Tag Archives: Buenos Aires

Adiós, Buenos Aires

The day I spent at Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur (South Waterfront Ecological Reserve) was my last day in Buenos Aires. Shortly after returning to my hotel, I caught a cab to the airport. The cab driver tried to talk to me, but I know only a handful of words in Spanish (although I can speak some Portuguese). About a third of the way to the airport, I had a horrible realization. I had left my passport in the hotel safe! I excitedly told the cab driver (speaking in Portuspanglish) that I had to go back to the hotel and get my passport and, surprisingly, he understood me! Fortunately, I was able to get back to the hotel, retrieve my passport, and reach the airport in plenty of time to catch my flight home. For this wrap-up of my trip, I have a few miscellaneous photos to share. The first photo is of Puente de la Mujer (Women’s Bridge) so-called because several of the streets in the Puerto Madiero neighborhood where the bridge is located are named for women. To the left of the bridge is the Argentine naval vessel ARA Presidente Sarmiento, built in 1897 and named for the seventh president of Argentina. The second photo is of Museo de Cabildo in the Microcentro of Buenos Aires. Genealogists would love to visit Museo de Cabildo (the old Town Hall) because it contains maps that date from the early 1700s. The existing building is only a remnant of the original. Twice in history, portions of the Cabildo were removed to make way for modern construction. The third photo shows Caesalpinia gillesii (Yellow Bird of Paradise), one more plant in Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur. The last photo was one of my last glimpses of Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, and shows a meadow of Typha sp. (Cattails). With that, I say goodbye to Buenos Aires with sweet memories of her warm, sunny days and cool, starry nights. Continue reading

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More Plants from Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, Buenos Aires

Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur (South Waterfront Ecological Reserve) in Buenos Aires includes a huge diversity of plant life, most of which is native to the area. Parkinsonia aculeata (Mexican Palo Verde) is a glorious sight in flower. Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven) is an introduced species, so what is it doing here in Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur? It is notable for its large clusters of red colored fruits which resemble maple seeds. I also took photos of two other flowering trees, the identification of which eludes me. The first appears to be a species of Acacia with alternate twice-pinnately-compound leaves, thorns, and catkins of white flowers. Acacia greggii, perhaps? The second had driven me nuts. All I can say was that I was impressed with this small tree with such large, distinctive, deeply-lobed leaves. This tree also bore cream-colored flowers, and globose fruits. Continue reading

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Río de la Plata, Buenos Aires

On the border of Argentina and Uruguay where the Uruguay River and the Paraná River meet is found the Río de la Plata (River of Silver or, alternatively, River Plate). The Río de la Plata is more an estuary than a river, extending 180 miles to the ocean, varying from 1.2 miles wide in the interior to 140 miles wide at its mouth. Because the river carries huge amounts of sediments from the interior of South America, the Río de la Plata is muddy and brown. The capitals of both Argentina (Buenos Aires) and Uruguay (Montevideo) lie on the shores of the river, and Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur (South Waterfront Ecological Reserve) in Buenos Aires borders on the Río de la Plata. From Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, the Buquebus can be seen carrying passengers between Argentina and Uruguay and container ships such as the MSC Fiammetta (MSC = Mediterranean Shipping Company) can be seen carrying goods to Buenos Aires and other cities along the river. Continue reading

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Non-Native and Invasive Plants of Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, Buenos Aires

Nearly everywhere on the planet one can find non-native and invasive plants. One of the remarkable aspects of Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur (South Waterfront Ecological Reserve) in Buenos Aires, Argentina is that the plants and animals in the Reserve are mostly native species that established themselves with no help from man. Nonetheless, one can find some species that are clearly not native, and others that are native to Argentina that reported to be invasive when established in other locations. Cirsium vulgare (Bull Thistle or Spear Thistle) is a species that is not native to Argentina that is considered invasive there and in other locations around the globe. Ricinis communis (Castor Bean) is commercially grown in Argentina for castor oil but, when it escapes its cultivated area, it can become a noxious weed. Ipomoea purpurea (Common Morning Glory) and Ipomoea cairica (Coast Morning Glory) are both native to Argentina, but are sometimes considered invasive elsewhere. Finally, the beautiful Lantana camara (Shrub Verbena) is native to Argentina but invasive in India, Australia, Africa, and some places in the United States such as Florida and Hawaii. Continue reading

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Birds of Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, Buenos Aires

