¿Que dia es hoy?

is anyone keeping track? i know i'm not.

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ciao, chiloe…y gracias

we woke up the next morning and the birds were causing quite the commotion.  

which brought my attention to the rainclouds!

an andean gull perched on our balcony.  i think he was trying to tell me to stay inside where it was warm and dry. 

but since not riding on our last day was not an option, tika put new tires on our bicycles!  check out my cool blue ones on the left! 

phil busted out his rain gear.  it actually wasn’t THAT rainy, i think he just wanted to justify bringing all the clothes!

we were riding from castro, as usual, and to the town of dalcahue where we took a break to visit a handicraft market. 

i caved and bought this blanket!  it’s one of my favorite (and one of the only) things i purchased here in south america.  handloomed, natural colors and bought directly from the artist.  that’s him behind me and i could tell he was just as excited as me!

our next stop was at a viewpoint on quinchao island.  a great place to rest just as the clouds were hovering ominously overhead.

a little girl had been watching us from her house on the side of the road and she disappeared for a moment only to reappear with her bike!  legitimate competition for tika!

huddled under the canopy until the rain passed. 

as soon as it did, we were off to our next stop and my favorite part of the day…

lunch!  this was where we stopped.  what could we be eating?

some clues on the ground near the ropes on the boat. 

king crab caught fresh that day!  so delicious as it was served with homemade garlic spice, warm crusty bread and a bright green salad.  

afterwards, we were stuffed. 

 i went outside to play with the animals and this one looked so content scratching his belly on the wood. 

back inside, we were all a little too content inside and dreading the steep climb ahead!

when we finally did recover from our lunch and climbed our way out from sea level, we were well rewarded with a visit to the UNESCO church in achao.  

one of the oldest and most stunning, the original was said to be built without using any nails!

the altar.

the stop at this church was also the end our riding here in chiloe island.  

our last chalk smiley face!

team chiloe!

our last morning in chiloe, i wanted to take some parting shots of our hotel that i loved so much.

every morning we had the most divine homemade bread, jam and crushed avocados…

they had a handloomed rug/blanket as well!

our hotel from the back terrace.

neighboring stilt houses.

and finally, this is what our hotel and surrounding houses looked like from the other side.  i thought the views from our room were beautiful, this might have been even better!

thank you juan pablo, tika and the magical island of chiloe for being such incredible hosts!

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unesco churches, sheep and a real cabbage patch kid

fun and fast rolling hills, more homemade food and a visit to the chiloe national park. it was our first day of riding in chiloe island did not disappoint. 

we started our ride leaving castro passing some beautiful green rolling hills. 

landscape opened up into these open waters and we couldn’t resist taking a break. 

posers.

we started stretching and comparing tricks.  

i remember the first time he showed me this trick on the staten island ferry coming back from one of our first rides together.  i was very impressed!

a quick wave at the camera before the bull decided to make any quick moves!

chonchi church, one of the UNESCO protected landmarks. 

the ceiling was painted a sky blue with little white stars. 

lunchtime! we rolled up onto a farm and had fresh rhubarb juice, salad and a trio of empanadas that included onions and cheese, clams and beef.   

a heated debate.  i think we were talking about the origins of the potato. 

a friend i met on the farm. 

i wonder if it’s like peeling an apple and it’s more fun if you try to get off all the wool in one piece?  

after lunch we had a little more to ride before we arrived at chiloe national park

it was also in the direction of the evacuations route.  but, something was wrong with this sign!

an enchanted forest!

an enormous spiderweb that had an erratic pattern.  fredrik thought perhaps the spider had a neural disorder.

a nalka plant allows for a great “i’m a cabbage patch kid" impersonation!

back at the hotel with the evening version of our view.

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it’s not chile…it’s CHILOE!

after our bike tour around the patagonian lakes district, we signed ourselves up for the extension which took us to the island of chiloe.

if you haven’t already heard about this island off the coast of chile, i would highly recommend a visit.  it’s an island full of rich history, mythology, UNESCO protected wooden churches and endangered animals.  some of these species are found nowhere else in the world.  the experience and the island was nothing less than magical but, we were also extremely lucky to have juan pablo show us around as he himself is a local! 

juapa lit up as we crossed over into chiloe.  he seemed so excited to share the beautiful island with us and we were as equally enthusiastic to see it!!!  the 30 minute ferry ride over to the island was in itself a treat.  he told us he could basically guarantee that we would see sea lions.  we ended up seeing no less than several sea lions, flocks of pelicans, dolphins and a family of black necked swans.  

