September 10, 2013
This is my first visit to the South American continent and Buenos Aires is the perfect gateway.
Upon arrival to this vibrant city, you are surrounded by rich architecture, mixed with chaotic traffic and hurried pedestrians.
As one traverses across expansive plazas and long noisy avenues, there are architectural jewels showcasing European styles everywhere. You ask yourself, am I in Paris?
(Since I have not been to Paris in a while, being here will temporarily alleviate my homesickness I have for the for la vie francaise..)
I am struck by the wide boulevards and the immigrant architecture from French and British styles, dating back it the 19th century. There were many architects from Europe (and beyond) who settled here and left their creative marks in this city.
The Plaza Hotel is my temporary abode, which is nicely nestled across from the Plaza St Martin – a beautiful garden filled with enormous rubber trees. A portion of this plaza was used for a bullfighting arena and presently houses a veteran monument complete with traditional soldiers on guard with their regal garb and a feather in their caps.
There are many important places to see as one tours across the city, but wandering into the Plaza del Mayo, you are presented with an important segment of Argentine history.
This expansive boulevard houses the Casa Rosada (Pink House) where Evita Perron spoke to her people (sorry Madonna fans – she was not to be found), surrounded by the infantry guards. The impressive Cathedral Metropolitana is at the other end of the Plaza, where inside a turquoise blue striped Argentine flag drapes across the cript of the famous liberator of Argentina - General St Martin.
While exploring the many neighborhoods, there are beautiful churches and basilicas along the route. No wonder the new pope is from Argentina!
Argentina has great pride in their Pope Francis, and his papal face greets you on all the entrances of these spiritual structures. If you are lucky, you can pick up a few trinkets of him, sold by an enthusiastic, yet prideful peddler.