Another lovely morning, another BA Bikes tour. I could get used to this kind of 'Día de la marmota'*.
It was a short, now familiar, walk back to BA Bikes. It was interesting to see city parking lot prices are relative to vehicle size. For comparison Peso $120 ~ 180 was about nz$3-5 at the time. Maybe Auckland should consider this for the behemoth SUVs & Utes clogging the CBD.
Back on the bike
The North Tour with Diego (guiding solo) was another delight. Scenic gentle riding on bike paths or quiet back streets with short breaks adding historic, current and cultural knowledge.
Avenida de Mayo: 'Just a little touch of star quality'
The first Evita encounter of this tour is this tribute on the "Ministerio de Desarrollo Social de la Nación" (Ministry of Social Development of the Nation) building. Diego added to my Argentinian history with a great summary of Eva Perón's life and impact on Argentinian society, to this day. It is neon but the current (non-Peronist) government had chosen not to light it, hope that changes with the new one
Was a small group; mix of American, British and a Kiwi.
Typical of the great cycle and pedestrian infrastructure seen throughout B.A.
Plaza San Martin
Plaza San Martín has a complex history dating back to colonial and slave trading days. Today it is a lovely public space with statues and military memorials including its namesake (on horseback in the background below) General José de San Martín.
Tour bike jam, helmets are not compulsory in B.A. but are for BA Tours (which is fine by me).
I thought this building was a museum or government building. Was surprised when Diego said it's the University of Buenos Aires Faculty of Law! Argentina has free public education to University level...
It is supposed to automatically open/close in response to ambient light levels but was broken so static part-open.
A close up look reveals the aircraft construction techniques used by Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina to build it. Polished stainless-steel panels riveted to an internal alloy frame.
Fuel prices are quite low (~nz$1.50/l) but so are incomes.
A pleasant, but unplanned, rest stop
As we approached Instituto Nacional Sanmartiniano (San Martín National Institute) there was a really loud BANG! So loud I thought it was a vehicle backfire, or even a gunshot. Turned out it was the rear tyre on one of the bikes, blown open, and (although looked quite new) it was completely destroyed.
Diego had puncture repair gear, but this was far beyond a tube swap or patch job. We had a short break while a new wheel was delivered (by bike only a few km from base) and fitted before all continued with the tour.
Not that Tour de France
We crossed paths with this French group, their 'Tour de France' shirts didn't look like official merchandise!
Cemitério de Recoleta wanders
For me La Recoleta Cemetery was the highlight stop of this tour. Impressive mausoleums and lots of history represented here. Some mausoleums are the work of notable Argentine sculptors, many (not just those of Presidents and Generals) have been declared National Historical Monuments with state protection.
As well as the obvious, to come, Diego shared the personal stories of several significant families. Below Diego tells the tale of the girl at the door. It represents a horrific story of accidental live internment, an incorrect medical diagnosis not discovered until it was too late.
This is a busy place; even strategic framing could not avoid all the other tourists!
Eva Perón | Spiritual Leader of the Nation of Argentina
Eva Perón (Evita) was finally entombed in the comparatively modest Duarte Family tomb. How she got there is a long and complex story. The flowers are refreshed daily by those paying respect to the 'Spiritual Leader of the Nation', sixty-eight years after her death.
It seemed more significant to be there only a few days before the Peronist President elect took power.
Back on the bike to the final stop of our tour
Plaza del Congreso
The Congressional Plaza, a large public park anchored by the home of the National Congress of Argentina. The Palacio del Congreso is an impressive building, mostly white marble with a massive weathered bronze dome. It is being restored, glad the scaffolding not too obvious in the photo.
A reflective selfie snapped just as the lights changed!
Like yesterday's South Tour, the North Tour with Diego was a delight. Buenos Aires by bike is a fun way to see the key sights, check out places to return for an extended visit and get a great overview of the local history.
If you are visiting do these tours early in your stay, it will make the rest better. Totally recommended BA Bikes for Buenos Aires Cycle Tours and Rentals.
My visit to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) was initially a bit of time killing, before an evening meet-up, but it was also nice to escape the heat for a while. I loved the mix of classic and modern art (although there is also a dedicated Modern Art Museum too).
This explosion of roaches was an art installation, not infestation!
Thought had said goodbye to these two in Ushuaia, so was a surprise to get a 'What about dinner in BA' message. Dorothy & Jenni had cancelled flights home, to Aussie, via Santiago (Chile) due to the political unrest and riots there. Was awesome to catch-up, relive our journey and hear about their adventures not going home as planned.
El Sanjuanino's portions are substantial, the 'Bife Completo' (Special steak) was lovely!
This was my last evening in Buenos Aires. Although I was looking forward to visiting this stop was as much logistical necessity, for international/domestic transfers, as a desired destination. I underestimated how much I would like B.A. but also aware I only saw a small, and mostly very privileged, part of it. Would love to return one day and see more.
In summary, to steal a few lines from Tim Rice:
"Hello, Buenos Aires"
"I wanna say I'm just a little stuck on you"
"Beautiful town, I love you"
* Groundhog Day