peruvian pelicans are amazing to watch as they fly in large groups and glide right over the water.

after our ferry ride we went straight to…a restaurant.  the food was as simple and fresh as their advertising. 

after lunch we went to a local marketplace to see some of the specialties of chiloe. 

smoked and dried clams, mussels, herbs and seaweed!

fresh honey and baskets of bright eggs.

one of the “must sees” in chiloe are the wooden churches built by the spanish and jesuit missionaries.  they were made using a unique construction technique of interlocking wooden beams and foundations.  16 of the churches were declared UNESCO world heritage sites. 

we went to visit a museum of the churches to learn more about their structure and design. 

our next stop was to the the punihuil pengin colony where both humboldt and magellanic penguins cohabitate.  we had to take a boat to cruise around the three little islets where the penguins live amongst other sea life. 

life jackets a must!  safety first!!!

but these particular ones had an interesting feature.  fredrik was trying really hard to take this seriously.  

but in the end…

a mix of humboldt and magellanic penguins.  the humboldt are less common and greyish hue.  they also only have one black stripe on their torso opposed to the two that the magellanic have.  

it was also a site for red-legged cormorants.

so lucky to see this little guy!  it’s an endangered marine otter known as the chungungo. 

but an even more rare siting than a humboldt penguin or a marine otter was seeing the invincible tika showing signs of weakness.  apparently, he gets seasick!!!!

by this time we had worked up our appetites again which worked out well since our grand finale dinner was supposed to be a feast!!!  juapa was taking us to the home of a woman that specializes in making curanto al hoyo.

before entering her home we were greeted by two stunning foxes.  these were no ordinary foxes but were actually “darwin’s fox”   

they are critically endangered and it is estimated that they have a population of only 250 .  

worthy of paparazzi.

one of the reasons the foxes may hang out in this area is because of the delicious food (and the scraps that inevitably get tossed) of the curanto. 

underneath this smoking hole covered in leaves was our dinner. 

a FEAST of layers that started with a moist and chewy potato bread that was cooked over a bed of meats including chicken, sausage, pork? and vegetables.  all of that was over a huge pile of clams and mussels.  

we couldn’t wait and were able to pick the steaming shellfish right from the hole. they were perfectly cooked and DELICIOUS. 

philip needs a lesson in squatting…

there seemed to be an endless amount of food and our bellies seemed to expand endlessly. 

after we had our second, third and fourth servings of food, we went back out to play with the foxes! 

and as we left that evening, walking to our van, this was our view. 

we went straight to our hotel that evening and found out that even the hotel offered something really special.  

first of all, the hotel was on stilts.  

secondly, this was our view from our bedroom. 

although we were exhausted from the day of commuting and natural wonders, we were equally as excited to start our next day that would be full of more cycling and more chiloe. 

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canyoning, fredrik’s long lost brother and giant empanadas

after four days of cycling, we were given one “rest” day.  and i put that in quotes, because we were probably all more sore after this one day than the past four days of bike riding.  fredrik and lou played it smart and went kayaking.  philip, justin, christina and i played it crazy and went canyoning.  

so, what’s canyoning?  for us, it included going to llanquihue national park, squeezing into two layers of wetsuits, walking 45 minutes uphill (in the double wetsuits), and then proceeding to jump and slide (in every which way possible) off and down a series of rocks and natural waterslides.  our grand finally was repelling next to a waterfall that dropped over 100 feet down, but stopping just about 25 feet short of the very bottom to take one last leap into the water below.  

yea, so these double wetsuits were kind of a tight fit.  at least for me :-(

no sweat for these guys, pumped in pink and ready to go! 

after our walk uphill we came to the first spot where we all jumped into the water to test out our gear.  our guides took us through a couple of practice jumps off of a rock that was only a couple meters high.  i was nervous jumping at THAT height!  

but soon enough, they had us going backwards down waterfalls.

jumping off off rocks. justin is the one in this picture!   

and this funky one where we could basically run along the wall until we jumped/fell in.  

here’s a video of the last slide before the repelling!

this is a strange picture but it was the only image i had of the waterfall that we repelled right next to before our last jump!  

it turned out to be an amazing day.  at times i would look around and be in awe of the scenery and that i was actually in a natural water park!  it was one of those activities where i was scared silly half of the time, but when it was over, i couldn’t wait to do it again!

by the time we all returned from our “rest” day, we were STARVING.  a group of us went to chamaca inn.  

meet chamaca.  the definition of A HOOT!

