We arrived at 11:30 am when the temperature had already reached 89 to find the museum doesn't open until 12:30pm. We were not the only tourist group whom this was a shock to as several others lingered on the steps with us. Again, things really do start later here.
This extra hour gave Ben and I time to walk around the park and see what we could find about the Free bicycle program available in the city. Turns out all you need is your passport, a copy of your passport for them to keep (??) and to fill out a few forms. Then they will give you a bicycle, helmet and lock to ride around the city. Am I being too cautious about giving a copy of my passport to a grungy, 20-something in a large metal box that resembles a small shipping container in the middle of the park?
This little trip only takes 15 minutes so we still have 45 minutes before the doors open. Why not go in search of a light snack and a drink. It's hot, right? I realize progress has been made in our children's ability to acclimate to new situations when the strawberry smoothie that Izzy orders come out made of bananas instead. No, Izzy didn't smile and drink it happily. She dipped her finger in it and discerned that is was of no value to her and she would sit and have nothing instead. However, Maddy agreed to try it and concurred with us that yes, it was indeed a very good drink and she would like to enjoy it herself. Not enough to give Izzy her Fanta in trade but enough to not let it go to waste. Ben even agreed that is was worthy of finishing. Progress, people, progress.
Back to the museum we went. Turns out the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is free to enter. And it's not to crowded on this hot day. The kids stumble in from the heat and we find the first written piece in English since our visit to BA began. There is a museum guide in our language!!! Again, this has no value to Izzy but everyone else take a copy. Something she will regret in about 5 minutes when we realize the their no air conditioning in the building. Oh, paper fan!!
Once I get settled in and read what I can, I am truly amazed at what is hanging on the walls of this modest building. This is the largest public collection in Latin American. Complete collections donated by wealthy families There are Degas, Monets, Guaguins, Manets and even a Van Gogh that I never knew existed. As a novice Impressionist Art aficionado I was giddy. Knowing walk two blocks and visit these pieces for free everyday is a thrill. What a wonderful way to begin your day (or in this case your afternoon;)
The rest of the museum was a fabulous collection of French, Spanish and Argentinian artists that were not that familiar to me. The beauty of this visit, as I told Maddy, was that I didn't feel pressure to absorb the names and details of the pieces because I couldn't read them. Here was our chance to look at beautiful art and simple enjoy the image. Nothing more. Or it could be everything.