Our hotel in Buenos Aires was Boca by Design and was dedicated to their Boca Junior football team. The doors of all the rooms were painted with a player’s picture. It was very different and all the decorations in the hotel were in the clubs blue and yellow colours.

We did a three hour walking tour with William of anglo saxon ancestry. He was born in Buenos Aires and gave us a good insight into the history of Buenos Aires. We had to keep up with him as he talked as he walked a lot of the time. We did a lot of walking – about 15kms during the tour and afterwards. The city is well laid out with a lot in a grid system with many beautiful old mansions of the very wealthy Argentinians who made their money from cattle and grain export. Some mansions have been sold and taken over by the army or navy and others are now hotels but the wealth in the city was incredible.
The ‘Teatro Colon’ opera house had been a former railway station and was due to be demolished until 46very wealthy Argentinian families got together to save and restore the building. The families have seats for life! Nearby is a large Jewish synagogue which was the second largest in the world.
There are many monuments and statues dotted all over the city and a very good pedestrian area which stretches over many streets. The history of Buenos Aires from the British and Spanish years and the battles between some of the South American countries such as Paraguay and Peru and also against the Spanish is fascinating and I knew little of it before coming here. There is a bell tower built by the British which has been renamed a Spanish one and directly opposite in a large park is the memorial to the fallen from the Falkland (Malvinas) war which is guarded around the clock.

There is a very soviet looking building built by a Mr Kavanagh, an Irishman. It has a very interesting history.
An extremely wealthy Buenos Aires catholic matriarch (she had seven sons and five daughters) asked her son to buy a plot of land in front of a church that she had built so that she could view the church from her mansion quite a distance away. Apparently the son was a gambler with an Irish girlfriend Corin Kavanagh and he spent the money which should have procured the land. His mother was not keen on his girlfriend who was protestant.
Corin’s family then purchased the land and erected the large apartment block which is directly in front of the church and as a further snub, Corin had a large penthouse apartment facing Mrs Mercedes Castellanos de Anchorena’s mansion.

There is an obelisk in the centre of the city and a building depicting Eva Peron’s face, smiling on one side of the building and with a serious face on the other side.

We were warned again not to walk around the side streets late at night and to keep to the main streets and we didn’t have any problems. The shops are open until 9pm and there were many people out and about so we didn’t feel at all unsafe and there were a lot of police in pairs dotted around the place. In the pedestrian area there is an empty Harrods store which has been empty for over 40years. It was the only other Harrods shop operating other than the one in London. The hours and days for the museums were peculiar. Some opened at 1200 till 2000. One closed at 1330 and some were closed on Monday, others on Tuesday.

Our guide gave us a lot of information about the buildings in the city and the history of each building. There were only four of us on the free walking tour including a couple from New Zealand. We walked from the ‘Retiro’ suburb to the ‘Recoleta’ where we stopped near the cemetery where Eva Peron is buried. The cemetery is like a museum with so many fancy crypts for the elite of the city. Some look like banks with marble facades. The Franciscan church next to it is the oldest church in Buenos Aires and dated back to the 1700’s.

There are many parks in the city and beautiful “Ceibo’ trees with unusual red flowers which are the national flower of Argentina.

On the 10th March we decided on the hop on hop off bus and we combined this with long walks between a few of the stops. We missed the planetarium which opened at 5pm but found the ‘Rosedal’ Rose gardens where most of the roses were in bloom. There were a lot of geese living in the lake surrounding the beautiful garden.
Buenos Aires has many wide Boulevards and some of them have more than six lane of traffic.
The Ecopark or zoo which we could walk through was a disappointment with a lot of unkempt areas and much of it was under renovation.
Following on from the Ecopark was the Botanical garden which was also unremarkable apart from a lily pond and a quirky statue of pan and other characters.

It poured with rain all day on the 11th March but we managed to walk to catch the hop on bus again which took us to the modern art museum. That was also under restoration but the one floor that was open had some interesting surrealist art by Remedios Varo from Mexico.

I wanted to experience a good Argentinian steak and the day was conducive to a long indoor lunch so we caught a taxi to “Don Juan” where we were given a glass of champagne under an awning while we waited for a table. The road was like a river by this time. We thoroughly enjoyed our steaks and salads and I opted for an Aperol Spritz.

It was still pouring by the time we left so we caught another taxi to the museum which had been a palatial home of the Errazuriz family. The place was only built by 1910 and was one of the most opulent and decorative we had seen. One of the very upmarket malls in the city still had the remains of the cattle and horse market structures which had been well maintained as memory of days gone by. We also had coffee in a cafe dedicated to Juan Fangio and racing car drivers who used to gather there many years ago. We found that a lot of the men were well dressed and a lot wearing jackets.

We had booked to go on a tour of the ‘Teatro Colon’ on the 12th March but when we arrived at the opera house we were told due to the Corona virus all tours were cancelled and we would get a refund.
Instead we took a taxi to a modern art museum which descended a couple of storeys underground.
The historical museum which we visited next was extremely interesting with a lot of ancient indigenous items and pictures depicting military battles especially those headed by General ‘San Martin’an Argentinian hero.
The display of his swords was guarded by a soldier and he was relieved from standing ram rod straight after 2hours by another soldier. It was all very intriguing. It was hot in the museum with no air conditioning so the soldier in full uniform had a fan trained on him while he stood duty.

The tango show that we had booked had not been cancelled but did not start until 2215. The old theatre in which it took place was already quite full of patrons who were having dinner. We opted for show only but were given a front row table and the entrance ticket gave us a couple of empanadas and beer/wine or soft drinks.
It was a lively performance by a troupe of tango dancers and a couple of very energetic gauchos beating drums and cracking whips.

A young couple we spoke to recommended if we wanted a quiet day to take the fast ferry to Uruguay and visit Colonia del Sacramento which was an hour and 15minutes away from Buenos Aires. We took the later ferry at 1230. We completed immigration formalities and spend a lovely afternoon/evening in the quaint town with cobbled streets and vintage cars. We climbed the lighthouse to get a good view of the surrounding area.
The very wide river of ‘Rio de la Plata’ was very brown all the way.

There were many artesenal shops and no shortage of cafes and restaurants in the town which seemed to be a weekend or holiday destination. After an early dinner overlooking the water we departed at 2015 back to Buenos Aires with many hundreds of people on the newish (2016) Colonia Express.
We could pay with either Uruguayan pesos or Argentinian pesos in Colonia but the Uruguayan peso is worth much more than it’s poor Argentinian neighbour’s peso.

We departed interesting Buenos Aires after five days on Latam again to fly the 3hours down to El Calafate in Patagonia.
The Latam crew were the laziest I have ever encountered with no service at all. We had to use the call button to get a glass of water. Their reasoning was to limit their encounter with people due to the Corona virus!

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