We step into a warm, humid night – or morning, rather, as it is 1:00 a.m. , shaky with the fatigue of a 17 hour day, dressed in London wool slacks and cardigan (removable). Gonzalo, the man who will be our guide tomorrow, is there with a sign marked HALL. We nearly cry with gratitude. The thought of dealing with taxis and addresses in Spanish is way too much, at the end of this long day.
The hotel is 45 minutes away so Gonzalo tells us about our schedule next day and chats about Argentina. He is very friendly and nice, as is the driver. The Hotel Alvear Palace is magnificent, and as we drive into the entrance, seems to swarm with young men in black tails and white gloves eager to help us out of the car, fetch our bags, guide us to reception. I am ashamed of my blue suitcase, which, though it is new, is held closed by a strap as it tends to pop open!! Anyway, no one looks disdainful, they remain friendly and helpful.
The room includes a butler to cater to your every possible need. Roses are everywhere, chocolates on the pillow, fruits with plate, knife, fork, and napkin. We just about take in some of these details before we crash.
Gonzalo meets us at 9:30 Am, after our copious and delicious breakfast including just about anything you could want for breakfast. Two kinds of scrambled eggs, bacon, tiny spicy sausages, ham, salmon with 4 sauces, the best croissants anywhere, all kinds of breads, crullers, scones, puff pastry filled with dulce de leche, a sort of creamy caramel, fruits, cereals, yogurt, cheese, and freshly squeezed orange juice.
It is sunny and bright, and we are driven along spacious avenues and beautifully landscaped parks, to start with. This is Recoleta, the best neighborhood in B.A., where all the embassies are located, as well as private residences, along with museums. The wide, tree-lined avenues recall Paris, as does the wrought iron balconies and the building design. B.A. was in fact laid out by Haussman, who also rebuilt Paris, so there is no coincidence here.
The Avenue de Liberador (I’ll check the spelling), is 9 lanes wide – in one direction. The whole of this area looks prosperous, clean, well-kept, beautiful. We go to the cemetery where Eva Peron is buried, along with the rich and famous from 150 years. There are fresh flowers on her tomb. Our guide tells us there are always fresh flowers there.
We also visit the municpal building where she and Juan Peron delivered speeches to the people. I expected to see Madonna, but Gonzalo says that Eva Peron actually spoke from a different balcony than the one in the film.
- OFF TO URUGUAY
- A little more Buenos Aires –