Day 77 - A day with Evita

Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
Trip End Jan 09, 2013

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Flag of Argentina  , Autonomous City of Buenos Aire,
Sunday, December 16, 2012

How exciting. Our first day in Buenos Aires. We awoke to a raining day but headed down for a great breakfast at the hotel. We then unsuccessfully tried to take out giant Father Christmas sack of washing to the laundry that was closed. And then it was out with the umbrellas and onwards to see the city. We decided since it was raining it would be a good time to do some museums. Our first stop was the Evita museum. The museum is in an old house that was bought by Eva Peron to be used as a shelter for women and kids. There is much controversy around Eva and it was very interesting seeing pictures and reading about her life. The exhibition included her clothes, handbags, shoes, books, political newspapers and mags from that era and some great video footage of her and her husband giving speeches etc. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Tess was surprised at how small she was. Her clothes seemed quite petit for a lady who had a big personality. We were also surprised to learn about the social welfare projects that she put into place including a holiday Programme for orphaned kids. The museum is definitely worth a visit although its very pro Eva so don't expect to read about the negatives of her campaign.
When we walked out the rain had stopped so we strolled along the parks area and marveled at the lovely statues that look over the greenery. We walked past the museum of design and the other of fine arts. We decided to carry on to the Recoleta cemetery while the rain was holding off.
What a crazy place. Who would have thought that a cemetery could become such a tourist attraction. The cemetery takes up a huge part of the city and is filled from start to finish with massive mausoleums all cramped together. Alley upon alley of creepy crypts some covered with the most incredible statues and stonework. We walked the alleys, peeped into some of the crypts and read the plaques on the outside. Unfortunately the English free guided tour wasn't available on a Sunday so we had to just find our way around. It would have been great to have had a tour as we believe the cemetery offers great insights into the history of the country through the lives of the rich and famous. We made our way to Eva Perons tomb. It was actually built by her sister to house the body of her husband (we think) but is now the Duarte family tomb. Now everyone visits it because of Eva's body. The story around Eva's body is also fascinating. She was embalmed and the body was taken from Argentina when the government was overthrown and buried in a graveyard in Italy under a different name. For 16 years no one knew where the body was. It was eventually exhumed and sent to her husband in Spain. He kept it in the dining room. After his death, his third wife and now President of Argentina got the body sent back to Argentina and placed in the tomb. Such a crazy story.

After the cemetery we went into a mall nearby that offered a great view of the cemetery from above. Took some pics and then started our walk back to the hotel. We stopped at a cafe and enjoyed some late lunch. There are street side cafes everywhere and bakeries seem so be very popular. Very European feel about the place.

We returned to our hotel and had a rest before heading out for our first tango lesson. We walked the streets for a bit but eventually found it. We just paid our money walked in and there was a large group of people in a circle learning the steps. We joined in and then were divided into beginners and advanced. We had a great time learning the steps and rotating partners. The best surprise was that Carol's sister, Sarah, was at the same class. What are the chances! We couldn't believe it when we saw her in the same tango lesson in Buenos Aires. She usually lives in Paris but has been living in Buenos Aires doing Spanish lessons with her boyfriend for the last month or so. Who knew? Such a weird coincidence. We loved the class and managed to get a bit of the tango feel going. Will have to practice at home. After the lesson the instructors did a little performance for us. Brilliant and so passionate.

We headed out then with Sarah, her boyfriend and two friends to a restaurant nearby. Anton enjoyed his first Argentinian steak. The others shared a mixed grill type platter. A giant heap of different meats arrived. We had a super time talking about travels and what life was like for them in Paris and Buenos Aires. Considering dinner started at 22:30 we finished up after 01:00 and walked back to the hotel. It was a wonderful way to end our day in Buenos Aires. Great fun all round.
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