Final post and summary of my favorite things

These are a few of my favorite things about my trip to South America in no particular order:

  1. The Solar Family. I am forever indebted to this wonderful family who shared their home, their traditions and their meals with me for two weeks while I studied Spanish at ECELA. Thank you Alicia, Giorgio and Renzo for your hospitality and friendship.
  2. Carmenere wine. Thank you, Giorgio, for turning us on to this delicious wine from Chile.
  3. The Tango Show at Tortino Café.
  4. Havanna Mini Alfajor chocolate cookies. Why did I wait until the last day to try these delectable treats?
  5. The emerald green waters of Lago Todos Los Santos in the Andes Mountains.
  6. The Natura Patagonia Hotel in Puella in the Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales. The views from the dining room and the tree bar were my favorite of the trip.
  7. The beaches of Vina del Mar- Valparaiso on the Pacific Ocean. Need I say more?
  8. Avocadoes from Chile. “Palta” in Chile, but not in Argentina, their creamy texture and the option of adding it to any sandwich was my idea of heaven.
  9. Spending time with Carlos and Pamoela. I have had a Brazilian son since 1999 and now I have a Brazilian daughter as well! It was uncanny how much we have in common and having a multilingual guide in Buenos Aires was fabulous and fun.

10. Move over New York, I tasted the best pizza in Buenos Aires at “Guerrin”, which was established in 1932. Three levels of tables with people eating pizza into the wee hours of the morning. The four-cheese pizza was surely to die for! Thanks, Carlos for sharing your continued love of pizza.

11. The waiter in Bariloche. Charming and helpful, he helped us select the best Malbec for a reasonable price, and Todd experienced his first Argentinian beef. I opted for an empanada, which was perhaps my favorite food on the trip. They reminded my of my grandmother’s moussadekos.

I guess I could go on, but this seems to be a good list that represents the various parts of my trip. I didn’t mention studying Spanish, which was the initial purpose of the trip, but I did love the teachers and the opportunity to become more comfortable speaking the language. I’m sure I will never be fluent (there are way too many past tenses) but the immersion experience was fantastic.Image

Another objective of this trip was to learn about a different culture. South America was the home to many immigrants who were turned away from Ellis Island and their welcoming spirit did not go unnoticed. It’s Spanish roots also spoke to me, as I have always felt a special affinity for all things Spanish due to my Sephardic heritage. What I always marvel at is wherever I travel, I feel that people are basically the same.  Yes, we are part of a global economy, but more importantly we are all part of a world community where peace and friendship are the ultimate goals.

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Final day in Buenos Aires, Argentina- March 19, 2013

We decided to spend our final day in a neighborhood I’ve seen many times on HGTV-Recoleta. This is a charming, tree lined area of the city with chic stores, restaurants, and apartments. It also is the site of the Iglesia del Pilar, designed in 1717 and inaugurated in 1732. With various additions over the centuries, it is a classic example of Spanish architecture, with its red tiled roof, elaborate gold-leaf encrusted bas relief woodcarving, and a gorgeous silver table at the front of the sanctuary. Next to the church was the first public cemetery in Buenos Aires established in 1822. The cemetery has 4,800 vaults, above the ground, many constructed in Greek Doric style. We visited the monument of President Eva Peron. The history and artistic impact of the cemetery was impressive.

Lunch at La Biela, an historic cafe frequented by race car drivers, was the final Argentinian culinary experience of our trip. Cafe life is part of the culture here and we enjoyed its location across from the church and next to a 200 year old gum tree with branches that were thicker than most trees we have here in New England. They were supported by steel posts surrounding the tree. A photo of Todd is attached.

I hope to create a final post of my overall impressions of my trip to South America with my favorite photos, over the next few days. Thank you for caring enough to read my blog and for sharing this important passage of my life.

Monday, March 18 in Buenos Aires

Since we only have half a day with Carlos and Pamoela, we decide to go to a museum today. We select the MALBA Museo des Artes Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires in the Palermo district. This is a beautiful part of the city with many trees and lovely parks. The museum opened in 2001 with a varied permanent collection of contemporary art, sculpture, kinetics and photography. We also visited a temporary exhibit of photomontages by Grete Stern. She presents images of dream interpretations provided by sociologist Gino Germani. Pamoela and I had a blast developing our own commentary on the photo images. Very interesting exhibit!

We said our goodbyes, but are hoping that they will visit the US in a couple of years.

Todd and I went to a tea house called ” El Gato Negro” for a late afternoon tea and cafe. Charming cafe. Tonight we hope to have dinner at a restaurant that features Argentinian beef. Last night in South America!

Sunday, March 17, 2013- Buenos Aires

After breakfast, we ventured out to thelargest street fair in Argentina in the SanTelmo district. When we arrived around 11:00 a.m. there were a few vendors set up by by noon the streets were teaming with people, music, street performers and more. From crafts, to true art, food, and more, this is the fair beyond compare. We’ve never seen anything like this in all our travels. I will attempt to attach a short video I took so you can get the flavor of the event. We spent several hours walking, talking, and shopping and stopped for lunch at a very old and quaint cafe. Pasta and pizza re very popular here as there is a large Italian population. Then we traveled across town to the Porto Madero- a renovated area of the city with a beautiful bridge constructed to look like the leg of a woman doing the tango. There are several lagoons along the harbor and city buildings glisten in the background. It was a beautiful day so we stopped for ice cream along the water. A wonderful day in the city.Image

Saturday, March 16, 2013- last city in Argentina

We finally arrived via airplane in Buenos Aires and not 5 minutes after arriving at the hotel, there was a knock on the door: Carlos and Pamoela! What a wonderful reunion. It was so nice to finally meet Pamoela, and of course, to be hugging Carlos. It’s been over 7 years since we saw him, and so great to see him so happy with this wonderful woman. Pamoela lived in Buenos Aires for four months when she was 14 and she and Carlos have been here in recent years as well, so we have a wonderful tour guide! We immediately went to the corner cafe for coffee and a snack and to catch up. We decided to see a traditional Tango show in a smaller venue and proceeded to purchase our tickets. We walked around the neighborhood to see the pink house- the President’s house, and the church where Pope Francis presided. The cafe where we had dinner and the show was a wonderful turn of the century building with magnificent architecture inside and out. ( I’ll have to get the name from Pamoela). The Tango show was fabulous and later in the evening we walked one of the main drags of the city, stopping to window shop and people watch. A late night ice cream topped off our first day in B.A.