In November 2012, SoloMate will be returning to Argentina, offering its guests an unforgettable singles vacation to Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America.
Few women have left an indelible mark on a city, and an entire country, in the way María Eva Duarte de Perón, affectionately known as Evita, has on Buenos Aires, and on Argentina as a whole. The more remarkable fact is that she actually only lived in the capital for less than 20 years, before dying of cancer in 1952, at age 33.
Undeniably one of the most controversial and influential women in the Western world, this First Lady, whose husband, Juan Perón, was president from 1946 to 1955, and again in 1973-74, was to some a saintlike defender of the poor and downtrodden, and to others, an irresponsible spender out for personal glory. Either way, her presence continues to be felt throughout Buenos Aires, and beyond.
This year in Buenos Aires, ceremonies, political speeches and a candlelight march will occur on July 26, the 60th anniversary of her death.
Other institutions, including the Museo Evita, will mark the occasion with special exhibitions and events throughout the year.
But you don’t have to march or attend speeches to understand the bond between this city and Evita. The physical contributions she left behind throughout Argentina — a beach resort for the working class, a children’s amusement park, a shelter for unwed mothers — now mingle with museums, countless statues and extravagant monuments built in her honor. The latest: two enormous steel sculptures of her likeness soldered to opposite sides of the soaring Health Ministry Building.
“There were no other women like her, especially other first ladies,” said Gabriel Miremont, the curator of the Museo Evita. “Mamie, Eleanor, even Jackie O. do not bring tourists to Washington as Evita does for Buenos Aires.”
Here are a few points of interest for single travelers who want to acquire a true appreciation of the woman who made such an important contribution to those less fortunate.
THE CASA ROSADA, also known as the Pink House
This is the Presidential Palace, home to the balcony that Evita often used to address throngs of Peronists — known as the shirtless ones, because many were poor laborers — gathered in the Plaza de Mayo and up Avenida de Mayo. It became iconic as the setting for “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”, the signature song of the musical “Evita.” Free weekend tours of the palace allow visitors to peer from the balcony themselves. The Museo del Bicentenario, sometimes called the Presidential Museum, opened in 2011 behind the Casa Rosada. It contains objects related to the Peróns, such as presidential regalia, clothing and campaign posters.
Under Evita’s direction, the Argentine state bought this mansion in the Tony Palermo neighborhood in 1947 and turned it into a shelter for single mothers. After Juan Perón was deposed in 1955, the building remained in government hands as an office for the disabled. In 2002, the 50th anniversary of Evita’s death, the building reopened as a museum showcasing her lavish wardrobe, as well as items from the Eva Perón Historical Foundation, including some of her early films. The foundation behind the museum is run by her grandniece, Cristina Alvarez Rodriguez. Its store sells Evita-related art and books. This year exhibitions will highlight the museum’s own 10th anniversary as well as the 60th anniversary of Evita’s death.
DUARTE FAMILY TOMB
After 24 years of being shuttled about Argentina and even being buried in Italy for a few years, Evita’s body came to rest in 1976 in this simple black tomb belonging to the family of her father, Juan Duarte. Her admirers place flowers and notes at the tomb nearly every day, and the crowds grow to the thousands on July 26, the anniversary of her death. On Oct. 17, the date Juan Perón came to power, the arrangements — many from political leaders and unions — grow in size and number.
CONFEDERACIÓN GENERAL DEL TRABAJO
The General Confederation of Labor is a union office building constructed by the Peróns in the late 1940s. Tourists will recognize it by the portrait of Evita on its central tower, lighted by an eternal flame. Her body was embalmed in this building and it lay here until 1955, when a military coup forced Juan Perón from power. (The body was brought back to Argentina in 1974 after a multi-country journey involving Spain and Italy.)
MINISTRY OF HEALTH BUILDING
One of Buenos Aires’s tallest structures, the Ministry of Health was built by the Peróns and dominates Avenida Nueve de Julio. Because it was too large to demolish during the 1960s expansion of the avenue, a process that made it the world’s widest boulevard, the road simply goes around it. A stage at the base of this building was the site of a 1951 rally at which the crowd, estimated at two million people, called for Evita to announce her candidacy for vice president. (She decided against it.) Today, the building is home to the city’s newest Evita monument: two 10-story images of Evita’s face on the central tower, made of steel. The work on the south facade was unveiled on July 26, 2011, the 59th anniversary of her death, by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, a former first lady herself who has drawn comparisons with Eva Perón. A defiant Evita on the northern facade harangues the city’s wealthy oligarchs, while on the south facade, facing a poor area, she is smiling.
EVITA MONUMENT AND THE NATIONAL LIBRARY
There was no official monument to Evita until 1999, when this bronze statue, reminiscent of a 1960s church sculpture, was unveiled. It’s on a hillside below the National Library, which sits at the site of the former presidential residence, where Evita died. (The residence was demolished after the coup.) The statue roughly marks the spot where Juan Perón had planned to build a colossal monument to himself, Evita and a symbolic worker, or Descamisado.
Contact SoloMate Travel today to inquire about our fascinating singles trip to sensuous Argentina. We also invite you to visit our Trips page to learn all about our other fabulous vacations for singles. Call 1‑855‑290‑7050 (toll free) without delay.
