We are now in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is our next-to-the-last stop before we board the Viking Polaris for our Antarctic cruise. After 24 hours of waiting in lines, sitting on planes and waiting for delayed planes, we are finally here!
We had one day to spend looking around Buenos Aires. We booked a tour that would take us around the city to see the highlights and experience the local culture. Our tour guide was awesome, very knowledgeable in the history and culture of the area. I wasn’t particularly well versed in Argentinian history, but saw Evita, on stage and at the movies! So, I was really excited when one of our first stops was at the Pink Palace.
This is a picture of where Eva Perón (Evita) actually spoke to the people of Argentina many times over the years, and where Madonna staged a recreation of Evita’s final, tragic, speech, given in 1954 just before she died of cancer. The white doors would have been open, and Eva Perón would have been standing on the balcony talking. Madonna stood on the balcony and sang “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”. Our guide explained that while Eva Perón had many, many supporters, she also had quite a few detractors.
As we travelled through the many areas of town, we saw some beautiful and elegant neighborhoods, lots of embassies, antique and art markets, a modern downtown, and some more run-down areas. Our favorite section of town was definitely La Boca.
La Boca is a vibrant, colorful, working class area of town. We enjoyed the art and music as we walked down the Caminito. This an area where lots of immigrants settled when they left their home countries due to wars or financial challenges and moved to Buenos Aires. The original settlers were fishermen from Genoa in Italy, starting in the 1830’s. Rumor has it that the fisherman used the leftover paint from their boats to paint their homes – hence the bright colors. Immigrants from Spain, France and other countries soon followed. The neighbors shared cultural food, dance, art and music to create a culture that is distinct and bold. The Caminito is a perfect example – it is here that the Spanish dances were influenced by Latin American flair, Italian music and other cultures to create the music, song and dance we now know as the Tango.
Tomorrow – We fly to Ushuaia and board the Viking Polaris to set sail for Antarctica!