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Me encanta Buenos Aires

June 13, 2012

On Friday, June 8th we left our “home” in Montevideo, Uruguay to travel to the big city of Buenos Aires, Argentina via Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. Colonia was founded by Portuguese settlers in 1680 on the coast of the Rio de Plata across from Buenos Aires. It is a picturesque town with famously photographed cobble stone streets, many small museums, a simple but beautiful cathedral, a bull fighting ring and a lighthouse. The Barrio Historica is a designated World Heritage site. We spent three hours in Colonia exploring and enjoyed climbing  to the top of the lighthouse to try to catch a view of BA and seeing the skeleton of GIANT armadillo-type creatures in the natural history museum.

                               

We boarded the Buquebus ferry in Colonia that took us to BA….it’s a huge ship and we had a very smooooth ride.

                     

Saturday morning we took a tour of the city…our tour guide Angeles was energetic and did a wonderful job of giving us historical and political perspective as we saw important government buildings, the main cathedral, and then toured some of the well-known neighborhoods. It’s sobering to realize that Argentina has only had a stable democracy for a brief 30 years…and Angles noted that there are many changes today that are worrying…like restrictions on travel and use of personal funds. It would take almost as long as the 5 hour tour to describe all of the interesting things we saw on Saturday, but enjoy the pictures below….we’ll be glad to fill you in, in person when we return!

                         

          

       

Saturday evening we attended a Tango show at the famous coffee shop called the Tortoni. It was a cultural experience…I would say a bit like old country music, with all of the intensity and passion…but Argentine style…and the dancing was definitely not two-stepping!

On Sunday, we rode the subway to church at the Caballito Church of Christ. This is warm and welcoming group of Christians and we enjoyed a bilingual service. After the service the students went out to explore BA some more…and the faculty members stayed to participate in a church dinner…which lasted until 4 PM! People just don’t hurry in South America…and seem to always have time to stop and talk and show their hospitality!

More time to enjoy ferrias in the streets…and then tea at Violeta’s…one of Lynette’s favorite places….if you look at the plates, you can see why!

        

Our last day in BA….and it was full! Groups chose to do different things, but Greg and I went on a tour of the Colon Opera house with a group. It’s beautiful. So sorry that there were no concerts planned during our time in BA!

Next stop a bookstore in an old theatre…Barnes and Nobles should take note.

And finally, we returned to the Recoleta neighborhood to spend more time in the cemetery…seems a little odd, I know, but this is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen…it’s a little city with street signs and an endless variety of ornate little shrines occupied by generations of family members. Famous graves include Eva Peron’s and several former presidents of the Republic of Argentina.

      

             

We returned to Montevideo Monday night after a return ride on the ferry and a 2.5 hour bus trip, very tired and not too motivated to return to the academic schedule. But classes started again bright and early this morning and I have to say that we have wonderful students who are very thoughtful about what they’re experiencing here and how it’s helping them think about politics, society, and how a country should/could provide for their citizens. They’ve posted responses to their shadowing experiences on this blog….they’re worth reading!

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