Workaway in Bahia Bustamante – The Big Report, or else: “Surviving, just surviving…” (Quote James Bond in ‘Die Another Day’)
Let’s start with the conclusion: In general we can only recommend to once try working in direct exchange for bed and food, two of the potentially biggest parts of the household budget, both at home and when vagabonding! In addition in this place nothing could be bought, except some fruit and veg every 10 days, so this month we only spent ca. 15 Euros, plus stocks bought in advance (list farther below ;-)), and of course the cost for travelling to and from Bahia Bustamante, but NOTHING ELSE! It’s also true that we wouldn’t have done it had we known the local circumstances, our ignorance is certainly owed our spoilt European naivete, but now we wouldn’t want to have missed this marvelous life experience far outside our comfortzones for anything in the world, reasons to be found in the report below, for anyone who wants to know!
We therefore say thanks a ton to owners Matias and Astrid for the possibility, and hard working colleagues Rosario, Sol, Sunilda, Daniella, Fede, Pablo, Tommy, Nico, Marcello, Walter, and Workawayers/Volunteers (maximum four at a time) Remis and Amelie, Vickie, and Pete, and visitors Ivan and Antonella, for the excellent company! It was fascinating how everyday life in Bahia Bustamante changed with the set of staff, not for better or worse, but depending on characters just different, what a variety! Of course, much to our delight, we also improved a little on our (Argentinian) Spanish, not least because of the colleagues patience with us!
Carsten posing as GI Joe, the haircut needs to last for four weeks, Claudia’s hair luckily cut rather short too…
Thus it began: Took a flight from BA national airport to Commodoro Rivadavia, ca. 90 km south of Bahia Bustamante, on the Patagonian atlantic coast too, upon leaving registered all the other interesting flight destinations in Argentina alone, 2,5 hour flight, very difficult touch down of the Embraer jet due to winds of storm category with additional gusts. Commodoro Rivadavia, called ‘Capital of the Wind’ by locals, is a petroleum hauling and refining town, made up of uninspired working row housing settlements in the anyway rather treeless, flat, sparce steppe landscape in Eastern Patagonia, with it’s signature low and persevering bushes, strong winds, a lot of dust, huuuuge Haciendas, Guanacos, and other creatures. Took an expensive taxi from Airport to Bus Terminal, had bought the tickets in advance on the net with two hours to spare (exception because this meant expensive state conversion rate, because of payment with credit card, but also secured us the reservation for the bus and fixed the time of pick up by the colleague from Bahia Bustamante, meanwhile history again because the Dolar Blu black market has been disestablished and the Peso can meanwhile be bought again on the international markets, at the supply/demand rather than a fictional governmental rate), spare time in order to stock snacks, food for survival, alcohol, last chance to shop for a month, couldn’t have brought this on the flight, particularly not with 15 kg maximum baggage allowance in Argentina, paid 12,60 Euros excess baggage charge for 2 x 25 kg (in total 20 kg in excess), apparently including the return flight, not too bad, so strategy worked fine, interim-stored our luggage at bus company Don Otto (no joke!), bought reservation and tickets for the return bus journey in cash, then on to Carrefour for shopping, a last Milanesa for Carsten, fetched our luggage, and then realized that final destination of our bus, which would now carry us 90 km north again, was actually Buenos Aires??!! Apparently this journey lasts (only) a little more than 20 hours, you can choose full bed or half bed seats, but a horror for us anyway, only for real travelers… We had more than enough with the 2 hour journey to Garayalde, the first stop on the route, a petrol station in the middle of nowhere, and our meeting point with the colleague from Garayalde, advice: watch out for the white Landrover Defender… The bus then stopped on this Patagonia Highway, not highly frequented but by the heaviest kind of trucks and busses swirling up a lot of dust, duly on the right side of the road, whereas petrol station and white Defender were on the left side of the road, handed us our luggage, good luck for crossing the road, a little like: James bond and current chick are deposited in the middle of the desert, where the next villain already waits in his high tech hideaway… We’ve fortunately been awaited by nice, English speaking, jung Nico, who loves to drive and maintain the 15 year old Defender, and who, after we’d crossed the road successfully with two suitcases, in 60 more minutes across gravel roads took us to Bahia Bustamante, to paradise, as he called it…
Carsten’s favourite toys, photos of course taken in broad daylight, whereas we arrived in an overcast dusk…
Finally caught sight of the wide ocean and it’s coast, and the white buildings of the once 100 people settlement in the middle of absolutely nowhere, of which the proprietors call 80,000 (!!) hectares their own, founded for seaweed harvest, today operated with much less people (ca. 25) because of late industrialization and less seaweed, nowadays plus tourist accommodation, as we knew it from the photos on the website. Stopped at the administration, advice: rest for today, later dinner and meet with staff and other volunteers, meanwhile it was a quarter to eight in the evening, dinner at 9 pm, Nico to take us to ‘Bar de Lopez’. And that was the point in time when we got our first surprise of the bigger kind…
Is a room with, instead of without, a door, a luxury?
