Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Yoga in Patagonia

October 30, 2008

I know I haven’t been writing much – things have been busy, as usual, but this week with especially good reason… I’m gearing up to go here:

Peuma Hue estancia

Peuma Hue estancia

More details when I get back from eight relaxing days of yoga, hiking, horseback riding, and more yoga in what promises to be a spectacular setting!

Chile Revisited

August 16, 2008

Just finished posting pictures from my trip to Chile back in March, and it brought back lots of pleasant memories. My time in Valparaíso was basically a re-creation of my visit there 3 1/2 years earlier, and I’d love to do it yet again. Wandering around taking pictures left me with some serious déjà vu a couple times, and I even ran into some of the (now much-faded) graffiti/art I took pictures of last time. The woman who runs the hostel where I stayed tried to convince me to go somewhere else (I realized that when you’re staying somewhere “nice” they assume you want nicer restaurants, etc.), but I went back to the same market for a seafood lunch (though I tried a different restaurant this time) and it was just as good as I remembered.

My relaxation time at the beach was also incredible. It’s been a long time since I was really on “vacation,” as opposed to traveling to see things, or running around visiting people, and it was great – I didn’t even get bored as I sometimes do when there’s “nothing” to do. Maybe I’m finally learning to slow down and appreciate those rare moments of solitude and beauty.

Sun and Seafood

March 20, 2008

I’m exhausted from the epic journey back (note to self: try to avoid overnight border crossings that mean you have to wait out in the cold at a mountain pass at 2 am!), but I still feel rejuvenated by my short vacation in Chile. Since seafood isn’t very prevalent in Argentina, I made a point of eating it as often as possible in Chile—ceviche (twice), chupe de mariscos, grilled fish practically right off the boat, shrimp and cheese empanadas, and more. I wandered the streets of my dear Valparaíso, met some cool Couchsurfers and ate some terrific Peruvian (sea)food in Santiago, and spent several very tranquilo days on the coast—reading, strolling down a nearly deserted beach, napping in a hammock, playing cards, talking around an evening bonfire, and stargazing before bed.

Now it’s back to the grind—finishing up some work, packing up my apartment and taking care of errands in town, and a string of last hurrahs and a goodbye party before my bus back to Buenos Aires Tuesday night. (All the buses were booked for Monday—after all these years of reading about how big a deal Semana Santa—holy week—is in Latin America, I’m finally seeing it firsthand, and it’s really bad timing!).

Next week I’ll get pictures up, not just from Chile but from a winery day trip and the big final-night show of Vendimia (Mendoza’s harvest festival, which wrapped up last week).

I Hear the Wine Is Pretty Good…

January 12, 2008

No matter how much I like where I am, I’m pretty much always up for a change of scenery. The contract on my apartment in Buenos Aires ends tomorrow, so I’m off to Mendoza, the capital of Mendoza province, which is Argentina’s prime wine country and along the border with Chile (and the Andes!). Just gotta get through the next 24 hours… then it’s a 12-hour bus ride to my new home for the next few months or so. More soon…

Where in the World Am I?

October 24, 2007

Check out my latest brush with fame at World Hum.

Empanadas and More

September 22, 2007

The main reason I went to Tucumán Province last week was the Fiesta Nacional de la Empanada, which sounded like an only-in-Argentina kind of experience, and a chance to see another part of the country. Different regions of Argentina (and other countries) have their own versions of empanadas (similar to pasties and other savory pastries of dough surrounding filling). In Tucumán, traditional empanadas have only these ingredients: beef (cut with a knife, not ground), hard-boiled eggs, white onions, green onions, and specific spices (I’m not sure what all of them are, but I saw some kind of non-spicy ground red pepper, and salt and pepper). The empanada festival featured lots of different ranchos, pavilions run by different social groups in Famaillá, the town where the festival was held. Each rancho sets up tables and chairs and serves empanadas, maybe one or two other food items, and drinks. They also each sponsor one person who will compete in the empanada cooking competition, held the last day of the festival. The first two days the festival takes place only in the evening, when people come to visit the different food and drink stalls, shop the artisan and not-so-artisan stands, and hear live folkloric music in the amphitheater. On all three days, the decibel level is incredible, with each rancho and stall blasting its own music on a speaker about ready to burst. At one point I stood still and thought I counted music coming from six different sources.

