We left El Fin Del Mundo and headed north to Buenos Aires, our final stop in South America.
Open Top Bus Tour
Buenos Aires is the second largest city on the continent (behind Sao Paulo) and the major tourist sites are spread out across a large area. In order to get acquainted with the city we decided to take a hop-on hop-off bus tour with Buenos Aires Bus.
The reviews on this bus service were decidedly mixed but we decided to give it a go regardless. We tried to book our tickets online, and despite our credit card being charged (twice), we never received our tickets. Undaunted, we made our way to the bus stop and paid cash for our tickets (the credit card charges were later reversed).
We were fortunate to have good weather so we grabbed some seats on the top deck and enjoyed the views of the city while listening to the narrated tour.
The Obelisk of Buenos Aires is one of the symobols of the city. It is very reminiscent of the Washington Monument (but only half as tall).
The Casa Rosada (Pink House) is the executive mansion of the president of Argentina. As we passed by a motorcade with Danish Royals was just arriving and a military band was assembled to meet them.
A bit further down the road, we disembarked in the La Boca neighborhood to walk around colorful Caminito.
Despite the difficulty in obtaining tickets, we had a generally good experience with Buenos Aires Bus. We did get lucky though – at one stop our bus filled up and passengers at the next few stops were left waiting on the curb (for another 30 minutes or more) for the next bus.
Museo De Los Ninos
Our gang always enjoys a children’s museum so we had to check out the Museo De Los Ninos, located on the upper floor of the Abasto shopping center.
The museum included a mock city street where the kids could take turns working in a bank or in a fast food restaurant. I’m not sure they would be very good employees at the restaurant because would likely eat all of the food before it could be sold.
Next they took turns playing the role of grocery shopper and grocery checker.
Later they found out what it might be like to go down a toilet bowl.
Then they took jobs as elves, moving candy pieces around some kind of huge candy house.
We spent several hours at the museum and it earned high marks from the kids.
The Recoleta Cemetery was founded in 1822 and since that date it has become the final resting place of many of Argentina’s dignitaries and celebrities.
This is the tomb of Rufina Cambacérès, who was 19 when she suddenly collapsed, was declared dead by three doctors, and then sealed in her mausoleum. A few days later her coffin was found to have been moved, with scratch marks under the coffin lid, evidence that she had been buried alive.
Participatory Science Museum
Within a short walk of the Recoleta we found a kids science museum with the tagline “Prohibido No Tocar” which translates to “It is prohibited NOT to touch.” That sounded like our kind of place so we bought our tickets and went inside.
We started by experimenting with different kinds of instruments and learning how they produce sound.
There was also an optical illusion area that had some of the exhibits that we have become very familiar with during this trip.
Another area had exhibits demonstrating concepts relating to physics.
English translations were a bit sparse, but that did not take away from our enjoyment of the museum.
Recoleta Cultural Center
After leaving the science museum we took some time to check out some of the exhibits in the nearby cultural center.
The galleries in the free museum featured huge, vibrant murals and other works of modern art.
Other Sights Around Town
Floralis Genérica is a huge metal sculpture that was unveiled in 2002. The petals are mechanized, open during the day and closed at night.
Buenos Aires has ample green spaces and parks, and excellent cycling and pedestrian paths.
We stayed in the neighborhood of Belgrano, which is home to China Town. We felt like we were back in Hong Kong as we walked by Chinese medicine shops and stores full of imported knickknacks.
Our visit to Buenos Aires was a pleasant way to conclude our time in South America. On our journey through Chile and Argentina we saw lots of breathtaking natural scenery, learned about Latin American culture, and brushed up on our Spanish. We also found out that there is considerable variation in the language in different regions. Fun fact: the avocado is known as “aguacate” in Central America but in most of South America it is called “palta”.
In our next update, we journey to country number 25, the home of the Hobbits!