Thursday, May 30, 2024

Yellowstone, Grand Teton parks greet summer after holiday weekend

Grand Teton National Park, above, is in glorious color as the Memorial Day weekend arrives,
noting the unofficial beginning of summer in the country's national parks.




Above right, Bison sightings are a common
occurrence in Yellowstone. It's best to drive slowly and
not stop. Traffic jams are part of the park experience.
Above, well marked rest areas and viewing areas are
part of the learning at our national parks, with
plenty of information to be gleaned by stopping. 
THE SMELL of sulfur and wisps of steam signal that hot pots and geysers are near.  The odor assails the nostrils, all part of the Yellowstone experience. You'll encounter this "boiled egg" scent without leaving your car. Some find it obnoxious.  I find it comforting. It's part of my childhood.  And after all, Yellowstone's geysers formed after the last glaciers scoured the land surface at least 15,000 years ago. So we show proper respect!

We love our national parks and are fortunate to have two within a day's drive -- Yellowstone and Grand Teton.  It takes us a bit longer to reach Glacier National Park, from our base in south-central Montana.  But the drive north is also a delightful pilgrimage and we make as often as possible.

Bison and steaming geysers catch the eye in Yellowstone.
IN YELLOWSTONE, we always hike to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, as viewed from the Lower Falls.  The craggy canyons, gushing waterfalls and towering mountains are a spectacle that never ceases to amaze.

The 3,500 square-mile wonder is mostly in Wyoming, but we Montanans claim Yellowstone, too, since three of the five entrances are in our state.
Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers
enjoy an early spring hike in the Tetons.
The park also spreads into Idaho, near West Yellowstone. "Our park" features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, hot springs and gushing geysers, including its most famous, Old Faithful. It's also home to hundreds of animal species, including the ones we saw last week.
We've found through the years that our autumn treks are perfectly timed. With thinning crowds and colorful foliage, fall is a spectacular time to visit Yellowstone.  Many of the park’s iconic animals are more visible in spring and autumn, when cooler temperatures prompt them to move about more. Summer's heat encourages staying put.
DAWN AND DUSK are the best times for spotting wildlife, and with spring days growing longer one can get up as early and stay out late to take
Bears are more elusive, but can be seen. This
grizzly bear was not far from the East Entrance.
advantage of prime viewing times. We witnessed several careless activities with wildlife: one family attempting to photograph a child in the same frame as a bison. Bad idea.
Rangers advise maintaining a distance of at least 100 yards from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards from all other wildlife. Remember, too, that they are on the move to lower elevations as winter draws nearer.
Fir trees welcome spring and flowers
 begin to bud, as runoff from winter
snow fills lakes and rivers.

IF YOU'RE looking for lodging, know that guest facilities and services gradually book months in advance and begin to close in the fall. Prices also drop a bit in autumn, and there are appealing fall lodging packages. Check the park’s website for the availability.  Check weather and road updates when you're in the park. 
Some services and activities in the parks require reservations.  Do some homework to save time and frustration while there.

MORE INFORMATION: (for camping, vehicle permits, cabins, rvs, passes and more specifics.)

Here, Ryan and Callie Regan of Chicago give Remly a cuddle as they
spend time with him on a recent crossing aboard Queen Mary 2.

Everyone knows the appeal cruising has to millions of people.  But did you know that dogs and cats can cross the ocean in style on the world's most famous ocean liner, Queen Mary 2? Pampered pooches and cats, too, travel regularly between New York and Southampton, England, lovingly cared for by a devoted kennel master.   More on how to book passage for your pup or cat, and what to expect to pay for the mobile pampering. Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on travel, nature, family, performance and more:


Thursday, May 23, 2024

Transplant tale: celebrating 7th 'Liverversary' with travel, joy, gratitude

Seven years post transplant, Christene "Cookie" Meyers and Bruce Keller are enjoying a life of
collaboration in their travel writing -- Cookie's writing and Keller's photos -- here in Scandinavia.


