Buenos Aires is a day’s ride from Azul. And on a Saturday morning we bid farewell to Jorge and Moni and thank them for their incredible hospitality and generosity, and ride on to BA. We plan to meet up with Pete (another rider and good friend), Markus and Karin (our Swiss friends on bikes), and Mat and Pam (a French/American couple who we first met in Guatemala). We are all members of the Class of June 2014 from the Stahlratte and that 7 of the just over a dozen riders from that crossing are in BA at the same time is both amazing to me and completely wonderful. They are like family, and I’m excited to see them all.
We meet up for a parrilla with Markus and Karin the night before they fly back to Europe to finish their nearly 2 year journey and go home. And another night we have an asado with Mat and Pam….such a luxury to have time with good friends.
The first few days of our time here is spent trying to track down parts for my bike, which needs some serious TLC. The rear brake lever is locking in place and dragging my back wheel. My rear tire is quickly withering away into baldness, and my rear sprocket and chain are refusing to roll backward in neutral and sound like a nasty, worn out roller ramp that is used to unload semi trucks.
But in between errands we find time to wander around and see some of this gorgeous, somewhat shabby but still vibrant city. My guide book describes Buenos Aires as the Paris of South America. A quick wander through some of the plazas and boulevards is I need to agree. This city is filled with spectacular architecture.
We wander down to the river front to see the Womens Bridge.
And the ARA Presidente Sarmiento, a museum ship that was originally built in 1898 as a training ship for the Argentine Navy and named for the 7th president of Argentina. She was retired in 1938 to a stationary training station until the 1960s when she was retired completely.
We stop to see the bronze statue of Juan Manuel Fangio – a 5-time world champion Formula 1 racer in the 1950s, who was from Argentina.
The city is filled with street names, monuments, graffiti and other reminders of the Perons, and Eva in particular.
We stop by the Congress Nacional which reminds me of our Capitol Building in the United States with it’s giant dome and imposing façade.
The President and government offices are housed in the Casa Rosada (Pink House) which I read in a booklet was originally painted with a mixture of beef tallow (specifically from bulls) and lime, a common way of making paint back in the “old days”. The first batch of tallow was tainted with bulls blood causing a pinkish tint in the paint, thus the name.
In front of the Casa Rosada lies the Plaza de Mayo, witness to some interesting times in this country’s history. It’s often home to protests, and today we get to see one.
Hoping to catch some of the antique shops on La Defensa,watch a tango dance somewhere, and enjoy a glass or two of wine before we move on.