Bridging My Experiences Abroad

March 2, 2011

Strolling along Buenos Aires’s famous Puerto Madero, I understood for the first time why the locals are called “porteños” or people of the port. The city of Buenos Aires has grown from its roots as a port on the Rio de la Plata to a bustling city of 13 million. In contrast to the port’;s 19th-century stone architecture was a large, white, modern bridge. Stretched out as a splash of modernity, I felt an odd sense of déjà vu, as I gazed upon this immense engineering expanse.

As I walked closer to its white diagonal cables, a fellow student traveler and architecture major, told a group of us that the bridge was known as “la Puente de la Mujer,” which roughly translates to the bridge of women. She also shared that it was designed by a Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava.

Curious about the bridge’s origin since it seemed vaguely familiar, I asked if the architect had constructed other similar structures. The other student replied, “I think there’s one in Tel Aviv”.

When I heard this, I realized that I had seen one of Calatrava’s other bridges-not in Tel Aviv, but rather in Jerusalem. And amazingly, I had photographed it less than 4 weeks ago on a trip to visit the Middle East.

While the Jerusalem bridge represents the strings of King David’s harp, the Buenos Aires bridge’s expanse embodies a couple dancing the T-A-N-G-O with their arms shooting into the air. After crossing to the other side of the bridge, I encountered my first street tango performance. The grace of the dancers allowed me to reflect on how well Calatrava captured the famous Argentine dance.

As I begin my new adventure as a porteña in Buenos Aires, it seems that it may be easier than I expected to bridge my travels during my semester abroad.

About Melanie Kaplan

Melanie Kaplan, a graduate of Wellesley College, has lived in Argentina and Brazil.

One thought on “Bridging My Experiences Abroad

  1. Erin
    March 13, 2011

    How funny to have seen both bridges in such a short amount of time Ms. World Traveler!!

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