Donnerstag, 11. Oktober 2012

October 11 – Mendoza

At 2:30 a.m. in the morning I woke up. I had a fever and a diarrhea started (that explained my tiredness the evening before after a whole spa day!).

In the late morning I felt a little bit better, but I still had to go to the toilet very often. So I stayed in bed while Christoph went alone to the paragliding event. I was pissed off a lot because paragliding was my suggestion and my main event in Mendoza but I couldn't go there:-( I wasn't really satisfied with my health during my last third of my sabbatical. I had just been well for about one week before I got sick again.... That definitely had to change!!!!

For breakfast I just had ½ toast and some tea. While Christoph was away, I booked the next bus tour for the 3 of us (Ute, Christoph and me), and then I was looking for a hostel in Salta. Christoph stayed away form 9:00 to 11:00 and when he returned I actually didn't wanna know anything about his flight. But he was full of enthusiam and had bought a video of his flight too, so he showed me the main parts like take off and landing and the highlights in between.

In the evening my diarrehea got better, but I still felt tired and had a fever. We ordered a pizza for delivery but pizza in Argentina is not tasty at all. It was more like a tasteless bread covered with some ham and egg-crumbs. I ate a little bit, we stored the rest in the fridge and then I was blogging and resting again. We went to bed at 23:30.

Mittwoch, 10. Oktober 2012

October 10 – Mendoza

That day Christoph and I spent separately according to Mike's suggestion. Christoph took part in a one day wine tour (nothing for me because I don't like wine except ice wine) and I went to a hotel and spa place in the Andes, called „Parque de Agua Termas Cacheuta“. My pick up was scheduled at 9 a.m., but just after finishing my morning toilet and packing I was already picked up at 8:35. So I had to leave without breakfast. I was the first one on the bus and more people were picked up. When everybody was there our guide told us about the day's scheduled, unfortunately in Spanish only. When I asked her to repeat it in English she said (in Spanish) that I should ask in the hotel again (there would be English-speaking staff...).

At 10:00 a.m. we arrived at the spa hotel: we paid first and that we were separated in 2 groups: one group with Spanish-speaking guests and one with English-speaking guests. We got some instructions and they showed us the spa place, the changing rooms and explained how to use the hot pools and the fango pack. Everything was included, even a lunch, we only had to pay extra for our drinks at lunchtime.

After changing into my bikini and bathrobe (the bathrobe was from the hotel too, I paid extra money for it as well) I went to explore the area. Outside the building were several hot pools that got hotter the higher their position was. I wanted to start in the coldest one and working all my way up, but the coldest hot pool was too cold for me and so I ended up sitting in the hottest one first. Several of the guys who were on the same bus as I was started in the hottest pool as well (the weather was pretty cold for a spa day in the mountains but we all hoped the sun would come out soon). I talked with some guys who were born in the UK and live in Australia now. Then I spent some time in the cave sauna, tried the fango treatment and were resting on a sun lounge and reading Fifty Shades. From 13:00 to 14:30 I had lunch in the restaurant and afterwards I was reading again. I had booked a massage for extra money and got my back massaged. Later on I spent more time in the hot pools, talking with a couple from the UK who was travelling for 6 months in South America.
my table at lunchtime
my name plate:-)

the dessert buffet

the bread buffet
the main buffet
view from the lunchplace to the garden
the spa place
fango place: mud "well" and shower place
 Use the mud placed with water in the stone place, apply it to your body, wait until it's dry and then take a shower and wash the mud off completely (afterwards your skin is very soft!)
outside hot pools
outside hot pools
more outside hot pools:-)
sun lounges inside
relax area where food and drinks were provided now and then

At 17:45 we were supposed to meet our busdriver in the lobby. At 18:00 we were driven back to our hotels and I was dropped off at our hostal at 19:00. Christoph was already back from his wine tour (he was picked up at 9:30 and back at 17:00. He had enjoyed it very much!). I felt very tired and after taking a nap Christoph and I told us about our day, showed us the pictures we had taken and went to bed at 23:00 (I was too tired to get up anymore...).