How to describe the undescribable? Since this is a 50 year old seaweed harvest settlement in the middle of Argentine’s Patagonia, it’s obvious that workers used to, particularly then, be housed rather simple and as customary in this country also rather improvised, but what is offered to volunteers nowadays seemed even a little simpler than the accommodation of the seasonal staff of the tourist business, Bahia Bustamante being only open in the summer of the southern hemisphere, from October to March. We were housed across the back yard of a long since unused, near derelict building once used as a bar, said ‘Bar de Lopez’, consisting of natural stone walls with concrete floor, never wet cleaned before, with a bad closing, non lockable door to a snug but tiny, near derelict patio with an old vine and tree, one window, and regrettably also doors each to the two neighbouring rooms, where the other volunteers were staying, one of the doors not closeable, and the other just, watch out: LEANED TO with a wooden slat door leaf of the shack/cellar type, hinges not even provided, the room furnished with two very different bed frames and mattresses, two blankets and spreads, pillow, complete with big spider, everything of course mega old, and a near derelict, tiny chest of drawers, but with freshly laundered sheets and covers. To be honest: this was the point in time when we seriously considered making short work of the whole thing and leave. But we had to spend the night anyway, so we decided to give it one more chance… As everybody knows meanwhile, we stayed.
Center: no mirror in the adjacent bathroom, so improvised with hand mirror in patio! Outsides: house the volunteers like us were staying in (three rooms)
Clockwise: View to the patio from our first room, first room interior, second room after moving with queen sized bed!, patio after furnished by Carsten, Center: offline of course! ;-))
So quickly positioned chest of drawers in front of lean-to-door-leaf, lest it falls in, luckily so far nobody was staying in this neighbouring room, which only had a bricked door frame but no door at all, and to our side there was a straw jalousette in front of the leaned-to-door-leaf, to add a tiny bit of privacy…, made friends with the French volunteering couple in the room on the other side, extremely helpful, down to earth, and cheerful people, we all only whispered in our rooms because of the pseudo doors, privacy of course reduced next to zero, stole a rickety chair from the empty other room, exchanged bed frame with the one from this room too because mega old, sagging metal spring frame, for sure imported more than 50 years ago from Birmingham, against a wooden slats bed frame, at least hard, nicked a little table made of uncovered chipboard from the common bathroom with only cold water, after consulting with the other volunteers, reorganized suitcases so as to only open one of them daily, used chair and extendable suitcase handle for hanging up some things, because clothes of course couldn’t be stored anywhere, not even a hook/nail in the wall, put the two beds beside each other, swiped the place, brought the spider to the patio, securely stored the valuable stocks up high on the table, found one more common bath room with hot water in the building opposite from ours, maintenance and hygiene situation rather difficult though and actually meant for our use too, in short: set up and arranged ourselves! It turned out that we were rather ‘lucky’ with our accommodation, since the housing of the staff is partly mere concrete cubes without nice patios and with smaller windows and doors, if they are not jointly accommodated in one of the little houses. The volunteers’ housing used to be the rooms the owner’s grandfather, founder of the place, lived in, hence probably the connecting doors…
Wild west movie atmosphere: imagine the soundtrack of ‘Once upon a time in the west’… ;-)). This is where the seaweed harvesters stayed 50 years ago.
