I have admired the melancholic charm of Buenos Aires from the first time I set foot in the magnificent cemetery at Recoleta. In stark contrast to the vibrance of its neighbor Brazil, modern day Argentina seems to yearn for days gone by—days before the collapse of the peso and before striking graffiti and broken glass marred the pot-holed streets of the grand capital they once referred to as the Paris of the Americas. The recent run to the World Cup final by the famed Albiceleste shifted a positive limelight back on to Argentina for the first time in a while on the global stage. The capital city also makes for a compelling setting for photography in the black-and-white mode.
It was the first new country that I visited on my round-the-world journey six years ago. Because it is in a similar time zone to the US and Canada and leaves the traveler from these areas less susceptible to jet lag, it is a viable location to visit on a long weekend, especially if you are able to sleep on flights and take advantage of the red-eye offerings in both directions.
Day One: Unique old world charm at the Recoleta
After managing a few hours sleep on the red-eye, I land at Ezeiza Airport in the morning and prepare for the hour and a half sitting in a taxi in traffic bound for Palermo Hollywood, one of the newer, more modern neighborhoods in Bs As. There are a number of affordable, boutique hotel offerings in this great dining/nightlife area, with most offering a simple breakfast as part of a night’s stay. My room is ready early and I manage to squeeze in a shower and unpack my bags before I head out late in the morning, camera in hand.
My first destination is the aforementioned Recoleta, resting place of the ultra-rich, and also of national heroine Eva “Evita” Perron, whose crypt, although always adorned with bright flowers from her admirers, is surprisingly modest given her larger-than-life stature even to this day. I walk among the gilded mausoleums and beautiful marble statues commemorating the dead, commissioned by wealthy families, juxtaposed against the backdrop of apartment buildings lining the edges of the cemetery. Some of the main alleys are busy with tourists snapping photos, but I can always find a quiet alcove or two here to contemplate the degrees to which people go to remember their loved ones. The words “hauntingly beautiful” are apt in this place.
The galleries in this series will have cropped thumbnails but if you click on one you will be able to see the full photos in a slideshow format.
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