Monday, December 26, 2011
Although only 260 miles, we were late leaving VGB so it took us two days to get to Rosario. We spent the first night at a gas station in Villa Maria. It was quiet with a large grassy area to exercise Winston and it had Wi-Fi. Then it was on to Rosario. Also located on the Parana River in the province of Santa Fe, Rosario is a beautiful city and the third largest in Argentina with a population of over 1 million people. Our destination in the city is the Monumento Nacional a la Bandera (National Flag Monument). This 10,000 sq. meter complex built using stone from the Andes consists of the tower, civic courtyard and the Propileo Triunfal. The 70 meter (210ft) tower which has the crypt of Manuel Belgrano at the base provides fantastic views of the rest of the complex, the nearby Cathedral and the city and river. From there, the walk across the courtyard is filled with stone statues by sculptors Jose Fioravanti and Alfredo Bigatti until you enter the Propleo Triunfal. The huge stone pillars reminiscent of ancient Roman and Greek architecture has the Honor Room which displays all the flags of the Americas and holds the Eternal Flame at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Guarded by the military it is a tribute to the wars fought and soldiers who died for their country. Very Arlington Cemetery like. Across the street, National Flag Park has plenty of riverside parking and was perfect for our overnight stay. After dark, the monument and nearby Cathedral is lit with a fabulous display of lights and because of Christmas, plenty of decorations and Christmas trees. A little after dark a monstrous storm came through so in addition to all the other lights we were treated to a super display of lightening as it flashed across the sky and lit up the river. The only downside was there was no internet and we were unable to meet up with Luis and Sylvina. However time allowing we will come back to visit them but we are committed to being in Buenos Aires tomorrow to meet with Anne and Jon.