February 11 , 2024 /


In Italian and Venetian, Argentina (masculine argentino) means”(made) of silver, silver colored”, derived from the Latin “argentum” for silver. The earliest description of the region by the word Argentina has been found on a Venetian map in 1536. Silver and leather crafts and products are sold everywhere, even in gift shops at gas stations.


Buenos Aires, with a population of 3 million,  is a world class city with a checkered history that parallels that of Argentina.  The three dominant historic cultures are Spanish, French and Italian and the city is referred to as the Paris of Argentina, and so it is.  There are wide boulevards, narrow streets, interesting architecture, multiple monuments, museums and great gastronomy from all three countries plus Argentina’s own super quality brands of meat, cheese, wine and produce.   It’s a country rich in resources and a poorly managed economy.  Right now the inflation rate is 200%.  One thousand Argentinian pesos equals one dollar, U.S. The past 20 years has seen a lot of cash sales under the table and few people use the banks.


The city is made up of 48 neighborhoods, or barrios. From San Telmo’s boho vibes to the riverside modernity of Puerto Madero, the most emblematic barrios each have their own distinct flavor. We stayed in the Racleta section close to a beautiful, large park, and two of the largest banyan trees I’ve ever seen. There are numerous boutique shops near and local artisans hold an outdoor market here Saturdays and Sundays,  Interesting fact is that all the trees are planted from elsewhere. Even the trees on the Pampas where we visited a ranch, Estancia Bomba, the trees are not native to Argentina.  Seeing the large Eucalyptus trees was a surprise. We watched a most interesting demonstration of the gauchos playing their various  games on beautiful and fast horses.



I would be remiss if I did not mention Eva Peron and her storied life rising from poverty, becoming an actress and singer and then the second wife of Juan Peron, the fascist dictator.  She championed the poor and women’s rights but she also assisted with the immigration of Nazis from Germany.  Her legend became even more popular with the movie “Evita” and the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd weber collaboration producing “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina”  sung by Madonna.



Eva Peron was the 2nd wife of dictator Juan Peron. She died at age 33 of cancer after serving as First Lady from 1946 until her death in 1952.  She was born in poverty in the rural village of Los Toldos, in the Pampas, as the youngest of five children. In 1934, at the age of 15, she moved to the nation’s capital of Buenos Aires to pursue a career as a stage, radio, and film actress.  She has been compared to Margaret Thatcher, both loved and loathed, divisive and controversial, championing women’s rights while supporting powerful authoritarians.  Eva Peron was criticized for supporting her husband’s fascist regime and for helping Nazis from Germany relocate to Argentina, an interesting part of her history. Here is a long biography with some interesting notes regarding Eva and Juan Peron for those who want more details.


Argentina is much more than silver and Eva Peron. Buenos Aires is this large and lively metropolitan area on the Rio de la Plata. That river is the muddy estuary of the Paraná and Uruguay Rivers, and forms part of the border between Argentina and Uruguay. The rich estuary supports both capital cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. The Paraná is South America’s second longest river, and drains much of the southeastern part of the continent including all the water from the Iguassu Falls.  The three or four iconic buildings in Buenos Aires are the President’s Pink Palace, (the featured photo on this post) where Eva Peron gave her famous speech from the lower balcony, Then there is the exquisite Teatro Colon opera house, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Catholic Church’s main church in Argentina, and the home of Pope Francis, as Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio.  A well-visited site is a cemetery with 4,800 family crypts, some costing as much as a million dollars.    It is hard to choose what to write about from a three-day visit touching only a few of the many delights of city and country.  One could easily spend a week or two and visit other provinces such as those that include Patagonia which is not on our itinerary this trip.


Patagonia is a region encompassing the vast southernmost tip of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile, with the Andes Mountains as its dividing line. The Argentine side features arid steppes, grasslands and deserts, while the Chilean has glacial fjords and temperate rainforest. Argentina’s famed RN-40 highway passes the pinnacles of Monte Fitz Roy and Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park.   If we return to South America this will be high on our list or places to visit.  Tomorrow, it’s off we go to Santiago, about a two hour flight from Buenos Aires.






Comments (2)

  1. Hi Gary and Susie,
    Wow! What an educational tour, delightfully offered as I would expect from you. It reminds me of the more usual kinds of tours (maybe you give some of those, too) we get, where we see the person posing with a smile in front of various local sights, more about the person than the place. Excuse my cynicism!

    With love,


    1. Thanks, Sara. I get that, although have not been a fan of selfies or posed pics taken by others. I’ll send you a shot or two of us from somewhere we have enjoyed for some special reason and hope you see the connection, as I’m sure you will. We are spending the last two days of this tour/trip in southern Chile Lake District in Puerto Varas and Frutillar on a beautiful lake with a snow capped volcano in the distance. Let you imagination create that scene and I’ll include a link here for your review:

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