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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Cafeyate, Argentina

Dear Family and Friends,

We rented a car in Salta so we could drive to Cafeyate.  Although it was a two lane road, it was very nice with wide shoulders.  The best thing is that the drivers were very respectful and drove safe.

Although the drive is a little under 120 miles, the scenery changes drastically.  It was a most beautiful drive.

We followed this truck hauling a trailer with tobacco.

It wasn't too long and we came to some awesome tobacco fields. The tobacco growing with the mountains in the distance was breathtaking.  We were just getting started, the real beauty lay ahead.

I took this picture from the car.  What else should we expect, after all we were in Argentina.

After awhile, the scenery changed.  The landscape was much more arid.  This old adobe building reminded me of something I would see in an old western movie.

This man was carving flutes out of wood.

Here is a lady selling tortillas by the side of the road.

The scenery changed again.  We drove into the most magnificent display of giant red rock formations.  It reminded me somewhat of Sedona, Arizona.  We stopped multiple times to walk around and admire the beautiful scenery.

Here is my honey enjoying the view.

This stovepipe rock reminded me of one I have seen in western U.S.

This rock formation was called the castles.

Walking into yet another rock formation.

When we got inside it almost took our breath away.

Not too much further and we were in Cafeyate.  We stayed just out of town in a vineyard.  Beautiful scenery here too.

Chuck was impressed with how high these grapes were off the ground.

Here are some pictures inside the small town of Cafeyate.

This picture is of the central plaza.  I love this tree.

The sidewalks around the plaza had a lot of outdoor restaurant seating and the usual tourist vendors.

Chuck bought yet another hat.  Actually he looks mighty fine standing by this old wagon outside the wine museum.  We toured the museum and learned quite a bit about wine making in this part of the world.

This is a fun, funky building across the street from the museum.

Chuck thought he had died and gone to wine heaven.  He had a real hard job deciding which wines to bring back to Ecuador.  We were allowed two bottles each.

The people who live in Argentina can just buy it by the jug.

We had a delightful dinner (steak again...what else?) outside.  The weather was fantastic.

I will end this post with a picture of the church across from the plaza.  It was so beautiful all lit up.

We had a wonderful trip.  We saw more than we even imagined we would.

We arrived back in Cuenca to the task of moving from one condo to another.

As we are starting to get settled in, we are off again.  We are going to the U.S. to hug family.

I hope to be able to post to the blog as we go.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Salta, Argentina

Dear Family and Friends,

Our friend, Sumana, who lives here in Cuenca, spent several months living in Salta, Argentina a few years back.  We were intrigued when she shared how much she loved the city.

Since we were in that neck of the woods (well, the same country) we decided to tack a week on our trip and check out Salta and the surrounding wine country. Before Sumana went there, I had never heard of this town.

We spent a couple of days in Salta.  The first day we spent walking around the main plaza.  Here are some pictures to share how nice it is:

This government building is built in the French Baroque style.  With the sidewalk cafes beneath it, you certainly get a French experience.

This church is on the plaza.  It is painted in pink and cream colors.  It is quite beautiful.

The main park is quite a bit larger than Parque Calderon, here in Cuenca and while we were there appeared to be used just as much as ours.

I was fascinated by this blossoming tree in the park.  I don't think I have ever seen these blossoms before.

Here is a close up.  Maybe someone can provide the name.

There is a gazebo in the park, just like in our park.

Here is another interesting building on the park.  We had coffee in the restaurant there.

After our walk around the center of town, we walked back to our apartment.  I was intrigued with this man and his dog.

Here is a typical tourist shop window.  What appears to be silver is something they called Alpaca???

The second day we took the open air tourist bus to see the sights of Salta.

We found that they have many, many lush, well kept parks.

Here is a convent....not sure how old but very interesting.

I was intrigued with how many fine homes they have.

We didn't see any indigenous people like we see in Cuenca.  I guess they have been absorbed into the main stream culture.  They do have this monument though that honors the past culture.

Just like when you take the tour of Cuenca, the bus took us into the hills and we were able to see Salta from above.

A beautiful blue church..

The domes on top were spectacular.

The last stop on the tour was a very nice tourist shopping area.  Fine quality items to buy.

Chuck shopped while I walked around and admired the building.  Here is a beautiful cat that I guess lives there.

When it is time for siesta everything closes.  Even the dogs find a shady spot and snooze away.  These guys tickled me.

That evening we went to a restaurant for dinner.  We ordered steak, of course, because we were in Argentina.  We could not believe the size of the was enormous and absolutely melt in your mouth tender.

 After eating the steak we shared a banana split..  

My next post will be about our trip to the wine producing region of Cafeyette.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Montevideo, Uruguay

Dear Family and Friends,

After we left Rio we headed back south.  On the way back to Buenos Aires, after a day at sea, we made stops in Ponte del Este and Montevideo, Uruguay.

Ponte del Este is on a peninsula and is a resort town.  The year around population is less than 10,000, but according to the census it has almost 25,000 households. It is quite evident that most of the houses and condos are second homes.

Here is a picture of the coast of Punte del Este I took from the ship.

 Punte del Este is the playground of the rich from all over the world.

This picture of a public clock gives you an idea.

For some reason I didn't take many pictures.  There is one more I could share with you but Chuck would kill me if I did.  He straddled a small cannon and asked me to take his picture.....well you get the idea.

The next day we had about 4 hours in Montevideo.

This was our third trip to Montevideo.

We started out walking the tourist walkway to the main square.  The last time we were here with Rich, Nancy, Carol and George this street was practically empty.

A fresh sidewalk market...everything looked so good.

We knew we did not have a lot of time and we knew exactly what we wanted to at the Marcardo de Puerto. This is a big building that used to be the market.  It is now like a meat food court. There are many different grills, you just have to decide which one you want to try.

We knew from the numbers of people on the walkway that it would be crowded but when we got there we were not prepared for how crowded it was.  We were lucky to find a table.

Here is how they cook the meat in Uruguay.  They have the wood burning behind the meat and scrape down more coals as they need it.

Another grill.

 My mouth is watering as I type this.

We wanted to try their chorizo (sausage) because we saw Anthony Bourdain eating it on TV at this same place.  We also wanted our steak and chops so we ordered the chorizo as an appetizer.

It was real good, it is really sad that we cannot get sausage this good here in Cuenca.

Chuck ordered rack of lamb.  Here is his plate.

He shared some with me and I was sorry I had not ordered them too.  My steak was good but the lamb was outstanding.  Here is my plate.

And here is a happy couple enjoying a grand lunch.

 After lunch we sauntered back to the ship and watched as we sailed away.

Our cruise was over.  The next morning we arrived back in Buenos Aires.  We left the ship early and headed to the airport because we had one more week of vacation.  We went on a wine country adventure which I will share in my next post.