Bariloche is the land of chocolate! There is even a museum dedicated to the history of it, and yes, there are some free samples.
Mookie, a close friend of the family was kind enough to lend us his cottage for use. It is lake front cottage with incredible views of the mountains and water. Although it is a beautiful place, it was located 21km outside the city center. We quickly learned that the bus service is limited and it is nearly impossible to hitch hike so we walked... A LOT!
The city center reminds me of Banff, Alberta with mountains in the background, all the boutiques and speciality shops. There is one store called La Tourista which is a grocery sized store with nothing but chocolate, ice-cream, cakes and other desserts...we went there almost every day.
To work off all the sweets, we climbed Cerro Campanario, a look-out point for all the surrounding lakes. It is truly a spectacular view and well worth the effort. If you are willing to pay, it is possible to take a chair-lift to the top. We just wanted to challenge.
We also visited the nearby Swiss Colony which prepares a specialty meal on Sundays. They dig a large pit in the ground in which they place hot stones. On top of that they put meat, sausages, potatoes, onions and cover it with tree branches and soil. The food remains covered for an hour and a half at which point in time everything is cooked to perfection. It looked good but you need to make reservations in advance (which we didn't).
After five days of relaxing in Bariloche, we made our way to Mendoza. It's all about wine, wine and more wine! We met Brian and Emma, a lovely couple from Ireland and together we made our own wine tour on bicyles. We visited CarenaE, one of the newest wineries and Di Tommaso, the oldest winery in the region. We also went the wine museum and ended our tour with sampling exotic liquers and chocolates.
To end our stay in Mendoza, we did a horse back riding and rafting trip. It has been more than 15 years since I've sat on a horse and it involved a man leading the horse by rope in a circular stable. While riding the horse this time, I felt like I should have been riding horses all my life. They are amazing creatures.
As for the "white" water rafting, the rapids were classified betweem Class 2 and Class 3. The rafting involved mostly floating down the river. For someone who's never done it before, it was a good introduction, but next time I will go for something more exciting.
We are now back in Buenos Aires where we will do all the things we missed the first time, such as going to museums, seeing a tango show and maybe catching a tango class...wish me luck to convince Gadi to take a class with me.
Wow, the time is flying. Two months have passed since we left Canada on January 11th. This year will go by really fast indeed.
So, we have left Brasil a country that we enjoyed alot. We wanted to thank the whole Glogowski family for being such nice people. We wanted to thank Bernardo for taking us out, Marcia and Niels for taking us everywhere around the city, Suzana and Cicero for letting us into their daily lives and providing us with a place to sleep and Luci and Clelio for letting us share with them their union in matrimony. We will miss, of course, the beautiful beaches and they unreal amount of fruits, love the juices!
We are now in Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America as it called. Let me tell you that I haven't been back for 9 years. I left when I was 15 years old and from a bad experience (being robbed and scared after that). I know see the city with different sets of eyes. These eyes see a city with lots of life. It is indeed a beutiful city. So much to do and see. This time I came as a tourist. I have gone to places I have never been before even though I lived here for 12 years.
As a tourist we went to La Boca and San Telmo (which has grown from a only Plaza fair to a whole section of the neighbourhood). We also recommend that if you come you try the BA Free Tours (www.buenosairesfreetour.com). They have 2 tours daily that go over the major attractions of the city. It is unbelievable the amount of tourist that are coming to BA. I has told that this is nothing compared to a few years back, I guess when the Peso was lower.
The most important of this visit to Buenos Aires is meeting all my old friends and family. Pablo Sukmann (my best man) has been great as always. He let us use his own bed while he sleeps at the couch.
Well, it is getting late and we are taking a flight on LAN Argentina to El Calafate to see the Glaciar Perito Moreno and make our way north.
We will keep you posted.
In the last week, we travelled to the south of Brasil. Our first stop was the beach town of Florianopolis - unfortunately, it rained both days that we were there.
The first day, we tried to go to the noth beach of Jurere, but the rain wouldn't subside long enough for us to lounge around in the sand or go swimming. The second day was also cloudy, so we went on an incredible hike which had amazing views and finally brought us to a secluded beach.
We then made our way to Iguazu Waterfalls to meet up with Keren. The waterfalls are located at the triple forntier of Brasil, Argentina and Paraguay. These waterfalls huge!!! We arrived by bus on the Brasil side but were meeting Keren in a hostel on the Argentina side. We decided to walk the distance, afterall, it looked very close on the map. In reality, not so much. Now I understand why when we asked for directions to walk, people actually laughed at us.
We walked across the Brasil border, then the Argentina border and after over two hours of walking we finally decided to catch a bus into town. We met up with Keren and half the population of Israel. In all seriousness, you hear more Hebrew on the streets than any other language!
The first day, we checked out the Brasilian side of the falls and the second day was spent ont he Argentinian side. The waterfalls are truly incredible; I could have watched them all day. And the wildlife is so diverse from giant spiders to aligators to the cutest little animal, called the coati.
We are now back in Sao Paulo hanging out with family again. Gadi's aunt, Luci, was amazing enough to get us free passes to the swimming pool at the Jewish Center. Yesterday, we got out fill of sushi at an all you can eat restaurant, which included sashimi....hmmm....
Today Gadi's parents arrived. We are moving out of the Gadi's uncle's house and into his cousin's house before we take off the a beachhouse for Carnaval!