On the road

We are at the bus station in Tafi del Valle waiting for the bus to San Miguel de Tucuman where we will transfer to the overnight bus to Corrientes.

Well be out of touch for the next tent four hours.

We received a request to provide more information and context to our posts and will do that. We’d like to broaden the I invitation to anyone to reading that we will be glad to answer any questions or present specific information upon request. We are promised good internet connection in Corrientes

Right now, however we are on 2g data network with limited bandwidth. We’ll be in touch.



Easy Does It

Nothing like a rainy morning to help you slow down and relax. Last night’s steady downpour turned into steady rain this morning and into intermittent mist throughout the day. Post breakfast I took a warming shower. There’s no heat here, so the warm shower provided a good start to the day and dressing in layers kept me warm enough. I had to get my down vest out! While we read and listened to podcasts on the bed, a blanket covered my feet and legs.

I’m reading a book called My Enemy’s Cradle, set during WWII in Holland. I didn’t know that Dutch women who became pregnant by German soldiers often went into a Lebensborn, a home where they were cared for by the Germans in order to give birth to healthy German babies. The babies were then either given to good German families or to the wives of the German soldier who was the father of the baby. Can you imagine?

It’s the story of a half Jewish (father), half Dutch (mother) woman who was sent to live with her mother’s sister in Holland for safety. This young woman ends up in a Lebensborn through a rather complicated turn of events. She is not having a German soldier’s baby and she has taken on her fully Dutch cousin’s identity (They look remarkably alike.) who is now dead and who was impregnated by a German. She loved him. Thought he was different; thought he loved her; that they would marry. Gave herself an abortion. Aunt signs death certificate with our heroine’s name.

Sheesh, as I write this, it all sounds highly unlikely. Especially the part where our protagonist is lucky enough to become pregnant by the man she loves on the first try so that this identity switch can happen. Also, she’s supposed to be sprung from this home before giving birth. I have no idea how that will happen. Especially as she was taken to a different place than expected and how will Isaac (baby daddy) find her?! I’m not yet halfway into this book, and incredulousnous aside, the writing is well crafted and I’m curious as to the outcome. Are you?

I also started listening to an interview of Laura Logan, renowned journalist and war correspondent, with Mike Ritland, host of the podcast Mike Drop. She was with CBS 60 Minutes for years. It’s a 3 hour interview and I’m just 1 hour into it. So far, it’s a fascinating listen as this woman talks about her life growing up in South Africa, her interest in writing from an early age, and her beliefs. In the first half hour she talks about being true to your word and doing the best you can do. These are 2 of the 4 Agreements in the book by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. I mention this because Charlie and I were recently talking about it. Syncronicity.

Enough of my morning past times. Around 1 pm the rain had stopped and we needed to move. And to eat. On Sunday we had gone to a restaurant just down the road that advertised that it only prepared regional and local dishes and if that was not your preference, then here is a list of other restaurants you might like. The place was packed – always a good sign. Yet, as this was a holiday weekend, every place was packed. So…. still we liked that sign and decided to return. Then I stumbled across an Argentine Trip Advisor post about the restaurant. It got rave reviews all around.

I had a local favorite, humita al plato. It’s a stew, a cross between posole and menudo. I am a fan of the former, not the latter. What makes it posole is the corn kernels (choclo, in these parts). What makes it menudo is the small bits of tripe. But it has it’s own twists – the base is squash; they add fava beans; they use beef instead of pork. I liked it; but didn’t eat all the tripe parts.

Charlie had the special: polenta con tuco. The polenta was remarkably like the polenta we know. I say this because yesterday morning we ordered tortillas and received a really dry, layered bread. The polenta came topped with a savory ground beef and grated cheese. Very tasty.

Another local favorite: humita. This is a corn and cheese mixture steamed in a corn husk. Super creamy and flavorful. However, it seems totally unrelated to humita al plato. Except for the corn ingredient.

Empanadas are ubiquitous throughout the parts of Argentina we’ve been in. They can be stuffed with beef, squash, chicken, fish (pejerrey is the local in Tafí – and delish), dulce de leche, and on… The quality varies, of course, as to both insides and as to the pastry surrounding.

