Buenos Aires: Day of the Dead
February 4, 2013 – Day 563
As part of our South American summer cruise, the family spent two days in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. While we saw many more sites than the subject of today’s posting, I wanted to take this space and highlight one of the locations we spent a chunk of time at.
Because nothing screams “Happy Time With the Kids” more than spending it among the dead, we toured La Recoleta Cemetery. Here’s the entryway…
Entering this graveyard allowed me to crack open one of my standard jokes. I asked our kids if they knew why cemeteries had fences around them. When they said, “No”, I was able to reply, “Because people are dying to get in.”
[insert rimshot here]
Some of the crypts were massive…
For those of you playing at home, this final resting place belongs to Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear (1868 – 1942), who was a lawyer, politician, ambassador, and whose name scores thrity-three points in Scrabble.
The following picture will not do justice to my next description, but this entire cemetery is crammed and packed with stone crypts. Sometimes the paths to and from graves were only wide enough for one person to walk through – which tended to be an issue when large tour groups came filed their way through.
We came across this interesting pair of crypts. I must admit that when I think of a mausoleum, my picture of it is a place that remains static. I never really thought that a place like La Recoleta would allow new tenants, but I was wrong. In the picture below, the crypt on the right is from 2011 whereas the one on the left is from 1905.
Since I can’t imagine that there had been an opening just waiting for the 2011 crypt to be built, it did make us wonder who was evicted to make room for the new burial…and where are their remains now?
Despite being surrounded by marble, stone, and corpses, this place did manage to keep the interest of our two boys. They have recently become fans of the British television series Doctor Who and we spent a good deal of time walking around the statues telling each other not to blink.
For those who have not the wonderful pleasure of watching the Doctor Who episode “Blink“, go here.
While it is crowded in La Recoleta and there are famous Argentine folk buried there, this place is renowned for being the final resting place for one person in particular.
Above is the grave of Eva Peron. For more, non-musical, information about her, you can jump here. The line to walk past her crypt was long and – because of the crowded nature of the place – single-file so it took some time…but well worth it.
After a few hours, we were done. As we left, this was the message presented to us as we emerged back into the land of the living.
My Latin is even worse than my Spanish, but Google Translate reads those two words as “We expect the Lord” or “We wait for the Lord”.
And with that lovely thought in our head – you will die one day also (at least that’s how I read that message)- we continued our vacation.