Solo Girl in the City

“Buenos Aires is an intriguing mix…the most European of South American cities with its grandiose architecture and wide boulevards,  it has always been known as the Paris of South America.  Its rich history of colonization by the English and the Spanish, its fight for independence and super rich inhabitants who were both builders of magnificent estates and city benefactors. These are just some of the factors that  contribute to the crazy quilt of Buenos Aires yesterday.”

I woke early this morning to the sound of rain falling outside. As I snuggled up in my gigantic bed, I found myself grateful that I was in a hotel bed and not a tent!

Rainy start to the day in Beunos Aires. The view from my tree-lined hotel room.

Rainy start to the day in Buenos Aires. The view from my tree-lined hotel room.

The clean, fresh smell of the rain washing the earth clean filtered in through my open window. In that moment I was in no hurry to go anywhere but as the rain continued to fall outside I realised my activities for the day would have to change as everything I had planned was outdoors. Thankfully, this city is full of indoor activities and places to discover too.

Grey and wet outside, it was simply the perfect day for things like book stores and art museums.

To get around I had a choice of taking a taxi directly to where I wanted to go or I could take a chance, possibly get lost and brave the Buenos Aires subway! I chose the latter.

After spending a small part of the morning checking my Lonely Planet guide and deciding exactly what I wanted to do and see, and consulting the uber friendly staff at my hotel who obliged me with 101 answers to my 101 questions, I was ready to go solo in the city.

Trying to make sure I know what I´m doing and getting an idea of where I am going before hitting the city.

Trying to make sure I know what I´m doing and getting an idea of where I am going before hitting the city.

Arriving at the subway I slipped down the staircase into the slinky, black underground, suddenly silence filling my ears and blocking out the hustle and bustle of the streets above. At the ticket desk, in my very minimal Spanish that I know, I greeted the pretty lady with a beautiful smile and slipped her a small note and in return she replied with a smile “sí” and in a short while she handed me back 10 single subway passes. With tickets in my hands I was ready to ride the underground subways of the city.

Found the subway, now to figure out how it works!

Found the subway, now to figure out how it works!

The little note I passed to the lady selling the tickets. With tickets in my hand I´m ready to ride the subway!

The little note I passed to the lady selling the tickets. With tickets in my hand I´m ready to ride the subway!

The first problem (and in hindsight my only problem of the day) came when I tried to get through the turnstile. It wouldn’t take my ticket and I was literally stuck. But as my life goes, within split seconds the man (just another angel) going through the turnstile next to me leaned over and said “aaaah” and backed out of his turnstile to help me. He motioned with his hand for me to give him my ticket, which he took and with a smile showed me what I was doing wrong.It is simple things like putting it in the “in” slot and not trying to shove it in the “out” slot where the ticket pops up again! Ah yes, angels continue to walk amongst the crowds around me…

Everything about the subway reminded me of London again and suddenly it felt like my soul was home again. At my chosen station, I disembarked and made my way back up to the city above.

Waiting for the train to arrive.

Waiting for the train to arrive.

My first stop was to be El Atenea on Sante Fe Ave, an impressive bookstore set in what was once The Grand Splendid Theatre. This book store is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world and it still conserves the balconies, the original velvet curtains, and the dome, on which an allegoric representation of peace painted after World War One. Even though most of the books are in Spanish, I browsed for hours taking it all in. It is a wonderful place to browse and just take in the history and beauty of the place.

The Grand  El Atenea Book Store

The Grand Splendid El Atenea Book Store.

Inside the  El Atenea Book Store.

Inside the El Atenea Book Store.

Looking up, the painting on the ceiling.

Looking up, the painting on the dome.

So many books, so much beauty and history, I could have sat there for hours paging through books.

So many books, so much beauty and history, I could have sat there for hours paging through books.

Next up I decided to walk to the other end of the city to visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Antes. The exterior of the building is nothing grand but it bellies the scale and grandeur inside. For inside hangs the greatest masters of all time including Picasso, Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh to name but a few.

The

The  Museo Nacional de Bellas Antes.

A painting by van Gogh.

A painting by van Gogh.

My favourite, favourite statue in the whole entire place.

My favourite, favourite statue in the whole entire place.

When I came across this next painting, I stopped and stared for a long while. This painting by Antonio Mancini captivated me from the moment I laid eyes on it for I had met this lady before, a few years back, in an unexpected past life regression I had that took me back to 1470. I couldn’t help but smile as I stood there and stared. Maybe this is just life giving me another sign…

The picture that held my gaze for ages.

The picture that held my gaze for ages.

It was early evening by the time I emerged again and dark clouds were once again looming overhead. It was time to make my way back to the subway and finally find my way back to my hotel. As I have done in so many nights before, I stopped at a sidewalk cafe/restaurant for a bite to eat while watching the city bustle by and then finally headed back to my hotel.

Emerging out again, the dark grey clouds loomed once again.

Emerging out again, the dark grey clouds loomed once again.

As it did the day I arrived, this city has captivated me whole. It attracts you like magnet and doesn’t want to let you go.

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More than anything I love the peacefulness and wisdom of the mountains and the soul soothing sounds of the ocean, yet there is something about a big city in a strange country that pulls at my soul, as if it’s calling me home…

– All Photos By Me –

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