Buenos Aires Love Stories

(Photo by Raverken)

One of the city’s most famous love stories (which may or may not be true) tells of a rivalry born out of an unapproved romance.  Back in the 1930’s one of the Kavanagh girls fell in love with an aristocratic young man of the powerful Anchorena family. Since the Kavanagh were rich but not aristocrats, the Anchorena family rejected the girl.

In revenge, Corina Kavanagh, who is rumored to have been the girl’s mother, commissioned the famous art deco building in the Retiro neighborhood. The skyscraper was strategically built to block the view of the stunning Santisimo Sacramento church which had been built by the very ctaholic Anchorena family. Since then, the only way to get a look at it is from the private road on the side of the Kavanagh building.

Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear is an important political figure in Argentine history. Born into a powerful aristocratic family he later became president of Argentina in 1922. One of the things he is remembered for is his love story with Regina Pacini, a talented Portuguese opera singer.

The story says he fell in love with her the first time he saw her sing in 1889, so he sent her red and white roses and a gold and diamond bracelet. Apparently used to male flattery, Regina returned the bracelet and left for Europe. The young Alvear, however, was not to be so easily dissuaded. He took off for Europe as well, where he followed her everywhere she sang and filled her dressing rooms with red and white roses. In 1903, after years of running after her, he finally proposed and she accepted on the condition that he would allow her to sing for four more years before settling down.  Finally, on the 29th of April of 1907, they got married in secret at 7am in Portugal. The crowd, which was expecting them at 9, was surprised to find a Police man and maid getting wed instead! Their marriage lasted until Alvear died in 1942. Despite being rudely shunned by the Argentine aristocracy, Elisa remained loyal to her beloved husband throughout their lives.  She visited him regularly when he was imprisoned in Isla Martin Garcia, defying the weather to bring him clothes and food, and visited his tomb with a bouquet of red and white roses on the 23rd of every month until her dying day in 1965.

The Recoleta Cemetery is full of love stories, tragedies and romantic legends. Amongst them is the story of Liliana Crociati who died on her honeymoon in Innsbruck. On the same day, Sabu, her dog,  also died.  Her vault, decorated with photographs and other belongings, is guarded by a sculpture of her in her wedding dress and her dog close by. The groom was never located, but it is rumored that a mysterious man comes around her grave ocasionally to leave her flowers.

Also buried in the cemetery is Elisa Brown. The young woman awaited the return of her fiancée Frances Drummond who fought against Brazil under the command of Admiral Brown (Elisa’s father) but he never made it home. On his death bed, the young commander handed a watch for the admiral to give to Elisa. The young woman, devastated by the tragic news, is said to have drowned herself in the Rio de la Plata in her wedding dress to be reunited with the soul of her lover.

Open on New Year in Buenos Aires

(Photo by tanakawho)

During New Years many of the local attractions close. We put together a list of some of the places that will remain open (other than many of the city restaurants, cafes and bars).

-The MALBA museum will be open on the 31st from midday-6pm. City museums run by the government (find a list here) will also remain open on Saturday the 31st of December from 10am-7pm. Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Recoleta. 4808-6500.

Palacio Barolo will be offering a nocturnal tour on the 31st finishing at their lighthouse for a midnight toast under the spark of fireworks.  The high altitude makes it an ideal viewing spot of the city skies. Cost for the tour is 50 USD/ person and includes midnight drinks and snacks as well as a bilingual tour guide.  Reservations must be made in advance and the tour starts at 11pm sharp.  Av de Mayo 1370 9° P. Esc. 249/52. (54-11) 4381-1885. info@palaciobarolotours.com.ar

-The ecological reserve in Puerto Madero will be open all weekend from 8am-6pm. Please note that if it should rain it will remain closed. Av. Tristán Achával Rodríguez 1550 Costanera Sur. 4893-1640/1580

-The Buque Museo Fragata in Puerto Madero is a frigate commissioned by the navy in 1898 to be used as a training vessel.  It will be open all weekend on its regular timetable from 10am to 7pm for visitors to roam on the deck and check out the memorabilia displayed. It will remain closed in the case of rain. Avenida Alicia Moreau de Justo 980, Puerto Madero. 4334 – 9386

-The Recoleta Cemetery will be open all weekend on its regular timetable from 7am-5.45.

