Fourteen Years discussed on Travel with Rick Steves

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On the intersection between this world and the next the folks had atlas really really is GonNa be you're the best bang for your Buck and the clergywoman tells us how her travels have shown her the ways different societies confront mortality and honored ready we leave behind it's not just dust when we're done with it and that's a lot of the rituals of mourning of death have to do with treating the body with the back we're traveling with the NUTSO repairing our head on travel with Rick Steves just in time for Halloween also stay in the day of the dead we're about to learn how people in different parts of the world honor the end of life and Episcopal Deacon from Iowa US what she's discovered in her travels with the grim reaper and we'll hear about some of the unusual places in the Atlas Obscure Cabinet of curiosities sites that run the gamut from sacred to creepy it's all just ahead on today's travel with Rick Steves where at eight seven seven three three three seven four to five cemetery this can be some of the most interesting moving and artistic sites in a city you can learn a lot about a society by visiting it's leading graveyards and they welcomed tourists Robert Wright is a guide who's lived in guided in Buenos Aires for many years and he considers that city's historic cemetery the most important site in town Robert joins us now to talk about why he loves digging curious visitors to Buenos Aires Coletta Cemetery Robert Thanks for joining us thank you cemeteries are fascinating and a lot of people don't realize but they really give a fun insight we'll get to Buenos Aires in a minute let's talk cemeteries in general as you've traveled what are some tips for travelers to recognize the importance of cemeteries in their sightseeing everyone makes a big deal about going to churches yeah and a lot of times that's where baptisms take place but then you forget that there's the end of the road as well and the way that people build their mausoleums their family tombs that's how they want to be remembered so it's a great insight to a family's sense of their historical preservation also they're great repositories of art and architecture if you love sure what better place to go it's an outdoor museum and every cemetery is free exactly you could book for one of the maps the tricia where the famous people learn it always kind of gives me a little bit better sense of the history of a place as well that I'm visiting because that way I can maybe learn about some of the important players in history that you don't really get access to you in an art museum we have a very ethnocentric look at who matters in the way we learned history but if you go to a cemetery you can see by the nature of the thousands of that tomb who were the biggest unity I just always go to Europe I'm thinking everywhere in Europe every great city every single said now you have an experience in bonuses aries you lived in Buenos Aires and what is so unique about the Recoleta cemetery in the big city in Argentina I lived in Argentina for fourteen years rick and I I still remember to this day the very first time I stepped foot in that cemetery because it's like a little miniature city within a city it has AH variety of tombs and mausoleums but it's like you're taking a walk through a just four city blocks the covers all of Argentina history you've got the founders the city you've got all the first presidents that are there every single moment in history even like the very controversial period of the Perron Era Because Eva Peron is very there's I would love to learn about that but I wouldn't know how if I went to that cemetery would there be a a guided tour available or there's actually maps that you can buy at the entrance gate eight if you want and there are also a guided tours available usually there are people there that you can do a tour with an any language okay so in English is tourists who are areas you could do that let's the cemetery take me on a walk Robert what am I gonNa see is it a cer- cuff agai is little houses that have you know families in them were who am I going to bump into Pete the pitcher for us I think when you first gonNA walk through a very large grand entrance gate and it sort of sets the tone for the the tire experience because you know you're walking into somewhere very important with through that large gate and then all of a sudden the whole cemetery opens up before you and you have neat little rows uh-huh of not usually tombstones because the tombstones were from a previous era but once it became really popular to be buried in Recoleta cemetery they started building larger and larger family mausoleums okay so instead of walking in thinking you refine grasp plots or crosses or tombstones there are Zillah few that are leftover tucked in between little corners but there are mainly large mausoleums ups pitcher and many of us travelers have been to the Perlis says cemetery in Paris and you walk through this grand entry and it's got a street plan sure you know there's the main street there's neighborhood you have to know how to find your loved one as you do and and then you've got some people that just have a little slab and there's and there's a lot of these stone homes buildings mausoleums Muslims this is so exciting to have this extra dimension of sighting in our travels this is travel with Rick Steves we're talking with Robert Wright and Robert A tour guide who for years has lived in guided in Buenos Aires in Argentina our number eight seven seven three three three seven four to five and Ed's calling in from Vancouver in Washington ed thanks for your call Hi Rick yeah we were just there on a family trip last month and we actually went back twice to the cemetery it was just so interesting with all the lines say these little buildings where you could look in and you can see well you can see you know the wealth of the families you can see you know what was important to them and how they wanted to be remembered my question had to do more about you know how do they decide how these these little buildings are built and how many it's not just one person this is really a family and they're almost look like you could look into some of them and you almost see little bunk beds in there every coffin yeah little level it actually has to do with space requirements okay so if the cemetery's four city blocks it's built into the Urban Africa the city because initially cemeteries were located far from residential areas but as the city grows the cemetery was actually surrounded by the city so the Harry has no space to expand so basically you're you have to reuse whatever space you have inside you'll build a very fancy mausoleum but you'll have undergone around storage and the ideas that by the time great GRANDPA is in there you're gonNA have room for other people coming along and future generations because by the time his great grandson is time to pass away there's not a whole lot left a great grandpa he's just basically ashes and so he's like then ways less remembered and he takes up less space so you can move him into a different container and I know this sounds gruesome but it's it is what it is and then you move them into a different container and then there's room for other family members so in that way you can continue to use these mausoleums overtime Robert I've been in cemeteries where the Standing is we have limited space here in our little ledge of land next to the lake or whatever and it's been centuries and your loved one gets a spot as long as his end sisters or her ancestors want to pay essentially the rent for that and there's nobody around anymore that cares anymore they don't pay the upkeep they don't pay that rent right and hulu dead who have loved ones who can pay the bill these mausoleum stay in the same family as long as they continue to pay the maintenance fee and there are caretakers of the cemetery that clean and do minor repairs but what ends up happening is that if there are no family members left or if they decide or if what if their fortune is gone yeah they can't afford the maintenance fee then you're in the US wherewithal family can sell it and then they'll they'll either reuse the same mausoleum just redecorate maybe a little bit or the whole thing down and build a new one I hadn't thought about that the the great cemetery in Buenos Aires Recoleta Robert I'd like to have you tell a few stories as a tour guide you know this is Halloween time in cemeteries lend themselves to these stories one of the most famous corpses on the most famous residents of the cemetery was a woman named Regina what's the story so Rufina cumbersome race was the daughter of a very well to do family in fact it said that her mother was having affair with the president of the time nobody really knows for sure but she had an attack on her birthday actually and she kind of passed out at home they were getting ready to go to.

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