Sorry it’s taken me longer to get to this final segment of our trip report than I had planned. I keep getting interrupted by the needs of puppies and kids attending dog shows.
Sat July 18 we didn’t have anything planned until evening so had a relaxing day. Strolled through the Hippy Feria again and then headed into the Museo National de Bellas Artes in Recoleta. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a Museum more since we visited the Louve 15 years ago. This is one amazing gallery and should not be missed. We were suppose to attend a concert that Scarlett had told me about at the Law University this evening but unfortunately it too fell victim to the H1N1 scourge. How disappointing. We did search several CD shops later to see if we could pick up anything by Quinteto de Vientos de Olavarria who were suppose to have preformed but didn’t have any luck there either.
Sunday we took in the Feria in San Telmo. We don’t collect antiques – we've seen too many of them in my mother-in-law's home already – but it was still interesting to see. We did enjoy some of the galleries along Defensa. As it began to drizzle, we stopped for lunch at Desnivel, which has been recommended a few times on this sight. We didn’t find the food or atmosphere that wonderful though - too each his own.
From San Telmo we took a radio cab to La Boca to visit the Museo de Bellas Artes de la Boca. As I mentioned earlier, we have fallen in love with the works of Benito Quinquela Martin. This gallery was once his studio and home. From the roof top it is easy to see where he got his inspiration for his colourfully gritty paintings. I snapped several photos of the wharves from there in hopes that I too will be inspired to create. From here we could also see over to La Bombonera – home of the Boca Juniors.
We wandered down Caminito and other nearby streets. Many of the more photogenic shop fronts had signs posted in them asking for money if you wanted to take pictures of them or the larger than life figures placed nearby. Right or wrong, we got more of a sense of greed in this poorer neighbourhood than that of community as in others we visited.
Monday we planned to tour Palacio San Martin as we had been told that morning by tourist information that it was open for tours at 2:30. We walked from our apartment, taking in the shops and local parks along the way. However Palacio San Martin was not open to the public this day and I’m not certain if it was due to the H1N1 again or an official function. We walked over to Galarias Pacifico to purchase tickets for Friday evening’s tango show by Brazos y Abrazos at Borges Cultural Center on the top flour of the mall. Galarias Pacifico is a beautiful building and although its shops are not in our budget it was still worth strolling around for a look see. From there we headed down to the Estacion Retiro to find the schedule for the bus to San Antonio de Areco. It’s a good thing we checked this out in advance of our Wednesday morning trip as the station is huge beyond belief. We just kept walking and walking past all the entrances to the train station before we finally came across the bus terminal. There we were startled to find over 200 ticketing desks for all the different bus lines and their destination. At 170 we located the Chevallier line to San Antonio and got the schedule. Exhausted we took a radio taxi back to the apartment.
Tuesday morning it poured rain. The kids had wanted to locate the Red Riding Hood statue in Parque Tres de Febrero and visit the Botanical gardens - we didn't make it. Not having brought umbrellas with us hubby and I set out in search of a retailer. We checked the Carrefour and entire Alcorta Shopping center without luck then we hit the streets where we were soaking wet before we found a vendor attempting to sell golf sized umbrellas to passing motorists. Sufficiently covered, we headed back to the apartment to dry out before taking the kids around the corner to the café at Museo Metropolitano on Castex. Both Scarlett and BASandy had recommended this café (only open for lunch) and we were not disappointed. We all ordered the chicken special which was very flavourful. Other patrons ordered from their selection of meat pies with or without their fabulous looking salad bar. I would definitely return here on our next visit. And maybe even visit the Museo! LOL
I just realized I forgot to mention our visit to the Eva Peron Museum in my last posting. We all really enjoyed this lovely little Museum. Neither of our children had heard of Evita before this trip but both were intrigued by her story after this Museum visit. I’ve since helped my 15 year old find more books on Eva Peron so that she has been presented with a more rounded view of the former First Lady than what her Museum presents. My 9 year old thinks that whatever Evita’s motive, the ends (helping disadvantaged women and children) justified the means. We followed our visit to the Museum with another delicious meal in their pretty café. Again, I would recommend eating here.
Wed. July 22. We woke early by the wind howling around our terrace and causing our windows to blow open a couple of times. This wind was cold and biting and we were glad we brought our warm woolies from home. This was the day we checked out of our temporary home and took the bus to San Antonio de Areco for an overnight visit. We had arranged a stay at Draghi Paradores where we rented 2 rooms in this comfortable inn on the town square. This delightful inn offered comfortable beds and a delicious breakfast for $400 pesos for the 4 of us. The inn is in the garden behind the Draghi family’s Silversmith studio and Museum. Maria the Manager gave us an insightful tour of both. We then bundled back up and headed into the wind to see the Puento Viejo over Rio Areco. The rains had flooded the surrounding park and we had to carefully pick our way over the bridge to get to the Parque Criolla y Museo Gauchesco Ricardo Guiraldes. This gaucho museum made us feel like we had stepped into an old Clint Eastwood Movie…no wonder my husband loved it;) That evening we dined on steak, pasta and wine (soda for the kids) at Almacen de Ramos Generales – delicious. The next morning the wind had died down and the air wasn’t as frigid. We had a yummy breakfast on our own in the kitchen then headed out to tour some of the streets of town. We visited Cristina Giordano’s weaving shop and she took the time to explain the work that went into making her authentic gaucho ponchos, belts and leg ties. We purchased gifts and souvenirs from other vendors including Indio muerto Cabeza abajo which I believe translates to Head down dead. This is where the vendor gave me a cd of his photos taken at November’s Fiesta de La Tradicion. I have posted the link to the photos already on this sight. I also splurged and treated myself to an incredibly intricate handmade silver chain and earring from Museo Draghi. We were also fortunate to be in San Antonio during winter break as the Museo Molina Campos was open even though it was a weekday. This was a fortuitous surprise for us. I knew of Molina Campos and admired his work, hoping to see some on our visit to Argentina. I wasn’t aware though that San Antonio had a Museum with a fantastic collection of his art. This museum was the most expensive one we visited on our trip but well worth the price of admission. The painting are well displayed and the price included a beverage and sweet as well as a presentation of 3 life size diorama of his paintings accompanied by a recorded story in Spanish.
We wish that we had more time to spend in San Antonio as there was so much more we didn’t manage to see before we had to board the bus back to BA.
Tired from our bus ride back to the big city we checked back into the Holiday Inn Puerto Madero. We decided to eat close to the hotel this evening. In the taxi we had spotted a restaurant that was recommended to us by our neighbours from home who had initially got us interested in Argentina. In their honour we decided to give it a try – big mistake! Las Nazarenas is definitely a restaurant meant for tourists! To be fair, if this had been our first night ever in Argentina instead of one of our last we might not have minded it so much. However we had a waiter who insisted on explaining everything to us as if we were little children. Even though we tried to ignore his interruptions and let him know we knew what and how to order, what empanadas and chimichurri was and that a ½ portion was indeed what we wanted he still didn’t get it. We watched other tables having to send their steaks back to the kitchen or fight with their waiter over their wine order. The food was mediocre the service poor but the worst was when after explaining to us what we already knew about not being able to add his tip to the credit receipt (what made him think he deserved a tip?!!!) he actually pounced on the cash tip my husband did leave him before we had even taken a single step away from the table! Stay away from Las Nazarenas!!!
Friday July 24
Our last full day in Buenos Aires. We enjoyed our afternoon visiting Puerto Madero, seeing the Women’s Bridge, touring the Museo Fragata Sarmiento and a historical Exhibit on BA Life at the Catholic University. That evening we finally got to see Tango!
The performance of Brazos y Abrazos at the Borges Cultural Center was wonderful and not at all touristy. There were a couple of dances that had nudity and implied homosexuality and I had to do some explaining to the girls but we really enjoyed the entire production of what I would best describe as Tango Ballet. Leaving Galerias Pacifico just after 9pm we were surprised to see just how dead Florida Street had become. There wasn't even a helados shop open. We headed over to Puerto Madero and the Freddo that we had visited on our first night in BA. Our trip truly had come full circle.
Saturday, morning we had breakfast, arranged a late check out and headed over to Casa Rosada for the 11 am tour that takes place only on weekends. Once again we had been assured by Tourist Information that the Pink House would be open and once again the Flu had foiled us! The Palace was closed until August.
We called for a World Remis and headed for EZE, had an easy check in, got our sales tax refund, paid our exit fee and cleared security and customs.
Our fantastic adventure was over. Would we come back? WOULD WE!!!
Thanks to all the TA posters and especially the regulars who provided so much help in the planning of our vacation. You made our trip an enjoyable and memorable one.