-The San Telmo antique market will also remain open this Sunday as usual, all though it may be scanter of exhibitors.

-On the 1st of January at 4pm the monthly “Masa Critica” will kick off from the Obelisco. This event gathers bike riders once a month to ride around the city in thus promoting the use of bicycles as transport. If you would like to join you can rent a bike for 85 pesos from the 31st Dec-2nd Jan at Bici Naranja. They will be open on the 31st until 2pm and will also be offering a city tour on the 1st, also at 4pm. for 145 pesos. More information on Bici Naranja here.

-In the evening of the 1st starting at 9.30pm Notorious will be offering a live music tribute to Django Reinhardt and swing music. Callao 966, Palermo. 4813-6888.

Transport

Transport on New Year´s Eve can be complicated. Your best bet is to plan in advance.

– Keep in mind that radio taxis will work until 8pm-10pm on the 31st depending on the company, and will start up again on the 1st at approximately 6am.

– Trains will be working until 10pm on the 31st and resuming their service at approximately 6am.

– Subways will qork on Saturday the 31st from 5am-11pm, and on Sunday the 1st of Jan from 8am-10pm.

– Buses will be the only transport that will be operating all night long although with a low frequency (every 20 min. Approximately).

Buenos Aires- Open for Christmas

(Photo by Donna62)

A common question visitors ask themselves when spending Christmas abroad is what attractions will remain open. In Buenos Aires a lot closes on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, so we put togeather a list of some of the places that will remain open (other than many of the city restaurants, cafes and bars).

-The MALBA museum will be open on the 24th from midday-6pm. City museums run by the government (find a list here) will also remain open on Saturday the 24th of December from 10am-7pm.

-The ecological reserve  in Puerto Madero will be open all weekend from 8am-6pm. Please note that if it should rain it will remain closed. Av. Tristán Achával Rodríguez 1550 Costanera Sur. 4893-1640/1580

-The Recoleta Cemetery will be open all weekend on its regular timetable from 7am-5.45.

-On the 25th  there will also be a tour in Spanish of the palaces on Av. Alvear, the architecture and the lifestyle of the local aristocracy.  The tour will begin at 5 pm at the Iglesia del Pilar, next to the Recoleta Cemetery, and will cost 20 pesos per person. To sign up in advance call 155 850 3110

-The San Telmo antique market will also remain open this Sunday as usual, all though it may be scanter of exhibitors.

-The Tierra Santa religious theme park will be open on Sunday the 25th from 4pm-10pm and Santa will be there to hand out sweets for the children. Av. Rafael Obligado 5790, Downtown. 4784-9551

Cinemas

Cinemark Palermo, and Puerto Madero will be closed on the 24th and open on the 25th of December from 6pm onwards.

Hoyts cinemas will be open on the 24th and closed on the 25th. Timetables are yet to be defined.

Churches

If you would like to attend Christmas mass in English you can go to the Parroquia Madre Admirable near Retiro at 10am. Arroyo 917, Downtown. 4393-3887

Otherwise the United Community Church in the Acassuso town in the suburbs of the city, offers a Christmas Eve Service of candles and carols on Saturday at 7.30pm, and a Christmas service on Sunday at 10am, both in English. Av. Sta. Fe 829, Acasusso. 4792-1375

Other celebrations

Throughout the week there will also be celebrations of the Jewish Januka Festivities organized by YOK. Different activities involving art, cooking and partying will be held in the city including a party on the 24th and happy hour on the 25th of December to celebrate the occasion. Check the full program of activities here.

 

 

Closed Venues will include- Feria de Mataderos, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo, Planetarium, Fundacion Proa, Faena Arts Center.

5 Outdoor Buenos Aires Attractions

(Photo by Denise Mayumi)

 

As the days get warmer and the sun shines bright, exploring the city out in the fresh air becomes more appealing. Fortunately, one of the great things about Buenos Aires is that despite being a gigantic urban labyrinth, its streets are lined with lush trees and there are plenty a park and a place to explore outdoors.