Dr. Jonathan Fisher of Scripps Green Hospital, and Bruce
Keller, just days after the successful transplant.

SEVEN YEARS ago this week, I was frightened, pacing alone at 2 a.m. in the ICU waiting room at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, California. 
I waited an agonizing seven hours while Keller was trading livers. It was too early to call U.S. friends or family, so I texted a friend in France to calm me.
 THE TRANSPLANT call came at 10 p.m., after our usual Friday
Bruce Keller hours after a
successful liver transplant.
date night. I was drying off from a shower and Keller was just settling in bed. The call was 17 months in coming, as we worked our way slowly up the list. "Could you be at the hospital in an hour?" the transplant nurse asked. "Absolutely," we replied. By midnight, he was admitted and tests were underway to determine if the match indeed was a good one.  
A long undiagnosed case of "hep C" from a college transfusion had taken its toll. We looked The Grim Reaper in the eye. But through the miracle of a generous donor, an internationally
Traveling recently in Europe, Bruce Keller & Christene Meyers
left, with Rick Cosgriffe and his partner Jane Milder at Rome's
 famous Trevi Fountain, seven years post transplant.

known hepatologist and a brilliant Columbia University Medical College physician and his team, Keller recovered fully and we continued our life of travel and theater, commuting between Keller's San Diego home and my native Montana. Our treasured Yorkies, Nick and Nora, were part of our lives until they gallantly passed away a couple years ago.
Just three weeks after the surgery, Keller & Cookie
got "thumbs up" for a trip to the Oregon coast for
the wedding of niece Kira Cosgriffe to Mike Hill.

Date night turned transplant time
AMAZINGLY, Keller was discharged from the hospital in a record two days. I had been thoroughly vetted as his caregiver -- one must have an approved caregiver to be on the list --and Dr. Fisher deemed Keller would be more comfortable at home, if I were willing to administer 17 meds, change bandages, keep tabs and transport him back in a day for follow-up. 
Dr. Fisher was astonished that Keller did not need a ventilator leaving Recovery for the ICU. His pulmonary prowess was the result of years of water sports -- sailing, surfing, diving -- with advanced degrees in scuba. When we decided to be a couple, we pledged that I'd learn to sail if he learned to dance. Promises fulfilled. We married last August, the only thing we've done slowly!!
 Challenges of transplant recovery
Cookie and Keller, with niece Amarylla, her
husband Steve, James and Peny, in Hawaii.
reams about the challenges of this enormous process.  It was not easy to consider the consequences if something went wrong or if he did not make it to the top of the transplant list in time. His liver was failing and without the transplant he would have died.

Keller, Cookie, Nick and Nora on the road, one
of many trips with pups, here in Lake Tahoe.

Medical miracles are not uncommon in this day, but we consider ourselves fortunate.
THIS MONTH, in Italy, we celebrated Keller's
Lifelong love of doggies
Cookie and Keller surrounded by their clan at a "surprise
wedding" organized by Keller and niece Amarylla and her
husband Steve, who also officiated as a lay minister.
recovery and our 17th year together, grateful for surviving that low point and embracing each "high." We call ourselves "The Carpe Diem Kids" and truly live with a "carpe diem" attitude, attempting to be generous, thoughtful, kind. After 17 years together, the surprise wedding took place in Montana, during a family reunion.
MY ADVICE to anyone facing a transplant is to join a support group, do as much homework as you can absorb, and be optimistic while understanding that things can go wrong but can also be corrected.
For us, fortunately, things have gone mostly right. 

