Our friends, the Heymans, are on a real mission, meaning, they live out in the boondocks of Argentina where there are no beautiful old theaters that have been revamped into bookstores. However, their son, Taylor, joined us today on his very long layover back to the States. He hung out with Brianna and I as we toured some of the cities sights.
El Ateneo was once know as Teatro Gran Splendid. You can pretty much guess the translation of that. It opened in 1919, but about ten years later it was converted into a cinema showing the very first sound films here.
In 2000, Argentina’s largest bookstore group, Yenny, converted the building into their flagship store. It is pretty amazing for a bookstore. You can even sit in the theater boxes and read. It is now considered to be one of the best bookstores in the world. A million people drop by every year to take a look and now we are among them.
As we were driving down the road on the way to our next destination, we saw all these papers flying. Juan, our remis driver explained that the last work day of the year, many businesses have a tradition of literally throwing the papers out the window.
We headed over to the Cafe Tortoni. It was founded in 1858, making it the oldest cafe in the country. It is also rich in history and architecture. We stood outside and waited about 20 minutes to be seated for lunch. Surprisingly, when we got inside, it wasn’t crowded, at all! Taylor and Brianna had pizza and I had a vegetable tart and we all decided that the food was decent.
I understand that there is a tango show here in the evenings and I think I would like to go to that because it is small and the ambiance is really quite special.
There are two huge rival soccer teams in Buenos Aires, Boca Juniors and River Plate. When I told Juan that I wanted to go to the museum for both of them, he told me that he couldn’t go to River because his car would blow up. He meant it! They take their soccer very seriously here. We headed for the Boca Museum where everything was blue and yellow!
If you look at the advertising in the stadium, you will notice something about the Coca-Cola banner. It is pretty impressive and encircles the stadium inside on two levels and outside, as well. Have you noticed?
It is black and white!
The stadium is called The Bombonera.
Three sides of the Bombonera are made up of traditional stands. However, the fourth side had to be built vertically, with several seating areas stacked one on top of the other, to stay within the property limits. My husband tells me that when he went to a game there ten years ago, no one, NO ONE, sat for the entire game. Even when nothing was happening on the field, everyone was standing.
Actually, La Bombonera is renowned for vibrating when fans start to jump in rhythm and apparently, the vertical side will sway slightly.
I don’t think you could talk me into going into the stadium on a game day!
All this shaking has lead to the saying,
"La Bombonera doesn't shake: it beats (like a heart)."
La Bombonera no tiembla. Late.