Posts tagged Argentina

Gaucho Traditions Preserved in San Antonio de Areco

Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

Puenta Viejo---Old Bridge

Puenta Viejo—Old Bridge

By Roy Heale

Quite often visitors to Buenos Aires are looking for interesting escapes into the local countryside yet close to the city. Those seeking a real gaucho experience and a sample of local history often choose the quaint town of San Antonio de Areco founded in 1730 on the banks of the Areco River. Located about 110 km northwest of the city, the town dates back to the early 18th century and many of the original buildings are well preserved and function today as cafes, restaurants, and boutiques.

Iglesia Parroquial

Iglesia Parroquial

Residents of Buenos Aires often visit for the peaceful atmosphere and picturesque colonial streets. The traditions of the gaucho and criollo (people of pure Spanish descent born in the New World), are well preserved, especially among its artisans, who produce fine silverwork and saddlery. Gauchos from all over the pampas show up for November’s Día de la Tradición, where you can catch them in their traditional cowboy outfits astride their horses, strutting the cobbled streets.

Historic Buildings

Historic Buildings

The city is the home of the Museo Gauchesco Ricardo Güiraldes and has been declared a city of historic national interest by the Argentine Government.

San Antonio de Areco’s compact town center and quiet streets are very pedestrian friendly. Around the Plaza Ruiz de Arellano, named in honor of the town’s founding estanciero (ranch owner), are several historic buildings, including the Iglesia Parroquial (parish church) opened in 1780.

Parilla Delights

Parilla Delights

There is an abundance of great dining options with prices much more reasonable than those in the City of Buenos Aires. The local specialty is, of course, meats cooked on the parilla with fresh vegetables and salads.

Local Produce

Local Produce

If you prefer a longer visit than a one day excursion, there are a few small hotels around the town offering Bed&Breakfast plus the Hotel & Spa San Carlos on the riverbank park.

Like many other small towns in this part of Argentina, Areco shuts down during the afternoon siesta.

Hotel & Spa San Carlos

Hotel & Spa San Carlos

Regular bus service runs fro Retiro Omnibus Terminal and the journey is just under two hours depending on traffic.

 

Take a step back in time, relax and enjoy some Gaucho history in the pampas of Buenos Aires province.

 

 

Stunning Video of Buenos Aires

video shot of Baires Watch this video and see some great aerial shots of the city parks and buildings. Then come and visit and see for yourself!

http://www.bubblear.com/video-stunning-aerial-shots-buenos-aires

Oktoberfest Celebrations in Argentina?

Villa General Belgrano, Cordoba

 

Villa General Belgrano

Villa General Belgrano

By Roy Heale

Reputedly the third largest celebrations of Oktoberfest outside of Germany can be found in the small central Argentine town of Villa General Belgrano of the province of Cordoba.

Local Beer Halls

Local Beer Halls

This small mountain hamlet of approximately six thousand residents is named after Manuel Belgrano, the creator of the National flag,  and is perched on a hillside of the Sierras of Córdoba. Founded in 1930, by two German land speculators, the Alpine quality of the village attracted immigrants from Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Austria.

Newcomers to the village, along with the original settlers, landscaped the mountain ranges with red-roofed, wood-frame homes, microbreweries, pastry and chocolate shops imparting that unique Bavarian style which distinguishes it today.  Now pedestrians enjoy the magical Bavarian atmosphere as they stroll around the scenic townsite.

The village economy flourishes on a year round steady flow of tourists (peaking in October) with an appetite for German delicacies like apple strudel, leberwurst and spätzle plus of course local brewed beer.

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Newsstands sell the German language weekly Argentinisches Tageblatt among other German newspapers, and some of the churches offer Sunday services in German and Spanish. Like many isolated immigrant communities, Villa General Belgrano has respected traditions that fell out of favor in Germany long ago, however even though the mother tongue can still be heard, it is being lost with the passage of time.

 

Entrance To Festival Grounds

Entrance To Festival Grounds

For more than fifty years Argentina’s National Beer Festival has been held in the district of Villa General Belgrano, thus commemorating the German celebration of Oktoberfest. This event is celebrated during eleven intense days in the Beer Park—a central venue especially designed for the occasion. The attendants drink several liters of beer, which are served in giant German mugs. The main beer brands, both national and international, take part in this traditional festival, in which their premium, regular and special products are promoted at various stands. At certain times, the celebration moves into the center of the city, where there is a parade of the communities that have contributed to the formation of the present European identity of Villa General Belgrano. Thus, delegations from Germany, Denmark, Scotland, Spain, the Canary Islands, Yugoslavia, Sweden, Portugal, Brazil, Greece, Italy, Armenia and Ukraine show off their traditional costumes, expanding the cultural spectrum of the festival.

