Unexpected Encounters

After the beach trip & then a day of errands, yesterday really felt like spring break. I woke up & had absolutely nothing that I had to do. To combat my terror & boredom at not having a plan, I brought my guidebook down with me to the breakfast table. The great thing about living in a house with a bunch of study abroad students on break is that you are pretty much guaranteed to have an exploring buddy! After sitting at the table, flipping through the pages, & consuming many (many, many) medialunas, I had recruited a small group to go to the barrio of Congreso with me to check out some cool architecture.

We arrived in Congreso without a hitch, except that we were too late to see the antique faucet & urinal museum. (I was as upset about this as I’m sure you are that you don’t get pictures from said museum.) To forget our sadness, we started walking down Avenida Callao in the direction of several palacios that were on the map. This is what we found instead:

They were veterans of the Malvinas/Falklands War demanding money that they feel the state owes them. From what I’ve shown you, it looks pretty tame, but right after we started taking pictures, one of the group members jumped the fence of the Palacio Congreso, took off his shirt, & started cutting himself with a large pocket knife. I’m not sure what the real significance of it could have been, but it definitely got him some attention. The rest of the men started rushing the gate & the police were running towards the demonstration to keep everyone out of the congressional building. We chose this moment to walk in a different direction!

Before heading over to our main attraction for the day, Palacio Barolo, we stopped at a street-side restaurant for some lunch & made far too many pigeon friends.

The Plaza de Congreso was on the way. It had a really pretty fountain! If only there wasn’t a fence all the way around; I definitely could have used a quick swim in the heat we’ve been having lately.

We finally got to our destination point, only to find out that we had to pay for a guided tour in order to see Palacio Barolo‘s literary levels. (it was built with Dante’s Divine Comedy in mind, if you didn’t get through the Wiki-article.) We were about an hour early for the first tour of the day, so we decided to get out of the sun & head back home.

So close! Maybe next time.

The Palacio Congreso was on our way back, so we had the pleasure of noticing that the riot police were lining the outside of the building & news crews had shown up to get a story out of the whole demonstration. I guess it’s a good thing that we got out of there when we did!

– Alexa

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