There are reportedly over 200 species of birds in Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur (South Waterfront Ecological Reserve), Buenos Aires. I only saw four species, but I was there at the hottest part of the day, probably not the best time for bird watching. Moreover, I was moving fairly quickly through the park, keeping to the established paths. Nonetheless, I was able to photograph Nandayus nenday (Black Hooded Parakeet), Mimus saturninus (Chalk-browed Mockingbird), Zenaida auriculata (Eared Dove), and Polioptila dumicola (Masked Gnatcatcher). Technically, I did not observe the Black Hooded Parakeet in the Reserve itself, but I did see a group of them not far to the west of the Reserve. I had previously seen the Chalk-browed Mockingbird in Brazil, and so I was already familiar with this species. The Eared Dove is closely related to the North American Mourning Dove. The Masked Gnatcatchers I saw were an active pair, and it was darn inconsiderate of them not to stay put in an accessible location so I could get a better photo! Continue reading

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Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, Buenos Aires

Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur (South Waterfront Ecological Reserve) in the Puerto Madero neighborhood of Buenos Aires is something of a miracle. Between 1976 and 1983, public access to the Buenos Aires waterfront was restricted. Construction debris and sediments dredged from the Rio de la Plata accumulated in the south waterfront and, while construction in the area was stalled, native flora and fauna took advantage of the situation. This marshy area developed naturally into what became Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur in 1986. Today, the area is a wonderful park, full of life, with native plants and animals including over 200 species of birds. An effort is made to remove non-native species of plants where possible. Entering the reserve, one can see the stark contrast between the natural landscape and new high-rise construction in Buenos Aires. Native flowering trees include Erythrina crista-galli (cockspur coral tree, also known as Ceibo or Seíbo in Spanish, Corticeira in Portuguese) and Jacaranda mimosifolia (Jacaranda). The Ceibo flower is the national flower of Argentina. The Jacarada are common throughout Buenos Aires, but I was lucky in catching a shot of a few flowers because the flowering season for Jacaranda was pretty much over. Continue reading

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Plaza del Congreso, Buenos Aires

At the west end of Avenida de Mayo, in front of the Palacio del Congreso, lies the Plaza del Congreso. Within the Plaza is Monumento a los Dos Congresos (Monument of the Two Congresses) honoring the Congress of 1810 in Buenos Aires and the Congress of 1816 in Tucumán which lead to the independence of Argentina. Fountains and sculptures fill the Plaza and a temporary nativity scene of colossal scale stands at the east end (this was, after all, just after Christmas. Continue reading

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Palacio del Congreso, Buenos Aires

The Palacio del Congreso (the Congressional Palace), the seat of the legislative branch of Argentina’s national government is located at one end of Avenida de Mayo in Buenos Aires. At the other end of Avenida de Mayo stands Casa Rosada, the seat of Argentina’s executive branch. The Palacio del Congreso was modeled after the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, was built between 1898 and 1906. Argentina’s legislative branch consists of the Senate with 72 members (3 from each province) and the Chamber of Deputies with 256 members (distributed in proportion to the population of each province). Continue reading

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Barrio Norte, Buenos Aires

Barrio Norte in Buenos Aires, located on the southern end of the Recoleta Neighborhood, is a residential area with plenty of shopping and dining to boot. One destination store in Barrio Norte is the El Ateno Grand Splendid Bookstore, housed in the former Teatro Gran Splendid, built in 1919. After its life as a theater for both live performances and the first motion pictures with sound, the structure gained a new life as home to the El Ateno Bookstores flagship store. Former seating areas on the main floor and balconies are now bookshelves, box seats serve as reading areas, and the stage is now a cafe. Barely south of Barrio Norte is the Palacio de las Aguas Corrientes (The Water Company Palace), built in 1877 as a water pumping station. Who would guess that this impressive building serves so humble a purpose? The exterior is covered by 300,000 glazed tiles from the British ceramics manufacturer Royal Doulton. Continue reading

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Calle Museo Caminito – Caminito Street Museum, Buenos Aires

The Caminito, in addition to being a popular tourist hangout in the Boca Neighborhood of Buenos Aires, also serves as a street museum for public art. Some of the many works of art displayed on the walls and in the streets are Bombero Voluntario (Volunteer Firefighter) by Ernesto Scaglia, La Sirga (The Tow) by Julio B. Vergottini, La Canción (The Song) by Julio B. Vergottini, Guardia Vieja Tango (Old Guard – Tango) by Israel Hoffman, and Herrero Boquense (Boca Blacksmith) by Marisa Balmaseda Krause. Continue reading

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