A Trip without a Plan Pt. 2: Puerto Varas to Valdivia

Let me first start by saying, I am now an active user of Booking.com and if you don’t have an account, I would highly suggest getting one (here’s my code if you want a discount!). We booked so many places the morning of and it was perfect. Not to mention they always have the “deal of the day” and when you book your first 5 stays through the website, you achieve ‘genius’ status which gives you an additional 10% off select hotels/places offered. It’s worth at least signing up for an account.

Back to the trip:

I woke up in Puerto Varas with an idea. I had done some late night googling and blog searching about good places to go in the Lake District of Chile and a city popped up that hadn’t been on our radar before: Valdivia. Looking at the map, we could have hopped right on Rut 5 and been in Valdivia in a few hours, but what fun is that when Lake Llanquihue, the lake Puerto Varas sits on, has two volcanos next to it?! We opted to go around the Lake until we ran into the Volcano and see what we could do from there.

On the way, we stopped by a town called Enseñada which had a river/rapid area where we ended up sitting in our rental car, overlooking the rapids, and picnicking 🙂 We were happy travelers. The strange thing about the water in the rapids was that it was crystal clear, almost reminiscent of the Caribbean with one major difference…it was freezing. Winter in Chile is cold, winter is southern Chile is colder. We were chilly in Chile…….HA. Anyways, the view was beautiful and luckily we had the car heater to keep us warm.

After following the lake route a little longer  we ran into the base of the Osorno, our first volcano encounter. While we had been driving, it was cloudy, windy and not that great of a view so we weren’t expecting much. We decided to put our rental car, a little white Mitsubishi, to the test and drive the volcano. Switch back after switch back we climbed higher and higher not really knowing what to expect. It was amazing how much the terrain changed from forest to bushes to volcanic rocks to snow. Once we got to a clearer area, the wind started to kick in. There weren’t any trees to protect us and you could feel the steering wheel turning as we were driving straight. We reached a point where we couldn’t see anything in front of us because the wind was pushing the snow almost horizontal, it was a good place to turn around. But before we did, we admired the fact that we were on the incline of a volcano at the height of the clouds.

After making it back down, we continued around the lake and headed into the actual town of Osorno. Running low on our cell phone data packages, we stopped by the mall which conveniently had a Dunkin’ Donuts. Amazingly, as soon as we got off the road, the rain started coming down hard. We took our time drinking our Dunkin’ coffees and falling in love with a grocery store called JUMBO. I would consider JUMBO equivalent to a South American Target, enough said.

If you didn’t know, I have a thing for grocery stores. I’m not much of a clothing shopper but you stick me in a grocery store and I can stay there for hours, I thank my mother for that. But luckily Mariana has the same love for grocery stores! No need for fancy dinners (unless it’s sushi), some avocados, tomatoes, onion, chips, and salt was all we needed to make a fantastic avocado mash and we were happy. Oh, and wine, you can NOT forget the amazing Chilean wine called Carménère which will have to have a post of its own.

After our shenanigans at the mall, we were off to Valdivia. We had booked our hostel that morning but it wasn’t your traditional hostel with 30 bunk beds in one room. We actually had our own apartment with a kitchen and our own bathroom.  The hostel was called Kapai Central Lodge and I would definitely recommend it! Sipping our wine, eating our snacks, FaceTiming our families and friends, planning where to rest our heads the following night was how we ended our first full day in the Lake District of Southern Chile. I was beginning to like this no planning thing…

xo,

B

 

A Trip without a Plan Pt. 1: Lima to Puerto Varas

If you know me…you know the title of this blog would normally give me a heart attack. I would never do this. I like to have my trips planned, I like to know exactly what I’m doing, where I’m going, whose coming, how we’re getting there, how we’re getting back, what we’re doing in between, I like itineraries, tickets in hand, confirmations etc. etc.

But no.

This trip, we threw everything out the window. Fly by the seat of your pants kind of trip. We had no plan. In fact, the only thing we did have planned was our plane ticket from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile and then a bus ticket from Santiago to Puerto Montt which we ended up missing both. Mariana (my physio on Sep7imo Dia and totally cool awesome friend on tour) and I have never missed a plane in our lives. And we just flat-out, missed our alarms (she had 5 set, I had 3 set), didn’t wake up, woke up when we were supposed to be boarding the plane, and missed the damn plane. It was the only thing we had planned. Go figure.

Our general idea for the trip was to explore the Lake District of Chile which about a 12 hour drive south from Santiago. When we started talking about it, we thought we’d rent a car and drive down, explore and then head back up. But we ended up finding a cheap flight from SkyAirlines to Santiago and then like I said, we were going to overnight bus down to Puerto Montt and arrive there the next morning. After that, we didn’t have a plan. The strategy was to get in our rental car (which we booked a day before our missed flight) and explore. No plan. No booked hotels. No way back to Santiago. Nothing. Truly, a trip without a plan.

