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While visiting Buenos Aires, my wife and I wanted to see the MALBA, a museum of modern Latin-American art that came highly recommended. It was a rainy day and when our taxi dropped us off at the steps of the MALBA we were disappointed to find it closed for the day. So it goes — should have called ahead before coming.
Not wanting to waste the morning, we decided to walk around the upscale Palermo Chico neighborhood in which the museum is situated. It’s a safe neighborhood — not all areas of Buenos Aires are recommended for tourists — and we had no firm plans about where to go. We just wanted to explore a little.
A few blocks south on Ave …
On the eastern side of Plaza de Mayo stands a beautiful and impressive building known as Casa Rosada (“pink house”). It is thought that the color of the building comes from the 19th century habit of mixing cow’s blood with white paint. When it was built in the 19th century, it was overlooking the river although with subsequent landfill it is now well inland and more than a kilometer from the river.
The Casa Rosada houses the President of Argentina’s offices; the Presidential residence is in Olivas, north of here. The building is probably best know for It association with Eva Perón. It was from the Presidential balcony of Casa Rosada that she often addressed her many supporters in Plaza de Mayo, including her …
You’ll find historic La Biela Café in the upscale neighborhood of Recoleta. La Biela is thought to be the oldest café in Buenos Aires, dating to the mid-19th century when the area was mostly farm fields. The café started serving refreshments to wealthy citizens from San Telmo who were traveling by horse and buggy to their vacation homes further north. La Biela is very close to the Recoleta cemetery and the Church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar.
The place is very popular with locals and tourists. In the past seventy years it has taken on a car-racing theme because it was a meeting place for motoring enthusiasts in the early days of car travel, and later …
There are many old and interesting buildings in Buenos Aires, but none caught our attention quite like the Palacio Barolo (Barolo Palace), situated on famous Avenida de Mayo.
The Barolo Palace was designed by Italian architect, Mario Palanti. He was given this commission by the original building owner, entrepreneur Luis Barolo, an Italian immigrant who made his fortune in wool and cotton textiles. When the Barolo Palace was finished in 1923 it was the tallest building in South America. It is 100 meters (330 ft) tall; subsequently a taller but similar appearing sibling was constructed, the Palacio Salvo, built by the same architect in Montevideo, Uruguay. And, of course, today’s Buenos Aires skyline contains many taller structures.
The Palacio Barolo’s design was …
Like many of you, I’d like to step back in time on occasions — at least as much as a particular spot will allow me to.
A visit to Farmacia de la Estrella on Defensa Street in Buenos Aires, near the Basilica de San Francisco, will take you back to the 19th century. Built in 1835, the pharmacy is still actively functioning and a busy place dispensing homeopathic remedies to those in need. It is said to be the oldest pharmacy in Buenos Aires.
The woodwork is original mahogany, and the murals are lovely. You’ll see lots of old jars from a time when medicine didn’t come in blisterpacks or disposable bottles. The pharmacy hasn’t changed much over the past two centuries and …
Situated on Buenos Aires’ busy Avenida de Mayo is a charming cafe that’s worth looking up. Cafe Tortoni was founded in 1856 by a French immigrant who fashioned it after Paris’ cafes of that era. To say he did a great job is an understatement. Walking in from the busy avenue does indeed seem like stepping into Van Gogh’s Paris.
Cafe Tortoni moved to its current location in 1880. It has remained largely unchanged since then.
We visited for coffee and a pastry with some friends during our stroll down Avenida de Mayo. Both the company and refreshment were excellent! And the ambience was most memorable.
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As I’ve previously discussed, Buenos Aires has a vibrant street art scene. In this post I’ll share some of the art we encountered in the San Telmo neighborhood. San Telmo is a popular place to go shopping and dining. While it was at its prime in the late 19th century, San Telmo is now in a state of “elegant decay”. The street art provides some relief from this.
Here is some works of street art we saw as we walked these worn lanes:
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Floralis Genérica is one of the best known and most impressive monuments in Buenos Aires. It’s a sculpture of a massive flower (18 tons, 23 meters high) made of stainless steel, aluminum and concrete. Floralis Genérica is located in a beautiful 4 acre park at the Plaza of the United Nations in Recoleta. The park has walking paths that allow you to view the sculpture from different angles.
This impressive artwork was donated to the city in 2002 by architect Eduardo Catalano. It has a mechanism (which may or may not be working) that opens and closes the flower’s six gigantic petals, depending on the time of day. When all is in working order the flower closes …