Well, we haven’t gotten any better at the time change thing. Ok, maybe a little better. Today we managed to get out of the apartment by 1 p.m. with breakfast in our bellies. We made our way by foot to the Teatro Colon where we procured tickets for the 2 p.m. tour. We planned to tour it because 1) We both like unique architecture and 2) this building was the biggest opera house in the Southern hemisphere prior to the Sydney Opera House opening. Since we had seen the Sydney Opera House already, and were, frankly, a bit dissatisfied with the decor, we decided that this was a must-do activity (if only to one-up that experience).
The Teatro Colon did not disappoint. Its majestic classical architecture, combined with its nod to theater with the integration of lyres, comedy, and tragedy, along with its tributes to famous composers in sculpted form made it timeless. We were brought through the galleries imagining the opulence that once took place there before being seated in the horseshoe-shaped auditorium for some insight into the various seating levels and impressive acoustics. If only we could have seen a show! Sadly, the seasons run from March through December, so it will have to be added to a future wishlist.
When the tour was completed we worked our way east to the city’s nature preserve. This city is very European, but lacks the green space found throughout that continent. Instead all the parks and water fountains are surrounded by very uninviting fences which take away from the appeal. Because of this, Doug stated that he was in dire need of some park time so that is what we intended to do. Before entering, though, we needed to get some actual lunch so we made our way to the food trucks stationed near the entrance. Upon approaching, we noticed that one of the vendors was repeatedly cat-call whistling at a passerby. Doug, without Lynn’s prompting, mind you, said he would not be frequenting his establishment because he does not support cat-callers. What a good man that Doug is! Instead we went up the street one truck where we managed to order a pork (with ham, egg, and cheese) sandwich for Doug and a sausage sandwich for Lynn entirely in Spanish. We are getting better!
We wandered a good 4 miles through the nature preserve, not seeing a whole lot of nature but a whole lot of Argentinians taking advantage of the warm weather, some wild guinea pigs (we think!), and our first glimpse of the Rio de la Plata (the river that divides Argentina and Uruguay leading to the Atlantic Ocean).
Having sufficiently earned some steps, we proceeded on to our next task at hand: getting some ferry tickets to Uruguay. One of the big things to do from Buenos Aires is take a boat across the Rio de la Plata to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay, a cobblestoned medieval town and the oldest city in the country. Since we had an extra day in the city, we figured we may as well go for it and had done the research required to know that the ColoniaExpress ferry is the fastest and cheapest way to get us there. So we plugged their ticket office into Google Maps before continuing on our way. We showed up about an hour later, because the city is bigger than it looks on a map, and waited in the queue to be called. We were presented with a few options and ultimately chose one that included a tour before providing our passport information and waiting a good while to pay the cashier. Thankfully that process was more painless than the impression that the group of people ahead gave us.
Our feet were starting to ache somewhat so we agreed to hop on the subway to our next destination: Don Julio, an Argentinean parrilla steakhouse voted #1 on TripAdvisor. Doug had tried to make reservations a few days back but was told that they were booked through the end of January. Luckily they only reserve half their tables so the lady recommended that we show up at 7 p.m. to secure a table right away or risk waiting for a while if arriving later in the evening. We decided to just go for it and get there at 7 p.m. but were a little early on the subway. We killed some time by roaming the cute area of Palermo, a SoHo like neighborhood, before returning to the restaurant where we were greeted with the beginnings of the a line.
The line at Don Julio would grow to 20 people before we were sat where we promptly ordered everything TripAdvisor had recommended: a chorizo appetizer, sweet breads, flank steak, and a salad to appease Lynn’s need for vegetables. We paired it with one of the cheapest malbecs on the menu and started on our way through the beginnings of a food roller coaster. The chorizo and sweet breads appeared and we were, well, very disappointed. Does everyone who eats here just really enjoy charred food? Because that’s pretty much all this tastes like. The salad came next which was indeed better, but can you really mess up salad? And lastly was the flank steak, which appeared with at least 2 lbs in weight. It was juicy, well-seasoned, and we could not finish it all. Ok, now we get why people recommend this place.
We finished the evening with a leisurely stroll back to our apartment, only stopping to indulge ourselves once more with some helado (it’s amazing we aren’t 500 lbs).
Daily Walking Mileage: 13.6
- The Teatro Colon was completed in 1908. It’s first show was Guiseppe Verdi’s Aida. Verdi is one of many composer busts featured in the hall. We are also impressed that a 13 year old Italian boy was able to guess the composer when our guide started to hum some of the bars. We are not that talented.
- The Teatro Colon has purportedly the best acoustics (maybe the guide’s opinion) in the world which is assisted by the lower floors of soft materials (wood, velvet, etc.) and upper floors of hard materials (marble, copper, etc.).
- The Teatro Colon features a special widows area, where women could not be seen (and could not see anything themselves), but could hear the performances.