Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bariloche- Patagonia!

So we went on one of our last adventures within Argentina recently.
When we arrive here in Buenos Aires, everyone told us to go and visit San Carlos de Bariloche. They said it was just one of those amazing locations.
We wanted to go there for skiing in our first year, but it didn't happen because of the Volcano eruption in the Andes in 2011 and it poured ash all over Bariloche- it was even effecting flights in airports in Sydney at the some the ash was carried so far! So we waited.

Breakfast by the fire in our mountain cabin!
This trip to Bariloche (Patagonia) was AWESOME! We relaxed and enjoyed ourselves sooooooo much!! It is a must go to destination! absolutely! wow! So so beautiful!
If you are reading this and thinking of visiting- we rented an awesome place just off the Circuito Chico which was fantastic! We rented through which has some INCREDIBLE accommodations for great prices!
We stayed here -

and TOTALLY recommend!! that coolest place- it's own little fire place and the view from the bedroom was amazing! We were so snuggly warm and felt so close to the mountains and nature but having all the comforts! I totally recommend!

We also rented a car which is something else I recommend people do! It gave us complete freedom and it is incredible to drive around! We also miss driving together since we don't have a car here in Argentina. So it was great to sit back together and drive in some of the most scenic routes I have ever seen!! The alpine forests were gorgeous to stroll through and we loved the freshness.
Haha! Our awesome rented car

Now, we went in low season, as it wasn't snowing, but wintery and cold. We had a couple of spectacular blue sky days that were nothing short of amazing! We also got days of rain, but snuggled near the fire, found a day spa to relax in and spent lots of time going for tea and treats and some amazing chocolate shops!! So so very yummy!

You must check ourt Rapa Nui-
Some of the best chocolate I have had in a loooonnng time- definitely the best I have had in Argentina (which is not big into good quality chocolate here in Buenos Aires).

So it was a wonderful 5 days of sipping mate, small walks, relaxing and waking up to incredible views! We loved eating all the smoked trout! wow! it is so good!! We ate at some great restaurants! I have some suggestions:
- La Salamandra Pulperia- our favourite!
- Berlina- German beer house and great food!
- Rapa Nui- some of the best ice cream and chocolate I have ever had
- Holly Restobar- great for lunch, right on the water views! gorgeous (good banana smoothie)

I cannot say enough how awesome Bariloche is! We felt so refresh after the mini break away! It is so clean and beautiful!

Now being back a month since the trip- I am missing that time. It was so so beautiful and freeing. We are so blessed to be able to duck off to places like this. It was easy to fly to Bariloche from Buenos Aires and quick too! Not expensive at this time of year for flights too.

Punto Panoramico- Amazing view point- came here a few time to sit and sip maté

It was pretty amazing stoking up the fire in the morning, doing yoga, drinking yummy herbal teas and breathing in fresh air to some of the most impressive views!
I will always remember this cruisy cool time in the Andes mountains, surrounded by gorgeous lakes and together with my amazing man!

This kind of seems more like a location/holiday review than our personal experiences.. but I will let our photos speak for themselves-
Here are some little snippets that we cheekily got up to:
Llao Llao 5 star Hotel

- We went to Llao Llao hotel which is a 5 star hotel- we went there just to walk in and have a look and see the view while having lunch in their fancy dining terrace. It was a pretty impressive place to walk into. It helped speaking english and looking like tourists, as they were very welcomed. haha! The salad bar lunch was incredible!! amazing cheeses and salads and smoked trout of course! okay okay- enough about the food...
Llao Llao

- The gelato/ice cream at Rapa Nui will be a memory forever- The 80% dark chocolate flavour with the lemon pie (layered on top with fresh italian meringue like a real lemon pie) was incredible!! incredible!
We sat in the cafe as we ordered ice cream, and then hand picked truffles and chocolates and then fancy herbal teas... we sat in the warm on a comfy sofa with a huge screen in there watching one of the important Barcelona games.. the place filled with locals doing the same as us, to escape the cold, eat some sweet treats and catch one of the favourite futbol clubs in Argentina (thanks to Mesi, the famous Argentine player for Barcelona).