A walk into town followed to search for an umbrella. The one that Charlie bought in BsAs  gave it up. We plan to take the bus to Cafayate, wine county, tomorrow and rain is in the forecast again.

Here are a few pics from today’s walk:


And one from yesterday…


I’ve grown quite fond of Tafí, especially with the crowds gone. I’ve also grown fond of La Vidala. I’ve noticed how initial impressions of place can change and grow into appreciation, even recognizing the shortfalls. We’ve much enjoyed having La Vidala to ourselves these past 2 days. Internet service is much better without all the competition for one thing; having the comedor to ourselves for dinner and writing has also been helpful. I don’t know how people can live in one room. We need at least 2, not counting the bathroom. If I lived alone, I could handle one room. I think.

Yours truly, Paula

Tafi del Valle

It has been a relaxing couple of days in Tafi de Valle. The fiesta ended early Monday morning. After restless sleep as the final six hours of amplified music played from the concert stage a couple hundred yards away we arose, ate, napped, walked, napped some more. Paula has posted what that day was like.

The town center had a feel of a Monday on a holiday weekend as families departed the cafes and shops, loading their cars and drving away. The town became quiet, and although there were still young people playing music in the streets, a calm was descenting on the town. The quiet was amplified when we realized we were the sole remaining guests at our hostel. Even the proprieter bundled up his family and departed, leaving us in the care of a caretaker.

Monday was a rainy day as was today. Although it seemed the Sun was trying to break through, the clouds would close up and the air would become misty. There were intermittent showers and in the evening the rain came steady and hard.

And it has gotten cold. The lows at night are in the 40s and highs barely get above 60. It is like an early fall.

Tomorrow we are taking a day trip to Cafayate for wine tasting and touring. Cafayate is slightly lower in elevation (Tafi is about 2000 meters) so it will be warmer. On Thursday we depart to Corrientes where we will be spending 4 nights for Carnaval. We were warned today that it will be hot and humid. I’m already looking forward to it.

I’ve not much to say about Tafi that Paula has not already said, but here are a few photos of the surrounding area.

Listen to the Rhythm

Today (2.25) dawned overcast and misty. (Oh, and noisy – as mentioned in the previous post.) Beautiful to view. A great day for a hike up to the Cerro. Actually, it was a chancy day for a hike up to the Cerro due to the weather, but we headed that way anyway. The sky hung low; the clouds wispy and grazing the hills. The sky could have opened at any moment. But it didn’t. We had a beautiful day of walking in misty mist out of town and along a country road bordered by a river. I listened to the rhythm of my heart telling me, “Today. Today is the day to attempt this climb.”


I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, weatherwise or otherwise. But I knew to take advantage of today. While we had a peaceful and calming walk, we didn’t make it to the Cerro. We headed out on the right road. We started up a path that looked like it could be it. Turned out to be nothing more than a cow path. Which petered out. Ended. The cows mooed their disapproval at our presence. Maybe they mooed their delight at our arrival. I don’t know.

Horses grazing between road and river snuffled along.


We continued along the dirt road, scanning the hills for signs of a trail, but found none. We followed a path to a Santuario. It was locked up. But there was a sweet homemade wooden turnstile to get into the property. Dogs lolled at intervals along the road, thumping tails as if to say, “Hey, acknowledge me. Give me some love.” So, I’d share some time with them and they would accompany us for a bit, then decide they needed to retreat to their posts. 20190225_140906

We arrived back “home” minutes before the rain came. We were happily ensconsed in the comedor of La Vidala, partaking of the simple pleasures of cheese, bread, olive tapenade, and wine. Alfajores for dessert. We sat for a long while writing and uploading photos. The rain stopped. We repaired to our room.

Just now it is thundering and raining heavily. How I love listening to the rhythm of the rain, the rumble of distant thunder.  This weather system now seems to be quite content hovering over the area. We’re in for the night. Extra blankets on the bed are called for and instituted.

When we arrived in Tafí on Saturday we had a series of upsets, starting with the taxi driver not being able to find the place. Got that sorted out. Then an issue with payment not going through on credit card. So, having to get cash to pay which involved extra fees. All rather minor in the scheme of things and all worked out. But that on top of lack of sleep and hot, sticky weather made for some less than easy going travelers.