But, I will say, once we missed that flight, the speed in which we assembled the troops and got our shit together was down right impressive. Our SkyAirline’s plane (which I would definitely recommend this airline if you ever have the chance to fly with them) was meant to take off at 8:30am, I woke up at 7:30am, and like a frantic lunatic, ran up to Mariana’s room and pounded on her door. She opened and we just stared at each other. But by the time the plane was supposed to take off, we had a completely new method to make our trip happen. We were in the airline office that was conveniently located around the corner from our hotel by 9am (the time it opened), asking if we could switch flights from here to there, from there to here, how much it would take to take one flight here, one flight there (they were very patient with us), we had messaged the bus company about our tickets, and we were calling people left and right (well Mariana was doing most of the calling due to the fact that she is fluent in Spanish…and I am not). We were in ‘go mode’. By 9:30am, we had a completely new course of action to at least get down to Puerto Montt because you bet your sweet ass we were still going to make it on our trip.

So from about 10am on…we had a free day in Lima we weren’t accounting for which actually ended up working in our favor. We decided what we were going to do on our next transfer between cities, booked those tickets, figured out where we were going to stay when we got down to Southern Chile, confirmed our rental car, took a walk, ate delicious crepes looking over the cliffs of the Miraflores coastline and chatted a bunch. It ended up being a hell-of-a-productive travel planning day.

With that being said, for the next morning, we had the front desk of the hotel give us 2 wake up calls, we both had multiple alarms set…again, and we had people calling us at 4:30am to make sure we were awake. It worked. We woke up and made both our flights down to Puerto Montt, we even gave ourselves extra time at the airport between flights to ensure we made the second connection. Once we got there, we picked up our rental car and headed to our hostel in Puerto Varas, where we had planned to spend the first night. That was that, we made it. It was time to start the trip but where to first?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

xo,

B

The Blog DOES Continue…I Promise.

Hi. It’s been a while.

I’m not going to give any excuses as to why I haven’t written other than the fact that the longer I’ve been away from writing, the harder it is to get back into it because trying to write about all of the wonderful and amazing adventures I’ve had since the last post seems daunting.

So here’s the plan:

I’m going to start again from where I am now and every chance I get, I’m going to “throw it back” to a trip/adventure/moment/experience I haven’t posted about yet. Deal? Good.

xo,

B

 

Rio de Janeiro: Part 1

The flight into Rio was amazing! If you’ve seen any photos of the Olympic stadiums, Christ Redeemer or Sugar Loaf, they’re all just as beautiful as the pictures look. Although I do have to say, getting off the plane, the hot and humid air hits you like a brick wall.

We grabbed a uber right from the airport to our Airbnb where Tomaz, our host, met us with the keys. We had some seriously good luck with our Airbnb hosts because Tomaz was awesome. His place was a block away from Copacabana Beach. It was clean, had AC (which ended up being a LIFE SAVER), and all the essentials. Because we were renting during the New Years celebration, it was more expensive than usual but he seemed to give us a far price. Here’s the link to for his Airbnb page if you’re ever looking for a good guy to rent from in Rio!

After we dropped our bags, TO THE BEACH WE WENT! A little odd being on the beach a few days before the New Years celebration but we sure weren’t complaining! But we soon came to realize just how hot and sticky our stay in Rio was going to be. We actually had to go back to our place after a few hours because of exhaustion from the strong South American sun which we weren’t used to and desperately needing water and nap.

Before we left Buenos Aires, I talked with my physio, Mariana, who is from Rio to get the scoop. Needless to say she gave us a very long list including a ton of food or drinks she wanted us to try. Of course, I’m not going to refuse good food and drinks but personally, I had two goals for Rio: 1. Sip a caipirinha out of a coconut while laying on the beach (which was a little more difficult than I thought it would be) and 2. Buy myself a nice cheeky brazilian bikini :). Both were fulfilled as you will read about later.

After our nap, we decided sushi sounded good and luckily we saw a nice place right down the street. After getting up early to go to the bird park, traveling, and the laying in the sun in the afternoon, we were exhausted. We went to sleep pretty early that night because we were going to get up early again the next morning for more touristy things.