Montag, 8. Oktober 2012

October 8 - Mendoza

We were sleeping very long and had breakfast very late (from 11:30 to 12:00 => later wouldn't have been possible:-) ).
Then I was blogging til 13:30 before our BBQ started. Christoph had been very keen on attending the hostal-organized BBQ and because our excursion schedule was full too we had 2 events on that day: BBQ around lunchtime and horsebackriding in the afternoon and evening.
The BBQ was just great: very delicious meat, blood sausages and salad. We were standing in the garden of the hostal and talking with the other guys from the hostal. We met one Irish guy who had just finished a 5-day-riding trip in the Andes and a couple from Cologne, that spoke Spanish very well.
At 16:00 Christoph and I were picked up by Diego for the riding trip. We felt very full and had no idea how to eat a 2nd BBQ later on after the riding....
On the way to our starting point we picked up some more people, so in total we were 17: a group of 10 guys from Ireland, 3 from Australia, another couple from Germany and Christoph and I.
When we arrived at the starting point each of us got his/her horse and then we started for a 2 hours riding trip in the 1st mountain range of the Andes. As we were told the Andes consists of 3 mountain ranges, the first one is the lowest and oldest part.

the horses were already waiting for us

our group
awaiting instructions from our guides

our guides: X (I forgot his name:-)) and Diego
Me and the Australian guys
mounting "my horse" Domingo

waiting for the others to get ready

warming up
feeling like in the "Marlboro Country"

the Andes


We were riding each after the other one bounded by one guide at the beginning and one at the end of the group. After about one hour we could even gallop for a short distance: we were separated in groups of 5 and theses groups galloped a short distance together while all the other ones were waiting.
My horse was called Domingo and compared to the other ones pretty nervous. He didn't like to be passed and couldn't stand still, but I liked riding him.
Our tour was from 17:00 to 19:00 and then we arrived at our BBQ place. We dismounted our horses and then one Gaucho (= cowboy) joined the group of horses running back to their stables without riders.
Then we had another delicious BBQ in a small cottage in the Andes.

right after 2 BBQ's on one day!
there was still some room for a dessert:-)

After eating we were sitting together and first the gauchos played the guitar and sang folk-music for us.

Diego playing the guitar for us

Then the Irish guys sang English songs for us. It was a nice sitting, drinking and singing together.

At 23:30 we were droven back to our hostals and hotels by cars and one hour later Christoph and I were dropped off at our hostal. We were really tired and bedtime was finally at 1:15. 

Sonntag, 7. Oktober 2012

October 7 - Mendoza
We arrived at 9:50 a.m. (just 10 minutes later than scheduled) in Mendoza after a night with almost no sleep.
First thing we did was going to the touristinformation to ask for a map. I tried it in Spanish and I got what we needed: jippie:-)
From the bus station we walked to our hostal. The hostal was a recommodation from Ute and I had booked it in Buenos Aires on the internet. It was a family-owned and run hostel (Mike, a native English speaker and his wife Celeste from Argentina) did a really good job.
When we arrived at the hostel (after 10 minutes walking) we brushed our teeth first (in a public bathroom) and had breakfast afterwards. Then we were waiting in the lobby and reading the broschure with the recommended excursions.
At 12:00 we could check-in in our room for 2.
our room in the hostal
moving in
First we took a shower, and after a facial mask (just for me, not for Christoph:-) )
we took a nap and later and we planned our stay in Mendoza and the excursions and Mike and Celeste booked them for us.
It was one of the very seldom days in Mendoza when it was raining and so we were in no hurry to go out for sightseeing. We decided to have an early dinner in the town
pink fountains in the pedestrian zone
(on the way to our dinner place)
pink fountains at Plaza Independencia
and after returning I was blogging til midnight. Then we went to bed.

Donnerstag, 4. Oktober 2012

October 4 - Buenos Aires

I got up at 8:15 a.m. and from 9:00 a.m. on I was sitting in the lobby and waiting for Christoph. He landed at 7:30 a.m. and I didn't expect him before 9:00 a.m. He finally arrived at 10:00 a.m. by the recommended airport taxi and after taking his luggage to our room we first had breakfast together (the breakfast buffet closed at 10:30 a.m.). Christoph had just flown business class for the first time in his life and was full of enthusiam about it. He told me in detail about the good service and that he had had the chance to take a shower in the British Airways lounge when he was waiting for his connecting flight from London to Buenos Aires. Unfortunately there wasn't enought time for taking a shower but on the way back he planned to try it.
After breakfast Christoph took a shower and at 11:30 a.m. our sightseeing program started. Before we went out of the hotel we booked a Tango Show for the evening. The show was recommended by the hotel and the receptionist booked it for us. We could chose between a candle light dinner plus show or just the show. We decided to book just the show because then we would be picked up later in the evening and would have more time for sightseeing in the city. We paid 120 USD per person (very expensive for Argentine matters. But we were told that the show would be great and worth every Dollar). I also asked the receptionist to clarify the dress code because I didn't have formal clothes with me. Fortunately jeans were ok!

