Friday, July 20, 2012

Buenos Aires - Puerto Madero, the Port District

Another day spent exploring a new part of Buenos Aires (BA)!  Today, we went to the Puerto Madero area.  This is the newest district in BA that converted its old brick warehouses into some of the ritziest lofts, offices, hotels, and restaurants along the formerly abandoned shipping port. It's only a stone's throw away from the center of the city, too. We knew BA was a port city, but this was the first time we set eyes on actual water since we've been here for a week.  The cobblestone lined promenade along the dikes are a nice place to stroll and admire the interesting architecture; although on a Friday afternoon, it felt like we landed in the middle of a high school field trip.  Huge groups of teenagers running amok made for a less peaceful experience, but we sheltered ourselves under a cafe awning and paid an exorbitant $30 for 2 beers to enjoy the view without the Argentine teeny-boppers (and well worth the expense).  We didn't make it to the large ecological reserve, sandwiched between Rió de la Plata and the Puerto Madero promenade and dikes, but how it came to be is interesting.  In the 1970s, as an urban development plan, they filled about 865 acres of the river banks. However, this project was called off and the landfill abandoned from development.  Over the next decade, numerous species of plants, trees, animals, and birds began to settle in this area - becoming a rich natural reserve for local flora and fauna!  How cool is that?!

Promenade > Water > Kayaks > Stroll > Port > Hotels/Condos > High-Dollar > Sleek > Teenagers (everywhere!) > Ships

1.  Walk along the promenade on both sides of the 4 dikes and enjoy the scenery
2.  Relax at one of the many outdoor cafes and restaurants along the promenade
3.  Walk across the Puente de la Mujer and admire its construction and beauty
4.  Watch the kayakers navigate through the waters
5.  Take a peek inside the old naval ship, Frigata Sarmiento
6.  Hike around the Ecological Reserve

"By the end of the 19th century, the authorities decided to provide the city with adequate port facilities. This sparked off a debate in society about two projects: one submitted by engineer Luis A. Huergo and the other, by Eduardo Madero. The latter's proposal, which planned the location of the port in the area surrounding Plaza de Mayo, was passed by the Argentine Congress in 1882. The facilities were eventually inaugurated in 1897. Later on, at the turn of the 20th century, the red brick warehouses, which have become the landmark of this District, were built. Then, by 1916, Costanera Avenue, one of the favorite promenades of the city dwellers, was opened, together with the Municipal Riverside Resort. Owing to the deterioration of the facilities, between 1911 and 1930 Puerto Nuevo (New Port) was built to replace that designed by Madero, which was abandoned for more than five decades. In 1989 the Government decided to rescue the old port area from oblivion and integrate the city with the River. The project, led by Corporación Antiguo Puerto Madero – a mixed corporation formed by both the National and city governments – meant the retrieval of 170 hectares for dwellings and public spaces. This District, whose streets pay homage to outstanding women in Argentine history, soon became an exclusive residential, gastronomic and business center in the city."  -Sitio oficial de turismo de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires

Water isn't exactly a beautiful ocean blue, but we are looking at a part of the Atlantic Ocean!

The promenade...

The old navy ship, Fragata Sarmiento, a former naval ship that sailed around the world 40 times between 1899 and 1938.

Puente de la Mujer bridge designed by Spanish architect, Santiago Calatreva.  Bridge represents a couple dancing the tango.'s a dog's life. Dogs taking naps on the lawn around Puerto Madero.