Throughout our travels, Franny and Finn will file occasional reports about places we’ve visited or experiences we’ve shared. To begin, Franny reports on one of the curious treasures of Buenos Aires:
There is a saying that the dead live on in our hearts which keeps them alive forever. This saying was shared with me when I went to visit the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Behind the tall stone walls are countless hidden secrets and legends. Many famous presidents, poets, war leaders and other respected people are laid to rest into ornate mausoleums, which makes the cemetery resemble a small tightly crowded city.
There are numerous famous stories about the people buried in the cemetery but one really captured my imagination. It is the story of a young girl who died of a heart attack at the very young age of 19. Her body was put into the tomb but two days later the cover of her coffin was discovered to be half-open. The legend says that the cemetery keeper called her family and when her family got there they discovered that the ornaments surrounding the coffin were destroyed and the coffin was now open. Apparently she was not dead and she roamed the cemetery at night. This is the most famous story of the cemetery, because it is thrilling and for me made the cemetery come to life.
There is another well-known saying that the good die young. Well, in the Recoleta Cemetery the young are greatly honored. There was another girl who died in an avalanche at a very young age. Apparently, she was taking a nap in a hotel in Austria when an avalanche came and killed her immediately. This young girl is said to have one of the most tragic deaths and for that is honored by her family with a beautiful statue in front of her mausoleum.
The next story that interested me is that of Evita Perón. She was the first lady of Argentina and is famous all throughout the world. Her body went through a lot of trouble and strife to get where it rests today in the Recoleta Cemetery. When Evita died in 1952 the whole country mourned her tragic death. She was only 33 years old. Her husband, Juan Perón, was later exiled by the Military Dictator that took over Argentina. Perón did not have time to secure Evita’s body, so the new Argentinian dictator removed her body from display. After this Evita’s body went missing for 16 years. Many years later the military revealed that the body had been buried in Italy under a different name. In 1971, Evita’s body was taken to Spain where it was met by her husband who was now living there in exile. Juan Perón and his new wife kept Evita’s body in their house — with the coffin right in the dining room. Juan Perón was soon allowed back into Argentina and regained the presidency. Eventually Evita’s body was put into the Duarte tomb, the tomb of her family in the Recoleta Cemetery.
Although the Recoleta Cemetery itself may not last through time, the amazing stories and legends will. The lives of the people buried there will never be forgotten.
(Photos by Franny as well. Follow her travels on Instagram @ frannylondon_365)