 

In the afternoons, the simultaneous opening of the beer barrels is carried out. People gather with their mugs held out trying to get some of the free spurts of beer. According to tradition, drinking the beer from those barrels is supposed to bring people good luck.

Ceremonial Opening of the Kegs

Ceremonial Opening of the Kegs

 

The pagan ritual which became known as Oktoberfest originated in Munich, Germany, five centuries ago, in which worshipers believe in the sparkling goddess that enters the body like an icy stream as she takes hold of the spirit. Argentina welcomes the continuance of this long standing German tradition upheld in the natural beauty of the Sierras de Cordoba.

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Find some lederhosen and head to Villa General Belgrano in October for a traditional beer festival and fun times in a European atmosphere.

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Outdoor Vacation Paradise of Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, Cordoba, Argentina

Santa Rosa River Valley

Santa Rosa River Valley

 

By Roy Heale

Hidden discreetly on the banks of the Santa Rosa River is the small vacation town of Santa Rosa de Calamuchita. Known mostly to local Argentine tourists, this small town is a popular, authentic local vacation playground for outdoor activities. Off the beaten track of most foreigners, don’t expect to find a Starbucks, McDonalds, or Burger King here, but you will be treated to real Argentine cuisine in local cafes and restaurants especially the renowned parillas. Dine along the riverbank or choose an historic restaurant in the village with great food and low prices. Although it is extremely busy during the summer months, a relaxed and tranquil atmosphere prevails.

Dinner by the River

Dinner by the River

This small village in the province of Córdoba, Argentina is located in the center of the Calamuchita Valley, in the heart of a landscape that includes hills (the Sierras) as well as rivers and lakes. Located between the Sierras Grandes and the Sierras Chicas in the very middle of the river valley this tourist center is 96 km away from Cordoba Capital City and is a good choice to relax in any season. It attracts numerous visitors to enjoy the beaches and rivers with clear water surrounded by mountainous relief.

Accommodations include a range of hotel options plus numerous cabaña (cabin) rentals for extended stay vacations. Prices are quite modest and many bargains can be found all year round. The local tourist information bureau keeps a daily list of availability and prices.

Cabaña Resort

Cabaña Resort

At 615 meters above sea level there is almost no wind with ideal temperatures to enjoy outdoor activities year round. This historic region with architecture that goes back to 1575 and the arrival of the Spanish Jesuits is steeped in local culture.

Historic Architecture

Historic Architecture

Close to the Champaquí mountain range (2884 meters high), hiking or mountain biking are popular activities plus photo safaris to enjoy the natural environment. The Santa Rosa River is an ideal place for sport fishing or to discover pools of calm water with white sandy beaches amidst the riverbank parklands.

Calamuchita

At night, Calamuchita invites young people, adults and all visitors to join the locals at discos, bowling alleys and video games arcades on the bustling main street.

Taking The FerroCentral Train From Buenos Aires to Cordoba Capital, Argentina

By Roy Heale

FerroCentral Train

FerroCentral Train

Sadly over the years most of the trans-continental trains in South America have vanished from service.
However, in Argentina there is still train availability from Buenos Aires to Tucamen with several stops along the way. Operated by FerroCentral this journey is longer than traveling by road, but for those who enjoy train trips it is a very inexpensive way to make this journey. Used mostly by locals, this requires considerable advance booking—often several months—-as there is limited frequency of only twice per week with a small passenger capacity. Tickets can be purchased at the FerroCentral offices at Retiro train station in Buenos Aires and several classes of service are offered ranging from economy seats to small private cabins.

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Recently we chose to experience this train journey for our vacation in the Sierras of Cordoba, taking the long twenty-two hour trip to Cordoba Capital from Retiro. Costing just around US$30 round-trip for two persons we reserved a sleeping cabin (camarote) for comfort and sightseeing pleasure. With this class of ticket a complimentary breakfast for two is included and a simple, adequate dinner is available for an extra US$6 per person including a main course, dessert pastry and beverage. Although the train departed exactly on schedule we encountered problems on the tracks about half-way through the journey close to Rosario and ended up with a seven hour diversion.