When you think of Rio, the two most touristy places you can go are the Christ Redeemer and taking the cable cars up Sugar Loaf Mountain. Both can be tricky and very dependant on weather/cloud coverage. Luckily, we woke up the next morning to a beautiful day. We walked almost all the way down Copacabana beach, passing Copacabana Palace on the way, to the stand where you buy tickets for the Christ Redeemer. The ticket booth even had live footage of the image of statue to show you the weather conditions. We were told that sometimes you can get to the top of the mountain and see absolutely nothing because clouds will be passing or the weather will be bad. We were luck and had crystal blue skies 🙂

2E37DFAF-8E28-4A1B-AC69-9238F0855F5E

Copacabana Palace

We bought tickets for a shuttle bus up and back down the mountain so we didn’t have to worry about taxi’s or the train. I had read reviews on taking the train up and although people say it’s part of the experience, we weren’t interested (the shuttles also had AC…). On the way up we saw a few people hiking or attempting to bike up the trail but oh boy did that seem hard! It’s a mountain people, think major inclines! Sometimes, even looking through the dash in the shuttle you couldn’t see the road in front of us because of how much of a slope the vehicle was on.

After sitting in some traffic (sometimes it’s only one lane to go up and down the mountain so the shuttles have to play a game of chicken) , getting dropped off and walking up quite a few stairs, we reached the statue and were greeted by hundreds of other people all trying to get the same photo (the ‘Jesus pose’). The funny part was, on the ground you would find soft mats all over the place so when whoever was taking the picture for you would lay on the ground, at least it wasn’t solid cement they were laying on. Clearly a true tourist attraction but still a must none the less.

After taking our pictures and observing the beautiful views of almost all of the beaches of Rio, we headed back down in the shuttle. Since it was such a beautiful day, we immediately ordered an Uber to take us to Sugar Loaf Mountain or Pão de Açúcar in Portuguese. Well it just so happened to be the most popular time to buy tickets so we stood inline and waited for close to 2 hours…again, part of being a tourist.

To reach the top of the mountain, 65 passengers can fit in each cable car but there are two separate cable cars you must take to reach the very top. The first ascends to the shorter peak Morro da Urca which is 722 ft above the harbor. The second ascends to Pão de Açúcar which is 1,299 ft. Even though we wanted for quite a long time to get in a cable car, in total, the ascent only takes three minutes from start to finish to reach the top of Pão de Açúcar.

We wanted to do the highest/second peak first and work our way back down so went all the way up. The view is unbelievable. You can to see the Christ Redeemer looking over all of Rio (when the clouds allow it), the gorgeous beaches and islands, and the iconic view of the different mountainside favelas and neighborhoods of Rio. There were a few trails you could take to see a 360° view and monkeys if you were luckly…we were not. No monkeys for us but beautiful pictures!

The second peak held more of the places to eat, souvenirs and a helicopter pad for those who wanted to take a 5 min helicopter ride. For breakfast, we had only eaten some bread we found at a place near the ticket booth so at this point we were starving. Even though the food was so over priced, we ended up buying a few snacks to hold us over until we got down the mountain. I got cheese bread or pao de queijo which is always delicious and Cody got a chocolate covered churro…we were not going for nutritious here. 

Heading back down in the cable car, we were literally caught in the clouds! An enormous cloud was passing through the mountain. Our timing for both monuments was perfect! 

After coming down from the mountain, we were walking distance from a bar I had seen on the Food Network. I’m a sucker for food/travel shows so I tend to watch a lot of Anthony Bourdain, Chef’s Table, or Andrew Zimmern. Anyways, Bar Urca was on one of those episodes as a great locals bar with a gorgeous view sitting on the sea wall. After a 25 min walk, we found that it was indeed packed with locals. We were lucky enough to get a table in the inside/upstairs section which is very hard to do. We enjoyed a couple of drinks, some empanadas and a little rest time for our legs. Satisfied and a little tipsy from the caipirinhas, we walked along the sea wall with the locals and caught an uber to go back to Copacabana.

After a little shopping around the beach, dinner was the next thing on our minds. Since we were in the mood for A LOT of food, there was a churrista in Ipanema that sounded delicious. We walked there and were not disappointed. Delicious, delicious, delicious. Since we were staying right in front of a pacified favela, we had to be careful of where we walked but as a group, we were ok. Since tomorrow was going to be a long night, we ended up heading home after dinner very satisfied.

The New Years celebrations in Rio deserve a whole post to itself so I’ll stop here. Our New Years shenanigans next!
xo,
B

Cataratas do Iguaçu: Brazilian Side

Ahh I’m so far behind! Let’s go all the way back to the Christmas/New Years break in Rio…

We woke up pretty early the next morning to get a head start to Brazil!

Our Airbnb host Erik had offered to drive us across the border to our hostel on the Brazilian side of the falls. Crossing the border by taxi was an interesting experience. We went through a toll booth, filled out slips of paper, stopped to get a stamp in our passport and we were done.

img_4083

One side of the bridge is Argentinian (blue/white) and the other is crossing over into Brazil (yellow/green).