And then things fall into place. You get some sleep. Some food. You find out that the fiesta is a lot of fun to attend. You appreciate the surroundings. The weather cools. You make it through a series of questions as to just who it is you married and get through the wondering why and back into sync.

These road signs are my metaphor for traveling – weather traversing the road of a relationship or the roads of destinations. Sometimes the route is clear; sometimes the way is unclear. There’s a back and forth to navigating both. Like living amidst a foreign language, there are words and concepts you kind of get amidst a stream that goes right past. You must help one another understand the physical as well as the emotional travel as you continually work to get the lay of the land. True whether the lay of the land is a new land, your own or another’s inner landscape. That’s my pop-psych for the day. Paula




The National Festival of Cheese

This post is disjointed and rambling, but if I do not post it now, I will edit it to the tone of a business memo and you will be deprived of my overpowering wit.

I mentioned that the 50th annual Fiesta Nacional del Queso was underway when we arrived in Tafi del Valle this weekend. We had not expected a festival this weekend and had just assumed we would encounter normal weekend conditions. The first we heard about it was from our taxi driver who advised us that our hostel was on the outskirts of town, but it is close to the main celebrations of the Fiesta. We found out later that “close to” means within 250 yards.

Paula had read about this Festival and was under the impression it had already happened for the year. She was disappointed, but I could not, for the life of me, understand how to make a five day festival out of cheese. “How much can you celebrate cheese?” I asked. Hearing that there would be all sorts of cheese from cows, goats, llamas and alpacas did not do a lot to pique my interest.

As we walked to the hostel from our earlier quest for cash (see yesterday’s blog), we took a shortcut along a narrow, circuitous road. We encountered a flat bed truck driven by a man who was also seeking a shortcut, and the truck appeared to be a parade float. The driver advised us that there would be a parade outside the festival grounds at three o’clock. We are suckers for parades, though I have tempered some of my enthusiasm agreeing to go to parades only when it is not an election year. This fortuitous encounter seemed an invitation that could not be ignored, so we walked directly to the sports field and bought tickets.

We did not immediately enter the grounds, preferring to wait outside the gates along the appointed parade route. We noted a significant lack of evidence of anyone waiting for a parade. A woman told us the parade would be at 5 o’clock so we went to the hostel and freshened up. We returned to the fiesta grounds a bit after 5 and since there was still no evidence of a parade we entered the fiesta grounds to see what was available.

Touring the grounds it was clear that there was plenty of cheese of many varieties. As we were to find out later, substantial cash awards awaited many of the cheese makers. It soon became clear that the festival was only nominally about cheese.

The festival is a celebration the unique Argentine culture that emerged from the same economic and cultural conditions that gave it its cheeses. It is a celebration of the gauchos and the estancias. It is about horses, cattle, sheep, wine, music, dance, family and community. In the course to two evenings we witnessed, and in some ways shared, this celebration.

Immediately inside the gates we entered the area where the competitors in cheese making were set up.

It was difficult to get a good photo since the stalls were actually much more packed than the above image. After tasting a few items we went deeper into the park, past the amusement rides and came across an Argentine rodeo, where men dressed in traditional costume competed in riding and roping in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Around the perimeter, people sold beverages from coolers as young and old cheered the exploits on the field.

We enjoyed watching the show for quite a while and then decided to see what else was happening. That was when we noticed the parade was underway. It was a very slow moving parade, since each of the floats had a five minute demonstration for the judges at the grandstand. Each of the floats had active demonstrations of aspects of their heritage. Some were passing out food to the observers, including one float where an asadero was slicing generous servings of ribs right off the asador. We chatted with one woman who was planning to pass out servings of minced meat, pastry and other treats on behalf of a wedding party that was in the parade on horseback. We had met the newlyweds on the earlier portion of the route and were invited to a sip of a very flavorful spot of distilled spirits.

A few samples from the parade:

Nearly every float had a mujer vieja screeching a traditional song accompanied by an out of tune guitar and receiving wild applause. The emcee was enthusiastic, constantly calling on the crowd to show their appreciation, continuing to remind me about applesauce (aplausos).

