Museo Cerrado

Now we’re spending a few more days sightseeing in Buenos Aires.  On Sunday, first we went to the La Boca neighborhood to see an art museum.  It turned out that it is a small museum that was between exhibitions (Marcel Duchamp had just closed).  So there was nothing to see.  The guidebook points out areas in the La Boca area which are not regarded as safe for tourists to visit.  But it does have one extremely touristed area, kept well fed by a nonstop line of tour buses, where corrugated metal houses are brightly painted, souvenirs are sold, and everything is tango.  It’s a few blocks from the stadium where the Boca Juniors play soccer.  We went to another interesting museum of an artist who made paintings of boats and piers, and was credited with creating the extremely touristed street.

From there we went to the San Telmo area where there is a Sunday antique market.  There’s also a modern art museum, which the book thought might have reopened after major renovations, but it hadn’t.  The Sunday event is basically a swap meet located in the middle of an antique shopping district, with many shops selling more junk than I can imagine anyone ever buying.  On Sundays a plaza is taken over by people setting up little booths selling their old stuff.  We found some drawer pulls we may put in the kitchen.  There’s also another interesting museum where the construction work for someone’s house encountered  remnants of the eighteenth-century uses of that property.  They decided to make it a museum and event space where all of the bricks and cisterns and canals and arches and windows from the 1700s and 1800s are exhibited in their original locations, with modern floors and structural support.  The tour was very interesting.

Monday we went out to rent bikes and ride around the ecological reserve next to the intensely-redeveloped port area.  We found that it was closed on Mondays.  Sigh.  On the way back to the hotel we stopped at another promising restaurant, Resto, to make dinner reservations.  They told us they didn’t serve dinner on Mondays, but we stayed for lunch, and it was delightful.  Then we walked around the Recoleta cemetery, which is packed with mausoleums where several presidents and authors and politicians are buried, including Evita.  From there we found a modern art museum which was open (on a Monday!), the Museo de Arte Latinoamerica de Buenos Aires (MALBA).  It had a good collection of twentieth-century art, reflecting the evolution of art in Europe over the century, but all made by Latin American artists.

Colonia is a town in Uruguay just across the bay from Buenos Aires, one hour by catamaran.  It has a World Heritage listed Historic Downtown area, with several museums.  We went there on Tuesday, being careful to avoid Monday, because that’s when museums are closed.  As it turned out, these particular museums are all open on Monday, but two of them are closed on Tuesday.  Oh well — we’ve already seen whale skeletons in Antarctica.  We went to the four museums which were open — all of them were quite tiny.  Portuguese furnishings of the 1800s, native artifacts, and tile.  We also climbed the lighthouse, and spent a couple hours in a park writing postcards (Ray, mostly).