A Divine Comedy

Yet another happy, busy, insightful day in Buenos Aires! Despite this morning’s whoops-missed-my-alarm (and morning run) debacle,  I definitely didn’t have a case of the Mondays. I successfully managed to snag a seat on the subway during rush hour and promptly began reading my spanish novel so that a) I might be mistaken for a local and b) I could best avoid eye-contact with notorious underground creepers and/or the people running through the cars selling gum or day planners. Besides that, I went to class, stripped my sweater and got some sun while reading in the lovely Plaza de San Martin for a few hours, discovered a hip hop and happening new avenida loaded with bars and restaurants, and ventured on down to Avenida de Mayo with my lit class for a field trip.

El Palacio Barolo was originally an office building – designed by three Italian architects and built during the early 1920’s. It’s layout mimics the epic XIV century poem by Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy, which allegorically describes the soul’s journey towards God as it rises through three stages of afterlife: inferno, purgatory, and heaven.

The bottom floor of the building, the inferno, was a dark and dungeon-like place equipped with carvings of fire-eyed dragons and beasts.

{looking down to inferno from purgatory, the statue in the center is a woman lying on an eagle – As you can see, there are no obstacles in the way of her forthcoming ascension (from the 1st to the 4th floor) – passing through purgatory on her way to heaven.}

P u r g a t o r y 

{The 19th floor, with its bright white walls, and streaming natural light brought us to a  h e a v e nly view above the city}

{A typical office as seen in Palacio Barolo, 1924)

After we rose from hell to heaven, I was feeling a bit too alive to just hop on the sweaty subway just to go home. So, I took a little stroll down Avenida de Mayo (heart of the city, and central government area). Somewhere close to the Casa Rosada I stumbled upon a vintage bookstore and was immediately in my happy place. I fluttered down the aisles for maybe forty-five minutes just admiring all of the age-stained books. I finally came across the biography section and of course the first book that caught my eye was a Chopin biography in Spanish. I bought it. I also bought a Gabriela Garcia Marquez book in order to support my new found appreciation for Chile, tambien. There is really no way to hide my inner nerd right now because I think it is abundantly obvious how excited I am to cuddle up with my two newest loves. Bookworm Besos.

{Plaza de Mayo – Casa Rosada, where the freshly reelected (with 53% of the votes) Presidenta Christina works. I saw the guards lower and remove the flag tonight from a front row bench by chance. Love being in the right places at the right time}

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