As the parade neared its conclusion, the sound techs continued to set the stage for the main event for the evening –a music concert with local and national stars. Music is to start at 9 PM and as we waited we walked checked out the many asadores, wine and beer stands and other food stands.

As we surveyed the many options available, it was really clear that there was much more available than conceivably be consumed in the evening. We did our share, of course, but it did not seem there was, or would be, enough people in attendance to even make a dent.

That was before we understood the importance of the musical portion of the event. The concert began fairly close to 9, consisting of traditional music on traditional instruments. The performers were quite talented, and as the evening progressed the music, while retaining the traditional rhythms and cadence, took on a more contemporary feel. Around midnight the group we assumed were the headliners played a very powerful set. After about a half hour Paula and I began to succumb to the nearly 45 hours we had been on the move and decided to return to the hostel and get some sleep.

We were curious about why there were large lines at the ticket window when we left, with hundreds of people waiting for admission. Young mothers with baby carriages pushed their way through the growing crowd.

Our curiosity about why so many people were waiting to enter a concert so late in the evening was satisfied later. At 2 o’clock the music was still blaring into our window. As it was at 4 and 5 and 6. The concert ended about 630 AM Sunday morning. (for sake of brevity let me say the same thing occurred on Sunday night, though the music lasted until 730 AM this morning).

We returned to the fiesta Saturday night determined to last into the wee hours of the morning. Needless to say, we didn’t. In the effort we were amazed to find the attendence to reach levels we could not previously conceive. As we left the area about 1:30 the ticket windows were crowded and a line of mothers with baby carriages waited at the gates.

Why me?! Why not me?

Wah. Why does Charlie get easy internet access and not me? I lost a post. I won’t try to recreate it.

It’s a ghost town here at La Vidala. The Fiesta Nacional de Queso is over. The crowds have gone or are on their way out of town. Town being Tafí del Valle. We arrived on Saturday morning after an overnight bus trip from Cordoba, through San Miguel de Tucuman. It was sad leaving Colanchanga. But as I recite every morning: “I give thanks for the journey. I give thanks for the arriving and leaving.”

I really like the location of Tafí. Nestled in a valley, its surrounded by soft green hills, very different from the hills of Colanchanga. The day we arrived it was hot and humid, even here, one place people come to escape the heat of the city. Most likely the city of San Miguel de Tucuman, about 2 hours away. A city we are thankful not to be in, not that it was a consideration. Maybe a short consideration when we checked in on Air b and b and Booking.com to find that places to stay were in short supply and expensive in Tafí.


But we found La Vidala and are happy to be here. We also found out why accommodations are in short supply. The Fiesta referenced above. It started Wednesday and ended this morning around 7 am. What an odd time to end a fiesta, you think, on a Monday morning. They do things differently here.

While the fiesta title focuses on cheese, it’s really a fiesta of Argentine culture. Yes, there is cheese and lots of it being sold in town and on the fairgrounds where the main fiesta is held nightly. The large grounds encompass a rodeo ring, a children’s midway – think rides for the very young ones, lots of cheese stalls, artisans selling homemade goods of woven and crocheted variety, leather items for the vaquero, grilled meat, and did I mention grilled meat? Also fried potatoes, hotdogs, which are called panchos here, beer, wine, and Fernet and Coke.


A word about Fernet and Coke. Fernet branca is ubiquitous. Given the branca, (Portuguese for white and since Brazil is close by…) I thought it would be white/clear. It’s a dark medicinal brown, with that same medicinal flavor. Bitter. We had to try it. Stopped at a stand and asked for one, but said we wanted to try Fernet solo. Surprised looks from the young man and woman. But okay, and they warned us. Then they had a good laugh at my face after trying a sip of Fernet. The way to drink it is with Coke, we were assured, so that’s what we got. Although we were also told that a capful of Fernet straight, after a night of hard drinking and/or too much eating had a healthful effect. At the fair, people carried 2 litre sized bottles of coke, a bottle of Fernet, and plastic cups filled with ice. I wondered if Coke started the Fernet and Coke craze. Or does Coke manufacture Fernet? People are as addicted to it here as folks are married to mate in Uruguay. Fernet, by the way, is a bitter and was originally produced in Milan, Italy as a remedy for cholera. Fernet crossed the ocean with the many Italian immigrants to Argentina. And it is still distilled by Fratelli, not a Coke product.

