Hola, La Plata! La Plata is the capitol of the province of Buenos Aires. Located just about an hour outside of the city of Buenos Aires, La Plata is near enough to the big city, but also holds its own as a major city. La Plata, much like Washington DC, was highly planned on a grid and diagonal basis. As you can see in the map below, there is a park every 6 square blocks. I'm in the NW region, just a quick walk away from the huge park (bosque - see, I'm learning Spanish) at the top.Much, again, like Washington DC, there is a central "mall" area. At the end of this mall is this:
Yes, that is a beautiful HUGE cathedral. Yes, I went inside. Yes, it's gorgeous. Tuesday, yesterday, I took an inaugural walk around the city, covered maybe 1/4 of it. It's big, but do-able by foot. There are many beautiful old buildings, much like Buenos Aires. Example 1, the bank pictured here:
The thing I'm learning about Argentina is that it is absolutely beautiful, but not kept up too well. The political climate is ever changing and the money is not necessarily rolling in. So unfortunately, although there are many beautiful buildings, many are covered in graffiti (not the pleasant stuff, but just messages written in spray paint), and many are just falling apart all together. So some buildings look like this:
And have a very ragged looking pony pulling a cart in front of them. I do love this pony.
At the end of my walk, I found a gallery at the Cultural Center at Plaza Islas Malvinas. From what I could understand from the Spanish description, the permanent piece below is commemorating all the missing Argentines from wars. With such a corrupt governmental and military past, there are many of these memorials, unfortunately, of people who disappeared. Don't worry, I won't be one of them.
On my first day here, Rodrigo, one of the men who runs the residency, gave me the skeleton keys to unlock and lock the doors here at Corazon. He speaks very little English, so our conversations have been quite hilarious with my broken Spanish - many many gestures :) Anyway, he said "This is your home now" as he handed them to me. That really hit me. Yes, I'm paying rent here, so technically, this isn't a gift of home, but it was a feeling, that goes along with the coming and parting kiss on the cheek, that this is a warm place. Home. Now, if only it was actually warm inside......