she made her way around the table and took a liking to tika and fredrik.  mama chamaca wanted a kiss on the cheek!  what mama chamaca wants…mama chamaca gets!!!!

tika and fredrik had more in common that being good cyclists…apparently, they are related?!  just kidding.  not related, but look like they could be, no? 

after a fun day, fredrik got into bed and cuddled up with steve jobs. 

the next day was our last day of cycling with the larger group.  this called for something special. 

fredrik and i busted out our A-19 SIG JERSIES!!! WOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!!

each day, the scenery exceeded our expectations.  this ride fit that pattern. 

that day for lunch we were provided with a great picnic lunch that had ample food for our hungry bellies.

yes, i am double fisting two giant empanadas the size of my face.  so what???!!!

clearly, i wasn’t the only one enjoying my lunch!!!  

the last half of the ride was incredible.

i could have stayed on this stretch forever.

a freshly paved road, rolling hills, zero traffic, perfect weather…and an enormous volcano as a backdrop.  this is going to be hard to beat. 

and here comes tika, crossing the finish line in style.

one last shot of the matching jersies representing experience plus and NYCC! 

we were at the end of this ride and it was time to put the bikes on top of the van. philip and justins dad were helping put the bikes away.  can you see in this picture what fredrik was doing? 

our last evening with the larger group took us back to petrohue where we had actually started our adventure with a ferry ride off of lake todos los santos. (behind me)

it was time to part with all but our guides and philip as everyone else was heading back home.  it had been a memorable trip so far…but there was still more to come!  

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volcanic ash, a bathroom story and…germany?

after we crossed the chilean border (again) we rode up to hotel termas de puyehue.  we couldn’t have asked for a better place to rest and soak our sore muscles than in the naturally heated thermal pools that contained healing minerals from the volcanos along the andes. 

later that evening we met for our daily evening brief to learn about our upcoming day. 

 

on the balcony facing the andes, what could juan pablo be looking at? 

perhaps the smoking volcano behind us??!!!!

by the time we sat down for dinner, the sky was grey from falling ashes.  

the ashes fell throughout the evening and by the next morning there was a layer covering the entire property.  

we pushed off our start time for awhile until things cleared up a bit, but soon enough we were off and riding in a direction away from the ashes.  i wore a handkerchief around my mouth and had my sunglasses on and could still feel the grittiness of my surroundings in my mouth and eyes!  

as we were leaving the andes and heading towards the lakes district of chile, about an hour or so into the riding, the ashes were no where to be found.  

for lunch, we stopped at a restaurant that was attached to the museo moncopulli

the museum had a large collection of studebakers and other really groovy old stuff. 

and as if we weren’t being entertained enough by the scenery and museum, tika decided to start swinging from the ceiling! 

during our break, the sun came out and we all took advantage of it. 

after lunch we had the option to continue riding and additional 30 km to the hotel or shuttle it there.  a few of us took this option including fredrik and myself…and this is where it got interesting.  

long story short (kind of,) justin and philip took off first and the rest rode away on the van.  tika, fredrik and i took off together and very shortly thereafter, i needed to go to the bathroom.  as most of our “human breaks” were in a forested area, i told them to go ahead and i would catch up.  fredrik insisted they stay with me in case some chilean truck driver attempted to kidnap me.  great.  so, the two of them walked about 15 feet away and with their backs towards me, i entered the forest.  about 20 seconds later, when i re-emerged, they seemed deep in converstion.  i yelled out to them that i was going to take off and get a head start because i figured they would catch up with me on the hill.  apparently, they never heard me.  they continued to chat and while both of them were apparently thinking i was having some “issues,” neither of them wanted to bring it up.  when they finally started looking for me, they realized i was nowhere to be found.  slight panic ensued, phone calls were made…and in the meantime…i was riding far ahead only stopping to take pictures of daisies. 

here are the daisies.  it was while i was taking this picture that fredrik and tika thought i had either been kidnapped or had fallen into a well.  

i did wonder what was taking THEM so long but i actually thought they were playing a game where they were waiting for me to get really far ahead so that they could race and see who could catch up with me first.  silly me. 

in the end, it worked out and eventually, we all met up at a cafe over beer and some german kutchen.   as tika said, “well, i’ve never had a bathroom story, and now i do!”  i’m so proud. 

the last stretch of our ride to the hotel was a long, bumpy, dirt/gravel road that was slightly uphilll.  tika’s pedal completely broke off near the beginning and he could only pedal with one leg.  but no worries…he’s tika.

