I love a public holiday. Even when I’m travelling and the concept of a day off has little meaning I like the idea of other people having one and celebrating or commemorating something. I like looking up the reasons behind the holiday on Wikipedia – or even asking the locals when I understand enough of the language to understand the answer. It seems that every time we go to New Zealand (okay, that should actually read both times we’ve been to NZ) the day before we leave turns out to be a national holiday; Waitangi day in 2007 and this year the Queen’s birthday. Why don’t we get a day off for the Queen’s birthday!? Not that I particularly want to celebrate the Queen’s birthday but another day off is always welcome. Apparently the Whitsun bank holiday kind of includes the Queen’s birthday by default but frankly I don’t think that’s good enough!!
But I digress…
The Dia de la Bandera Nacional (day of the national flag) is celebrated in Argentina on the third Monday in June and commemorates its creator Manual Belgrano. The city of Rosario celebrates the day with speeches and a parade but in Buenos Aires it appears to be celebrated like any other extra day off – shopping, eating and spending time with family and friends. Thinking it would be churlish not to join in we headed back towards Palermo for an afternoon of window shopping, people watching and another visit to b-Blue.
There’s something about Palermo that reminds me of Notting Hill. Grand houses, good restaurants, shops I can’t afford, well dressed mothers and their mini-me children, and tourists, lots of tourists. Interestingly I feel as much a foreigner in Notting Hill as I do Palermo and very much enjoy visiting both but wouldn’t want to live in either. It was weird hearing snatches of English conversation as we wandered the streets, I thought at first my Spanish had magically improved but quickly realised that the reason I could understand what they were saying was, in fact, because they were speaking English. Oh well, I never claimed to be clever!
These are the kinds of days I enjoy most when travelling – hanging out in a neighbourhood, watching the world go by, eating and drinking. Doing it on a national holiday just makes it even sweeter.
Apparently once you cross Costa Rica everything gets more expensive
The lovely b-Blue – from the inside…
...and the outside