On our recent singles trip to Quebec City, we were treated to some fabulous shows: Aerosmith, The Whalers, Beirut, Sarah McLachlan and Suzanne Vega. Our festival pass gave us access to the three outdoor stages, and to all indoor venues for the full four days. With more than 60 performers, SoloMate travelers sometimes found it difficult to decide which shows to attend.
Rue Saint-Jean, in Vieux Québec, was alive with circus performers, comedy acts and music. Day and night, every square offered a new experience, and our group of single travelers couldn’t resist joining the people dancing in the streets.
From Cirque du Soleil’s free show Les Chemins invisibles, to the Moulin à images (Image Mill), the largest outdoor projection screen in the world set against the Bunge grain silos in the harbor, evening entertainment was first-rate.
We explored every nook and cranny of the city and spoiled ourselves along the way, indulging in maple syrup, gelato, poutine and even blueberry beer. We rode the funicular down to the Quartier Petit Champlain, and climbed the Escalier Casse-Cou (Breakneck Stairs) back up to ease our conscience.
Our charming guide walked us through streets unknown to even the locals, while describing the city’s history and hardship endured by the first French settlers. It is important to remember that everyone wanted Quebec; the French, the British, and even the Americans, because its location along the St. Lawrence River made it the ideal gateway to North America for trade and shipping.
No visit to this region would be complete without a trip to the nearby Montmorency Falls. Our ascent up the zig zag staircase brought us very close to these magnificent falls, allowing us to take-in the extraordinary sound along the way. The surrounding park offers wonderful picnicking opportunities.
Danny, a Quebecer of Irish descent, was our guide and host during our tour of Île d’Orléans. Somewhat less prestigious than the Hamptons, this island can perhaps be likened to the Nantucket of the north!
An apple cider tasting, lunch in an old flower mill and a quick stop to savor fresh organic Quebec strawberries left us very satisfied.
We enjoyed a cassis (black currants) tasting at Cassis Monna & Filles, a family business run by the daughters who are always on site. The company transforms black currants into cassis aperitif wines, syrups, jams, jellies and vinaigrettes. Our favorite though was cassis sangria, bursting with summer freshness, and a high concentration of black currants, so rich in anti-oxidants.
SoloMate offers you this fresh and flavorful Sangria recipe:
(Makes 1 pitcher)
2 cups Fruity (light) red wine or grape juice
1 ¼ cup Orange juice
¾ cup Club Soda
½ cup Crème de Cassis
Blend together all ingredients, add ice and slices of fruit, and serve.
This beverage is ideally suited to a good movie or thoughts about your next SoloMate Travel singles adventure.
A few years ago, an amazing initiative was started in Buenos Aires, and we think it deserves our attention. We are referring to gratiferias—free fairs.
These are markets where no money is exchanged. What a perfect idea! You can get rid of items you no longer want, use or have room for, and obtain things you are looking for.
Items traded, or simply given away, include shoes, clothing, tools, books, furniture, plants, and even haircuts. There is one condition though: items must be clean and in working order.
Santiago, Madrid, Medellin, Montevideo and Buenos Aires all have designated dates and locations for their gratiferias, and happen to be just a few of SoloMate’s favorite destinations.
In Buenos Aires, a destination SoloMate Travel will be visiting in November 2012, the first gratiferia was organized two years ago by Ariel Rodriguez Bosio, an environmental technician. For this native of Buenos Aires, these fairs are all about “finding solutions for the world in which we live.” His website promotes his vision for a world without money, and his novel idea of a living economy system. He explains that “what was excess gets used again, and nothing gets thrown away. Sharing means less pollution.
These fairs are not restricted by social barriers; they can be held in the elegant Recoleta neighborhood or in a working class district.
Solo and single travelers who join SoloMate Travel on a fabulous vacation for singles to Buenos Aires in November will enjoy four-star accommodations in the Recoleta district. Why not embark on a singles adventure to Argentina, and experience a gratiferia? Who knows what you’ll walk away with? Andrea, your singles tour group Travel Director, may even trade in her travel mug for a real Yerba Mate drinking cup.
Call a SoloMate Travel Expert now toll free at 1-855-290-7050 to enquire about our fantastic singles trip to Argentina, or visit our website at http://www.solomatetravel.com.
Pickpockets do not usually openly display their intentions, which can make them difficult to spot. Moreover, they are often well-dressed, and blend in with the people around them. Here are a few hints that may help you identify them and avoid falling prey to them. Remember that your SoloMate Travel Director is always there to ensure all the necessary safety precautions are taken, and that you are always safer in a singles travel group than completely alone.
Obviously, if someone is staring at you or following you, immediately go to a safe, well-lit place. It is important to know that pickpockets do not usually work alone; rather, they operate in groups. A very popular strategy for these groups is to create chaos in order to momentarily distract their prey. If you notice some sort of altercation or commotion in the street, do not let your curiosity get the better of you; avoid it and continue on your way.
