Today we are to catch a bus to the Iguazu falls but we have the morning free. We pack up and head out for a walk hopefully to finish up in San Thelmo to see El Zanjon. We end up walking up Defensa Avenida where the market was yesterday. It has a differnt feel when there are no stalls and hardly any people around. We stop for a coffee in a food and fruit market. Here we pick up some rolls and bananas for our bus trip tonight.
At 11.30 we wait outside El Zanjon and chat to an American couple. The tour of El Zanyon starts at 12 and firstly we are shown some pictures of the building during the renovation. The building extends over the whole length of the square. Sections were unearthed including ruins of foundations, old walls, floors, water wells, sewage pits, which were built and destroyed between 1730 and 1865. The residence, originally a mansion, had turned into a tenement house by the early 20th century. At this stage there were shops and even a winery on the ground floor and up to 100 people lived on the top floor with only 2 bathrooms and one kitchen to share. Sometimes some of the residents would have a sponge bath in one of the open air courtyards on the ground floor. These were cramped and poor conditions for people to live in. By 1985 it had been abandoned and walled off, with its ground floor four meters deep in debris. The exposed brickwork is beautiful and we explore the ground and first floors and see some remnants of the archeological finds, like bits of crockery, nails, cutlery, bottles etc. As we go down into the tunnels we can see they were actually aqua ducts that were where two streams met and then travelled to the Rio de la Plata which was only 20 metres away. The port was too shallow for ships so that area of sea was reclaimed and now the ocean is 2 kms from this house. Consequently, there was a build up of soil in this area and that is why there have been some walls of houses built in the 1700's, found in the excavation work. When these two streams were diverted, the tunnels were built over the obsolete aquaducts and they were forgotten. The renovation took 20 years and must have cost millions. The stunning brickwork and mood lighting makes this a very interesting place. The funding for the building comes from a function centre built of the previous tennis court for the original mansion. A very intresting place!
We catch a taxi back to our Hotel and meet 1/2 hour later to transfer to the bus station. The bus leaves at 3pm and we board and settle down for the 18 hour trip. There is a little girl in front of me and i pass some Aussie stickers around the side of the seat to her. A bit of fun. Surprisingly the time goes quickly and we sleep well!