- Showing up at La Salamandra Pulperia restuarant around 10pm and discovering the place is packed with people, so no tables except a small coffee table with a small sofa for two (we grabbed it) and enjoyed talking about our future and relaxing and ordering the yummiest salad and mushrooms on damper toast. So yum and so fun and so together.

- Just driving and stopping and getting our and googling in awe at the view and mountains before us and then jumping back in the car and driving 2 minutes up the road and finding an even more jaw dropping view.. haha.. great times

- Waking up together and opening the curtain in front of us and having snowy capped mountains saying good morning to us while snuggling under the covers. It was like being in a movie! too perfect

- Smoked trout- this must be the 50th time I have mentioned it- but we LOVE fish and smoked trout here is the real deal! so fresh

- Fires! I love fires! and I have never stayed in a place with our own little fire place. Or we would find a cool place for lunch and their would be a roaring fire to welcome us. So good
View from our bed!
Simple lunch of smoked treats in our cabin by the fire! mmmm

- We drove on a dirt road for twenty minutes thinking we were going to get the car stuck in all the mud, but made it to this little mountain village called 'Colonia Suiza' which was a village colonised originally by the swiss. We enjoyed the markets and little shops and lunch and we bought 3 amazing rustic wooden boards for chopping or serving. They are our Argentine pieces. real special and will always make us think of this time in our lives.

Okay I could keep going but will end it here.
Love Miki

Monday, April 15, 2013

Wow! It is 2013!!

I can't believe it has been MONTHS since our last update! I think I have been avoiding the update due to the fact that there is just TOO MUCH to update about!
So I have wacked together a video to sum up our 2012 travels. Please keep in mind that it is full of our random memories and I really hope you enjoy!

Well I hope this is the start to being a frequent updater of our blog! Because life here in Argentina is still happening!
We frolicked across the globe for 2 months in Dec to Feb and have so much to catch up about!!
So stay tuned people!
Hope you enjoy our crazy video with some fun footage of the places we travelled and explored last year!
Big hugs,
~ Miki

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Video Episode No. 1- Our travels living in Argentina!

So over the last two years living and travelling in South America, we have taken 1000's of photos and a couple of random videos along the way on our cameras and mobile phone.

Here is our very first 'Travel Diary- Part 1- Travels in 2011'
I thought over each year I could edit up the footage and put it together so we have a visual and fun memory of where we adventured too!

My aim is to include our own music (quite random and made spontaneously...) and all photos and video is our own.

Be warned- This first video is really quite random- but every time we watch it, it makes us laugh and has a lot of funny meaning!

(You can click on it will take you to to view it if that is better?)

Hope you enjoy- and in the next couple of weeks, Part 2 for 2012 travels will come out soon!

Big hugs,
~ Miki

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A lazy weekend in Quilmes

picnics on the balcony
Here I am trying to keep up to date with life over here in Buenos Aires. The past week after coming back from our week off in Punta Del Este haven't slowed down. Been very busy with work at school popping out of our ears!

This weekend was the first weekend to not enter the school for anything over a weekend. It has been a blobby stay at home kind of weekend- relaxaing, sleeping in, cleaning up, chris catching up on assignments for uni and me marking and preparing things for school. It's be good!

So instead of a post about some sort of international adventure- I want to share a more normalness within this blog update. And I have been asked a couple of questions lately as to life living abroad and teaching abroad.
So I am going to ask myself the question asked of me a little while ago and answer it for you.

