“It is cheaper to live extravagantly all your life than to be buried in Recoleta.”

The day rises sunny and bright; a piercing blue sky that is complimented by those still-flowering, incredibly purple jacaranda trees. Rain showers occasionally harass the tourists but never long enough to dampen anyone’s spring spirits. We walk about ten minutes from our apartment in Recoleta, to visit the Cementerio de la Recoleta, the famous cemetery where the rich and famous of Buenos Aires are buried. The saying goes “It is cheaper to live extravagantly all your life than to be buried in Recoleta.” There is probably no other place that says more about Argentinean society.

Famous Family Names

There are indeed, extravagant, splendid and sometimes over-the-top monuments crammed into small, narrow plots. Some of the older crypts are in need of some attention, their offspring long dead, and the current generations either lacking the funds to maintain the graves, or having lost interest in the ritual. In some cases, you can reach in and touch the ancient and dirty coffins, cobwebbed and dust-encrusted. We see famous family names, recognizing them from the names of many of the city’s sweeping avenues and streets.

Lunch is outside in one of the many restaurants that line the park and cemetery. We aren’t surprised to hear so much English spoken in this chic and popular neighbourhood, and we linger over some wine and finally some coffee as the sun comes and goes. We stroll through the expensive shops and stores of Av. Alvear. I am still fighting that dull throb behind the eyes that Lufthansa left me with and we are home just before 5 o’clock and ready for a welcomed nap.

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