the hotel that evening was located at the very tip of a peninsula and was cozy, rustic and made of dark native woods that blended with the surrounding nature.

not to be outdone by the song john wrote earlier in the week, today’s ride inspired him to write a sweet poem! 

the next morning, i took a walk around our hotel.  it was simply serene. 

this…was not. 

our ride that day was taking us around the side of lake llanquihue heading towards frutillar, a town with a strong german influence.  

our route had us passing through another flock of sheep. we gave our best “angry sheep” look to let them know we were not ones to mess with. 

indeed, frutillar had a strong german influence and our menus came in german with english translations.  were we really in chile??

the town also had musical symbols everywhere as it is the location of an international music event and enormous theatre overlooking the lake. 

philip planned to wear this jersey just so he could match the music center.  at some point, we did realize how RIDICULOUS we must have looked walking around town in our tight lycra clothing.

our second half of the ride was hilly but worth the views of farms and lakes! 

at the end of each ride, we would always be greeted with a smiley face.  this one drawn, by tika, looked like tika! 

lou took his stretching VERY seriously. 

when we weren’t riding our bikes, we were riding in the van.  at times a tight squeeze but always fun!

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back in the saddle

after spending a few carefree days in santiago eating good food and riding around on a bright green cruiser, we were off to the main event, a 10 day cycling trip that would take us from bariloche, argentina…over the andes…and back to chile.  yes, you read that right.  over the andes…and back into chile.  for this reason, we were eagerly anticipating and slightly dreading the trip!  

but as it turned out, it ended up being a favorite for numerous reasons.  to start, we couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be riding with.  our team was 9 strong and included adventurous couple from virginia celebrating a milestone birthday, with their beer brewing son from california (also celebrating a milestone bday,) a bad-ass 72 year old cyclist from colorado, a loner/tri-athlete from london (with a huge appetite) and an awesome newlywed couple on their HONEYMOON!   and of course, there were our two outstanding guides juan-pablo (JUAPA! :-) from chile and tika (the invincible) from argentina.  

i think that i must just have an affinity for anyone that chooses to ride a bike for long distances, up and down hills, at times in inclement weather, when they are already in pain from the day before, and could be sleeping instead…because, in general, these types of people are just a little kooky.  and what could be better!?!

we all arrived in puerto varas, chile, and from there we made our way over to bariloche argentina.  it took us the entire day of commuting by bus, ferry, bus, ferry, bus…and so on.  BUT, the scenic views along the way made it go by fairly fast. 

off a ferry…on the way to the bus.  

when we finally arrived in bariloche, we had some time to clean ourselves up a bit before a delicious argentinian dinner to fuel up for our first ride the next day! 

it ended up being really windy and cold that morning so the smart ones in the group waited inside while the bikes were being prepped and loaded!  

i was outside.

after the bikes were prepped we shuttled to the start of our first ride.  fredrik was pumped and ready to go!

the first half of the ride ended up being one of the windiest rides with estimated 30 mph gusts!  and this was supposed to be a vacation!!!!!

but right before lunch the wind died down and the landscape opened up to some of the most scenic views yet.

after our picnic lunch by the water, we continued on to the town of villa la angostura.  

back in june, there was a volcanic eruption of Puyehue-Cordon Caulle in chile that greatly affected the areas of bariloche and villa la angostura in argentina.  we were witness to just some of the volcano’s devastation. 

villa la angostura ended up being a beautiful little village full of restaurants and chocolate shops.  it’s hurting right now because of the airport closures from the ash, but it is worth a visit in the future.  sooner than later!  

after a night of rest we headed off to cross the andes via the cardenal samore pass.  

before the climb, we had some more amazing scenery. 

group shot in front of lake espejo!

lou and christina coming around the bend before one of our stops at the argentine border.  

as we were crossing over into another country we had to stop at the border here in argentina.  this was our last stop before our big climb over the pass into chile.  

72 year old john and juan pablo arriving at the top of the climb where we said goodbye to argentina and hello to chile.  

taking a break at the top.  there’s a lot going on in this picture. 

after an exciting ride downhill, we had to stop one more time at the chilean border.

 dogs sniffed our bags and troublemaker christina was caught trying to smuggle through…hand sanitizer!!!  

after we were done with all the customs, we continued on through the chilean side of the mountains.  juapa and tika told us that the scenery would change drastically from the lakes and mountains we saw to green pastures that could be compared to the likes of switzerland.  

they were right! 

if you look closely, you will find a two headed cow. 

