March 24, 2008
This beautiful little plazoleta is just around the corner from the Sheraton Hotel in Mendoza. Palm trees, a gazebo covered in flowers, and a fountain transport visitors to another time and place. Close your eyes and you can almost see couples strolling by, gentleman lounging with the paper on a bench, or lovers gazing into each other's eyes in the gazebo. Like its name, the plaza has an Italian vibe–but by way of Argentina.
Those tables and tents are for the flea-market held every Thursday through Saturday; Argentina's timeless treasures can be yours for a song–as long as you still have room in your suitcase! The tables are littered with Argentina's past: little metal address plaques (replaced by more modern street signs), old postcards of Buenos Aires landmarks, Eva Peron paraphenalia and heavy old seltzer siphons. Old silver from families who have lost their fortunes, household relics of days gone by.
Cars whiz around this plaza in all direstions like it's part of a race circuit. And yet in the midst of the madness, palm trees, frangipani, and the sound of bubbling water give a stillness and calm in the bustle of the city. It's an urban oasis, if you will. In a way, it's a metaphor for how Argentinians view the world: despite the chaos of everything outside, there's always a moment, however brief, to slow down and enjoy something breathtakingly beautiful.