Thursday January 22, 2015 (Argentina, Buenos Aires, South America)
This morning, we joined up with our Aussie buds (and some others – Leo (UK) and Charlene (France) from the dinner last night) at the Plaza San Martin. We had our eyes on a free walking tour. The tour guide (Adam) was fantastic and we had a blast! We learned:
- General San Martin "The Liberator" is a national hero to the Argentinians -- he freed them from Spanish rule and crossed the Andes with his army and a bunch of donkeys to help the Chileans do the same.
- There is a lot of French influence in terms of buildings in the city. Even pigeons were brought to Buenos Aires feel more like Paris. This turned out to be a bad idea.
- A rich foreign woman who intended to marry a local Argentinian was abandoned by him when he was unable to get permission from his mother for the marriage. The woman erected the tallest skyscraper in South America (at the time) to block her former lover's family's view of their church to spite them. Some say the building is also shaped like a big middle finger.
- The history of the Falkland Islands, and the irony that the monument to the Argentinian soldiers that died in the conflict sits directly across from a tower given as a gift from the UK.
We were taken through the famous Recoleta cemetery to visit the grave of Evita Peron. There's quite a lengthy story about how after her death her body was sent to Italy to stop locals from gathering at her grave site and continuing to support Peronist ideals. It took many years before her body was returned to Argentina.
After the walking tour was complete (and most of our party was suitably sunburned), we dropped into a small brew pub called Buller's for some grub. Pizzas, burgers, salads, and beer all around.
Sandra and I walked home and had a bit of relaxo-time back at the apartment. We went back out to grab some groceries and snacks for the trip to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay tomorrow. It'll be a long ferry ride there and back, but it should be interesting!