What’s new Buenos Aires?

Our Antarctica cruise ended in the port of Buenos Aires and we looked forward to a few days on land, exploring the city before returning to Florida. We had booked a tour guide to take us to drop our bags at the hotel, and from there he was going to take us on a city tour for the rest of the day.

We started off by visiting the Plaza Naciones Unidas, in the centre of which is ‘Floralis Génerica’, a gargantuan 23m high metal flower revolving sculpture created in 2002 by Argentinian sculptor Eduardo Catalano. This flower blooms daily as its petals slowly open throughout the day and then close up again at sunset.

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From there, we did a general tour through the city, ending up at the Recoleta Cemetery which is perhaps Buenos Aires top attraction, if you can think of a cemetery as an attraction. It is actually an astounding place filled with row upon row of impressive statues and marble mausoleums,

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each one vying to be the biggest and the most ornate.

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Strolling down the ‘streets’, one can occasionally take a peek through a begrimed glass door or window into the crypts and check out the dust-covered, cobweb-festooned coffins.

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Here is the last resting place of past Argentinian Presidents, military heroes, Nobel Prize winners, influential politicians and other rich and famous people, the most notable and frequently visited of which is the tomb of  Eva Perón, Argentine’s First Lady from 1946-1952.

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My favourite and the most touching was a memorial to a young woman who died when an avalanche struck her hotel in Austria. The tomb was designed by her mother, and the life-size bronze statue of Liliana Crociati in her wedding gown stands outside, above a plaque containing a poem written by her father. When her dog Sabú died, a statue of him standing next to her was added.

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So far so good, and we were thoroughly enjoying our tour. We wandered with our guide through the antique district and stopped for lunch at a very old and authentic eating house with an interesting bar.

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Then it was back into the car to visit La Boca, a touristy and very colourful neighbourhood.

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Our guide stopped the car at the busy taxi drop-off to let hubby and I get out so that he could drive down the road to the car park. As we alighted and hubby was closing the car door, a motorbike screeched to a halt and a young man jumped off the back and attacked hubby from behind, grabbing him by the neck. Hubby managed to pull free and turned around to grab him back; I started screaming ‘blue murder’; our driver jumped out of the car and he and a couple of taxi drivers went for the guy, who lashed out at me, bruising my arm, before escaping empty-handed on the motorbike. It was a very traumatic experience indeed and for the rest of the day, as you can imagine, I was continually looking over my shoulder, not trusting any strangers to be near me. We’re not sure why he grabbed hubby round the neck, but maybe he was feeling for a gold chain. Some people carry their money purse on a cord hidden under their shirt so it could have been that. Anyway, after the mugging incident in Chile at Puerto Monte, and now this one in Buenos Aires, we have decided that South America is a ‘no go’ for us in future. We lived in South Africa for over forty years and have traveled the world, but have never had anything like this happen to us before. It’s very sad that there are such criminals who can ruin their country’s reputation as a great tourist destination. There wasn’t a policeman in sight, and when our guide drove down the road to the carpark, he spotted a police car parked in the shade, away from all the action. He walked over to report to them what had just happened to two of his clients and found them playing on their iPhones. He reprimanded them and told them that their main concern should be to watch out for the safety of visitors to their city.

We still had two more days in Buenos Aires, and thankfully there were no more unpleasant incidents, but as you can imagine, I felt uneasy walking the streets and we were extra vigilant. I do have some more photos which I’ll share with you very soon.

Hope your week is going well. We had a really stunning sunset here last night.

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109 comments on “What’s new Buenos Aires?

  1. Life certainly brings surprises, doesn’t it? I love your traveling eye – the things that attract you are things that I too would photograph. Sorry to hear about two South American muggings in I guess as many months, and I hope that’s the end of that!

  2. Hi, im argentinean and live in buenos aires. I love reading posts about my city. I know that there is a lot of mugging, but it’s like that in every city. Don’t miss out on the beautiful things our country can offer. Unluckily you had a bad experience, and I’m sorry for that. I hope that you could still find us really warming and nice and enjoyed your other two days. For the next time I encourage you to visit the countryside: Cordoba, Neuquen, Tucuman are really nice cities.
    Love, Ana

  3. I had planned to go to Buenos Aires but, unfortunately, the trip fell through. I still intend to get there and yes, strange or not, I’ll visit the cemetery. I’m fascinated by them. You’re sunset photo, Sylvia, is one of your best. Gorgeous!

