What a bittersweet sunshine we all awoke to this morning…
After some last minute packing, we all rushed into the lobby ready to embark on our last adventure. At around 10 am we set out to La Recoleta - we walked a few blocks and squeezed into a crowded bus. Ah yes. Our last experience with Argentine public transportation consisted of everyone having less than a foot’s place to stand and of course the radiating body heat mixed into the already burning morning day. (I stood next to the driver who had air conditioning~ :D keep that tip in mind next time you take public transportation in a foreign country!) And Martin reminded us that this wasn’t even rush hour! When we arrived at La Recoleta we walked another block to the Cemetery, passing by Volta’s ice cream parlor. A round of applause for our self-control – when Martin pointed to the beautiful little ice cream shop and declared it the BEST in Argentina, it took all the energy we had to prevent ourselves from sprinting across the street. After Martin debriefed us (for the last time…) on the various points of interest here, we toured the La Recoleta Cemetery. This cemetery was nothing I had ever seen before. Holding some of the most prominent and respected figures of Argentina, this cemetery had an air of grandeur and mystery. The narrow corridors coupled with the sky high mausoleums and solemn stone sculptures created an intense and very intimidating atmosphere. Standing alone in the corridor and tilting my head to face the winged gargoyles, I felt so insignificant and powerful at the same time. I was one person, of the trillions who have come and gone, but these cold stone mausoleums beckoned my soul, whispering valiant tales of courage and melodies of conquered impossibilities. Then we arrived at Evita’s tomb – a sleek structure of onyx marble. In this mausoleum lay the women whom thousands of Argentines have come to revere, and come to despise. Here, right here, right at our feet lay the body whom enemies have mutilated and comrades have fought to retrieve. Yet her spirit lives on. Fresh flowers sprung from the face of the mausoleum, tourists furiously snapped their cameras, we dipped our heads, and her coffin lay, quiet, behind steel bars.
Now we had some free time to enjoy our last lunch, wander, and spend all our leftover pesos, but sadly we only had around 4 hours to explore. Here are a few of the main points of interest:
So many choices for lunch! There was a touristy looking plaza with many restaurants – my group just settled at one of the restaurants here (because it was the closest and we were pretty hungry). Our last lunch!! I wish we could have had one more meal with the whole group. Well, the food was exceptional and inexpensive. Seriously, most restaurants in Argentina serve tenderloin – and at fair prices too! (But I think my Spanish skills never really get across that I want my steak muy rojo…but it’s still very tender anyhow ^^ll) Sometime special they had at this restaurant was the salad: the salad was prepared inside a baked-tostada looking thing (which I thought was brilliant!)
This BIG red building displayed a collection of art ranging from medieval European art to contemporary Argentine artwork. My group wandered around the ground floor for a good 90 minutes – and we only finished admiring the European art! We saw some beautiful sculptures of Greek mythological characters, Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Antonino, some Degas ballerinas, and other amazing works of art. I fell in love with this giant painting of Artemis – I want to take it home <3 I do wish we could have stayed at the museum longer to visit the 1st floor of Argentine art… And there was air conditioning in the museum and free storage for backpacks, which was pretty exciting xP
Yes the giant flower! Donated by Eduardo Catalano, the Giant Flower of Buenos Aires closes at night and opens in the sunlight. Many of us took the long trek (well 3 blocks seems awfully long on a burning day with time restrictions D: Our group wishes we had gone…) to stand at the foot of the giant flower and take pictures.
Volta’s Ice Cream:
Ice Cream doesn’t get better than this! Well we were in this mindset when we stepped through the glass doors into the ice cream wonderland called Volta’s. Why is it the best? Well obviously because Martin says so. Us girls are easily swayed much? xD If Martin says it’s the best, then Volta’s deserves to be a must-visit point of interest. And is it the best? Well it was AMAZING is all I can say! Especially on a hot day. I personally think that Freddo’s, Volta’s, and Persicco ice cream parlors come pretty close… Except the Persicco’s tiramisu was the most exquisite – the ice cream had layers separated by cocoa powder just like tiramisu cake! (I’m going to try to make that ice cream for everyone :D) At Volta’s I got the Maracuya (which is passionfruit!!) and Mascarpone flavors garnished with solid chocolate pieces – last ice cream in Argentina…. Volta’s ice cream wins because
Martin says so the chocolate garnish was very fine and the ice cream really does taste fluffier than the other shops’. Volta’s also had a beautiful collection of chocolate, and so I bought a box of their whole collection (it’s sitting over there in a bright red bag begging to be opened right now…).
Shopping!!! Need I say more? xD Most groups dropped by Havanna to buy their stock of alfajores (cookies with dulce de leche sandwiched in between) for souvenirs. Some street vendors were also selling inexpensive earrings and Argentine stones. I did my last minute shopping here, and went into peso bankruptcy… There were also a variety of other small clothing shops (with uber cute Argentine styles, and potential prom dresses!) as well as some upper class shops, but why would anyone buy Dior in Argentina? O.O
Though some people felt creepy vibes from the mausoleums, Erika and I fell in love with the cemetery so we went back to take photos and enjoy the grandeur of the cemetery. (I decided that this is a perfect area for a photoshoot – perfect natural lighting! But why people would want to have a photoshoot in a cemetery is beyond me...) Why aren’t American cemeteries this grand and beautiful? So calming just to pace through the cemetery… And the Latin! Ms. E, my Latin skills are useful in Argentina too!!
We definitely didn’t have enough time to visit all these locations...only 4 hours…T.T We really could have spent a whole day here and still leave unsatisfied! We returned to the hostel (via private buses!) and just lounged around chilling for the next two hours. Some took naps, some showered, some checked college emails, and some played a massive game of spoons! The bus arrived at 6 pm, but before that, we had a photo-fest with Martin, and everyone lined up to take photos with him :D Then we loaded the bus and I fell down the stairs and then we left Telmotango, our favorite hostel (HAHA that was sarcasm….in some ways xD I think Katherine, Mary, and I were the most satisfied with this hostel~ ding~). On our last bus ride, Maddie found her other-half on the streets xP, and we interacted with the locals for the last time as we waved at people walking about their beautiful city. The last time….so it really was time to leave. To leave Martin and Coby and Ellie…. To leave this beautiful city of wonders, to leave this beautiful community of Argentina…
As a farewell present and sign of my deep gratitude, I sketched a piece of concept art – wolves around the Argentina flag – and an Argentina wolf tattoo design for Martin.
On the bus, we peered out through the windows, reliving our days in Argentina as memories flashed past our eyes – dancing at the estancia, shopping in San Telmo, meeting (cute!) guys at Alicana, failing to sing the American Anthem as well as the elementary children sang the Argentine Anthem (which is almost 3 times longer…), and gorging ourselves with scrumptious empanadas…..We felt like we had lived in Argentina forever. How fast time flies by….And I was just beginning to map out the whole city in my head, too! But now we had to depart. Bid our farewells, and leave this country of colors, beauty, and ringing music. Our memories together, the bonds we now share, will echo in our minds forever. We will never forget the kindness of the Argentine people, their generosity, warmth, care, and love. Yet it is time to move on, preserve these memories and set our eyes on the journey ahead, for the future beckons.
Don’t cry for me Argentina~~