After we arrived at the hostel, Erik waited for us to drop our bags to drive us to the Brazilian side of the Falls. The entrance to the Brazilian side was right next to a very well known bird sanctuary/park which we also wanted to visit. But we decided to do the park first. Erik took us all the way to the entrance and even helped us purchase tickets for the park and made sure we were in the right line, he gets the sweetest host award.

Unfortunately we got to the park at its busiest time. The non-glamorous side of being a tourist are the lines you stand in and the time you waste standing in those lines. After waiting in the 2 hour line in order to get on the bus/shuttle that takes you to the Falls, we had managed survive the heat and people…barely.

We decided to do the boat tour of the Falls on the Brazilian side so that was our first stop. We stashed our valuables in a locker because we knew we were going to come back drenched so we hopped in the jeep-looking shuttle that took us down to the boats. All 4 of us managed to get in the front of the boat, best seats in the house :), with our life jackets and GoPros on. The boat ride to the Falls only took about 10-15 mins and once we got there is was unreal. Obviously looking at the Falls from land, you recognize the massiveness of the cliffs and drop offs but you don’t appreciate the power of the water and the beauty of something so natural until you’re on the same level as the millions of tons of water that comes crashing down from up above you. The boat went as close to the Devil’s Throat as it was allowed and the sound was deafening, under the waterfalls we went! We had feelings of pure joy and amazement, we were under the biggest waterfall in the world! Amazing. We were only under the waterfall for about 5 mins but that was enough to drench the entire boat and have everyone laughing and smiling.

Getting back to the first bus stop, we waited for the bus to pick us up to go to the second stop, the scenic view of the Falls. We were dropped at the start of the hike. It took us a few hours to walk the entire trail dodging people taking pictures and taking many of our own. The hike was easy and the view was beautiful…I’m running out of adjectives to describe this park!

Once we made it to the end of the trail we stopped to grab a bite to eat while we waited for the bus to take us back. On the short 20 min ride back to the entrance, we passed through a summer thunderstorm, it was gone as quickly as it had come and by the time were back to the entrance it was sunny again.
Since we took our time going around the Falls, by the time we got back and wanted to go to the bird park, it was too late. So we planned to wake up early the next morning to make it to the park before heading to the airport.

That night we went back to the hostel, enjoyed the pool and a few drinks before deciding to ask the front desk for a good place to eat dinner. A taxi driver ended up taking us to a traditional Brazilian churrista which was dirt cheap but oh-so-delicious. You could tell it was a locals place because even the taxi driver parked his car and came in to eat. You could go up and serve yourself from the “salad bar” which had salad stuff as well as pizza and different pastas etc. Waiters would come around with pitchforks of so many different kinds of meats and ask if you wanted a slice. If you did, they would cut it right off the skewer onto your plate. The most expensive thing at the restaurant was my mini bottle of wine which was still even less expensive than a glass of wine in the states. Stuffed and happy we went back to the hostel for the night.

Going to Parque des Aves was one of the best ideas of the whole trip! The bird park was amazing!! You got to walk around seeing so many different types of birds and even walk into some cages where you could be right next to them.

The highlight for me was the Tucans, growing up they were always my favorite but I had never seen one in real life. Finally getting to stand right next to one, it honestly looked fake because of how bright and vibrant the colors were.

We had to rush through the end of the park in order to catch a cab to go grab our bags and head back to the airport. We flew out of Brazilian Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU) and into Rio de Janiero (SDU)! 

Rio New Years adventures coming soon!

xo,

B

Cataratas del Iguazú: The Argentinian Side

Declared one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in the World by Mankind Natural Heritage (site), the Iguazu Cataratas (waterfalls) do not disappoint.

Imagine walking through Jurassic Park, not the theme park with plastic sculptures and specifically planted trees and vines, imagine what it would have been like if you were actually there. A picturesque scene of over 2,000 species of plants, 400 of birds and 70 mammals flying and crawling everywhere you look. Now imagine you turn on one of those white noise machines people use to fall asleep in the comfort of their own homes. Turn it to the “waterfall” setting and listen to the soothing sound of water washing over rock. Beautiful image right? Forget it because that doesn’t even come close describing how beautiful and utterly breath-taking this park was.

Like all natural wonders that can’t be explained, there’s a legend that tells the tale. The legend of the waterfalls goes: A deity planned to marry a woman and a man but the woman fled down the Iguazu River in a canoe escaping the marriage. “In rage, the deity sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall” (site).