  4. I can’t believe that you were involved in not one but two muggings. Thankfully, both times you were just bruised as it could have been so much worse. I’m sorry that celebrating such a milestone in your lives was marred by these events. We had a friend that was mugged in Brazil as well…they were after his Rolex watch. South America has never been on our list of travel spots because it is so unsafe. It is getting harder and harder to travel without constantly being aware of your surroundings. Loved you photos, especially that beautiful sunset in your own backyard. 😀

    • Thanks so much, Karen. It’s really sad that so many travel destinations seem to be fraught with danger. Unfortunately S. America came with the Antarctica cruise. Hubby didn’t wear his Rolex when we went off the ship. It stayed in the safe. I guess they were just after anything they could get, but fortunately they achieved nothing, except our decision never to visit their country again.

  5. pity about the mugging… ironically nothing so far has ever happened to me when i’ve been to south america, despite the warnings… but i know like sa it’s a bit of self awareness and a lot of luck

    • Yes, we’ve been to South America before, but quite a few years ago. We were warned about not going into the back streets of Rio at night, but that’s just common sense anywhere. These incidents happened in broad daylight with other people around. The world is changing for the worse, and I think the muggers are just getting more brazen. 😦

  6. arrivo giusto per la fine della tua crociera! vuol dire che percorrerò al ritroso le sue tappe
    ora osservo questa pagina così densa di emozioni che spaziano dalla tristezza, alla confusione dei mercatini colorati per finire in crescendo con quella immagine mozzafiato di un tramonto meraviglioso
    ti ringrazio tanto di queste immagini e dellla loro spiegazione 🙂

  7. Dear Sylvia,
    What a sad thing to happen to you both. My hubby dislikes travel because of things like this. His obsession with cruising originated because we had a similar incident in the Bahamas. We were much younger at the time but my hubby felt obligated to protect me and didn’t relax for the rest of the sightseeing. Our plan is to take a few stay-ca-tions instead of traveling. It looks like the world is changing faster than our minds can wrap itself around them. BUT …. thank you for the tour. Since I won’t be going there anytime soon, it was lovely to enjoy it through your eyes.
    The cemetery looks like it’s filled with grandness. I enjoyed those photos and your sunset is glorious.
    Be well … have a wonderful weekend.
    Issy 😎

    • Thanks so much, Issy. I’m happy you enjoyed the photos. Yes, I agree with you that it’s very sad when such nasty people feel the need to attack innocent people. We’ve also been to the Bahamas, and one of the places we stopped at, felt a little uneasy as we walked around. I spoke to some Americans on our cruise, who said that would never get off the ship at such places unless it was for an organized tour where they would be in a group. Happy weekend to you too. xx

      • I agree with group touring. My hubby and I took a Christmas cruise in December. We went on shore only at St. Kitts because we’d never been to that island. Within an hour, we were back on board. Nothing seems safe anymore. The economy is so poor that the tourist fall victims to their desire to have quick cash. Also, the shop seems to hound people while looking.
        We find it much more relaxing to stay on board. We usually schedule spa treatments or relax in the Canyon spa area which is much more private. On deck, we can enjoy the lounge chairs or even a movie at the theater. The ship is emptier and feels like our own. I hope you’ll continue to cruise but be cautious about being isolated.
        I’m glad you’re back.
        Issy 😎

  8. I love a good cemetery – this one looks fascinating. Sorry to hear about the attempted mugging. The only place I have experienced that was the US – New Orleans in the early 90s. I had fallen slightly behind our group when a man knocked me over. He ran off empty-handed when John and our two friends turned back at my shouts. I did feel hot and cold afterwards when I thought about what could have happened (maybe he had a knife) when I was on the ground and vulnerable and he obviously thought I was alone. I never dawdled again!

    • I agree that cemeteries can be really fascinating to wander around., and this was an especially good one. What an awful experience for you too, Anabel. Yes, I guess we can both be grateful that we weren’t harmed. Nevertheless, any such attack is very traumatic, and I had flashbacks for quite a few days after.

  9. Sylvia, what an amazing tale from beginning to end. The pictures you share are stunning, particularly the cemetery. I’m glad you did not end up there. That trip sounds so frightening. Two major scares. I’m sorry you had to go through that!!! Glad you are back home. I’m sure you have convinced a great many people that South America is no longer on their bucket list. 😦 too bad for them! and mostly too bad for our friends who they mistreated. 😦

  10. All I can do is echo the sentiment expressed by everyone else. It’s such a shame that this unfortunate incident will forever flavour your impression of the city and the country. It certainly provides a warning for the rest of us that staying vigil is always a good idea.

  11. The cemetery was extraordinaire! What a horrible experience with the guy on the motorbike! And then the cops without a concern playing on their phones. Sighs and shakes my piggy head. You’re right though – it makes for bad tourism. XOXO – Bacon

  12. A dreadful scary incident Sylvia . So sorry to hear of this second mugging .Thank goodness you and your husband managed to deal with it and re your earlier comment I can understand your suitcases being in the loft for a little while yet. What super pictures and history though you’ve brought to us here in your post and then your doorstep glorious sunset . Wow colours !