Meanwhile, we've endured family losses, attended too many memorials, yet celebrated birthdays, weddings, holidays and welcomed two great-nephews to the planet.
We have continued a life of vigorous travel, from Iceland to the Antarctic, embracing each day with gusto and the knowledge that we are all on borrowed time, "just passing through," as my wise grandfather Gus said.  
WE SURVIVED the COVID years, with 341 games of Scrabble and every vaccination known to man. We've sought medical help a couple nervous times on foreign ground. All good.
SOME IN our situation would stay put, but that's not who we are. Our goal to see the world together continues. We take joy in each new trip, new city, new ship, train, plane. We continue to cultivate a cherished coterie of international friends. We appreciate each adventure, relish the planning and say a grateful "thank you" each day. 

Tourists cross one of the park's bridges to admire scenery
and take a boat ride at Grand Teton National Park.
UP NEXT: Summer arrives in our favorite national parks. Come along with us to Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier -- three of the world's most beautiful and popular parks.  As Memorial Day weekend approaches, the summer season begins. 
It previewed in late April as the roads were cleared of snow. Then park facilities began to open on a staggered schedule. We visit in prime beauty, knowing the season is short. Parks begin to close in September, weather depending. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on travel, art and life.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Turtles, dolphins invite tourists to learn, enjoy on Hawaiian islands


The graceful sea turtles of Kauai are protected under the Endangered Species Act.  It is a crime to endanger them.



Bottlenose dolphins are stars at Hilton Waikoloa Resort,
 where visitors can swim with the dolphins in strict
 supervision by educated environmentalists and trainers. 

DOLPHINS AND TURTLES are primary tourist attractions in Hawaii. They have a magical aura and delight visitors of all ages, from all over the world.

We found both in abundance on our most recent trip. We discovered our mutual fascination with sea creatures when we began traveling together nearly 18 years ago. Both of us had admired them for decades before so we strengthen this bond in travel each year.

Although both sea turtles and dolphins can be spotted on other Hawaiian islands, today's piece focuses on sea life of Kauai and the "Big Island" of Hawaii.

These waters off the coast of Kauai attract sea turtles,
dolphins and whales. There are strict rules protecting wildlife.
SEA TURTLES or “honu” -- pronounced hoh-noo -- top most travelers’ wish lists of wildlife viewing in Kauai. Long considered symbols of good luck, the creatures’ kind faces and trudging gait are endearing. Watching them is joy.
On the Big Island, spinner dolphins are the ones we see most in the wild. There are hundreds of them -- perhaps thousands -- up and down the Kona Coast. In our encounters on Body Glove's fun tours, we've watched these playful creatures in pods of five and six, up to 30 and more.
We watched this green sea turtle swim under
one of the bridges at Waikoloa Village.

At Hilton's Waikoloa Resort north of Kona village, we never tire of watching the graceful bottlenose dolphins and we've twice booked encounters with them through Dolphin Quest Hawaii. It opened in 1988 as the first of its kind to provide a natural sandy beached tidal lagoon filled with filtered sea water for resident bottlenose dolphins. It's possible to swim with them here in a strictly supervised and diligently tended environment.
WATCHING dolphins and turtles never ceases to amaze. Dolphins are playful and smart and have been known to protect humans in shark invested waters. These affectionate creatures seem to enjoy human contact and being observed. Turtles are more elusive,
The one highly supervised place dolphins can be gently
touched is at Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island.
Here, Amarylla and Steve Ganner, Peny and James
join their auntie and uncle, Cookie and Keller. 

and have slimmer odds of survival, which makes them all the more precious.
Newly hatched turtles try to elude predators as they scramble from their sandy nests to the relative safety of the water. A few make it in one of nature's most harrowing stories. If they make it to the sea, hatchlings are a favorite snack of larger creatures. Only one in  1,000 eggs survives to adulthood.

Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers
had the rare opportunity to swim with dolphins
at Dolphin Quest at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

HAWAII'S TURTLES are protected under the Endangered Species Act as well as by the state of Hawaii. Dolphins are, too. It is illegal to pursue wild dolphins in Hawaii as well as any place in any waters within United States jurisdiction. Legally, one must go in the water and let the dolphins come. Boat tours that promise swimming with dolphins can risk a stiff fine of $10,000 if they are caught encouraging this activity, so make sure you are touring with a reputable company. The key is to watch them and hope they approach you. Do not try to swim to these beautiful creatures. For turtle viewing, it is best to visit their areas around sunset and stay through the evening. Poipu Beach State Park is a popular place where we've seen many, walking right from our Point at Poipu room. 
The sea turtles at Poipu Beach State Park can
be enjoyed, photographed, but never touched.
We saw the most turtles at the end of the day. Years ago, we stayed up later and saw them come ashore after dark to sleep.
Dolphins swim in pods off the Kona coast. Many
snorkeling tours allow visitors to swim in areas
frequented by dolphins; let the dolphins approach.

We found lovely turtle viewing spots just
a short hike from our Point at Poipu room, on
the scenic southernmost tip of Kauai.

When you spot honus, the rules are: stay at least 10 feet away. Never harass, feed, chase, ride, handle, injure or hunt them. Holding the animals in captivity is prohibited under federal and state laws. Violators can be fined up to $100,000 and even imprisoned. And if you find yourself in the water with spinner dolphins, be aware that the Marine Mammals Protection Act prohibits people from chasing, feeding or touching marine mammals in the wild. Resist the temptation to pursue dolphins, rather, allow them to swim to you.

Thrilling to see turtles on Poipu Beach, Kauai.

Swimming with dolphins: click here

SEA TURTLES and dolphins made the Hawaiian islands their home long before people did, but counts of both have dropped. Honu were officially placed on the endangered species list in 1978 and are strictly protected. Dolphins are threatened by fishing, toxoplasmosis (a parasitic infection) and other diseases. Other threats to the dolphin population worldwide are oil and gas exploration, boat strikes, mining, tourism and noise.

WE TRAVEL with courtesy toward all fellow inhabitants of our planet. Show animals on land and sea respect. Watch them, but please don't approach them.

For more information or to book a stay or activity for wildlife viewing in Hawaii: (for Dolphin Quest bookings and dolphin viewing info) (snorkeling, dolphins, dinner and sunset cruise tours) (for info on the park) (tours on all the islands)


In May 2017, Christene "Cookie" Meyers wheels  
Bruce Keller from the ICU at Scripps Green Hospital
Transplant Division, two days after transplantation.
UP NEXT: We are celebrating.  Please join our joy as we mark our seventh anniversary post transplant.  Thanks to a generous donor, and a crack medical team at Scripps in San Diego headed by a Columbia University Medical College ace, Bruce William Keller is on the high seas today -- not in an urn or cemetery plot.  We tell the story of our trials to work up the transplant list and into health after a long undiagnosed case of hepatitis C nearly sidelined him for good. Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live, celebrating each day.  Catch us each week for a fresh spin on health, nature, travel, family, the arts and more, at

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Exploring Buenos Aires with a native son yields touring at its finest


Buenos Aires is known for its savory red wine, sultry tango halls and succulent steaks, and we found them all with a spirited local. He took us to hidden gems throughout the capital of Argentina, including a visit to El Mirasol (sunflower or sun watcher). This famed
steakhouse is a favorite with locals and a delight for tourists who have the advantage of a native son's expertise to tour the city.

 Keller, left, and our friend and exemplary
guide, Rolando, right, pose with statues
of famed writers Borges and Bioy at 
La Biela, a famed Buenos Aires eatery.


In early morning, cafe tables await customers who will fill
 the tables by late morning.  People watching and lingering
over a coffee are favorite rituals in Buenos Aires. 


A GUIDED TOUR of any city is best when arranged by a local. We were lucky in Buenos Aires, to get beyond the best known spots and into the real heart of the city. So we had the good fortune of enjoying the expertise and guidance of financial wizard and Buenos Aires native son Rolando on our recent tour of this fascinating city.
Sure, we also sampled succulent steakhouses, savory red wine and sultry tango halls.
But we welcomed the opportunity to tour with Rolando, reveling in his knowledge, insights and anecdotes of lesser known haunts.
ROLANDO'S PASSION for his native city is unmatched by that of any guide we've encountered.  
Keller, Cookie and Rolando
at Colon, the city's beautiful
and famous opera house.