Hoping that my new herbs wont be eaten by bugs or
die in the coming heat!
What is teaching overseas like for you?
Well for me, I can't imagine teaching back in Australia in a school for a long time?!! Teaching in another country and living within a different culture is amazing! I have never learnt so much and travelled so much- As well as building a career and gaining professional experience! Teaching in an international school (just like any school in Australia) has its positives and negatives. I think you are really lucky if you work in a school that is perfect!
Working for myself and starting my own business really really appeals to me and something I plan to be doing in the future- but for now, all the professional development on an international scale that I am learning and stepping into is incredible!!
There are LOADS of amazing incentives that international schools give as part of their contract! I think a lot of young people (or maybe any age) fear being locked into a 2 or 3 year contract- but honestly people- this is normal! you cant float around from job to job- who will employ you if you are a floater?
It's taken these 2 years of my contract to feel that I have made a good mark in my work at the school. Next year will be making all that we have done stable and solid, so that the Music Departments in both Secondary and Primary school continue to grow.
And I don't think you are ever 'locked down and stuck' in a 2 or 3 year contract- you are living and earning money to save or travel with, meeting new people, learning language, being embraced by wonderful change- So step into a contract and go for it! No point being all 'safe' and thinking otherwise... you have to live and earn money anyways- so do something exciting within the next 2 or 3 years of your life as a teacher! Living abroad and being accepted into an international school is an amazing opportunity- we feel so incredibly blessed by it!

I feel Chris and I have totally embraced the international teaching- we look forward to taking on other positions in other countries and to continue developing our skills and meeting new people and learning more languages! woohooo

Hmmm... I don't know if my answer above really captured what teaching overseas is like?! I think my answer would change all the time- I actually think this whole blog is very testament to what teaching overseas is like (well the real positive parts anyways).

Booking stuff for travel! Chillaxin' on the balcony
So, highlights of this weekend have been setting up our picnic spot on our balcony (on the 10th floor) and lying in the sun, browsing the internet and eating all our meals. It is awesome!
Yesterday I spent all afternoon, falling asleep, drinking mate and relaxing like a cat in the sun!
We also have booked in HEAPS of stuff for our 7 week trip booking to the USA and Mexico!
The latest is booking our 2 day park tickets to Universal Studios in Orlando. I am a bit hesitant in booking Disney World tickets... I think it might be all a little kiddy like?!? So we aren't really sure...

Just a gorgeous photo of my man! 
Also been planning how we want to travel mexico- 3 weeks doesn't seem like long enough with all the things that we want to do! We might just have to come back in the future!!! Sooo excited though!

The usual washing up stack...
I have also been doing mountains of washing up and washing clothes.. does anyone else stack their dishes precariously like me?! haha

I have been baking too!! We received an AWESOME box of chocolates and fun things from Australia from my mum!! It was SUCH  a mission to get this box- it was 4.2 kilos of fun and happiness from mum! She posted it in May this year... and I picked it up in October!! ahahahaha... So please don't bother posting anything to Argentina- it is a mission and some things don't even arrive!
But I had to go into Capital (the city) to pick up this box- there was no possible way for them to deliver it.... So I went to the old old run down building and had to wait in ques of 200 people to pick up this box... The whole process of getting there, waiting, picking it up and back to quilmes again was like a 4 to 5 hour mission... so again, please don't send us anything! haha

Yummy Sunday Lunch- served on the balcony
Awesome pie dishes = awesome pies!

Anyways, back to the baking- mum also gave us 6 little pie dishes (can't get aussie pies over here)- and Its THE BEST! Been making cakes in them and meat pies and these wicked quiches for lunch today!! totally in love with it!! So picnic on the balcony was called for!

The Study Muncher
Chris is studying like crazy! He finishes his masters really soon!! End of Nov and he is done! amazing!! but every weekend has been him working on essays and readings etc... while I flit around the house trying not to distract him (but always end up distracting.. poor guy! haha)
So I have forced myself outside, marking and blogging and uploading photos and researching Mexico!

No sure if this captured our lazy weekend... or a normal day here in Quilmes- It is actually mothers day today in Argentina! So Happy Mothers day to my mum and my Nanna and Mama and to all my friends who are wonderful mothers!!! Love to all your amazing women!

There is also an epic futbol game pumping in Quilmes stadium and the weird hushed feeling over Quilmes because it is Sunday- so it is a pretty normal day here where I live.

