One of my favourite parts about the city was how it was preferred to renovate and preserve old buildings rather than demolish and re-construct. Buenos Aires was first named and settled in 1536 (!) by Spanish conquistadors. It was amazing to walk down cobblestone roads and look up at centuries-old buildings at every corner. We took a walking tour of the downtown on our first week there in order to learn more about the history of some of the places we were walking past every day. We visited churches and government buildings that were hundreds of years old, many undergoing restorations. One of my favourite buildings was the oldest church in Buenos Aires, which had hand-tiled mosaic floors throughout the entire space (see below). As an artist, I was amazed at the detail and patience that this must have taken, as well how well preserved they were, despite being walked on for 300 years!
Of course, problems arise in any city, especially one this old. The plumbing system is nearly as old as the city, and seemed to always be getting fixed somewhere. City planning, especially for new buildings, is especially tricky due to the condensed footprint of the downtown core. Because of this, rapid urban sprawl has taken place, where slums seem to stretch for miles the farther out of the city you get. As the population has rose, water quality on the coastline has suffered due to pollution and sewage dumping. However, steps by the government have been implemented to collect and prevent ocean litter. In every harbour, there are bright yellow tugboats that collect garbage in a mesh net and deposit it in a receptacle to be taken to the dump. These machines, as well as the implementation of new dumping laws, have greatly improved water quality in the harbours around Buenos Aires.
Thank you for reading these articles about my trip to Argentina. I hope that you've learned and enjoyed as much as I did writing them.