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santiago, chile - passionate poetry, heartbraking torture and fresh fruit

this was THE trip.  the trip we were both as equally excited as we were anxious about.  back in september, fresh off of riding our ride bikes consistently, we booked a two week trip that would take us through the patagonia lakes region of argentina, over the andes and into chile.  yes, you read that right, over the andes…and into chile.  

unfortunately, since september, we were not able to get on a road bike at all.  minor panic ensued prior to arriving and we had images (or mostly I had images) of our (errr, my) atrophied legs, desperately trying to climb even the smallest hill.  in short, the trip ended up being INCREDIBLE.  but, more on they cycling part upcoming posts.

prior to heading south, we spent a couple of days in santiago, chile.  our first day there, we took a…you guessed it, BICYCLE tour of the city.  actually, we took two.  one in the morning and then one after lunch and both were great to get an overview of the city and its history.  

check out my faux water bottle on the bike frame.  i want this as my commuter bike in nyc, with a matching orange helmet, of course.  

one of our first stops was to la vega  market.  

i was enchanted with the vibrant colors, sweet fragrance of fresh fruits and crisp vegetables.  

didn’t quite feel the same about their meats.  the “cabeza” (head) is just shy of 3 u.s. dollars.  SOLD!  not. 

"it is prohibited to drink and get high during work hours.  the administration"  HA HA HA

but, it IS possible to gamble.  

slots were in the theme of fruits, of course. 

across the way was the giant fish market Mercado Central, equally abundant in fish and as diverse as la verde market was in fruits and vegetables!

it didn’t look like she actually wanted to eat that.

we also stopped by the house of pablo neruda.  if there was one thing i wish i had more time to do while in santiago, it was to visit the other two of homes/museums.  all were inspired by the sea, impressively quirky, full of character and had captivating history.

"la chascona" is a quechua word meaning disorderly or disheveled.  it was built for his secret love matilda urrutia and referred to her messy, tousled and abundant red hair.if someone built me a house, they could call it the same name.  but, it wouldn’t refer to just my hair!   

the second tour focused more on the economy and political history of chile.  

la moneda is the presidential palace.  bombed and partially destroyed on september 11, 1973 during a military coup whereafter president general augusto pinochet took power.

after our tour, although we were sweaty and hungry, we wanted to see more of the city and continued to walk around.  

we ended up climbing santa lucia hill to get one of the best views of the city.  

our last day in santiago, we were so captivated with the tumultuous and complex political history, we visited the museum of memory and human rights.  

dedicated to the tens of thousands people that were interned, killed and tortured during pinochet’s regime, it symbolized a larger call to action for humankind

and since i can’t possibly end on such a somber note, let’s give a cheer to the outstanding food in santiago, chile!  

and more impressively, how this particular drink at Osaka matched my shirt, perfectly!

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i came this close to stealing a penguin - punto tombo

bienvenido a punta tombo!

punta tombo is a natural reserve that serves as the breeding grounds for about 400,000 magellanic penguins.  they come in september to claim their nests and lay their eggs. by early november many of the eggs have hatched, just in time for our visit! 

alongside one of the walking paths this was one of the first nests we came across.  could we be more lucky to see something so precious?  

it was nearly impossible to pull myself away. i want a penguin.

one of our favorite observations was watching the baby penguins chatter away making all sorts of noise, until the mama/papa penguin suddenly decided they had heard enough and sat back on top of them.  complete silence followed. 

of course, fredrik didn’t miss his opportunity to give his thumbs up to the penguins.  you know this little guy was thinking, “what’s up with the thumb?”

we, on the other hand, gave each other knowing glances. 

here we saw an egg hatching!  actually, we noticed the egg when it was shaking slightly and hardly had a crack in it.  so, we decided to sit for almost half an hour to watch it crack to the amount above.  finally, we gave up on thinking we were going to witness the whole thing.  as we both agreed:  we’ll youtube it. 

as we continued to walk along the pedestrian path, we soon realized that penguins are such a bunch of characters. 

this one was on his way back from the home improvement store. 

these guys were the next shift of babysitters!  nice and fat from feeding in the sea.  

