No tango shoes for me.....
06.05.2011 - 13.05.2011 21 °C
Another beautiful barrio of BsAs is Recoleta. It's a bit chichi like Palermo but there's nothing wrong with that. The most famous attraction of Recoleta is Recoleta Cemetary - a vast necropolis that makes Pere Lachaise look very down at heel. This is a most elegant city of the dead. It doesn't quite have the celebrity factor of it's Paris equivalent, at least not to a European, although it is the final resting place of Eva 'Evita' Peron which draws quite a crowd. (Final resting place indeed - we went to the Evita museum and it was horrifying to learn how her body was treated after she died. She was buried in three different countries and moved from pillar to post before her family - Duarte, not Peron - were allowed her battered and broken remains and put her in their family crypt in Recoleta - seven years after she died. Shocking stuff.)
Anyway - the cemetary is beautiful and fascinating - and strange. Time and I imagine burglars have ravaged some of the tombs and a lot of the coffins are on display which is a bit sinister - especially the childrens' coffins. I was also intruiged by all the cats which I was convinced were souls of the residents of the cemetary....it could be true!
Recoleta is also home to the best bookshop I have ever visited. Al Ateneo is housed in an old theatre - giving the books all the pomp and ceremony I think they deserve. There is also a coffee shop on the stage and you can sit and peruse your latest purchases in the boxes - how civilised is that?
Another typical sight in BsAs but especially in Recoleta is the dog walker. Although the manner of dog walking would be displeasing to my dog walking friends, it is a sight to behold. The walkers usually have about 15 dogs at a time of all shapes and sizes, they don't clear up after them (this is a big problem in BsAs unfortunately) and as far as I can see they walk them a bit and then sit on a bench and tie them all up for a while - lazy buggers.
We visited a magnificent sculpture just north of Recoleta called Floralis Generica. A metal flower sculpture that opens and closes at sunrise and sunset.
The area of Palermo where we stayed is a varied barrio. The area around our apartment was the greenest part of the city with parks, the botanical gardens, rose gardens, japanese gardens. The area of Palermo Viejo (old Palermo) has been gentrified and is full of cafes, bars, restaurants, boutiques and more fantastic bookshops. Shopping is a big no no for us at the moment but the window shopping was fun and we both bought a new book in a fantastic bookshop with a CD section and a cafe.
Our last night was my personal highlight though. We booked to go to a tango show at Esquina Carlos Gardel. We started the evening at a recommeded restaurant from Time Out - an proper old school steak house. Vegetarians look away now - but it was the most divine steak I've ever eaten, the morcilla (blood sausage) was so much better than the black pudding equivalent in the UK and the recommended bottle of Malbec was gorgeous. A massive meal cost us about 35 quid including service - a real treat for us and worth every peso. Then we headed to our 10.30pm show at Carlos Gardel and were shown to the coolest circular booth at the edge of the theatre. Many people had dined here already but we chose not to due to cost but I think we lucked out as they were all on long tables in the 'stalls' of the theatre - and we felt like old school hollywood stars in our booth (so weren't dressed like them though!). The wine was free which was also a bonus and the show was stunning. I assumed photography wouldn't be allowed but the truth is that everyone was snapping away - I'm glad that I just watched though - those feet move fast!!
There is one other famous barrio that we didn't make it to called La Boca. There is a small very touristy area that is 'safe' for outsiders to go to where all the houses are painted in bright colours. The other reason to go here is to watch the Boca Juniors playing football - would have loved to have done this but unfortunately Noush's lurgy limited any night time excursions.
Buenos Aires - we loved you. A real highlight of our trip. I hope we return one day.....when I will get my tango shoes.