  13. Yes, I would make those countries no go areas too. There are so many interesting places in the world to go to, it is better to leave out the places where you are just not safe. Glad your trip was so interesting overall.

  14. Very different cemetery to ours here. I understand the way you feel about South America, after the incidents. Glad you came out just bruised. Sad that things like that have to happen. I can imagine you feeling scared and now really glad to be back and safe at home!

  15. The cemetery really looks just like a deserted city. How awful about the attack, though. That certainly would ruin your day. Just glad neither of you was badly hurt!!

    janet

  16. Oh Sylvia I am so sorry to read of this second mugging. We as well have been so fortunate in traveling. I can see why you were very cautious in the days following. Sending hugs and hoping you both are all right.

  17. Lovely pictures and the last one is stunning. It was too bad and I am sorry to hear about the incident. I completely understand how your felt after that. I can imagine that ruined your trip there. I completely agreed that this sort of things destroy the tourist industry of the country. Tourist industries are based on things that already there. They just need to make sure these country are safe and the rest takes care of it self.

  18. I’m so thankful to hear that you and your husband are okay, Sylvia. How scary that must have been. Thank you for including the beautiful and calming photo after that horrid tale. I needed it to relax my nerves. Glad you’re safe, ❤

    • Thanks so much for your concern, Jill. Both experiences were awful and very unsettling, but we can’t dwell on such nasty things. I just thought I’d recount our experiences to warn other travelers of what can happen. Happy you loved the sunset photo. 😘

  19. ACK! Two muggings on one trip! That’s two too many! Glad you’re OK, just shaken up a bit. And good for your tour guide and the taxi drivers for jumping into the fray.

  20. My friend and I spent two weeks in BA a couple of years back and got to know and love it…however if anything had happened to us like you and your husband experienced I wouldn’t want to return either! So glad that both your awful attacks didn’t result in serious injuries but what a trauma.

  21. I didn’t believe what I was reading, what hideous luck you had on this trip, I started off thinking I wouldn’t mind going there, but nothing would possess me now. You and hubby are very brave and I’m really sorry you had this happen to you.
    (((Big hugs)))

    • Thanks so much, dear Gilly. It really was bad luck, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but maybe if it hadn’t been us, it would have been someone else. ::? Thanks for the hugs. xx

  22. Really sorry to hear about that incident…while it could happen anywhere to anyone, it does seem like tourists are targeted, and who wants to be in a place like that? Great pictures by the way, bravo!

  23. That sunset photo is amazing! Again, so sad to hear you were mugged twice. We didn’t go to La Boca at all because we had read that it’s a dangerous area and we kept seeing all sorts of scary reports on the local news channels during our visit. They even have kidnappings in BA, in front of ATM’s, so we were always quite careful. But of course, not even that would help if someone really decided to just go for us. Luckily neither of you were hurt! Hope that you’ll be able to focus on the good memories over time. ❤

  24. Omg… I was so enjoying your photos and remember which ones to talk about,and then reading what happened , I can’t shake it.. I’m glad your ok, and hubby is fine… it could have tuned out so much worse.
    Other than that it looks like you had a great time, I hope you were able to enjoy the rest of your time there.

      • Being realistic Sylvia it can happen anywhere! Our Police are so visible on the Island here-crime is almost non-existent. We pay big bucks in taxes for our public servants and they are worth every penny! Seems the scooter guy never realized how strong physically your hubby is-surprised him- all that work he has done his whole life paid off! Unfortunately it is now a horrible memory for both of you. Be well friend. xx

      • Thanks, Cheryl. Yes, I guess it’s about being in the wrong place at the wrong moment. It’s just strange that the only times we’ve experienced this has been in S. America. Yes, hubby is a very strong guy and very quick off the mark too. 😅

      • Its sad for South America’s economy to have many change any plans to visit the various destinations! Rome has had some terrible muggings as well but people still wish to visit the many historical centuries old area. The old adage “Oh that can not happen to me” is an ignorant thought process because it can. Glad you are safe!!! xx

  25. OMG that would have totally freaked me out too, such a sad story, because I was thinking how beautiful the photos were and how I would love to visit. At least you are both safe.

  26. Oh dear , how awful!
    So sorry for what happened to you in Buenos Aires!
    No policemen there , ?…….they all were on a beach arresting a group of topless girls….. (This was on yesterday news paper….)
    Your pics are beautiful , hope you are well now , and leaving behind these Latin American accidents…!

  27. The cemetery reminds me of the ones in New Orleans … very fascinating in a eerie way. So sorry to hear about the attacks. Scary indeed. I’m sure that sunset back home was just what you needed.

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