First we walked from our hotel to the Retiro station to buy our South Pass tickets.
We needed our passports, paid by credit card and got a backpack for free because South Pass was celebrating its 1st birthday! Then we were asked if they could take a picture of us with the new backpacks and publish it on facebook. We agreed and now we are "famous":-)
From there we went to the starting point of the recommended Lonely Planet walking tour through the city:

Lonely Planet walking tour
Retiro Station

Monumental Tower

Christoph and a
Canadian Totem Pole at Plaza Salvador Maria del Carril

Kavanagh Building
Kavanagh Building
By the time it was inaugurated in 1936, Kavanagh Building was the highest skyscraper in Latin America and the largest structure made of reinforced concrete in the world. This tower, in Rationalist style with austere lines, is 120m high and houses 105 apartments throughout its 32 floors. It was desiged by architects Gregorio Sanchez, Ernesto Largos and Luis Maria de la Torre, commissioned by Corina Kavanagh, a wealthy lady, resident of the city. The building has received numerous national and international awards.
Marriott Plaza Hotel
Marriott Plaza Hotel
The Marriott Plaza Hotel is one of the most elegant hotels in BS AS. It dates from 1909 and its construction was commissioned by Ernesto Tornquist. Today, it belongs to his descendants. Designed by German architect Alfred Zucker and considered an avantgarde work at the time, the building features a strong influence of German Baroque architecture which has survived throughout its successive refurbishing and extensions. International celebrities from the arts, politics and sports have stayed at this hotel.

Walking along Florida Street

Christoph got his shoes cleaned by a Bolivian guy
he polished them very much (he hadn't had cleaner
shoes before:-) )

Galerias Pacifico

Our lunch from 14:15 to 14:45 we had in the "Galerias Pacifico", a shopping mall that stands out because of its cupola and its frescos.

fountain, cupola and frescos

cupola and frescos
When we came out of the building we listened to some street musicians who played very well using just a few improvised instruments (I really must say that all the artistic talents in Argentina impressed me very much):

Then we continued with our Lonely Planet walking tour:

Avenida 9 de Julio
Obelisk in the background
Avenida 9 de Julio
Avenida 9 de Julio is the widest avenue in the world. It is located in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Its name honors Argentina's Independence Day, July 9, 1816.
The avenue runs roughly 1 kilometre to the west of the Río de la Plata waterfront, from the Retiro district in the north to Constitución station in the south. The avenue has up to seven lanes in each direction and is flanked on either side by parallel streets of two lanes each.

Teatro Cervantes

Templo de la Congregacion Israelita

garbage and/or "houses" of the poor
just in front of the Templo

Teatro Colon
Shows in there were too expensive and formal clothes mandatory
=> we skipped a performance!

El Obelisco = the Obelisk
the symbol of Buenos Aires

one of the 4 inscriptions of the Obelisk
Plaza de Mayo and again a demonstration
(nothing new in BS AS anymore)
At Avenida de Mayo we finished our walking tour. While I was resting on a bench Christoph walked around and took pictures. It was already late and because I hadn't recovered completely from my cold we had to take several breaks and couldn't walk that fast during our tour. Both of us were tired and we decided to continue the next day.
We walked back to our hotel, bought something to drink in a supermarket on the way back and ate dinner in the same restaurant as I had the day before.
At 21:00 we returned to our hotel and then we were picked up for our "Gala Tango" show.
We had only booked the show without dinner, but when we arrived, we were surprised that the drinks were also included. We got an aperitif, one bottle of red wine and sparkling wine at the end. We really liked the show and even bought the DVD.

Christoph wearing formal and I informal:-)

chandeliers at the Tango place

After the show Christoph and I were asked for a dance. We got a free lesson from professionals, lasting one song and I felt a little bit out of place in my jeans:-). Most of the audience declined the free lesson but when you are in Argentina you should dance Tango at least once (=> done!)

Later we were dropped off at our hotel again at 0:15 and bedtime was at 1:00. We were so tired!