Saturday, 30 March 2013

Third Week-Buenos Aries

Our third week in BA has been packed full of activities.  We have made it our goal to visit different areas of the city and also to do some shopping.  This is a great place to buy leather goods, so many of us have bought leather jackets and/or purses.  Janice continued to enjoy the very active night life and she and her friend took a side trip to Montevideo and Colonia in Uruguay.  They left part way through the week after many adventures.

We are now coming to the end of our trip...the last week.   The time has flown and we can hardly believe that it is almost over.   We are both looking forward to coming home, more than we had expected to.  Our last week will be spent taking in some last minute sightseeing and preparing for the trip home.

One night we were treated to a spectacular lightening show from our balconies

Calle Florida...the shopping district is full of people, restaurants, leather shops and souvenir  shops

On Calle Florida there are many talented buskers

Galarias Pacifico is a fantastic and very upscale shopping mall.  In one part of it the ceiling is decorated with incredible paintings.

The mall was once an arcade of shops which have been converted.  This makes the archetecture very interesting inside the mall.

We took a day to go and visit the Japanese Gardens where, in addition to the gardens themselves there was a special orchid show.

The scenery in the gardens is lovely...but not so tranquil as this picture suggests...there were people everywhere

The Koi were huge

The orchids were lovely

On our way out we saw lovely birds with scarlet heads on the ground and in the trees.

On another excursion we went to see a professional tango show.  

We went for a lovely meal the day that Janice left

We topped off the week with a visit to the El Zanjon which is a restored colonial home which is used for corporate events.  This home is notable because during the renovations tunnels were discovered below it.  These tunnels were built as a means to control water in a creek and to prevent flooding.  They date back to the very beginnings of the city in the 18th century.  These have also been excavated and now form a type of museum with a number of exhibits showing life in Buenos Aires at the time of the building of the brick tunnels.

The original staircase has been restored

A view of the colonial home, which has now been restored and reinforced to permit for use

The once open courtyard is now covered with a glass roof, allowing sunshine to pour in

Just up the street from this building is the narrowest home in Buenos Aires.  This is only 2 meters wide and was part of an old colonial home which was given to slaves who were freed when their owners fled to the country to avoid a yellow-fever outbreak.  This building has also been restored, but is not yet open to the public.

The narrowest home in Buenos Aires

Sunday, 24 March 2013

A night of soccer

Manuel and Katie have become avid soccer fans and thanks to Manuel's persistent efforts we were able to get tickets to a qualifying match between Argentina and Venezuela.  This gave us an exciting night with the local fans and gave us a chance to go into a huge stadium (seating more than 70,000) and to experience the exuberance of the fans.

Our tickets were not easy to get.  Manuel and I tried for several hours on various  electronic devices on the day that the tickets went on sale and Manuel was finally successful in getting us prime seats.

We all got various paraphernalia to show our support for the home team

We took the bus across the city to get to the stadium

After going through 5 check points, including 3 where we were frisked and being supervised by riot police, we made it into the huge stadium.

Katie and Manuel were in their finery to watch the game

The noise of so many fans was incredible

Before we knew it, the game was starting with all the necessary formalities

In the stand there was a section for Venezuelan fans only, separated by a barbed wire fence and a row of police from the other fans

Although he was Venezuelan, there were banners grieving the death of Chavez

Messi, arguably the best player in the world,  had a free kick opportunity and he was able to score

The Argentinean team in celebration after the gooooooooooooooooooooal!

Katie was able to get me a giant hand at the entrance which I used to celebrate the goals

Fans are kept in their section by heavy duty fences

We stayed behind for a while to allow the crowds to was incredible to see the huge numbers of people

The Venezuelan fans were required to remain in the stadium for an hour after all of the other fans had left the stadium.  They continued to chant and cheer, especially when some of their team members came out for a cameo appearance.

Even empty the stadium was impressively big

From Catederal Metropolitana to Milonga Salon

Buenos Aries is huge and offers many interesting things to see and do.  We continued our adventure with a visit to the Catederal Metropolitana which is the main Catholic church in Buenos Aires.  It is in the centre of the city on the Plaza de Mayo.  This was a particularly interesting time to visit this church as the new pope had just recently been announced and the catholic community was very excited that the choice had fallen to an Argentinean.  We arrived to find that the front of the church was hidden behind huge televisions and a stage and associated equipment  in preparation for the pope's first service from the vatican.  The cathedral itself was also abuzz with excitement, but there were many people involved in their devotions before various religious statues.  The cathedral is beautifully decorated throughout and is huge.

The main altar

One of the chapels in the cathedral

The tile work in the cathedral

A replica of the of the many religious statues in the cathedral

The ceiling in the cathedral
 We also decided to explore the world of tango and visited a dancing club (Milonga) where many go to practice their tango skills on a crowded dance floor.  As most nightlife begins around midnight in this city, we arrived at 1130 pm and waited for the professionals to arrive to put on a short show...they arrived at 0130.  their show was short but wonderful and despite how lovely, we simply couldn't stay awake for any more of the show we left.

The tango dance club had an empty floor like this only once or twice in the night

The patrons of the club took to the dance floor and many were very accomplished dancers

Janice came with us to supper at a local cafe
We also visited a bookstore which has been located in an old theatre.  It is impressive to see the books in what used to be the balconies and to have lunch at the cafe which is located on the old stage.
A stupendous bookstore in an old theatre
We had lunch on the old stage in the bookstore
A view of the cafe and the bookstore from one of the balconies