 

Parque 3 de Febrero: The lush extensive parks that were inaugurated in 1852 by caudillo Juan Manuel de Rosas are a city emblem. Between Av. Libertador and Lugones, and extending from Av. Casares in Palermo to La Pampa in Belgrano, this group of parks is composed of 25 hectares made up of 15 public parks and 21 private sport clubs.  Some of the highlights for those getting to know the city include the “Rosedal”, an extensive rose garden with an Andalusian patio and a small lake to pedal boat in, the Sivori museum of art, the planetarium and the Japanese gardens which host a variety of activities related to Japanese culture.

 

Recoleta parks and Cemetery: The Recoleta Cemetery is one of the most famous attractions of Buenos Aires and for good reason. Great political figures, scientists, writers and other important characters of the city are buried in this cemetery full of stories of broken hearts, love and hate, friendship, obsession, loyalty and ghosts. The architecture of the vaults is also pretty spectacular which is why it’s a must visit. Other attractions in the area include very extensive and lovely parks, museums, architectural gems and the famous Floralis Generica monument.

 

Puerto Madero: Pierced by the river, this upscale area is lined with renovated warehouses that were turned into hip restaurants overlooking sailboats and bridges. Modern and upscale, it is a great place to walk through, and lunch in. The elegant Puente de la Mujer (woman’s bridge), and the Fragata de Libertad (a ship turned into a museum) are the main attractions of this carefully cared for area.

 

Reserva Ecológica: Behind Puerto Madero is a unique ecosystem that naturally emerged from deposits of rubble used for the construction of a highway in the 70s and 80s.  It has become a great place for bird watching within minutes of the city, and also has the best views of the city’s skyline. Guided tours of the reserve are available on weekends from 10.30am-3.30pm and a monthly nocturnal visit is conducted which you must book a week in advance for. More information on nocturnal tour dates here.

 

Tigre: In the outskirts of the city, on the opposite side of town, is an island lined by small rivers and streams. The rugged location surrounded by nature offers a variety of attractions including canoeing, kayak and other excursions by boat, trekking, ecotourism, motorboat and commuter boats to take you to different places on the riverside, restaurants, spas, tea-houses, picnic sites, a naval museum, an art museum, a mate museum, a casino, a crafts fair and an amusement park. More information here.

5 Curious Stories from the Recoleta Cemetery

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(photo by mejillahyde)

Given the stories and characters the Recoleta cemetery holds, its no wonder that authors Jorge Luis Borges and Bioy Casares used to walk around it together and fantasize about the dead they would befriend if they were to be buried there themselves someday. Great political figures, scientists, writers and other important characters of the city are buried in this cemetery full of stories of broken hearts, love and hate, friendship, obsession, loyalty and ghosts. We looked into some of them and put together five of these curious anecdotes to share with you:

1-Wedded Un-Bliss

Tiburcia Dominguez and her husband Salvador María del Carril spent thirty years of their married lives without speaking to each other. The hatred they lived with for years was taken to their graves after the widow stated in her will that their statues were to be facing opposite directions.

2- To Die For

Gravedigger David Alleno worked for thirty years in the cemetery, where he destined his life savings to his very own plot in the burial ground that obsessed him. The sad story tells that after putting the finishing touches to his precious spot, he went home and killed himself.

3- Homage from a Son

Tomas Guido, one of the generals in the Argentine Wars of Independence was originally buried in the Recoleta Cemetery. His tomb, which took the form, a grotto was built by poet Carlos Guido Spano, one of his sons, who took upon the task of layering each stone with his own hands as a symbol of the humility they had always lived with.

4-The Employee of a Lifetime

The Saenz Valiente family was so happy with their servant, Catalina Dogan that they decided to give her a burial place in the prestigious cemetery. Given the class system of the time, they did however bury her at a distance, outside of the family vault.

5-The Buried Bride

Elisa Brown awaited the return of her fiancée Frances Drummond who fought against Brazil under the command of Admiral Brown (Elisa’s father). Upon his death the young commander handed a watch for the admiral to give to Elisa. The young woman, devastated by the tragic news is said to have drowned herself in her wedding dress to be reunited with the soul of her lover.