Back to the fair. We also experienced an Argentine rodeo. Lots of fast riding, roping, and riding a bucking bronc.20190223_175158.jpg20190223_180333img_20190223_172540932_hdr~25479336336982394487..jpgimg_20190223_171601250~22766095378427604946..jpg

I have neve seen so many horses out and about, being ridden and grazing just about anywhere. And leaving massive horse poops just about anywhere, too.

Okay. Why did the fiesta end sometime between 7 and 7:30 am this morning – a Monday morning? I don’t know why. Only that it did. Music starts on the grand escenario at 9 and it don’t stop until the wee, wee, wee hours. As our digs are about 1/8 mile from the event, we were really surprised to awake to music at 6 on Saturday morning and it went until after 7 on this Monday morning. It had been going all night! We stayed until midnight-1 am both Saturday and Sunday.


We enjoyed Saturday night’s music more as it was traditional but updated. Check out Canto 4 if you get the chance. However, it seemed that the Argentine population enjoyed the Sunday night line-up better as they were more traditional. Sergio Galleguillo is especially loved. We enjoyed seeing young and old alike breaking into traditional dance moves on both nights. How I wish I could upload a video. (Another, Why me?!) I tried to send one to Charlie to upload, but that failed as well.

The fiesta also included a parade of carrozas, (floats) each one a celebration of some aspect of Argentine history and/or food. As floats passed the Grand Marshal, participants distributed bits of food related to their float – beef, cheese, bread, or a treat typical of a wedding. Being nosy, er curious, I talked with one woman closely guarding her tray of treats. They were the wedding treats she would hand out when that float passed by. There were 2 sorts: one, a pastry type and the other a bittersweet mix of peach and meat – kind of like mincemeat, but better.

One other noteworthy aspect – the cans of spray soap foam. Kids and adults go crazy with this. Think Silly-String, but in a foamy soap spray that disappears. Although it would take some time for it to disappear on some kids who were absolutely covered in it. Oh, the shrieks and the running wild. It was delightful to behold.

We didn’t realize that this event would be occuring while we were here. In fact, I’d read about it and looked it up on-line, but the dates listed were not the dates of our stay. What a wonderful surprise!



It’s the weekend in Tafi del Valle

This is an update of the original post that published before it was finished.

We began to suspect the weekend is busy in Tafi del Valle when the buses leaving Tucuman were full. We did not expect, however that we were arriving just in time for the closing weekend of the 50th Fiesta Nacional de Queso. We actually had heard of this festival but expected it to be next weekend. And it would have been next weekend if February had 31 days as it ought to do.

We could not miss it now, if we tried, since the festivities are happening pretty much across the street from our hostel.

We had been planning this part of our trip to be in Salta province, but last week we decided we couldn’t really explain why we wanted to go to Salta and decided to make an intermediate stop on our way to Corrientes without going as far north as Salta. Travel blogs give very high marks to Tafi del Valle for quaintness, quietude and outdoor activity. By the time we decided to come here there were quite limited options for accomodations and the hostel we chose was almost the last one we could find on line.

There are good reasons, sometimes, for the last available room to be so situated. Being across the street from an outdoor concert venue could be one of them. This may sound like a complaint, and I guess it is. It is the end of a long day with a sound legacy of complaints.

We started our day on the previous day. We left our cozy retreat in Colanchanga in the morning, after touring Vlad’s motorcycle museum. This is neither a joke nor an overstatement. Vlad has become a unique authority on Argentine motorcycles, primarily by finding antique ones and restoring them into original condition. A section of his workshop displays the completed works, while current projects are in various stages of completion on the several work benches.

A short bus ride took us to Cordoba, the second largest city in Argentina. Along the way we received e-mails from our bus company that our next leg had been cancelled, requiring us to make alternate arrangements for our travel to Tucuman. Fortunately, intercity bus travel is the norm here so there was no problem arranging seats on a bus leaving an hour earlier than we planned.

