When I woke up for my first full day in Buenos Aires, I remembered what I find most addictive about travel: the promise of a complete displacement from my ordinary routine, the anticipation of all the new things that will breaking open little holes in my world view. I love to walk somewhere new and just listen to the different voices and street sounds that make up a foreign city. I feel like even in the most “exotic,” for lack of a better word, parts of New York City, there is a common murmur of the same taxi motors, the rumble of subway trains, the same clash of steps over metal grates.
I decided to first take a walk to La Recoleta Cemetery, a beautiful, compact city of the dead. When I first visited Buenos Aires in 2007, it was one of my favorite experiences, so I was excited to see it again. I know it seems like I’m constantly going to cemeteries, but I think they’re fascinating as collections of history and examples of a culture’s approach to memorial. Nowhere else in a city is history so clearly marked with dates and faces.
The most famous permanent resident of La Recoleta is Eva Perón, better known as Evita, the famous First Lady of Argentina and icon of the country. Her grave is actually one of the less ostentatious of the cemetery, and if there wasn’t the crowd of continuous mourners you might miss it. Originally, there was going to be a huge memorial for her complete with grand statuary, and her body was going to be displayed much like Lenin’s. However, after Juan Perón was overthrown her body went missing for 16 years. It finally came about she had been buried in Milan, Italy, and when she was returned to the exiled Juan Perón she was kept by him on his dining room table. When she was finally allowed to rest in Argentina, her tomb was made incredibly secure with trapdoors so that she would never go missing again.
Below are some more photos from La Recoleta Cemetery:
More of Day 2 is coming soon!