Love to you all!
Chat soon,

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A School Tour, Uruguay & A New Season

Awesome sunset in Uruguay!
So to catch up on the last 2 months since arriving back after our amazing trip to Brazil (and now in October- my heart tells me I should still be playing and having fun in Brazil! haha)
Driving on the bus through beautiful wintery Cordoba

August was a month of the blues- not blue skies but hard work at school which was much more stressful than it ought to have been and also no sunny days. It rained or was overcast here in Buenos Aires for the whole month! Everyone was walking around dragging their feet- I thought I would have been refreshed after the holidays, but work and school hit everyone pretty hard. It was busy busy and cold. Doesn't sound like the exotic latin life does it? But that is life and the seasons it brings.
Life now here is very normal and all the travel we do it the exotic part!

So I have named this post 'A school tour, Uruguay and a New Season'- I will highlight these three areas below:

A School Tour- La Gira de Musica - Cordoba, Argentina  
(The Music Tour to Cordoba Argentina)
My beautiful students for the Junior Music Tour- At one of our school concerts in Rio Cuarto, Cordoba

So last year I had proposed to St George's College to organise a Choir and Music Tour within Argentina. This was approved and this year has been big efforts to pull off a successful trip! As I was planning and getting students signed up- I realised all the other tours on at the same time across the secondary school. It meant that during the week I was given to take the students on tour, only the ES1 and ES2 (years 7 & 8) students were available to go. All the other years had things on. So I changed the idea to a 'junior music tour,' which was awesome! I rounded up a talented group of 26 students (12 and 13 year olds) who Chris and I had trained up in bands and as soloists. We also joined all the students together to form a choir and we rehearsed after school to learn contemporary style music that young kids have fun listening to and singing along to. And given the limited amount of time we had to prepare the music, the songs had to be well known and relatively easy. 
I pull the funniest faces when conducting!

The school promotions officer has also helped me out by connecting me with schools that were linked with St George's- these schools were in Cordoba, a province (or state) in the centre of Argentina. So on a big big bus, we all went on our Music Tour- performing and singing and having fun activities! We drove 10hours on a saturday night, and returned home to Buenos Aires on the Thursday- It was a short tour with only 4 days to do performances.

The tour was a huge success and a real highlight for the year for me! I am so so proud of these students and it is such a big milestone for a music department to host something like this when we began with nothing- and I literally mean nothing! It is a big fulfilling feeling seeing where Chris and I have brought the music departments in both the primary and secondary within less that 2 years. Not meaning to blow my trumpet and pat ourselves on the back- It feels good when we have worked so hard and to have students engaged and loving music at the school is a be reward to me! yippeee
If you want to have a fun look at what we got up to, here is the link to the video I made about the trip:
Showing the kids how the Flying Fox is done! haha

Uruguay- Holiday to Punta Del Este  

The famous hand in the sand at the main beach of Punta
After the tour was our week off school holiday period. We had booked the ferry and bus to take us over the rio (river) and into Uruguay! We have friends of the school who let us use their apartment in Punta Del Este and their little vintage car and we made the most of it! 
It really had been our first holiday in ages where we just stayed in the one spot for a week and did nothing. 
Beach strolling and mate drinking
It actually stormed like crazy with ferocious high speed winds and hail and rain.. which kept us inside the warm cute apartment for like 4 days.. the final 3 days it was still pretty cold, but we had walks on the beach and sunsets and even a bit of lying in the sun at the very end which was rad!! 
We were both sick and slept so much- it was a total week of respite... out of Quilmes and by the sea. A much needed break!
Punta Del Este is a very interesting place! We were there in September which was coming into the shoulder season- but hardly anyone around. There are sooooo many crazy big apartment blocks that front onto the Atlantic sea.. I don't like it... other than smelling salty water and enjoying the blueness of the sea... it was so built up at set up for the summer season. And the prices of shopping or eating out were CRAZY! we bought 2 pieces of cake (only pieces) for over $30!?! Didn't know that until we got the bill.. dang!! hahaha
Conquered the thumb!
strolling the beach and smelling the salty air and catching up together after
some very busy weeks was the best!!
So we cooked in the apartment all the time and enjoyed being really simple- the cake was splurge enough! haha!!
Of course we saw the famous mano (hand) sticking up out of the main beach! It is THE tourist attraction. My favourite part of the whole trip was strolling the beach with my man at sunset, sipping at mate as the locals and collecting seashells.
It was this part that made Punta so beautiful and memorable!
I actual think we were pretty out of it for the week- just sleeping like bears in winter- but being refreshed by sunshine and sea salt!
Tick- another destination seen and done! (yippeee)
Beep Beep! As we drive along the coastal road!