We checked our back packs with the Guardia del Equipaje and walked to the city center and an abbreviated tour of the area. We had not anticipated the day would be the hottest day of the year in Cordoba, and shade from the sun was inadequate to relieving the discomfort from the heat. Regardless, we enjoyed the day, stopping into various museums and cathedrals.

This is the city cathedral located on Plaza San Martin.

I find it close to impossible to get a good representation of any cathedral’s interior space. This one is very rich and intricate in detail.

Here is the edifice as dusk descended on the city.

Else had told us the architect who designed their home had created a number of stone shadow installations around several of the buildings that reflect the edifices onto the ground. Here is an example, reflecting the arches of the city cathedral, taken from the cathedral entrance.

A short walk from the Plaza de San Martin we happened upon the Santuario del Corazon de Jesus de la Misericordia.

I could not find a setting on my camera to bring out the colors in this edifice, though here are a few attempts.

The interior is as ornate and colorful as the edifice, though here again I have not been successful capturing the grandeur of the building.

Part of our tour was disrupted by a power failure that went on for an uncomfortably long time. We had just entered a palace that is now a museum when we were required to leave due to the power failure. I was really disappointed, not only because it was a very interesting building but because the air conditioning system was very effective. At least until the power went out.

After a period of touring we decided it was time to get dinner and possibly a cold beer before heading to the bus station. We headed to the Guemas neighborhood that the woman at the tourist office said had the best selection of restaurants. We discovered after a long hot walk that nothing in that neighborhood opens until late evening, so we wandered the streets looking for any place that was open, particularly if it had air conditioning. It was during this time that I began to notice I was experiencing symptoms of heat illness. Fortunately we found a place in the shade with a strong cool breeze that was much more satisfying than a cold beverage.

I know at least one of you (whose initials are MM, by the way) who is thinking “what kind of idiot are you attempting to drink alcoholic beverages in such a situation?” I fully concur. We eventually found a salty pizza and some cold beer and could not afterwards releive my thirst, no matter how much water I drank.

As we were eating the Sun set and the temperature dropped considerably. Soon it was sprinkling rain and we got to the bus station just before the skies opened.

The overnight bus to Tucuman was uneventful and both Paula and I slept intermittently. In Tucuman we found the ticket office for the main regional bus company and were ticketed on the bus that would leave for Tafi del Valle in 30 minutes. There was no time for breakfast and coffee, though we each got a cup of something advertised as coffee, but we suspect it was a something else. Paula insinuating herself here – never get coffee at a place named, Dogsy.

Two hours later we arrived in Tafi del Valle. Those of you who know me well understand that I am quick to anger, particularly when tired, and usually choose to build a mansion to house all of my complaints. That was the main characteristic of my reaction to being in Tafe de Valle. The taxi driver did not know how to get to our hostel, and we could not help him since could not access cell phone or data service in the area. After a while he agreed to use his own cell phone if we would pay for the call, and then headed away from the village, taking us to the outskirts of town. At the hotel, the proprieter would not honor the rate we received with our reservation. Then we could not get any of our credit cards to work. Eventually we decided we would walk into town to the only ATM machine in the village and pay for the room in cash, meaning we would not be able to get the IVA removed and the room would end up being close to 40% more than we anticipated.

On the way into town we encountered heavy vehicle traffic and crowds of people on the street. It seems Tafi is a good location for people trying to escape the heat of the cities. I snapped at Paula for quite a while that we should just get on the bus to Cafayate. Instead we returned to the hostel, took naps and woke up in a better mood.

I am going to end this post right here, since the rest of the story about Tafi is long and detailed and my phone is slowing down, indicating that I will be getting error messages soon and this post will disappear.

Last night in Colanchanga

We are on the patio in front of our cabin, watching the Moon rise over there hills to the east. This is our last evening in Colanchanga and it has been a good one.

Earlier in the evening Ludmilla, Else and Vlad’s daughter introduced us to taste of mate. It was an interesting sample, but I don’t think I’ll be changing out my coffee maker for a mate gourd any time soon.

Tomorrow we go to Córdoba and then to San Miguel De Tucuman on the overnight bus. Then we head to Tafi Del Valle, that we will use as a base to explore some of the Salta province, including Cafayate, for the next six days.

