Showing posts from March 18, 2012

Chile: the Atacama Desert

We've left Buenos Aires behind and on our first full day staying in the Atacama desert we started the day with a visit to the Moon Valley (Valle de Luna). Moon Valley is aptly named - it is a surreal landscape of rock, clay and salt pans. Huge mountains shaped like the spine of a stegosaurus, folded like the pleats of a kilt or precariously balanced boulders form this environment. A harsh environment where very little lives - an occasional butterfly fluttered by - it has a strange beauty. The village of San Pedro where we are staying is situated in one of the oases that make it possible for humans to live here - and for the huge copper mines to function. In the late afternoon we travelled to the Atacama Salt Flat. It is possible to hike, horse-ride and bicycle in this environment, but it is incredibly hot and our choice has been to go by car. This trip took us briefly to the village of Tocanoa, which has recently been inundated by a flood! that swept away a number of houses an

Cafe Tortoni, the tourist bus and the Atacama desert

I am writing this from our hotel in the Atacama Desert. We flew here via Santiago on the next stage of our South American adventure. Our last 2 days in Buenos Aires were spent welcoming the newbies to B.A. The flight from Oz on Qantas is bad enough, especially travelling in economy but when it is discontinued at the end of this month and the choice is either to fly via Santiago with Qantas or direct with Aerolineas or LAN it is going to be a difficult one! I for one will probably think twice. On the day that the new members of our party arrived we took them for a welcome coffee to the magnificent Cafe Tortoni. Unlike Confiteria Ideal Cafe Tortoni has been preserved. It may still have the furniture and decor of the 1850s but it is in excellent condition. It was full, but not crowded and we all soaked up the history and atmosphere with our cafe con leches. Then it was time for a rest before the evening's pleasures. A tango show is always offered to visitors to Buenos Aires by ou

Day 5 in Buenos Aires: good food, Ideal and a bit of jazz

Each day begins with a leisurely communal breakfast where we plan our day - and spend some time planning our day. Of the 6 of us, only one has not been to BA before and 4 of us have been a number of times, so we are exploring part of the city that we have not yet visited, or re-visiting favourites. Los Remolinos comes in the last category. A typical Argentinian restaurant on Suipacha which we discovered 9 years ago when we stayed in a hotel opposite for the World Tango Festival. In those days we were greeted by non-English speaking older waiters who proffered sherry when we sat down together with the ubiquitous  basket of bread. Those days are long gone, taking with them the complimentary limoncello at the end of the meal as well. An excellent parilla, together with other typical Argentinian dishes have been joined by a more modern salad (no longer the separate grated carrot, shredded lettuce and sliced tomato). I ordered a Medallion de Lomas , which,  unlike our medallions which are

Jet lag, Japanese garden and paso doble at Los Consagrados in Buenos Aires

Slow postings... my apologies, but I seem to be in an internet fog at the moment and am finding it really difficult to get online much of the time! Jet lag can make it difficult to get the most our of your holiday - and on Friday it really got the better of me. I slept really badly on Thursday night - though I did get a fair bit of my book read in the wee small hours of the morning. We walked to the Japanese garden, next to the Zoo in Recoleta on another beautiful sunny autumn morning. The Japanese garden is a delightful oasis, though it is situated with busy roads all around - so that makes it less tranquil than it could be. The central attraction is a huge lake with a path which wends it way round and Japanese maples, conifers, other typical plantings and Japanese furniture along side. We lunched in the Japanese restaurant in the gardens - which felt rather incongruous, eating Japanese in Argentina. It was not of the standard we are used to at home, but it was reasonable. The wh