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#18

August 24, 2007

Our last morning in La Cumbre, I was lying in bed reading when there was a knock on the door. It was Cristian, the great guy who runs the hostel where we were staying. “Wanna fly?” he asked. I was thrilled. “Really!? We can go?” “Today’s the day. Be ready at 10:30.” Knowing we’d finally get to go paragliding made all the less-than-stellar weather and waiting around worth it. None of our complaining mattered anymore; the less-than-perfect moments of the week were erased in a heartbeat. Even though there was still a possibility that conditions would change out at the launch site, I was optimistic—and a little nervous on the ride there.

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Chillin’ in La Cumbre

August 17, 2007

When we were trying to decide where to go for our little vacation, Carolynn and I first talked about going somewhere warm—lying on a beach in Brazil was sounding pretty good after so many cold months in Buenos Aires. But the cost of plane tickets, or the hassle of getting a visa, or some mysterious force, led us to look domestically, and we ended up on a bus headed to Córdoba, the next province over from Buenos Aires. We didn’t know too much about it, but despite having several Argentines tell us the provincial capital was feo (ugly), we had good feelings about it—a university town, near mountains, with old colonial buildings, sounded pretty good to us. It was even a place that for some reason we both thought we might like to live. We ended up in a really great hostel, but the best part about Córdoba ended up being the weather—we arrived just in time for a freak two-day heat wave and enjoyed feeling the sun on our bare arms for the first time in months. But during our afternoon rambles a dark smog-looking cloud above town turned into a whirling dust storm—it felt like the end of the world, like you see in the movies, and we sought refuge in an office building—and later we both had to admit that yes, Córdoba was a bit feo (I realized that just because there are colonial buildings doesn’t mean they aren’t surrounded by other modern, unattractive buildings), and we decided to head to the small town of La Cumbre, two hours north, in the foothills of the Sierras de Córdoba, and a prime place for paragliding, which we really wanted to try. Luckily La Cumbre has been a nice place to hang out, since we are still waiting for the right weather and wind conditions to get to go paragliding. It’s pretty cold here, but we have hiked up to the big Cristo Redentor statue on the hill above town, enjoyed plenty of tasty food (always a priority), wandered around town, and we got sort of lost this afternoon on the dirt roads outside town—turns out the tourist office’s map isn’t so good for actual navigation—but luckily we flagged down someone to drive us back to town. I’m really enjoying some lazy days of doing nothing, and we’re not feeling particularly motivated to go anywhere else. It’s looking like we might just stay here until it’s time to get our bus back to BA on Sunday.

Travel Bug Bites Again

August 12, 2007

After almost three months here, it was high time to get the heck out of the city, the provincia, and even the country! First, a visa run to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, founded by the Portuguese in the mid-1700s and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bidding my fair city farewell:

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Three hours later, we disembarked in Colonia. It was a beautiful day, and Brian, Virginia, and I had a great time wandering around, and a fabulous lunch outside in the sun (I told them I always eat well when we’re together—a good sign!). Some other friends who’ve been to Colonia during my time here didn’t seem to think much of the town, but we really liked it. The good weather helped, I’m sure, but it was such a welcome getaway from the city—so quiet and tranquilo—and much prettier than I expected.

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I’d definitely go back to spend more time there; we found some information about horseback riding and other excursions in the area. Staying overnight would be nice—it was a really long day trip. Left home at 8:15 this morning, didn’t get home until 11 pm!

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I took a lot more pictures, but these will have to do for now—the pictures section of my website is still down (my own fault) and there’s no time to fix it, because I’m off again tomorrow! This time to Córdoba Province for a week with my friend Carolynn. We’ll start in the city of Córdoba—about 9 hours west of Buenos Aires—then venture off to some smaller towns for relaxation, hiking, etc. Can’t wait to get on the road!

Which Are My Best Photos?

April 7, 2007

I just found out from a friend of mine about Conde Nast Traveler’s Dream Trip Travel Contest, which is really convenient since #85 on The List is “Enter a photo in a photography contest.” Of course, this is the busiest month I’ve had in a long time, and it might be more satisfying to enter a more local contest with fewer contestants, but I’d still like to do it. A few photos come to mind, but I don’t have a lot of time to spend looking through all the photos from my travels for the best ones to enter. Anyone have any suggestions?