Tonight we have been able to explore the southern sky a bit, since the Moon rise is later than it has been. I think we’re got a cleared understanding of how to find due south using the Southern Cross as a guide.

It is strange seeing Orion in the north. Some time ago someone told us she thought the stars south of Orion’s belt represented the penis, not a sword. Tonight, seeing Orion’s sword extending upward, I can’t keep from wondering what the heck is on his mind.

I think we are refreshed enough to continue in our venture. After Tafi Del Valle we head to Corrientes for Carnival. We are looking forward to that very much.

It’s a great time to be traveling. The weather has been perfect so far.

We’ll be in touch.


Settling in

In the midst of a break I am thankful for the small things. The days are warm (hot) and sunny with occasional clouds. It is breezy with lots of opportunities for shade, so it is quite comfortable.

The days in Colanchanga have been quiet. Generally we take one or two short hikes. Paula makes her way to the lake or to a small pool near the cabin for a swim. We are settling in for a short experience of the slow pace of northern Argentina. I could get used to this.

Or maybe I’d find the urge to get out my power tools and make something to become overwhelming. Vlad had a handiman come over yesterday and they worked for a while building a rack for drying firewood. As they cut and welded the steel, I began to realize how much I missed welding. Working with wood is satisfying, but there is nothing more satisfying than making something from iron. I began to miss my tools and my projects.

But then I would not be working on projects if I was home. The snow has come to Albuquerque, and I see the reports of the closings and the road closures and I am thankful that I am here where it is warm and sunny. I would have resented taking the time and effort to escape winter if there was not a winter to have escaped. Selfish, I know, but I expect my snowbound friends will forgive me.

Paula makes sure she is in the water for a period every day. There is a small pool a short walk from here where one of the neighbors has built a swimming pool by damming a portion of the Rio Ceballos. Paula loves it. She swings from a rope and drops into the pool with a splash, then does it again. And again. And again. I wish I knew how to play like that.

Today we harvested walnuts from under the trees, clipped greens from the garden and Paula made a wonderful dish from the miscellaneous ingredients we could muster. Life is great. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.


I love this place. When Charlie and I talk about the possibility of moving there are a few things we want: a rural location, close to a city, and water. Colanchanga has all 3. Especially the proximity to a city, as it is close to the small city of Rio Ceballos, about a 20 minute drive and accessible by taxi, bus, or your own car. Rio Ceballos is big enough that it has grocery stores, panaderias, banks, shops of every sort – everything you might need. For bigger city requirements, Cordoba is an hour away by bus.

The Rio Ceballos runs through Colanchanga and into town. A short walk from the casita in which we are staying there is a dam, perfect for swimming in, which I have done and will again. Up the way from the casita there is a waterfall, which we will get to soon. And I think I mentioned the man-made pool, sheltered by trees and fed by the ever moving Rio Ceballos.


Now, Else and Vlad, duenos of the casita in which we are staying, are selling a casita just across the road. It’s very tempting. It doesn’t have the view of their rental on the hill, but how fun to live near new friends and have them become friends of long standing.

View from our patio:20190217_142329

Our place:


Else and Vlad’s place:


It’s a wonderful open interior. There’s a patio between the two main sections. Mounds of lavender climb the hill providing nector for the 2 hives they keep on the property.

And as it’s time to evict ourselves from this cafe and get some groceries, I end this post. Who knows what wifi will be like in Tafí del Valle, our next destination. I may post again on Thursday as I’ll be in town once again for yoga with Else.

Just a quick word on a guided yoga practice just when I needed it this mornning. Last night we received word that a dear long time friend died from a brain aneurysm. I have been teary since hearing. Yoga provided me the space to sink into the feeling, but more, to feel as though I connected with Mary Lynn on her passage to another realm. The floodgates opened as I lay in shavasana, “corpse” pose, appropriately enough. It felt good to bathe my wounded heart with tears of remembering and appreciating the beautiful soul of a dear friend. I do wish I could have seen her, spent time together, one more time – at least.  And of course, I am holding her spouse of 60 years, Lew, close and hurting for him as well.

Much love to you all. Paula