A New Season
So the final chapter of my early morning blog- Spring has arrived- it has been a mix of cold rainy weather and then sunny blue sky warm days- which give me too much excitement I just can't handle it!! haha- So looking forward to summer!
The green has arrived again on all the trees and Quilmes is looking prettier- I think even the birds are singing happier songs! 
I can't wait for the jacaranda trees to be in full bloom around Buenos Aires! There are small shrubs that are falling over they are soo full and heavy with the brightest blossoms- Hot pink and red flowers! gorgeous!
Since being back at school the weeks are literally FLYING by!!

It is now only 8 weeks till we fly to NYC!! We can hardly wait!
Lots to do before then- but it is exciting!!
We are saving our pennies like crazy so that our trip the the USA can be awesome!

Well until next time mis amigos!
Nos vemos y besos grandes 


Happy together- free to be me- love

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rio - Final edition of Brasil!

We are backtracking a bit now, but we can't go past mentioning the amazing time we had in Rio! After arriving at our awesome accomodation at Pousada Favela Cantagalo (in a safe zone of favela right between Ipanema and Copacobana), we nailed some great burgers at a local cafe and waited for the arrival of my parents!

They traveled around 20 hours from Aus, via Chile to meet us in Rio and boy was I happy to see them!
Together we spent the next 5 days exploring Rio, relaxing on the beach and generally sucking up Brazilian culture.

Beaches - because it was "winter" the beaches were relatively chilled and not as crowded as the crazy summer postcard shots that I was expecting (in reality it was still packed), so we spent each morning hanging, people watching, swimming and relaxing on the beach. Ipanema seemed to be a little nicer and vibier, so we tended to chill there.

Football - We booked a tour to go and see Vasco Da Gama vs Botafogo, which was wicked! The company was called 'Viator' and we would recommend it highly. We rarely do tours, but felt it would be safer to do so in Brasil. They picked us up (along with about 20 other tourists) and took us to the stadium, whilst giving plenty of stats and info about the game and the players etc. The game was actually pretty bland, apart from the appearance of Dutch legend Clarence Seedorf, who dominted the game with European style passing and flair. Most of the Brasilian players just booted the ball up the field, sprinted like maniacs and then fell over all the time. So, we decided to liven things up a little by imagining what it would be like to sit in a pulsating crazy Brasilian football game (note the "excited" faces in the background!)

The Big Jesus - After getting some advice from some young backpackers, we fanged it up to 'The Big Jesus' (as we liked to call it) at 10am in the morning to beat a LOT of the crowds! It was a great tip.
Instead of waiting for a train, we took a dodgy taxi up to the top and got short lines and great views. Mum was particularly stoked as this was a 'bucket list' item for her.
After our minds had been well and truly blown by the stunning views and a couple of hugs, it was time to head back to the beach!

Sugarloaf Mountain - Again, a cheeky backpacker conversation helped us to time our run up to the top of Sugarloaf perfectly. We were told to aim for sunset (5:15pm in Winter) for the most breathtaking views and not only did we get the time spot on, but also we chose the perfect day. I think for all four of was one of the most spectacular sunsets we had ever seen! We were mesmerised and stayed up there snapping photos for a good hour or two. Wow!

Overall, Rio was an amazing end to our Brasilian adventure. It was safer, cleaner and more modern than we all expected and we could really see the booming economy seeping through all aspects of life in Rio. It is a place we think we could easily live! After all, who wouldn't want summer all year round :) The people were friendly, the transport was smooth and the vibe was great!

A cool city that all should check out when in South America. For us, it is just a short flight north...and that is one thing we love about Life in Argentina. :)