Dining Car

Dining Car

Our sleeping compartment was cozy and comfortable so we were able to enjoy the exceptionally long trip. The dining car offered reasonably good, simple meals at exceptionally low prices, but no alcoholic beverages.

Dinner Main Course

Dinner Main Course

Dessert

Dessert

We opted to get off the train early in Villa Maria and finish the journey to our final destination of Santa Rosa de Calamuchita by bus, which proved to be more efficient whilst still allowing us to enjoy the scenery.

One week after we returned to Buenos Aires in early March, 2015 the Federal Government replaced all the FerroCentral train carriages with brand new equipment and we just missed experiencing this upgraded service.

Overall, if you have the time for the journey and can plan your trip far in advance, this is a unique Argentine experience and the cheapest way to travel to the North West regions of this vast country.

For More Information Visit:
www.sateliteferroviario.com.ar
www.sateliteferroviario.com.ar/horarios/tucuman.htm

A New Shopping Addition To Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires

Distrito Arcos—The Arches District

Paraguay Main entrance to Distrito Arcos

Paraguay Main entrance to Distrito Arcos

 

By Roy Heale

 

The first day of summer in Buenos Aires heralded the opening of the new Distrito Arcos outdoor shopping district. After just over one year of protracted court proceedings regarding the environmental impact of the new shops and parking the new mall has finally opened.

Bounded by Juan B Justo, Santa Fe Avenida, Godoy Cruz, and Paraguay streets, it is close to the new Science Center and the Metrobus or Palermo Subway stations. The developers have recovered the old railway viaduct arches of the San Martin train line for boutique shops and created new retail shops and lush green spaces.

 

Green Spaces

Green Spaces

The shops open inwards onto roofed spaces and the common areas are almost all outdoors. The building’s main feature is the brick construction of the railway viaduct that defines both the inner walls and the façade. Outside, the focus is placed mainly on the green spaces. The commercial promenade is landscaped with green areas that provide the design’s motif. Street benches and other urban features are strategically placed all along, together with terraces, benches, and also a special area for holding events. The building is ornamented with a series of canopies along the arches that convey a rhythmic perspective to the overall construction design.

 

Unique Design

Unique Design

Distrito Aros is an urban commercial concept with original and unique features that set it apart from traditional shopping centers. Imbued by the premium outlet spirit, it offers a unique shopping experience in the city, combining the best brands with an outlet concept, an interesting range of products, gastronomic options, and the best prices in a unique environment.

 

Boutiques In The Arches

Boutiques In The Arches

There are sixty-five local shops, twenty kiosk market stalls, 450 underground parking spaces, a room for artistic activities, and space for art exhibitions. Green areas were planted with over 200 trees and lush tropical plants. It will function as a clothing outlet with known premium brands, more dining options, a fitness center, and other services. It is estimated that would create about 1,200 full time jobs.

 

Incorporating New Architecture

Incorporating New Architecture

Familiar names like Starbucks, Adidas, and Levis are present along with local brand name chain stores like Wanama, Rapsodia Vintage, and of course the popular Argentine Freddo ice cream chain. The complex exudes a relaxing, tranquil shopping atmosphere and is sure to prove popular with tourists and locals alike.

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Main Entrance: Paraguay 4979

For More Information:

www.facebook.com/distritoarcos

www.distritoarcos.com

My Favorite Place to Dine and Stay in Vaqueros, Salta

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By Roy Heale

The small village of Vaqueros is just outside the Salta city limits and offers a wonderful Argentine country experience. The town is full of small stores, parkland, and of course the riverbank outdoor activities. Located in the foothills of the Andes at 4000′above sea level, with a resident population of about 4000 persons, here you will see traditional Argentina Gauchos (cowboys) on horseback making their way around the hamlet. Enjoy the small town atmosphere and great low prices in restaurants or local shops.
Visitors can experience horseback riding on the mountain trails, hiking around the hillsides, or take a guided quadricycle tour. Or you can stroll along the trail of the Artisans, a circuit to appreciate popular local arts and crafts fabricated in wood, leather, clay and wool.

Cozy Interior

Cozy Interior

The small and cozy Maurias bistro is a perfect place for dining. The food is home cooked to order with real country kitchen style and flavors. They are open for lunch and dinner offering empanadas, humitas, Spanish style potato tartas, a variety of main courses and traditional postrie deserts. The bife de lomo bordelaise (filet mignon) is a must for beef lovers or the roasted chicken breast Italian for lighter meat. Two people can easily dine here with a hearty meal accompanied by local wine for about US$15 and they have a cozy interior dining room or bright outdoor patio. This is my favorite place when I am at my country home in Vaqueros. This is off the beaten track for tourists but well worth a visit. Easily reached by taxi or city bus be sure to make this side trip if you are visiting the city of Salta.

