A Travellerspoint blog

Recoleta

Buenos Aires


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Coffee, medialunas (Argentinian sweet croissants) and dulce de leche on toast started us off nicely. Before we set off to Recoleta cemetery we went onto the roof to see the relaxation and asado (Argentinian barbecue) area our hostel has there; the moment I stepped onto it a massive thrill of excitement ran through me. A tinge of barbecue smoke was in the air, the sun was shining and traffic passed by a long way below. Despite the great height, we were level with the tops of sycamore trees. After all the all-year-round tropical plants in Ecuador, it was a novelty to be in South America yet able to see autumn leaves on trees!

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Recoleta is a very wealthy area of Buenos Aires; even the shortest buildings seem to be about five storeys high, filled with flats with balconies filled with potted ferns, trees and other plants. The pavements are still a bit dodgy though, with some holes and broken paving stones.

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Outside Recoleta cemetery. Note the lady in indigenous dress - not a common sight in Buenos Aires.

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Recoleta cemetery is famous for containing the grave of the national hero Eva Perón, her husband Juan (the Argentinian President from 1946 - 1955) and other members of her family.

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We looked round the whole cemetery before finding it, but it was very interesting to look round and I would have walked around it all anyway. The mausoleums and memorials are so different to what we see in our churchyards back home! In many of them the doors are made of glass, so you can see the coffins lying on shelves within.

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After leaving there, we headed into the colonial Church of Our Lady of Pilar next door. It reminded me of the white churches of Cuenca, Ecuador and Lagos, Portugal.

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Most of the interior was roped off for some reason, but we did get to see from a distance the stunning altar made of Peruvian silver. We also got to go upstairs to the small religious museum in the cloisters; apart from religious art, we saw such things as a massive 18th century book of a Gregorian chant, a handwritten Book of Matrimony from 1830, a license granted in 1784 which allowed the church to issue indulgences, old photos and drawings of the church over the last two or three centuries, windows where the panes were made of alabaster, and two relics of Sts Christina and Benedicta.

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Once we left there we came across Gomero de la Recoleta, a huge tree with the most spectacular horizontal branches that ended up touching the ground. Some of them were so massive they had to have supports. I'm pretty sure it was the widest tree I've ever seen! I wished I could climb it. According to the plaque next to it, it was either planted in 1791 or in 1823.

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Then we looked unsuccessfully for a special stationery shop my guidebook had recommended me, found the location of one of Buenos Aires' famous historic traditional cafés and noted it for future reference, had a small ice cream and popped into a supermarket to buy some rolls, ham and cheese to take back to our hostel for a late lunch.

Restaurants here don't open for dinner until 8 or 9pm, so we rested for a few hours before heading out. We went to a restaurant that specialises in food from Patagonia and the Andean north-west of Argentina; humitas, tamales, empanadas, cazuelas (stews) and some other things I've forgotten. It also had some pizza and pasta - a sign of the extensive Italian immigration to Argentina in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Dave had a pizza and I had a vegetable cazuela. I was interested to see what the cazuela was like, because I wanted to see if it was the same as the type I had a couple of times in Ecuador; it turned out to be a bit different, but still delicious. Massive slices of aubergine and smaller slices of onion and tomato, all nicely seasoned and with melted cheese on top.

Posted by 3Traveller 08:13 Archived in Argentina Tagged trees cemetery hostel argentina buenos_aires dave recoleta_cemetery argentinian_cuisine colonial_church

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