Monday, November 18, 2013

Buenos Aires: The Paris of the South

Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, divided into 48 barrios (neighborhoods) and known as Little Paris or Paris of the South. My husband is here for work and I am fortunate to be able to come and visit him for 5 weeks. Back in 2010, we came here for a quick trip while we lived in Montevideo, Uruguay. It was only for three days so I am looking forward to seeing a lot more of the city.

Happy to be back!

The weather has been perfect so I have been walking around a lot. They do have great public transportation with the subway and buses which I am sure I will take advantage of more in the coming weeks. One day, I walked from our apartment in Palermo Hollywood to Recoleta, about 2.5 miles. Recoleta is one of the most expensive areas to live in Buenos Aires. There are high end hotels and shops, french style architecture, museums, lush gardens and tons of restaurants. And do not worry, I will elaborate more on my barrio in another post. 

This 105-foot wide enormous metallic sculpture is called Foralis Generica. It's designed so the pedals open in the morning and close in the evening like a real flower. I might get ambitious and arrive at 8am to watch it open but doubtful. 

Looking north of the city, heading toward Palermo, our neighborhood.
The city is filled with trees and being here during Spring, they are in full bloom and absolutely beautiful. Probably the three most popular trees which are all over the city is the jacarandas, ceibo and tipa.

The jacarandas bursts with beautiful purple blossoms.
The ceibo or "red rooster comb" is the national tree and flower of Buenos Aires and Uruguay. I actually don't recall seeing this tree in Uruguay but it might not have bloomed while we were living there. I absolutely love how rich in color the flowers are on these trees and so pretty with the jacarandas
The tree that 'crys' is the tipa tree or tipuana tipu, which is native to South America. Scott actually warned me of this tree the first day I arrived so I wasn't alarmed when drops of "water" fell on me. After reading more about this tree, I found out that you are being excreted on by a parasite. So probably not my favorite tree but looks pretty as the branches weave into the sky and are all lined up on the streets of Buenos Aires.

One of the most famous cemeteries in the world is the La Recoleta Cemetery. Set in 14 acres, it contains graves of significant people like Evita, former presidents, writers and artists. CNN listed it among one of the 10 more scenic cemeteries in the world. (click here)

 The Monserrat is the oldest barrio in the city and steeped in local history. The most famous monument in Buenos Aires is El Oblesico (Obelisk), made of cordoba, white stone. The four sides of this 200-foot structure represent defining moments in Buenos Aires history. There are two very important streets in this intersection. Corrientes, the entertainment mecca, and 9 de Julio that is the widest avenue in the world.

 When Scott and I came here for a quick trip in 2010, the Plaza de Mayo was one area we visited. It rained that entire day so it was not as pretty as it was this time around. Located in the Monserrat barrio, the plaza is the political center of the country and probably the most important with traces of country's turbulent history.

A museum today, Cabildo is an 18th century white colonial style building. It was once the town council, an institution that represented the local people. In the background, with another clock on the building, is the City Legislature and architectural landmark.
 Not sure what building this is but just loved the architecture at the top.
The Metropolitan Cathedral was rebuilt six times since 1580 The twelve columns represent Jesus's twelve apostles. 
The massive pink building is the Casa Rosada, home of the executive branch of the Federal government, the president's palace. It is only open for tours on the weekends so plan your sites accordingly. We took the tour the last time we were here so opted out. I would imagine for most, the Casa Rosada is best known by the balcony where Evita rallied the working class crowds called descamisados, or shirtless ones.  
The infamous balcony where Eva Peron (Evita) addressed the public. If you look real close, do you think the man in the military uniform is texting? haha

 I feel so fortunate that I was able to come back to visit Buenos Aires again and for a much longer time. Weather has been in the high 70's / low 80's so if you plan a trip, I would definitely recommended coming in November. 

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