Planning our trip, I knew I wanted to see the falls from both the Argentinian side, the adventurous side, and the Brazilian side, the panoramic/scenic side. So we flew into Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport (IGR), got picked up by your Airbnb host, Erik, who was very knowledgeable about the town of Puerta Iguazu, the activities at the falls, other things to do in the town and good places to go eat. He was also more than willing to drive us anywhere we wanted to go at the same price as the buses or usual transit. Him and his brother have a ‘taxi service’ along with the Airbnb business which was very useful. We didn’t have to worry about where to find a bus or how much it would be, Erik calculated it all for us. One small caveat being that the power tends to go out for the whole town but usually comes back on quickly. It only went out on us twice and came back on in a matter of 10 mins…if the falls were to give power to the town, it would never go out! I don’t think they’re there yet…But if anyone is looking to go to Puerta Iguazu and wants to stay in an Airbnb, I would definitely suggest Erik.

We woke up relatively early to get to the park before the crowds. At the time of writing this blog post, the entry into the park is 330 ARG which is about $20 USD, not bad to see a new Natural Wonder of the World. There are three trails to hike and we wanted to do all of them. Erik told us the upper trail evolves the most sun so to do that in the morning would be a good idea. We waited in line for about 30 mins to get a tram that took us to the start of the upper trail, essentially a narrow two-way walking bridge over water that was about to plummet 2,000+ ft. down, we were on top of the falls. Walking on the tiny bridge, watching people trek back soaking wet with that feeling of pending doom ahead is when I truly felt like I was in Jurassic Park. At the end of the upper trail is Garganta del Diablo or The Devil’s Throat. It is a U-shaped waterfall 269 ft × 492 ft × 2,297 ft, which is absolutely massive. It’s by far the biggest and most powerful waterfall in the park and when you look over the edge and see water crashing down, you see where the name comes from. Standing on the ledge of the biggest waterfall in the world, we were soaked from the mist of tons of water crashing down into the invisible basin but we didn’t want to move. It was one of those places where you just have to stop and take it all in, there’s no way to describe it that would do it any justice. We were on top of the world, it was unreal.

After trekking back like soaked bunnies hoping to dry out in the sun, we began the hike to the middle trail. But before starting we ran into some not-so-friendly coatis. To preface this explanation of what coatis are, let me tell you the road signs we saw while driving to the park. Because the falls are the main attraction in the town of Puerta Iguazu, there’s only one way to get to them with one looong road. Along this road, like most roads around the world, there are warning signs of the different creatures to be aware of incase you come across them. The animal signs I’m used to are more often than not deer signs…but not in Puerta Iguazu, coati and puma signs. Yes I said puma but don’t worry, they had “don’t feed the puma” signs just in case people were really that stupid…The other warning signs were for animals called coatis which are one of the largest rodents in the world. The best way to describe them are raccoons with anteater noses and they are not afraid of you at all. We watched one climb onto a table and steal a woman’s pizza sitting on a plate right in front of her! They are vicious little animals with no hesitations about stealing anything from pizza to your camera. So along with the ‘don’t feed the puma’ signs, there were also ‘protect your belongs from coatis’ and ‘don’t pet or feed the coatis’ signs. Other than avoiding them, the middle trail was beautiful. We were essentially walking along the ledge of all of the other falls of the park.

Absolutely stunning views.

Finally we went through the lower route to finish out the park. Of course there were a ton of people everywhere we went but that’s part of being a tourist. You fight the crowds to get that one picture that ends of having someone else’s hand, elbow or head in it but you’re happy anyways because you know that’s probably the best you’re going to get. All in all, the Argentinian park was amazing, spending time there you start to realize how wonderfully untouched and beautiful nature can be.

We got back to our Airbnb early afternoon so the next thing on our list was the hummingbird park in town. If you don’t know this about me, I love hummingbirds. Whenever I get the chance to see one or be around them I’m all in favor. We found this tiny entrance to a small garden filled with brightly colored feeders, flowers, and a pond with a turtle. I have so many pictures but here are a few so you get the point:

After the garden, Cody and I walked to see Tres Borders which is the intersection between Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. In the picture below, we’re standing on Argentina, to the left is Paraguay and to the right is Brazil.

A day filled with hiking and walking always calls for good wine, apps, and a big ol’ pizza. We ate at a very good Italian place in town, walked home and got ready to wake up early to cross the border into Brazil!

The adventures continue…

xo,

B

Obtaining a Brazilian Visa

th

Good thing I found out we needed tourists visas to enter Brazil BEFORE we left for our trip!

