi.
We took in a lot of the architecture.  Buenos Aires was heavily influenced by Spanish, French and Italian and you can see all three in this picture. Can you tell the difference? 
The Congresso.
The oldest and certainly most ornate mosque in Buenos Aires.
Open air tour - a little chilly as the sun went down, but worth it. We also felt a bit like celebrities as people on the street waved and took pictures of the car. What a hoot!
This area is called La Boca and is said to be where tango first started. Did you know that tango was originally a dance performed by two men? It was how the dock workers entertained themselves in the evenings. Very colorful place.
Another view of La Boca.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Buenos Aires: Recoletta Cemetery

I know, I've been terrible at keeping up and now I'm a vacation behind again. Such a rough life I lead! :)

To continue our Buenos Aires adventure, we spent an hour or so wandering around the Recoletta Cemetery, which was in walking distance from our apartment. Why on earth would we want to spend time in a cemetery, you ask?  You'll see ...
Recoletta Cemetery is where the rich families built their mausoleums for the dead. No burials here, but instead elaborate crypts that are somehow beautiful if you don't think too carefully about what they contain.
As we wandered through, we found a huge ladder so I decided to climb up and see what things look like from the top ... not quite as pretty.
Meanwhile, these yahoos were supposed to be holding the ladder!
They variety of the styles, size and complexity is amazing. You can see in to some that have a staircase to a lower level, others that have a beautifully decorated table with photos of the deceased and others that are plain (relatively speaking).

 Nope, not a church, just one of the family crypts.
Apparently, angels wept when this guy passed on.

This was one of the older in the cemetery - such a contrast.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Buenos Aires: The Rose House

Another tourist stop during our Buenos Aires visit. Ironically, we also visited a Rose House in Sao Paulo - that one named for the Rose Garden in front of it. But this one is the house of government for Buenos Aires - their white house, if you will. The house is named for the color of the stone it's constructed of.
The president of Argentina works here, but doesn't live here. She travels in every day from her home by helicopter and is then transported in secret car (secret tunnel?) to the Rose House for work. Pretty nice commute, I'll bet. And yes, if you're an Evita fan, this is where she made her famous speech, or as we joked, where Madonna sang Don't Cry for me Argentina - whichever you prefer.

We went on a guided tour of the house, which are run every Sunday and are free to the public.
 This is the inner courtyard garden, complete with a few palm trees and pretty fountain in the center.
 Some of the guards making sure we don't steal the furniture.
 A mural in one of the upstairs rooms. I know he's someone famous in Argentina, but I don't remember the name ... some tourist I am!
 This is called the women's room and is where the president (a woman) makes many of her public addresses. The walls are adorned with photos of important women throughout Argentina's history.
 A better view of the courtyard from the second floor.
 One of the banquet rooms - pretty amazing furniture and furnishings.
 This is a view from the balcony beside the famous balcony. Unfortunately, the famous balcony was closed to the public.
 The gold room. Where they meet dignitaries and hold official functions that require a lot of ceremony. A pretty impressive room for sure.
 And finally, the president's private elevator ... to go up one floor. Guess it must be a slow trip to require a couch! :)