Saturday, January 21, 2012
I recently learned that there are tours of the Casa Rosada. However, they are only on weekends. The Casa Rosada is the place where the government works. It is not the place where the President lives now.
Actually, it is not the place where the government works now either, since all the government offices are closed for the entire month of January. Along with all the government officials, it seems as if everyone else in the city has gone on vacation, if you don’t count the tour guides and guards in the Casa. Travel on the freeways and certainly back and forth into the city has never been easier.
On the property where the Casa sits, there used to be a fort, and it used to be overlooking the river. Since those days during which the structures on the property were changed several times, quite a bit of land has been reclaimed from the river.
I had imagined that inside the Casa, I might find everything in pink. Not true. This room was my personal favorite.
Actually, there was only one hallway with stained glass windows that were pink.
Having been on the pastores tour several times now and with various guides, I have heard at least two reasons why they painted the house pink. One is that the two political parties identified themselves, one by the color white and the other by the color red and it was a compromise between two parties. Another theory is that is was the only color available. Nobody seems to doubt, however, that the color was achieved from animal blood mixed with the paint.
Last year was the bicentennial for Argentina and apparently the house got a makeover for the celebrations. On the tour, we didn’t see much evidence of official government work except for one boardroom with a very long table.
Having always looked up at the Casa from below and trying to imagine what it was like to speak to thousands of people in the Plaza de Mayo, it was pretty exciting to take some pictures from the opposite direction. Of course, Madonna made the balcony even more famous in the movie Evita.
My husband was in town on business when they were doing the filming for the movie. The city was abuzz with the fact that Madonna and Antonio Banderas had lunch with the President to obtain the permission to shoot those scenes.
The country has had a stormy history. Most of their leader’s lives came to very violent ends at the hands of the people, who once loved them, but changed their minds.
The house was finished in 1898. I have studied the architecture of that time period and loved the opportunity to view many of the beautiful details included in the Casa Rosada.