Thursday, 4 April 2013

Saying Goodbye to Argentina

It is hard to believe that this final leg of our adventure is over.  We leave Buenos Aires today after our fourth and final week culminates in an incredible visit to Teatro Colon and a concert by the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela.

Our fourth week has been filled with visits to sights in the city, although it was quieter than previous weeks as it was holy week and thanks to the combination of holiday days and religious celebrations the city became relatively quiet as the residents took advantage of some down time.  Nevertheless we continued our explorations.

We visited the Palacio Borolo.  This building was built in the 1930's and is filled with symbology related to Dante's Divine Comedy.  At the top of its 22 floors there is a lighthouse...which feels so bizzare as it is in the middle of such a huge city.  We climbed to the top and took advantage of the height to snap some photos.

The building is 22 stories high, so it gives a great view of the city and the River Plate

The staircase

This amusing sign warns against spitting on the floor by order of municipal laws

The exterior of the building is truly palace-like

Next we took a walk through the Plaza Congesso where there are a number of very lovely statues, with the congess building dominating the view.

A replica of "The Thinker"

Congress in the background

The Plaza is used to walk and exercise dogs

We also took advantage of a couple of museums including the bicentennial museum and the National History Museum, both giving a retrospective of the very early days of Buenos Aires and of Argentina itself.  We topped off our visits with a trip to Palacio Aguas Corrientes.  This building houses the water tower which served the city for 20 years.  The interior of the building is unremarkable, but the exterior is incredible.  It is clad with tiles produced by Royal Doulton and overall it looks like a palace.  We learned that this is the case because the building was intended to be a showpiece and, as it sits in an upscale neighbourhood, it was made to "blend in" and to reduce the fears of leakage.  In the end it is a huge metal building clad with a beautiful facade.

One of the Doulton Tiles used to decorate the exterior of the building

The tiles were beautiful.  Some were glazed but most are not.  The entire facade is covered with tiles all of which were imported from Britain.
The museum of history is housed in an old home on beautiful grounds which have been turned into the park at the end of our street

We continued our efforts to visit interesting restaurants...
We stopped for a coffee at a "bar notable" called 36 Billiards, so we shouldn't have been surprised to find an old fashioned and very active billiards room in the basement!

Los Violetas was one of the cafes we tried this week

Katie, framed by one of the wonderful stained-glass windows

We also visited the places nearby which have become our regular haunts.

Add Our local market...the oldest in San Telmo
One of the cafes we regularly visited on the corner just down the street from our apartment

We topped off the week with our visit to the symphony in Teatro Colon.  This theatre is enormous, with room for more than 3,000 spectators and we were on the fifth balcony looking down at a huge stage which accommodated more than 150 musicians under the direction of G. Dudamel.  The orchestra consisted of Venezuelan youths between the ages of 18 and 28 and they were wonderful.  At the end the applause was thunderous and they played 4 encores to everyones delight.

So, after a trip of over 100 days, all that remains is the packing and the flight home.  This will be arduous as we must get all of our stuff together, say goodbye to Katie and Manuel and take three flights, including one overnight flight back to Ottawa.  In many ways we are looking forward to the familiarity of home, but in others we are sad that our big adventure has come to an end.   However, the next adventure can't begin until this one ends...

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