He is a man of fine taste.  He is a gourmand, coffee aficionado, opera buff, lover of palaces and warm pastry, fan of chocolate and crema de leche. And, perhaps a minor inconsistency, Coca Cola.
He is devoted to literature and architecture, and enhanced our time with charming stories of artists, builders, poets and writers who share his love of one of the world's great cities.   

La Confiteria Ideal is famous for its beautifully presented
pastries, elegant coffees and teas. The two-story building
has hosted presidents, celebrities and is a favorite stop. 

BUENOS AIRES is known for its remarkable architecture, wonderful parks, top quality restaurants, and world renowned museums and concert halls, including one place you can’t miss: the Colón Theater, the city’s fantastic Opera House. We toured it thanks to Rolando, who booked us for a fascinating afternoon there. 
(We wrote about this grand concert hall separately.)Step inside a world class opera house
At La Biela, writers Borges and Bioy greet people
from the table where they sat to discuss their
writing projects. The sculptures immortalize
 the famed collaborators at their favorite table.

ROLANDO IS comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, but he dresses up for world conferences and spent much of his career in suits. He served as the Assistant Director at the International Monetary Fund from 2003-2009 and still consults with high-level officials, in demand as a financial consultant. In world capitals he shares his extensive experience in public policy, research and publication, and discovers eateries and museums to integrate into his impressive "visitor's vocabulary." 
Our local guide Rolando took us to charming little
places down alleys and corridors, where people sit and enjoy.
OUR FRIEND'S private life is more casual, whether in his Washington, D.C. apartment, or his Buenos Aires apartment.  In D.C., he might take a break from a Zoom video meeting to share a coffee with his neighbor, my longtime friend and colleague, writer Cathy Healy. In Buenos Aires, he took time off from meetings to tour us through the heart of the city he loves. His Recoleta neighborhood is pleasant walking distance or a short taxi ride to most of the city's grandest sights and historical buildings, including a cemetery where  Evita lies in a heavily fortified crypt  five meters underground, to protect her remains. The cemetery is worth a visit for its grandiose array of peculiarities. 
Rolando grew up in Buenos Aires, with his European parents who fled Poland before Rolando was born. They brought their distinguished tastes in art, music and culinary finery to their new home in South America.
ROLANDO, naturally, grew up with refinement, surrounded by opera, art and fine food.  He knows all the city's historic concert venues and cafés, which are part of the soul of Argentina's capital and deeply imbedded in Rolando's soul as well.  The eateries were and are still frequented by artistic bohemians and celebrated writers. Some of Rolando's favorites are mentioned in guidebooks.  
Known for its prosciutto, pasta and desserts
is La Parolaccia, where we went for an
elegantly served early dinner with Rolando.
WE DELIGHTED in discovering Confiteria La Ideal, an historic landmark and one of Rolando's favorite places.  It houses a dramatic stage area with a vintage piano, an old-fashioned elevator, and elegant tables where sumptuous desserts, cocktails and specialty items are served.
The French Fleur de Lys is
the enigmatic emblem
of Confiteria Ideal.
This classic 1912 French- inspired building was closed six years to restore its elegant original beauty.  It once was a favorite of tango dancers, too. This city  claims to have invented the sultry dance known for its rhythmic  accompaniment and tricky, sensuous footwork.
THEN ON TO LA BIELA, the oldest restaurant in town. Opened in 1848, it has witnessed the transformation of Rolando's beloved Recoleta neighborhood.  Famed personalities Adolfo Bioy Casares and Jorge Luis Borges met often here in the northern part of the city, by the Rio de la Plata. 
The area was transformed from fertile farmland to upscale eateries, shops and that famed aforementioned cemetery where  Peron and other notables are buried. We hobnobbed with locals who, like writers Borges and Bioy, frequent the cafe to discuss art, literary endeavors and politics. The two famous writers are immortalized in sculpture at the table where they always sat. It remains now and forever "their" table.
Woman's Bridge behind Keller, Cookie and
Rolando, capping an evening in Buenos
Aires with a stroll on the waterfront. 
Elegant service is a
tradition at La 
Parolaccia, where
the city's best
prosciutto is served.