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Generous Portions

Generous Portions

Gay-friendly accommodations are available located just 100 meters from the river and about the same distance from the village center. Luis Pezzini offers traditional Argentine cottages with all amenities from US$50 per night and they sleep up to four adults. With digital TV, WiFi, heating, and comfortable furnishings these living quarters are perfect for a country get-away and yet remain close to the city of Salta.

There is regular bus service (about every 15 minutes) to the city or a remise ride for about US$5.00 to downtown Salta. Your host is also very knowledgeable on the local area and can help with outdoor activities or tour advice.

For More Information:

http://www.parairnos.com/alquiler/vaqueros/alquiler-temporario-salta-vaqueros-los-sauces-25-5071.html

Local Markets at Ing Maschwitz, Buenos Aires

 

Mercado Maschwitz

Mercado Maschwitz

 

By Roy Heale

The small town of Ing Maschwitz in the province of Buenos Aires was named after Carlos Maschwitz
who was born in Buenos Aires on May 7, 1862, son of Mr. Georg Eduard Maschwitz, first manager of the Bank of London.

Emilio Mitre Square

Emilio Mitre Square

Today this small historic village is home to the Mercado Mendoza and the Mercado Maschwitz offering a selection of local restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and local handicrafts. Using recycled materials, the unique construction of these markets is slightly reminiscent of La Boca in the city of Buenos Aires but less commercial and more authentic Argentine. There is a new market under construction scheduled to open in December 2014 and using large steel shipping containers for the main building materials.

Zeppelin Restaurant Garden

Zeppelin Restaurant Garden

This is a popular place with local residents for weekend brunches and shopping expeditions. Just a one hour bus ride from the city of Buenos Aires, it is also a well known escape from the city to enjoy the relaxed rural pace of life.

Mercado Maschwitz

Mercado Maschwitz

In the Emilio Mitre Square, which is also the central park for the townsite, ther is an old London phone booth which has been converted into a unique public library.

London Phone Booth Library

London Phone Booth Library

This charming village is a relaxing place to spend a day away from the traditional tourist attractions and experience the real rural Argentine customs and lifestyle.

New Market Under Construction

New Market Under Construction

Getting There: Take the Escobar express bus from Plaza Italia in the city and ask the driver to announce Maschwitz. Upon arrival at the town it is a short walk to the village or the markets located on Mendoza Street.

Mercado Mendoza

Mercado Mendoza

Explore the Charming Colegiales Barrio, Buenos Aires

Charming Colegiales Architecture

Charming Colegiales Architecture

By Roy Heale

The Colegiales Barrio of Buenos Aires offers a laidback alternative to its noisier neighbors Palermo and Belgrano. Covering just over two square kilometers, it is one of the city’s smaller barrios and a largely residential one. Known for its large, open green spaces and treed residential streets, Colegiales is squeezed between Belgrano, Chacarita, and Palermo. Although it is off the tourists’ beaten track there are some interesting points of local history to discover.

Historically Colegiales was paired with Chacarita—the barrio situated immediately south—and the two were originally known as Chacarita de los Colegiales. In its beginnings this community was made up of small Jesuit-owned estates that were utilized as student retreats. In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled and the Spanish took control of the land. After the turn of the century and the commencement of Bernandino Rivadavia’s government in 1826, large numbers of European immigrant workers settled in the area and forced it to be divided into the two separate barrios of Chacarita and Colegiales.

Street Art

Street Art

Today, Colegiales maintains a strong residential feel that is characterized by its sleepy cobblestone streets lined with overhanging trees. With its close proximity to Palermo, the neighborhood is experiencing increased numbers of bars and restaurants.

One major tourist attraction of Colegiales is the Mercado de Pulgas—Flea Market. Founded in 1988 and situated at the intersection of Avenida Dorrego and Alvarez Thomas, this indoor market presents an eclectic collection of furniture, art work, antiques and other curiosities. If you are planning to stay long term in Buenos Aires you might just find a bargain for your new apartment here.

