We have both decided that Buenos Aires is our favourite capital city of this trip, so far. It is huge-with so many different areas to explore and beautiful architecture, with a strong European influence. We spent our days wandering around the different neighbourhoods and doing some excellent walking tours.
We visited the district of Recoleta, and in particular spent a few hours at the amazing cemetery there. The cemetery contains the graves of notable people, including Eva Peron, Nobel prize winners, the founder of the Argentine navy and a granddaughter of Napolean. In 2011, the BBC hailed it as one of the world's best cemeteries, and in 2013, CNN listed it among the 10 most beautiful cemeteries in the world. We did a guided tour and were fascinated with the stories behind some of the people buried there. The cemetery is set in 14 acres of land and approximately 350,000 people are buried on the mausoleums. The site contains 4691 vaults, all above ground, of which 94 have been declared National Historical Monuments by the government and are protected by the state. The cemetery contains many elaborate marble mausoleums decorated with statues, in a wide variety of architectural styles. The entire cemetery is laid out in sections like city blocks, with wide tree-lined main walkways branching into sidewalks filled with mausoleums.
We visited the district of San Telmo which is the oldest neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. It is a well-preserved area and is characterized by its colonial buildings. Cafes, tango parlours and antique shops line the cobblestone streets, which are often filled with artists and dancers. We went on a Sunday, the day of the craft market, which stretched down a number of the main streets.
We really enjoyed the City tour, where we visited some of the key places and building in the City, and learnt about the city`s history and culture. On our last day-we went to Plaza Mayo, where the mothers of the lost children march every Thursday afternoon. The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo is an association of mothers whose children disappeared during the rule of the military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983. They organized themselves while trying to learn what had happened to their children, and began to march in 1977 at the Plaza de May in front of the Casa Rosada (Pink house) presidential palace, in public defiance of the government's state terrorism intent to silence all opposition. The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo were the initial responders to these human rights violations.
To the people of the country, this era represents the lives taken, families broken, and numerous human rights atrocities executed by Argentina's military regime. Together, the women created a dynamic and unexpected force, which existed in opposition to traditional limitations on women and motherhood in Latin America. The mothers came together, and pushed for information on the whereabouts of their children. In carrying out these efforts they also highlighted for the world the human rights violations occurring, and raised awareness on local and global scales. Their legacy and subsequent progress have been successful due to their sustained group organization, use of symbols and slogans, and silent weekly protests. Today, the Mothers are persistently engaged in the struggle for human, political, and civil rights in Latin America and elsewhere. It was a moving and powerful sight to see them march.
One evening we met up with Augustine, who we met 6 months ago, on the lost city trek in Colombia. He lives in Buenos Aires and knew the best place to eat! We went to a traditional parrilla restaurant which did the most spectacular meat that we had had this trip!
We wandered around the trendy district of Palermo, full of shops and restaurants and we treated ourselves to the cinema, as most films in Buenos Aires are in English with Spanish subtitles! Gav went to see Doctor Strange and I went to see the girl on the train!
We have now transferred from our Airbnb to a very swanky hotel, as this is the start of our “expedition” to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica. We will be there for 19 days, sailing aboard MS Fram. We have arranged to pick up some landy parts for Ruby on the Falklands, as we had heard there are loads of land rovers there and as it is a British island, the parts are cheaper than in Argentina! This will be probably the most remote place in the world that we have ever got landy parts!
We are both so excited, and it will be my 7th continent. We checked into our hotel, and there was a hospitality meeting which passengers dropped into. I could not stop beaming at everyone, and Gav and I made full use of the complimentary drinks and snacks-spending 2 hours there!!
A very merry Christmas to everyone and a happy new year-the next blog will be full of penguins, whales and icebergs!