day with our enthusiastic local guide and with an early flight the next morning, we arrived early to dine at La Parolaccia. We were practically alone at 7:30 p.m. because most Argentines don't enjoy their evening meal until 9 p.m., 10 p.m., or even 11 p.m. We had fabulous service at this traditional Italian restaurant where Rolando and his late parents often dined, savoring the prosciutto which is said to be the best in town.
We capped the evening with a stroll to the Puente de la Mujer -- "Woman's Bridge"-- a rotating footbridge for a busy dock in the city's Puerto Madero commercial district, a pleasant stroll from our hotel . 
Thank you, Rolando, for enhancing our visit beyond measure. If you ever forfeit your day job, a tour guide spot awaits you.
More info: 


Poipu's beautiful green turtles, or "hono" are protected,
and a heavy fine understandably awaits for touching them.
UP NEXT: Turtles of Poipu greet us. These graceful sea turtles, or “honu” to the locals, top most travelers’ wish lists of wildlife to see in Kauai. Long considered symbols of good luck, the creatures’ kind faces and trudging gait are endearing. We watched them swim for a week, marveling at their will and endurance. The odds for a Poipu turtle to reach adulthood are slim. A newly hatched sea turtle is popular with predators as it makes its way slowly from its sandy nest to the sea. Then if they make it, hatchlings are a favorite snack of bigger creatures, and only one in 1,000 eggs survive to adulthood. Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on the arts, travel, performance, family and more: and please share the link.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

'Museo Evita' fascinates, taking tourists into colorful life of Eva Peron

A short pleasant walk from the hop on bus takes visitors to Museo Evita.
It's also an easy taxi ride from most of the centrally located hotels. 




STEPPING INTO the Evita Museum in Buenos Aires is a walk back in time to the days of glory for the woman whose life took on legendary proportions in Argentina. 

Known simply as "Museo Evita," the museum is in a building built in the early 20th century, designed as the home of a wealthy family. Before its incarnation as a museum, it housed administrative offices and earlier,  a shelter run by the internationally known personality who rose to fame and power although not elected to high office.

EVA DUARTE Peron's foundation acquired the stately home in 1948 to help needy women from all over Argentina. Social workers addressed their health and housing problems and proposed solutions.

The museum's gift shop offers mementos and
books, photographs and postcards of Evita's life.

EVA DIED in 1952 and after the Peron government was overthrown in 1955, the home served as an administrative venue. In 1999, it was transferred to the Eva Peron National Institute for Historical Research. The museum opened in 2002 for the 50th anniversary of Eva Peron's death. On a lovely spring day, we stepped inside the fascinating museum with Peron fans and curious tourists from all corners of the world. Many weren't born during Eva's lifetime, but knew the "Evita" story.

EVA DUARTE rose form the ranks of a humble rural family in the village of Los Toldos. She was born May 7, 1919, in a single-story brick house in the agricultural town 180 miles from the Argentine capital. With a gift for performance, she took her dreams of becoming an actor to Buenos Aires, and was playing bit parts when Argentina's Juan Domingo Perón,  met her. She caught his eye; the attraction was mutual. We enjoyed photos of them and displays of stunning dresses she wore at functions in Buenos Aires. The museum also features photos from her 1947 European tour, when she made headlines charming international leaders and even had an audience with Pope Pius XII.

Eva Peron and President
Juan Peron were married
in 1945.