Beware if you suddenly find yourself surrounded by a group of people, even if it is a group of young women or children. Also, be careful if you get the impression that someone is trying to block your way. Some members of the group will box you in, while others steel your valuables.
Pickpockets have many tricks up their sleeves. For example, they know full-well that if they shout that they have been robbed, everyone will instinctively bring their hands to their wallets, thus showing them exactly where to find their loot.
In another popular strategy, the pickpocket pretends to trip, dropping his or her belongings. When you, trying to be a good samaritan, stop to help, the pickpocket steels your money or valuables. It is sad to say, but when you are on a singles vacation, forget about helping strangers. If someone looks like they need a hand, look for a police officer or let someone else help instead.
If someone spills a drink on your clothes, make sure you clean it up yourself. If the culprit is too helpful, odds are good he or she is out to rob you.
Always remain extra vigilant when you are in busy places, like train or bus stations, hotel lobbies, festivals or public markets.
No matter where you are, never leave your belongings unattended. Always carry them close to your body, making a pickpocket’s job more difficult. Furthermore, there are knapsacks, purses and fanny-packs with safety clips or locks, and some are even slash-proof. These items are well worth the investment if you are planning on purchasing new gear for your next solo or singles vacation.
Once again, remember that you are always safer travelling in a small group, and that your SoloMate Travel Director is always there to guide you and keep you as safe as possible.
Call SoloMate Travel now to enquire about our exciting singles vacations. You can reach one of our Travel Experts toll-free anytime at 1-855-290-7050. We also encourage you to visit our Trips page at http://www.solomatetravel.com.
When traveling solo in a foreign country, it is best to respect the local culture and customs of the area. This will make your trip go smoother and keep you out of any trouble. Here are a few tips to help you travel safely and respectfully:
- Watch and learn. Observe how people in the country interact with others and mirror their manners as you interact with people there.
- Dress conservatively. Some sites have certain rules about having your shoulders and/or knees covered, so abide by these rules. Always be clean and well-groomed.
- Recognize what is highly valued in the countries you visit. Electricity and water are often precious commodities. Therefore, conserve these as you travel.
- Schedule your day according to local customs. If the country takes siestas during the midday, don’t do your shopping at this time.
- Learn a bit about the history. Understanding the origins of a culture will help you better understand their world view and specific customs.
It is important to remember that, just like at home, what one person does or says is not necessarily representative of the entire culture. So, if someone says or does something unpleasant, it may not be an accepted practice, but just someone’s personality showing through. Keep an open mind when traveling solo because a country’s culture may not be exactly what you are used to, but this makes for an adventure!
When visiting a foreign country, staying in touch with people back home can be difficult at times. Not only is there a time difference, but also it can get quite expensive to stay in contact with someone when you are halfway across the world. Therefore, we have made a list of a few cheap and easy ways to stay in touch with your friends and family while traveling abroad:
Social Networking Sites: Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus are easy ways to let people know what you are up to while abroad. These sites allow you to interact with your friends by sharing pictures, videos, and thoughts about your traveling experiences.
Pre-paid Calling Card: Purchasing an international calling card can reduce the rates of your long distance calls. Many companies offer low rates and the ability to purchase calling cards online.
Skype: Skype allows users to make free calls to other Skype users, no matter if you are calling local or long distance. Skype allows users to make free voice calls, video calls, and even instant message other Skype users who are logged in. The only tricky thing about using Skype is that you have to have access to Wi-Fi to use it.
Postcard: Sometimes going back to traditional communication methods can be refreshing. Send a postcard or write a letter to a friend or family member and tell them about your adventures while traveling. Postcards can easily be purchased at market stalls and shops along the streets, and usually don’t cost more than 50 cents a piece.
Traveling to a foreign country will broaden your perspective and allow you to meet new and interesting people. However, it is always good to keep in touch with the people you love back at home. If you are traveling alone and you’d like to see the world with a group of other solo travelers, join one of SoloMate’s single travel trips to luxurious destinations all over the world. You will meet like-minded people whom you can share your travel experience. Call 855-290-7050 today!
“There’s nothing wrong with hard work, unless it interferes with your health, relationships or life outside work,” according to Stephen Balzac, professor of organizational psychology and group dynamics. “Hard work can be rewarding and fruitful, but can also deliver a good dose of stress and anxiety.” Professor Balzac confirms that: “If you are not emotionally and physically balanced, you can’t use your intelligence or creativity to solve problems.”
Today, employers understand that they benefit when their employees take a vacation, embark on a travel adventure or relax during a retreat. These employees return to work happier and healthier.
Are you self-employed? If so, taking time away can be much easier said than done. We at SoloMate Travel understand the pressures associated with being on your own, and we are here to help. Take some time and let us take you on the travel adventure of a lifetime. We will organize your entire trip, allowing you to enjoy the time off with the other solo travelers in your dynamic group. Group travel for singles can offer valuable networking opportunities. On one of our recent trips, we had guests that work in fields as varied as advertising, software, health care, and we even had a guest who owns a bed-and-breakfast. These solo travelers got a chance to share ideas, and even became friends.
If you are going to work hard, reward yourself with time to relax and recharge your batteries. This might even help you solve that problem that’s been weighing on you for so long.