If you are a US citizen looking to travel to Brazil, you need a tourist visa. Period. No getting around that one. So how does a US citizen, living in Buenos Aires get a tourist visa to travel to Brazil…that’s exactly what I googled. I found a really helpful article: Leave Your Daily Hell & looked at the actual website for the Brazilian Consulate in Buenos Aires. They both say to visit the Brazilian Consulate in Buenos Aires which is only a few blocks from my apartment building and you NEED an appointment! They will not see you without an appointment. You also NEED to have a few things:

  1. Passport
  2. Passport photo
  3. Visa Application Form you fill out on the consulate website
  4. Proof of transport in and out of Brazil
  5. Proof of a place to stay
  6. 90 days worth of bank statements stating you have enough money in your account to spend in Brazil
  7. And quite a bit of cash on hand (2,985 pesos to be exact)

Once you go to your appointment, if everything is accepted, they give you a slip of paper stating you need to pay 2,985 ARG pesos (around $180 USD) at the Itaú bank, a Brazilian bank around the corner and it must be in cash. Funny thing is, at the ATM you can only take out 2,400 ARG pesos at a time and you get charged 95 ARG ($6) every time you take money out! …Complicated process. Once you go to the bank and pay for the visa it electronically confirms with the Consulate and you return on the date stated on the slip to pick up the visa which is good for 10 years. It’s really not a difficult process, minus the cash situation, but you need to be prepared before you go. So that’s exactly what I did, I quadruple checked everything before I went to make sure I wasn’t missing anything and I was able to get the slip at the end of my appointment! Unfortunately, there was a man in front of me who didn’t print out his bank statements and therefore couldn’t continue with the process. He had to leave, print out the statements and come back in the same day in order to continue.

Looks like I’m visiting Brazil again if the visa is going to last 10 years!

Be prepared and you’ll be fine. My dad’s motto for life 🙂

OFF TO BRAZIL I GO!

rio-de-janeiro-city-wallpapers

xo,

B

Road to Luna Park

I cannot believe we’ve been here for over 50 days already! Time is flying and so is creation! The show is coming together more and more everyday. It’s so exciting being a part of the creation of a show, many artists can say they’ve been in a show and been performing for years and years. But not all of them can say they’ve been part of a creation, it’s something special. It’s not all sunshine and daisies, most of the time it’s long hard days that are only going to get longer and harder in the next stage of training. But it’s worth it and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

The way our schedule is set up, each act has their individual training time during the day. So sometimes I train in the afternoon and some of the acts will be finished for the day because they train in the morning. With that system, it’s tough for other artists, the production, creation, and management teams to see what everyone has been up to for the past two months. So last week we had presentations! Partly to show the whole crew and some family members what we’ve put together (we don’t nap and play around all day…) and partly to have some pressure while performing in front of a live audience rather than just running through the act. I’m obviously not going to spoil the results 🙂 but everyone seemed very excited for the show!

And speaking of the show, Sep7imo Dia will premiere in a venue called Luna Park here in Buenos Aires in March. It’s a very well know concert arena in the Puerta Madero area. Last weekend, we were invited to another concert taking place in Luna Park. The band was called Los Fabulosos Cadillacs which is a latin, rock, reggae band. I wanted to go to have the experience of actually seeing a show in Luna Park because it’s not like we’ll be able to watch our own show while we’re performing it!

The venue has a very large open floor area, a mosh pit of sorts. For the Los Fab concert, if you wanted to be close to the stage, you were getting bumped and grinding on the whole time. The excitement of the Argentinian crowd is crazy. Lots and lots of jumping and moving! We were on the floor but on the outskirts of the mosh pit so we had more room.

As for the actual concert, I wish I understood more of what they were saying in the songs…but even the Argentinians we were with said they didn’t understand a lot because it was so loud the whole time. It was ok music, music to jump to.

In the end I’m glad I went to see a show in Luna Park, soon I’ll be able to say not only have I seen a show in Luna Park but I’ve performed there in front of a sold out arena 🙂

Very Soon.

xo,

B

Holiday Plans & Matadors

Here are a couple of fun pictures from previous events 🙂

As I’m writing this, it’s currently 39° F at home and 92° F in Buenos Aires. With that being said…

Cody and I booked our tickets for our Christmas/New Years Adventure! I am so beyond excited! Not only will we be spending the “winter (our summer) break” on the beach, we’re going to Iguazu Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world and spending New Years on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! 🙂 WHHHAT?!

So excited!!!!

If anyone has any suggestions of things so do I’m all ears!

We will fly into Iguazu Falls and go to both the Argentinian side and the Brazilian side. The Argentinian side is more adventurous whereas the Brazilian side has the better view, so we will do both!

We’ll fly out from the Brazilian side and head to Rio de Janeiro! The Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf mountain are obviously on the list of things to do while we’re there as well as the AMAZING fireworks show that will happen on New Years Eve! It’s suppose to be one of the best firework shows IN THE WORLD! We’re stay a few blocks from Copacabana beach where all the action happens. 2 million people go to this beach to celebrate…it’s going to be a hell-of-a party!

