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Friday, November 28, 2014

Foto Friday - 11/28/14

Dear Family and Friends,

This week's Foto Friday was taken in Nice, France.  It is such a day brightener to see larger than life art that is fun!

It is funny because as soon as I saw it, I thought of a head cold.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Montevideo, Uruguay - What a trip!

Dear Family and Friends,

During our trip we took a ferry across the River Plate to Buenos Aires, Argentina.  We spent several days there enjoying this wonderful city.

I do not have any photos to share about this leg of the trip.  Hopefully, Rich and Nancy have a picture or two to share with you.  I took many pictures of Buenos Aires several years ago and if you are interested you can see them by clicking here and here.

After Buenos Aires, we took a high speed ferry back across the river to Monte Video, the capitol of Uruguay.

We stayed in this wonderful 92 year old hotel.  Lucky for us Sofitel has remodeled and updated it.

A view of the charming neighborhood outside our hotel.

We ate ourselves silly on the wonderful food.  Our best occasion was celebrating with Carol and George on their 49th wedding anniversary.

We had a wonderful tour east to Ponte del Este, a beautiful resort city on the Atlantic coast.

We walked the tourist route in Montevideo.  We started at Plaza Independencia.

Walked the closed to traffic tourist streets and enjoyed the parks.

We enjoyed a lot of coffee breaks during this trip.

We went to the old town meat market and had the most wonderful meal.

They really know how to grill.  The meat is awesome!!

Rich took this picture of Chuck and me.

We had a wonderful time and are so thankful for such great friends to travel with.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Foto Friday - 11/21/14

Dear Family and Friends,

Rich, Nancy, Chuck and I were privileged to share George and Carol Evans' 49th wedding anniversary last night during our trip to Uruguay.

Such a beautiful couple with beautiful hearts.

Love you guys!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Tour of the Oldest Winery in Uruguay

Dear Family and Friends,

While in Colonia, we took a day trip to the oldest winery in Uruguay, Los Cerros de San Juan.  They do not export their can only be purchased in Uruguay.

We started our tour in the vineyards.  The drive was spectacular.

Rich checking the grape vines.  You can tell he has California roots....he looks like a natural.

This winery is 150 years old.  The buildings were very old as well as some of the machinery.

Here is George checking out the processing machinery.

If we started to feel we were in France, all we had to do was look at one of our drivers.  He is drinking the traditional yerba mate (herbal tea).

We toured the cellars.  Huge oak barrels imported from Europe many, many years ago and still in use.

At the end of the tour we had the main event in our books, the wine tasting.  Here is Chuck and George waiting for the rest of us.

The wine tasting is held in the old company store.  The shelves where the groceries were displayed are now filled with bottles of wine.

These guys give "belly up to the bar" a whole new meaning.

YES!!  We scored.  Wine to enjoy back at our hotel.

What a fun day!!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Colonia, Uruguay

Dear Family and Friends,

We are having a terrific vacation with our friends, Rich, Nancy, George and Carol.  We have been in Uruguay for several days.  Our first place to visit is Colonia, Uruguay.  This is a lovely town.  Check out the pictures.

Beautiful tree lined cobble stone streets...

Lots of colorful plants...

Surrounded by water....

Lots of outside restaurants....

We rented a cart, piled in and drove around town....

This old house has the bougainvillea trained to side of the wall to keep the sidewalk clear.....

Lots of old cars.....

Regrouping at the hotel, deciding where to have dinner.

Cooking with wood...he scrapes the hot coals under the grate.

Satisfied customers....

We are having a wonderful time.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Foto Friday - 11/14/2014

Dear Family and Friends

We are currently in Uruguay with our friends, Rich, Nancy, George and Carol.  We flew out of Guayaquil. Before leaving Ecuador we spent a day exploring in Guayaquil.  One place we went was our favorite...Park of the Iguanas.

Today's Foto Friday is from this park.

Also, today is my brother's birthday.  Happy Birthday Norman.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Foto Friday - 11/7/14

Dear Family and Friends,

Todays picture was taken over seven years ago when Chuck and I spent one day in Montevideo, Uruguay.  We were on a cruise which started from Buenos Aires, Argentina and sailed around the tip of South America and ended in Santiago, Chili.

The first stop we made was in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.  We spent a few hours walking around the city before re-boarding the ship.  Until now this has been our one and only experience of Uruguay.

Todays Foto Friday is a picture I took seven and a half years ago in the city center of Montevideo.  Chuck is looking at the famous statue of General Jose Gervasio Artigas.  Jose Artigas is known as the "Father of Uruguayan independence".

Here is a little bit of trivia.  There are two replicas of this statue in the world.  They were presented as a goodwill gesture by the people of Uruguay to the United States in 1948.  One replica is located in Washington, DC and the other replica is located in Montevideo, Minnesota.  

I am sharing this with you today because we are returning to Uruguay.  We are leaving Saturday with our dear friends, Rich and Nancy and George and Carol.  The six of us will spend time traveling around Uruguay and even bopping over to Buenos Aires for a few days.

Of course, while we are traveling, I will be posting about our experiences.  It will be nice to really get to know the country that we only spent one day in many years ago.

Have a nice weekend.

Love you all,

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Ecuador's Andean All Souls' Day Tradition

Dear Family and Friends.

November 2nd is called All Souls' Day here in Ecuador.  It is observed to some extent by all parts of society, but is especially important to the indigenous peoples of the Andes.  Families gather together in the cemetery with offerings of food for a day-long remembrance of their ancestors and lost loved ones. Ceremonial foods include colada morada and guagua pan.

Colada morada is a beverage prepared with purple corn flour and small pieces of fruit including the Andean blackberry which gives it it's color.  It is prepared with cinnamon, allspice and cloves and other herbs.

It has a color of blood...I do not know if there is a symbolic link between this drink and blood, but I wonder.

Guagua pan is a type of sweet roll shaped like a small child or baby.  They are decorated with icing and sometimes have a sweet filling.  Guagua is the indigenous word for "baby."  It is pronounced "wa-wa."  The origin of this sweet bread is here in Ecuador.

A few days before this holiday you will see restaurants and venders offering this duo of ceremonial food and drink.  Friday, I came across a plaza where culinary students were serving Colada Morada and Guagua Pan.

I browsed, tasted and learned about this tradition.  Here are some pictures.

This is the sign that caught my attention.

The colada morada was poured by the cup or into quart size containers.  People were buying it in the larger containers to take with them.  I suppose buying it ready made is easier than making it at home.

Here is a sample that was offered to me.  You can see the fruit floating in it.  Since it is made with flour, it was a thick drink.  Very good taste of fruit and spices.

Here is the guagua pan.  I didn't taste one but according to what I have read, the bread is sweet.

Here is a culinary student offering this traditional combination to a couple dressed in indigenous dress.

This is just one of the cultural traditions that makes living in Ecuador interesting.