Mercado de Pulgas---Flea Market

Mercado de Pulgas—Flea Market

When in Colegiales you can retrace the footsteps of some of Argentina’s most famous sons. The comic strip Mafalda—-written by humorist Quino (Joaquin Salvador Lavado)—was based on the barrio and Plaza Mafalda is dedicated to the creator and his artwork. Other famous names of the barrio include journalist Ulises Petit de Murat and inventor Ladislao Jose Biro. The latter invented the ballpoint pen and Fundacion Biro (Cramer 450) is dedicated to helping and promoting young Argentine inventors.

On a sunny day, take time to relax in one of the many plazas or take a stroll along Pasaje General Paz, (a narrow pedestrian promenade) which attracts visitors to see its mature trees, bridgepaths, streams and ornate, balconied Andalusian-style patios. Avenida Elcano is a wide leafy boulevard that connects the barrio with Belgrano and Chacarita. Situated on the latter you’ll also find Elcano Grill, a classic neighborhood parrilla, and The Oldest, a pleasant British-styled pub.

Pasaje General Paz

Pasaje General Paz

When venturing deep into the back streets of Colegiales you will be treated to a wonderful mix of classic porteño cafés, closed-door restaurants and live music venues.

Mix with a stylish hipster crowd at Pipi Cucu (Ciudad de la Paz 557), a quirky French bistro-restaurant. Mismatched plates, glasses and cutlery add to the aloof charm of the place whilst the bartenders are known for mixing delights such as red fruit martinis.

 

Pipi Cucu  French Bistro

Pipi Cucu French Bistro

Recently, upscale lofts were developed in what years ago were the massive Buenos Aires flour mills (known also as Silos Minetti), at 1916 Dorrego Street. Elegant and trendy, they were built into the silos themselves and have become popular with local yuppies.

Silos Minetti

Silos Minetti

 

Colegiales also has a rich religious heritage including The Holiest Corpus Christi Monastery (450 Amenábar St.)which has been the centuries-old home to the Order of Barefoot Carmelites.

The Holiest Corpus Christi Monastery

The Holiest Corpus Christi Monastery

A Grand Country Mansion

San Isidro, Buenos Aires, Argentina

By Roy Heale

 

Victoria Ocampo Mansion

Victoria Ocampo Mansion

Argentine writer and intellectual Victoria Ocampo, CBE  was described by fellow renowned Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges as La Mujer Más Argentina—The quintessential Argentine woman. She was well known as an advocate for others and as publisher of the legendary literary magazine Sur. In her long professional career  as a writer and critic in her own right she became one of the most prominent South American women of her time. Her long life—April 7, 1890 to January 27, 1979—was filled with awards and distinctions and she is interred  in the well known Recoleta cemetery.

Although she owned several homes in Buenos Aires, San Isidro, and Mar del Plata, perhaps her favorite was her summer home, a country mansion in San Isidro, which is now just a 15 minute drive or a short train ride from the heart of Buenos Aires.

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Originally this was her summer home and today it is a UNESCO museum. The tranquil grounds are beautifully kept and the main floor of the mansion is open to the public where you can enjoy the period décor. There is a small indoor/outdoor restaurant offering interesting menu items at affordable prices. A nominal admission charge of ARS$30 for adults helps with the upkeep. It is a short walk from the Beccar train station or from the San Isidro village center. This is where Victoria Ocampo hosted the likes of author Graham Greene and politicians like Indira Gandhi. The restoration of this historic mansion allows visitors to step back in time and visit the library of her works.

 

The Gazebo

The Gazebo

The splendid gardens were created by Victoria herself. One of the lesser known facets of Victoria Ocampo was her love of plants, gardens and nature. She inherited this passion from her mother and learned the names of plants and gardening tasks at an early age. Victoria also introduced these contemporary style gardens in her Mar del Plata and Palermo Chico homes. She visited the major gardens of the world, wrote several gardening books, some of which can be found in the on-site library.

 

Outdoor Cafe

Outdoor Cafe

The Villa Ocampo UNESCO project was launched in 2003 in collaboration with the Argentine government, the Municipality of San Isidro, the Association of Friends of Villa Ocampo, plus many donors and sponsors. Under the direction of UNESCO the house, garden, furnishings, art and photography collections plus 11,000 books in the library were restored. The site was opened to visitors and aimed at a diverse audience offering a broad and comprehensive cultural program.

Restored Furnishings

Restored Furnishings

Open:

Wednesday to Sunday and holidays from 12:30 PM to 7:00PM

Guided Tours:

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 15:00hs and 16.30hs.

Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: From 14:00hs, every hour approx.

 

Music Room

Music Room

For More Information Visit: www.villaocampo.org