Other things on the list of things to do, suggestions are welcome:

  1. Have a caipirinha, in a coconut, on the beach (this has been a life long dream. I kid you not)
  2. Feria Hippie de Ipanema – a hippie market that only happens on Sundays
  3. The Copacabana Fortress and Palace (two different places)
  4. Pedra do Arpoador for a sunset
  5. Possibly the Carioca Aqueduct & Escadaria Selaron which are a little farther away from the beach
  6. and maybe a tour of a favela

As well as spend as much time on the beach as we can! I know there are a lot of safety concerns when it comes to Rio. I’ve talked with a few people who have told me be street smart. If you feel like you’re in the wrong area, you probably are.

The Christmas situation here is definitely different from what I’m used to! The other night a few of us went walking through La Boca (where the famous soccer stadium is), San Telmo and Puerta Madero to finally sit down and share a drink by the water. In San Telmo there was a massive parade supporting many of the South American countries. There were lots of drums, lots of noise, lots of feathers, in as little clothing as possible with lots of booty shaking! The streets were packed with people watching and cheering their favorite country. We continued walking to Puerta Madero which is where I saw my first glimpse of Christmas this year! There were lights strung on lamp posts in the shape of candy canes, lights wrapped around ships in the water, and a large lighted Christmas tree. It was a little odd walking by in shorts and a tank top with Christmas music playing at a concert near by…but again, I’m not complaining 😉 The lights were absolutely beautiful.

Sunday morning I woke up and thought I was going to go walk around San Telmo market again just because I could. But another idea popped into my head, I wanted to go to the Feria de Mataderos which is pretty far out of the center of the city. It’s a market celebrating the traditional gaucho (Argentinian cowboy) ways and traditions.

img_3517

I walked 45 mins to the train station and took a 30 min train ride and a 20 min uber to get to the Feria. Once I was there it was really cool! Like most markets, there were hundreds of stands set up but this one had a stage in the middle. As soon as I got there I heard the music and singing. Come to find out, on December 6th (in two days) they were celebrating 30 years of the Matadors. There were lots of traditional instruments playing, singing and tango dancing. It was quite the show!

I walked around munching on an empanada looking at all of the trinkets and food available and finally decided to get a tamale and oh boy was it good! I remember having tamales growing up when my mom would make them and I thought they were the coolest thing. You had to unwrap the corn husk and the texture and taste of the corn meal was always so tasty to me, needless to say, these were very delicious. I also had some type of sweet puff pastry with jam or jelly on the inside. I don’t know what it was but it was sugary and I liked it!

I spent a few hours walking and enjoying everything before heading back home. Another successful Sunday spent at a market 🙂

Since I can’t show many training photos, here are a few photos of us attempting to get stronger….maybe, you decide.

xo,

B

Thanksgiving & El Tigre

On Tuesday night we had the chance to meet the two remaining members of Soda Stereo, Zeta and Charlie!! They wanted to have a look around and meet all of us! There’s a professional picture of it somewhere but it hasn’t come out yet, stay tuned.

THANKSGIVING! 

What a difference it is celebrating in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving with people who don’t know what Thanksgiving celebrates or what we even do for the holiday! Crazy! Thanksgiving is just one of those things that’s been engrained in our heads since we were younger, in elementary school we would make pilgrim hats or make Native American themed things out of paper. It’s such a part of American culture that you don’t realize, when you go to other countries, they have no idea what it is!

At the beginning of the week I had asked the manager if the catering could possibly do a Thanksgiving themed lunch or dinner on Thursday and he said he couldn’t guarantee anything but he would ask. The next day he said one of the chefs lived in New Orleans for 3 years and was going to give the ‘Thanksgiving lunch’ his best try! I was excited to have some comfort food 🙂

And sure enough, on Thursday he had a turkey with stuffing, a potato salad, chicken and beef for people who didn’t know it was even Thanksgiving, and an apple pecan crumble to top off dessert! It was incredibly cute and thoughtful of him to do all of that! Here he is with his turkey:

Later I was able to FaceTime with my family and play a few hands of Cards Against Humanity which has tradition in our house after Thanksgiving dinner.

Friday night, PopArt set us up with tickets to see Fuerza Bruta which is an acrobatic show that also tours around the world. They wanted us to experience a show in Argentina before our show premieres. During the show the audience was standing the whole time so there were ushers moving people constantly, water was being sprayed, a pool hovered above us and boxes of confetti burst over people’s heads! Definitely worth going to the show! I wouldn’t do it justice trying to describe everything. After the show a DJ played for a few hours so we stayed and danced! The show didn’t start until 11:30pm so by the time we were finished dancing it was around 1:30am-2am. A group of us decided to go to a shots bar call Chupitos down the street which was similar to the one we went to in Spain. It had a list of crazy shots you could order ranging in strength or sweetness. We stayed for about an hour and decided to go home around 3am feet swollen, still a little damp from the show and covered in confetti. Fun night!