"what’s that smell?" said one penguin to the other…

enter your own caption here…

on our way out we stopped to explore the newly designed punto tombo center.  we stared at the giant compass for awhile trying to orient ourselves to see which way the sun rose and set.

the next day we headed over to punto loma to check out the sea lion colony.  they were slightly more entertaining than the sea elephants, but equally as squishy.

it was really sunny.  fredrik is in awe of how i kept my eyes open when we were facing the sun for this shot.  actually, i saw sunspots for the next hour … but at least i’m not squinting in the picture!!!  beauty = pain! 

two males working it out as a harem of females surround them. 

the winner steals a passionate kiss on the beach. 

and moves on to steal…another passionate kiss on the beach.  men!

later that day we headed over to el doradillo beach where you could apparently observe whales from the shore.   

no whales watched, but a memorable day nonetheless.

thank you, puerto madryn!

and thank you to “the akessons” for coming all the way from sweden to visit us!  

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we watched whales - puerto madryn

while fredrik’s parents were here, we took the opportunity to head down to our first trip to patagonia.  located in the northern part of patagonia, puerto madryn is a unique place to see animals such as whales, penguins, sea lions and sea elephants…to name a few!

our first attempt at taking off.  we did actually take off, flew for over an hour through extreme turbulence, and then had to turn back around because of volcanic ash from puyehue, chile.  

this was our second attempt at taking off the next morning after more or less pulling an all nighter!

but we made it!

that evening we dined at a fun restaurant, patagonia resto-bar, that conveniently had a local map on the ceiling.

hmmm, maybe more convenient if they had been on our placemats of something, but it certainly had a great effect! 

the next day we went on our first whale watching excursion.

armed and ready to go.  

it’s a good thing we had our cameras out as we soon saw a flock of kelp gulls, penguins and sea elephants in a cluster shortly after departing from the shore. 

soon after, we saw our first whale. 

the southern right whale has a large head covered in callosities.

the boat “oohed and aaaahed” with every whale tail that surfaced. 

"oooohhhh  aaaahhhh"

we learned the baby whales stay near the top of the ocean while their mothers dive below in search of food.  in the meantime, the babies roll around and slap the water with their flippers in an attempt to get the attention of their mom. 

hi, you’re huge. 

hats seemed necessary on such a sunny day but were hazards of the offshore winds!

after the boat ride we worked up quite the appetite.

i think they looked happier eating the pizza than they did watching the whales!

up next, sea elephants in punta norte. 

they are kind of silly looking. 

and this one was just scary. 

looking forward to seeing penguins?  yes, me too!

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meet the akessons

coming back from a whirlwind trip to attend my cousins wedding in new york, i was flying back to buenos aires on the same day fredrik’s parents were flying in from sweden!  coincidentally, our flights arrived only an hour apart and so we all met, not so fresh faced, at beautiful ezeiza international airport for the first time.  at least our first impressions were equally jet lagged!

was i nervous?  nah… :-) 

we were both really excited to have them come to visit us as fredrik had not seen them in awhile, i would be meeting them for the first time, and, they would be our very first (and maybe only) visitors in argentina!  we were really looking forward to spending time together and showing them our home away from home.

the purple flowers of the jacaranda tree were in full bloom to greet his parents all throughout the city.

and, as promised in an earlier blog post, we had said if anyone was ever going to come visit us in buenos aires, we would first take them to our favorite heladeria, arkakao.  it was a most blissful reunion. 

as i got to spend more time with the akessons, i realized i had at least one hobby in common with them.  we had a FACE-OFF. 

we visited some places that were new to us, including the museo de arte latinoamericana (MALBA.) 

and other places that have become old favorites such as the beautiful japanese garden. 

globalization at its best.  swedish natives, eating korean ice cream melon bars, inside a japanese garden in buenos aires, argentina.  

and total troopers dining out with a start time as late as 9 and 10 p.m.  a big change from their normal dinner time of 5:30 p.m.!!!  at least puerto madero is quite pretty in the evening. 

on most afternoons we would have merienda in our apartment and plan activities for the forthcoming days. 

we decided to go to another ranch to show them a bit of the famous argentine countryside. 

fredrik and i were able to go horseback riding again while his parents enjoyed a ride in the sulky. 

a scenic lunch with our fellow gauchos of fresh salads, empanadas and an endless supply of carne asado. 

our hostess breaking down the different cuts of meat they have in argentina. 

fredrik’s parents sitting on the porch of our cozy cottage.  their faces aglow by the light of the ipad. 

the next morning, a breakfast of fresh fruit, warm eggs, breads and jams, was served right outside our doorstep.  

we had company come over to help us clean our plates.   

right after our breakfast on the ranch, we headed back into buenos aires to catch our first polo match.  

our seats were ok. 

i can’t believe it took us so long to watch a game in the “mecca of polo.” 

the studs were amazing! :-)