Today is November 26th. I have 22 days left in Argentina.
That’s a terrifying thought. I miss New York, but I really enjoy it here and will be sad to leave. So I’m trying to enjoy my time here by cramming in a bit of sightseeing.
Today, we headed down to Plaza de Mayo. Our first stop was the Obelisk, which I’d seen many times from various parts of the city, but I hadn’t really gone to see the Obelisk itself. To be honest, I don’t really understand all the hype around obelisks - they seem like pretty boring monuments to me. I know they’re important and all - this one was the first place in Buenos Aires that the Argentine flag flew - but, come on. It’s just a pole.
We did have some fun trying to take pictures of us holding the Obelisk, although we failed pretty miserably. Below, my best attempt:
More interesting, for me at least, was the graffiti near the obelisk. BA’s graffiti has far more of a political message than the graffiti I see in New York, which I like. The one below means, “To participate is more than to vote.” A great message (and one I should be following…shh).
After the Obelisk, we wandered down Calle Florida, the neighborhood’s pedestrian street. It was super-touristy, with vendors selling their wares in the middle of the street, and several gift shops. I bought a couple of gifts for people back home. “A bunch of useless shit,” as Rosie puts it. But fun useless shit nonetheless.
We also walked into Galería Guemes, a gallery-and-theater-complex, according to the guidebook. Antoine de Sant-Exupery, who wrote The Little Prince, used to live there. Unfortunately, most of the shops inside were closed, so we didn’t really get to see much of it. But there was a giant Christmas tree, which, given that it’s 85 degrees outside, seemed really out of place. It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving was a few days ago.
After Galería Guemes, we both were pretty tired, so we headed to Café Tortoni - only to encounter a line out the door. I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised, since it’s the oldest cafe in Buenos Aires, and was a favorite of Carlos Gardel, the famous tango singer. Thankfully, the line moved pretty quickly, so we were inside in only 20 minutes.
The café was beautiful, with stained glass windows on the ceiling and various photos and sculptures scattered throughout. They also host a tango show in a theater tucked into the back of the cafe, pictured below.
The food was pretty good, too. My favorite was the hot chocolate that I ordered accidentally (I thought I was getting churros dipped in chocolate). The chocolate and the milk came in separate jars, and I skipped the milk, so I was basically drinking pure chocolate. Thick, creamy, and delicious. Although I have to say, it got to be a bit much after awhile. Not that I stopped drinking it, of course.
After Cafe Tortoni, we headed to the Catedral Metropolitana. I find most cathedrals to be basically the same, but this one was unlike any I’d ever seen. For one thing, the outside looked like this:
The inside was pretty classic for a cathedral, although much wider than most. This particular did house General San Martín’s mausoleum, which was very interesting to see after learning so much about Argentina’s history. General San Martín is an Argentine national hero, a key figure in obtaining Argentina’s independence from Spain. (Sorry the photo’s so blurry - the mausoleum is basically San Martin’s coffin, flanked by three female figures, with the front one holding Argentina’s flag.)
My favorite part of the Cathedral had to be this awesome stained glass window in a little dome on the ceiling.
After that, we headed on home, but I still wanted to keep window-shopping, so I headed down to Palermo Viejo. I got tired pretty quickly, but I did happen upon a band and some cute stores. My favorite was Dr. Candy, an adorable candy shop that I fully intend on heading back to before I leave.
As for tomorrow? Hopefully San Telmo. And I have other photos/blogs that I promise I’ll put up eventually!