Historian Santiago Regolo offers
insight into the popularity of
Eva Peron, known as Evita.
Social justice was her platform.
DESIGNER DRESSES of silk and taffeta are displayed with objects and mementos that belonged to Evita. Interactive exhibits focus on turning points in her life, including her career as an actress, her campaigning trips to elect Perón,  her devoted political and social work, her illness, death and funeral. Photos and films show her speaking to enthralled crowds, and offer insight into her massive appeal during Argentina's turbulent times of the 1940s and 1950s. Evita gave downtrodden people hope.
ARTISTIC CURATORS have woven contemporary objects into the museum's mix for a fascinating glimpse of Evita, her husband and the changing landscape of the country. After meeting then Colonel Perón in 1944 during a charity event at Luna Park Stadium, she became a tireless advocate for the poor.  That event benefited victims of an earthquake. The people she helped remembered her and voted for her husband. She was the first First Lady to actively campaign and beat the drum for her spouse.
Eva and Juan Peron at their country home.

THE BUILDING'S history begins with its tenure as a private home. The Perons acquired Casa Carabassa because of a mutual attraction to its French and Italian touches. To Eva, these flourishes suggested a boutique hotel. The Carabassa family had purchased it in 1923, adding their touches before it came to the attention of the Perons in 1948. After its tenure as a refuge for women, it evolved into today's unusual museum, which includes a room used by school children in an educational program. Their artwork leads to a pleasant café which offers both indoor and outdoor seating, a restful space to contemplate Eva Peron, surrounded by beautiful, mature trees, the song of birds and views of lovely gardens

A wealthy patrician family designed the elegant
home, now museum, more than 100 years ago.

The Peron family is still controversial in the country.  Some consider his rule to have been a dictatorship run by self-serving egotists. But Perón followers including historian and professor Santiago Regolo praise the couple's efforts to eliminate poverty and dignify labor.  One wonders: Were they inspired, generous leaders passionate for the poor, or the  demagogues their detractors claim them to be? Perhaps a bit of both.
Beautiful tiles, marble and iron can
be seen throughout the museum.

BUT THE popularity of Evita cannot be denied.  According to professor Regolo, "The Peróns gave their name to the political movement known as Peronism, which in present-day Argentina is represented mainly by the Justicialist Party. Eva's legacy lives on." The party personifies populism in the form of a strong charismatic leader, Regolo said. Argentina's present leader is not a follower of this movement.

Eva Peron, known to the people as
"Evita," was a model and actress
before rising to fame as First Lady.
EVA -- KNOWN as "Evita" -- has had a rebirth in popular culture and is known worldwide through the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. The Tony winning play and subsequent movie trace her immense popularity,  particularly with working-class women. 
The intensity of the support she drew from the people is said to have surprised even Juan Perón himself, Regolo said. 
She used her power with lower economic classes to helped enact reforms and policies, and give women a footing they had not had in Argentina. She also helped bring about the passage of Argentina's women's suffrage law, Regolo added. 
Peron's first wife died of cancer, as did Evita.  He married a third time nine years after Evita's death in 1952.   
Museo Evita is well worth a visit whatever your politics, for insight into the life of a remarkable personality.
More information and tickets: 

Enjoying a morning at a Buenos Aires landmark, La Confiteria
Ideal, dating to 1912, are from left, Bruce Keller, Christene
"Cookie" Meyers and Rolando Ossowski. The cafe's remarkable
history includes notoriety as a tango performance spac
UP NEXT: Walk around the blocks with us in Buenos Aires. Come with us for a spectacular guided tour by a native son, Orlando Ossowski, whose knowledge of the city of his birth is extraordinary and detailed.  We'll wander through Buenos Aires with economist, opera aficionado, gourmand and history buff Rollando, visiting his favorite haunts including famous hotels, restaurants, government houses and a beloved bakery and restaurant, the elegant and historic Confiteria La Ideal. Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on the arts, travel, performance, family and more: