As I write this post, it's beginning to hit me that I'll be traveling to South America. This is a brand new continent for me and it is taking me out of my usual European comfort zone. But the more I am learning about this country, the more I am inspired and excited about visiting Argentina and the continent of South America for the first time.
El Centro (Downtown) is located in the Monserrat Barrio and it is where you can find several major sights that are symbols of Argentina. To get there, I'll walk to Plaza Italia to catch the Subte (Line D) to the Peru station, then I'll take Line A to Plaza de Mayo. And how did I know which Subte line to take? Well, for the mere price of .99 cents I purchased a great App for my i-Touch called Buenos Aires Subway , which can be viewed offline.
Plaza de Mayo is this neighborhood's main square and it is a place where most political and social events in Argentina's history has taken place.
Casa Rosada (The Pink House) is the official presidential residence and government headquarters. Here I'll see the second most famous balcony in the world (just behind the one in Verona, Italy). During Juan Peron's first presidency from 1946-1955, Eva Peron used this balcony to address the multitudes of supporters. One of those famous balcony scenes was interpreted and featured in 1996 movie with Madonna. Thanks so much to blogging friend Annie (Churches in Venice) for recommending this movie to me. My favorite scene was Madonna singing "Don't Cry for Me Argentina".
And speaking of Eva Peron, located in the Recoleta neighborhood, I will find La Recoleta Cemetery. Built around the church of Our Lady of Pilar this famous cemetery is located on 14 acres and is the place of rest for many notable people such as Eva Peron, Raul Alfonsin and several presidents of Argentina. I'm not a big fan of visiting cemeteries but for historical purposes I might make an exception here.
Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral is the main Catholic Church in Buenos Aires. Famous for a marble mausoleum which holds the remains of General Jose de San Martin, the Cathedral has a Neoclassical facade and the interior has a mix of Neo-Renassance and Neo-Baroque decoration.
Other sights I'd like to see include: Congress Building , The Obelisk, Teatro Colon (I want to take the tour to see the interior), Avenida 9 de Julio (10 lanes wide), Cafe Tortoni, Buenos Aires Cabildo, and if I have time the Galerias Pacifico shopping center located on Florida Street and Cordoba Avenue.
In the unofficial neighborhood of Barrio Norte (which is close to Palermo) I would like to visit the famous El Ateneo (bookstore). Once a magnificent theatre, this building was transformed into a beautiful bookstore.
Next, I want to visit the Mataderos Barrio which is the neighborhood of Slaughterhouses in Buenos Aires. Doesn't sound very appealing, but when I read about a cool event held every Sunday from March to December between 11:00 am and 8:00 pm called the Feria de Mataderos, I just knew that I had to put this on my "must see" list. There are more than 300 stalls selling food and crafts, there's music and dancing in the streets. There's even this really cool "Running of the Ring" competition where Argentine Gauchos try to stick a knife into this ring while riding at full speed on their horses. Awesome!
Finally, Puerto Madero is a Barrio that has received a major makeover in the 1990's. Warehouses were refurbished into luxurious hotels, offices, restaurants and elegant houses and lofts. Here I'll also find Santiago Calatrava's "Woman's Bridge" and the Corvette Uruguay. Nice!
Wow! And there you have it. Buenos Aires will be an amazing base for my first ever trip to South America and I hope that I am able to see and do everything on my must see list. It's a lot and if I don't get to accomplish everything well I might just have to return.
Next up . . . . the spectacular Iguazu Falls and the Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate (an area considered to be in Patagonia).
Stay tuned . . .