Of course, upon arrival at Casa Luna, one immediately loses any feeling of being a stranger! One senses a sincere welcome and genuine interest in making your stay both comfortable and memorable. Vicki handled the preliminary arrangements with skill and dispatch and a minimum of stress so that, despite a long flight, we arrived relaxed and ready for this new adventure. One suggestion: make sure that North Americans are aware of the “reciprocity fee” charged by Argentina, it must be paid before you can enter the country. While Vicki had to be away during our stay, we were in the capable hands of Yvonne who made sure that everything from the exchange of currencies to showing us the resources of the complex and of the barrio was undertaken with cordial efficiency. Her knowledge and concern soon made us feel “at home.” And she gave generously of her time whether it be introducing us to the skills of tango as well as to its culture and history, an understanding of the city and its people or even the best places to shop! Knowing her has been an enriching experience. She is a superb teacher and friend and made us aware, encouraged us to visit, places such as Colonia in Uruguay which we would otherwise have missed. She expanded the frontiers of our experience!
Audie and I invariably enjoy the places we visit but rarely have we left a city or our accommodation with more regret than we did Buenos Aires and the Casa Luna. And we will return! Located in Barrio Montserrat - a twenty minute walk from the Plaza de Mayo and the attractions of the city center - Casa Luna is, nevertheless, part of a residential neighborhood. And one feels embedded in the real life of Buenos Aires rather than the artificiality of the “tourism zone.” Eating at neighborhood cafes and restaurants, shopping at corner stores (you can cook a meal or two for yourselves if so minded), attending a nearby milonga or simply walking the well-treed residential streets, one gains a sense of the city’s real character and even makes a friend or two. Without exception, in our brief experience, one encountered amiable, courteous folk always ready to help two strangers in their midst.
The facility itself has great charm. Centered on the patio, the complex is inward-looking as tends to be true of much architecture influenced by Mediterranean culture. Moss and blue-gray stepping stones lend cool charm to this inner space. One feels secure, an occupant of an intimate terrain away from the hurly-burly of public life. The garden itself is lovely and filled by flowers characteristic of a sub-tropical land. Indeed, we watched with fascination the blossoming of the banana tree and the formation of “bunches” of the fruit, a process one seldom encounters in our part of the world. I, for one, spent much of my leisure time amid its shadowed charms. Our accommodation in the “Garden Apartment” made for a comfortable and convenient time. It is well furnished and attractive and one feels at ease, at home. We were also, of course, welcome in the public rooms of Casa Luna which are spacious as well as architecturally interesting (the craftsmanship of the staircase fascinated me). After a day of sightseeing or other activities, the complex is restorative, an oasis both restful and homelike.
Audie and I enthusiastically join in recommending the Casa Luna and, more particularly, those who make it the haven it is. For these two wanderers who have never before ventured south of the equator, our first experience was made an unparalleled pleasure by place and people. Many thanks!
Dr. and Mrs. (Jan and Audie) Saltzgaber