Saturday was rainy and thunderstorms all day. Since I’m on the 34th floor I had a perfect view of the storm. Lighting filled the sky and the thunder was so loud and close it felt like it shook the building. With all the beautiful sunsets we’ve been having, the storm was a reminder that the prettiest sunsets come after the strongest storms. Cheesy I know but I had to say it. So I was snuggled in my room all day…all 4 episodes of the new Gilmore Girls and some napping might have also been involved.

Sunday I actually left my room and was out and about the entire day. I left at 9am to catch the metro to a stop a little outside the center of the city to meet up with Silvia and her husband Daniel! I was introduced to Silvia through a friend’s friend and she is a true porteño. Her and her husband have owned a house in El Tigre for 15 years and invited me to spend the day with them. El Tigre is a delta about an hour train ride (different from the metro) of the city of Buenos Aires. A delta is a place where 2 or more rivers join (there’s your geology lesson for the day) and there’s only 7 around the world. In this case, the rivers from Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet and over time have formed many islands that people have inhabited as either vacation homes or actual homes.

They picked me up from the metro station close and we drove to the boat yard, you can’t access the islands without a boat. This boatel was enormous! 10+ hangers of rows and columns of boats, it was so impressive watching the get boats down and back up into storage. We got the boat, loaded in and we were off.

It was about a 20 min ride through the canals to their house and it was such a breath of fresh air. You don’t realize how much pure oxygen is out there until you get out of the city. There was so much nature everywhere, it was hard not to embrace it all. We pulled up to their house and their neighbors were having a birthday party for their two kids so it wasn’t quite the ‘quiet day’ Silvia thought we were going to have but it was filled with laughter and splashes.

Silvia and I took a long walk down the canal to a neighbor who sells honey and jam. We continued past the house to “Lover’s Bridge” as Silvia calls it; her son would come here with girls when he was younger so she nicknamed it Lover’s Bridge. The view was really beautiful but it made me wonder if anyone ever maintained the bridges or if my foot was going to fall through…luckily it didn’t. Walking back, we saw so many different styles of houses that were painted bright blue, red or yellow. The houses were corky and fun, each with their own style.

Not long after we got back Silvia handed me a glass of wine and told me to go relax for a bit. I didn’t refuse, it was wonderful.

img_3416

Meanwhile, Silvia and Daniel had started on lunch and guess what we were having?? Argentinian meat! My first asado! An asado is an Argentinian bbq with meat, meat and more meat. Silvia speaks very good English because she was a translator but her husband Daniel only knows a few words in English so it was a chance for me to practice Spanish! You’d be surprised how much you can communicate with animal sounds and gestures. When he was grilling I told him I was taking a picture to show my dad 🙂

These types of grills are found literally everywhere around Argentina because meat is so essential to their lifestyle and when it tastes that delicious, I don’t blame them! Daniel cooked lomo, chorizo, and blood sausage and let me tell you, my plate was clean! The lomo was the thick cut, juicy, tender, traditional steak-looking cut that melted in my mouth. The chorizo was a spicy sausage and the blood sausage was almost all black but I enjoyed it! Frist time trying it and they were surprised I liked it! The typical salad to have with your meal is called ‘ensalada mixta’ which is just lettuce, tomato and onion and we had some carrot shaving on top. I knew I wasn’t going to be hungry for the rest of the day, everything was beyond delicious!

After lunch, there was a boat that came down the canal, essentially a floating grocery store. You don’t even have to leave your own pier, it comes right to you! It had all the essentials, beer and wine included, and you just wave your hand to flag them down! It comes everyday once a day at the same time so people know when to expect it.

After relaxing a little more in the sun, letting all of that meat digest, I was off back to the main land to check out the El Tigre market before heading back into BA. It was a holiday on Monday so Silvia and Daniel were going to stay at the house. Silvia walked me to the “bus stop” where a boat bus usually picks people up to bring them “to continent”. She was sending me off on my next adventure…making it home.

img_3434

Water shuttle

Silvia had given me directions to the Puerta de Frutas market because at one point, fruit is all they sold. Now you can only find maybe one fruit stand, the rest is a big market with everything imaginable. It was about a 10 min walk from where we docked and I got to spend an hour there before things started closing. I didn’t even make it to a quarter of the market, it was massive! I definitely have plans to go back!

You can buy matte cups everywhere! It’s really more of a lifestyle then an activity, I’ll have to dedicate a whole post to ‘The Matte Life’.

I walked back to the train station to ride back into the city. What a successful day!

I could not be more thankful to Silvia and Daniel for inviting me to their home. Not many travelers get to have an experience like that! They’ve already claimed me as a daughter, I feel like I have another home away from home 🙂

img_3428

So fun & so thankful!

It’s NOT starting to feel a lot like Christmas here considering it’s 80 degrees and sunny but I’m not complaining 🙂

xo,

B