Welcome note

Dear Friends and Fellow Travelers--
This post is to make sure you are online for the posting site that I've put up for our Patagonia trip. There will be postings from wherever we're near a wi-fi site in Argentina or Chile. Suggestions welcome!
John Coldewey

Google Earth Placemark: My Places.kmz

If you're interested in getting a bird's eye view of our route, try this. Posterous may make the attachment work by itself, but if not, make sure you have downloaded Google Earth (not Google Maps) onto your computer. Then click on the link Janice and Tom provided below (Thanks J&T; Laura sent us one like this back in June, but no-one seems to have accessed it). Once Google Earth loads using this link, look down the list on the left hand side of the screen and you'll see the places we are going to visit and, below those, scroll down to the daily routes we will be following. Click on the route you'd like to see and then click on the nearby small icon with three connected squares. That will get you started. You can stop along the way and check out actual pictures taken from various spots, and you can change your altitude by moving the cursor to the Google Earth screen and manipulating the "+" and "-" view slide on the right hand side.
Excellent entertainment, and instructive too. :-)

-------- Original Message --------

Subject: FW: Google Earth Placemark: My Places.kmz Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2011 21:36:21 -0500 From: Janice Sears



CC: Christine Rose

John, Tom did this google earth thing with "pins" for each one of your stops etc. You get to zoom in/out and see the actual scenery etc. pretty cool. I think people might enjoy this on the blog. Thanks again for a great dinner/evening!!! Janice & Tom Janice Sears MBA CMC Business Planning + Merchandising Solutions 206-369-3726 My Blog http://www.linkedin.com/in/janicelsears http://www.tagteambiz.com -----Original Message----- From: Tom Brown [mailto:tbrown1200@comcast.net] Sent: Monday, February 21, 2011 12:50 PM To: Janice Sears Subject: Google Earth Placemark: My Places.kmz Google Earth streams the world over wired and wireless networks enabling users to virtually go anywhere on the planet and see places in photographic detail. This is not like any map you have ever seen. This is a 3D model of the real world, based on real satellite images combined with maps, guides to restaurants, hotels, entertainment, businesses and more. You can zoom from space to street level instantly and then pan or jump from place to place, city to city, even country to country. Get Google Earth. Put the world in perspective. (http://earth.google.com)

Patagonia Blog Fans

Hey! Is it possible for those not yet on the blog to subscribe? If so, how? If not, do I send the email addresses of these fans, friends, and relatives to John C? Chris C? How, what? Thanks so much. This blog has people wanting in. --Beth 

Day 1...Friday in Buenos Aires

We arrived early Friday morning and headed over to our hotel, the Los Patios de Montserrat, a charming 19th century B&B in one of the oldest and best districts of Buenos Aires. Fifteen foot ceilings with wrought iron skylight. Hung out for a bit and then went on a guided walking tour of the inner city for four or five hours, ending with dinner at 8:00 with our guide, Marta .

Extremely interesting city, warm people. The city is huge: two or three million plus about ten million more in the sprawling suburbs. Gritty but great architecture with a certain sense of tired hope. The last seventy five years have been hard on them. Steak for lunch, btw, just in case.

Tomorrow is a fairly gentle day. We'll head down towards the famous Buenos Aires cemetery with its spectacular tombs and we'll end with dinner out at Marta's home, where she has planned an exciting evening for us.

Day 2; of death and the dance of life

Day 2 – February 26: Buenos Aires

Another day of walking in Buenos Aires. We followed the main boulevard to small and intimate side streets, ending at the famous cemetery, filled like the one in Paris with elaborate mausoleums and ornate family memorials. Unbelievable, touching, just this side of grotesque. Of course we found Evita’s (Eva Peron) at the Duarte memorial, which was, of course, crowded. Afterwards, lunch at the upscale La Biella’s nearby, outside under the shade of green umbrellas, with obsequious waiters taking care of our simple needs.

Nearby, in a park with sidewalks winding up a hill, we wandered through a craft fair and on to a small whitewashed 18th century church with a baroque interior encrusted in gold. On the altar, in front of the sanctuary, an effigy of the Holy Trinity with three painted faces. Odd; comforting?

And in the evening we were swept off to a suburb twenty kilometers outside of BA, where Marta our tour guide lives. She brought us into her home for a magnificent meal and an even more grand gathering of friends, with a tango performance and a sultry singer of Argentine ballads to cap it off. Pleasures involved eating more varieties of beef, pork and sausages than any of us had ever eaten before, accompanied by an apparently unlimited supply of famed Malbec wine, and topped off by fabulous desserts crafted by Marta’s 84-year old mother. The larger pleasures were meeting wonderful Argentine friends in the splendid home of our generous and delightful host.

Tomorrow, biking around Buenos Aires awaits.

Last Hurrah in Buenos Aires

Day 3 – Sunday February 27: Buenos Aires

Urban Bikes in Buenos Aires took care of us today. We met Daniel and Xavier near a park downtown at what seemed an unseemly time on Sunday morning, as we were still a little tender from the festivities the night before. Nonetheless we gamely mounted a fleet of mountain bikes for an all-day ride around the city. Daniel rode a bamboo bike which we all marveled at greatly. Through parks and barrios, out to the Boca – the oldest district of BA at mouth of the river Platte, which is now a ramshackle colorful tourist site near a huge soccer stadium. Lunch at the Hippopotamus Cafe and then back across town to high-security (and beautiful) neighborhoods housing lots of embassies. By 4:00 we were hot and dusty and tired. We returned to our lair at Los Patios, had a final monumental dinner at the nearby El Globo and packed our bags for the early morning ride out to the airport.

On to Bariloche! 

Day 4: Bariloche: glorious landing and a glitch

Day 4 – Monday February 28: To Bariloche

On the morning of the last day of February we made seamless connections from Buenos Aires to San Carlos de Bariloche, arriving at the homey Rosas Amarillas motel, about 3 miles from town and across the road from the gigantic Lake Nahuel Huapi. What a beautiful place: settled by Germans and Welsh (and Argentines of course), it exudes the air of a European mountain town crossbred with a national park lodge. A popular ski area, it has lots of alpine buildings, all arranged on a fairly steep hillside. Our suites include kitchenettes – but also breakfast is brought to our room at 8:00 each morning. Roughing it, heh heh.

In the afternoon we scoped out the town, looked for bike shops and maps and returned to meet our guides David and Dario. Easy going and alert, really smart and competent, they are treasures. Unfortunately they had run into trouble getting our bicycles through the customs bureaucracy in Argentina. All the customs forms were in order, but the transportation form was missing. So many forms, so little time. During that evening’s long and meaty/winey dinner we all pondered the question of how we might get the bikes over the border. 

The solution was inventive, oh yes; it was certainly legal, and yet (that pesky “and yet”!) – one might hazard that it would push the edge of bureaucratic cheerfulness. We would do it tomorrow.