Yesterday was a little rough physically, although our search in Montevideo was successful. My expensive pediatric shoes failed me, miserably. I now have grossly large blisters on both feet. I am hobbled but my self medication efforts give me confidence I that can overcome this minor setback. I purposely brought along my expandable monopod camera support to do double duty as camera stand and a walking stick, in case I twisted an ankle. Today was also was a real lesson for us both. We were perhaps a little overconfident after successfully navigating the streets of Buenos Aires in the previous days. It is amazing how the misspelling of a street name can lead two experienced travelers on a merry chase through the city, seemly lost at times. Sometimes this can be the best part of a travel experience. My friend wanted to visit the Jewish quarter of Buenos Aires and in particular a synagogue called Templo Liberstad, located on Liberstad street. In the 90’s there were two major bombings of Jewish sites in this area and given current events, Jewish buildings and businesses are very security minded. There is a major newspaper story here about the mysterious death of a prosecutor who claimed he have evidence about possible involvement of the Argentinian government in the 90’s. Many believe he did commit suicide but was assassinated and the current president, Cristina De Kirchner and members of her government are somehow responsible. Check the international news outlets for details. Del Liberstador is a major 4 lane street and a gathering place for small sidewalk markets on Saturdays.
Using the free fanfolded tourist-map from the hotel, we plotted a walking route thinking it would be an easy walk to the synagogue. We took a break to enjoy the sites nearby as there is a large park, foreign embassies, and museums in the area. We were initially confused about the route but returned to the Liberstador and took time to see a photography exhibit in the fine arts museum called Nacional de Bellas Artes. We set out, confidently, looking for “769 Del Liberstador Avenue” not realizing the address was really “769 Liberstad” street. Through a series of errors and mis-calculations, we spent the better part of the morning trying to find the synagogue. After 5 hours or so we found 769 Del Liberstador but it was not the Synagogue. Suddenly! [This is when you slap your forehead!] it became apparent that we had misread the street name as Liberstadador Ave instead of Liberstad street. Thanks to Google maps and a free wifi hotspot. We found Liberstad street a few blocks over as a cross street to Del Liberstador. It seemed all that was necessary was to follow Liberstad street. However, we ran into difficulty again. Liberstad street has suddenly morphed in another street name so we had doubled back. My feet, of course, were getting more sore by the hour but in time we did find the Templo Liberstat just 100 yards from the famous Teatro Colon, just off Pelligrini Avenue. We discovered that there’s a museum next door to the church that would be open normally but by the time we found the place it was closed. My friend resolves to come back and visit the adjacent museum.
Pelligrini street parallels the awesome 12 lane grand avenue called Avenida 9 de Julio. It is flanked by many cultural institutions and is instantly recognizable by the very large obelisk called at its center called El Obelisco (see night photo on day one).
Teatro Colon was an impression limestone structure which housed the Buenos Aires Symphony Orchestra. There is a park on the opposite side of the building and so we sat in the nearby park to observe the people as well. We took photos of the synagogue, the theatre, and surroundings.
As I mentioned we were next to the concert hall and in the course of deciding where to take a cab back to the hotel (thank goodness) we noticed people gathered in an outdoor area filled with chairs. The chairs were facing a large, permanently installed, “jumbotron”, television. Apparently, on Saturdays, in the summer, the Teatro Colon puts on a series of free concerts for the general public. The orchestras is shown on the video screen. The recordings are a reproduction of various orchestras around the world playing great classical music. We decided to sit and listen to the concert for a while before heading back to the hotel. The first performance was the Berlin Philharmonic, playing Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique’ in Istanbul,Turkey. The darkening evening skies set a very evocative mood, despite the noise of traffic on the Avenida 9 de Julio.