No comment! But: there was a washing mashine, or what was left of it…
The atrocities continued or rather increased in the common tea kitchen in the former school of the place: age, state, and hygiene of all appliances, it cannot be called hygiene at all, however, are indescribable, because of the state and lacking proper cleaning devices etc. a thorough cleaning isn’t even possible at all, if ever only a superficial one, something like that is no longer known in central Europe, I gather… Had we known it, we would have at least brought some sponges etc., for they of course cannot be bought round here… Luckily we brought our own mug, hot water for washing the dishes in the mega-old sink within painted concrete work surface without any stopper, heated on the mega-old gas stove in a mega-old kettle with a self made wire-and-wood contraption as a handle, ignored the bacteria riddled mega-old dishwashing sponge, washing the dishes with dishwashing liquid (yes, there was!) and fingers, that’s even more hygienic. Water is drunken from the tap and comes from a freshwater source on the neighbouring Hacienda of the same owner, at least we never had the runs! Power was switched on daily from 7pm to midnight, sometimes during the day too, but that meant also no 24-h-refigeration/deep freezing of any food, and there was wifi, but only sporadically and with an insufficient capacity, so Emails couldn’t be loaded, etc., not really understandable, also not for the paying guests, however most of them stayed only for a maximum of up to three nights…
This kind of sights and views of course equalled out a lot too…
The Lord is here already, so all will be well! Church unfortunately no longer in use for mass, only used by single people
All of this was equaled out by the marvelous and international community of and with inspiring people we met: staff, seasonal staff, workawayers/volunteers, biologists, etc., from France, Germany (us ;-)), Brazil, Argentina, the UK, cooperating and at the joint meals: mostly yummy but rather lacking in vitamins and fibre (breakfast: baguette without butter with jam, oats with powdered milk and instand cocoa and/or sugar, Claudia brought an alternative), both lunch, at 12 noon, and dinner, at 9pm, warm meals, the two cooks even stocked gluten free noodles and were more than willing to cook a separate plate for Claudia when serving pasta or pizza, although this wasn’t expected and rice would have done as well. The minimum 9 hour difference between lunch and dinner really called for a snack in between, lucky us for our little stock, and roundabout every 10 days came the verdulero, the grocer, if he found produce, and some fruit and veg and a few other niceties could be bought, he also catered for the restaurant of the place, because the garden did not yet yield enough, apart from berries, neither for restaurant nor for staff. Dishes, cutlery and pots and pans were washed by staff and volunteers, under the conditions described above…
These are the oven baked spines of lamb/sheep after carving the best parts of the meet away, quite a sight, yummy though! Side dish: polenta with sauce
Highly valued stock for 30 days plus two travel days:
- 4 x 150g peanuts
- 4 x 200g jam cookies for Carsten
- 2 bars of dark chocolate Duty Free Shop
- 3 x 30g Dulce de Leche (caramel)
- 3 x Craquines de Aroz, bread substitute for Claudia
- 3 x popped Quinoa for Carsten’s breakfast
- 2 bottles of Argentinian sparkly extra brut for birthday and farewell
- 2 bottles of Argentinian Grappa, one for a digestive gulp in the evenings, and one for everybody to share for Christmas and New Years Eve, bargain: second bottle at half the price! ;-))
Everything duly sorted into daily rations for it to last for sure!
Vamos a la playa…., ahem, no: Vamos a la huerta (to the garden)…
First working day: We both work in the garden, the French volunteers, who found Bahia Bustamante via www.wwoofinternational.org (helpx/workaway equivalent for organic gardening) and have been doing this kind of work seven times already within their one year sabbatical here in South America, often under EVEN worse/more simple conditions, kindly handed over to us patiently showing us the Patagonian gardening ropes, of course even there most things are highly improvised, in this country, particularly in the countryside, people are very resourceful, not always with satisfying results… The garden is only five years old and on the site of the former football patch, as one guest mentioned: doesn’t look suited for either…
Responsibility for the garden includes feeding the meanwhile 14 chickens with kitchen garbage, corn, and water, cleaning of their watering hole, during the day they roam freely outside their coop, regrettably in the garden too, like to dig holes under the garden fence and also fly above it, shortening of one wing doesn’t agree with the owner’s wife, so every bed in the garden has to be protected with nets, also against wild hares and the resident armadillo. Sad highlights of chicken care: one death (instruction: go into the steppe and throw it as far as you can), one missing chicken, found in full working order the next day, one ripped off chicken wing, complete with bones, chick now has only one but is unharmed, one sick, fate unknown upon departure. Compost components from kitchen and common room have to be shreddered before starting a new layer on the compost, the makeshift greenhouses have to be opened in the morning for airing, calendula blossoms deadheaded, tomatoes checked for unwanted sprouts and pests, the berries and orchard-to-be watered, beds de-weeded, plants nourished with compost and woodchips, everything under nicest Patagonian sun, sometimes with very strong winds which immediately dry out the soil once watered, despite a high hedge for wind protection, in most fresh air, together, development to be observed daily, with a little luck there’ll be egg plant, peppers, broccoli, kale, zucchini, pumpkin, leek and lettuce, once it’s harvest time, what else can you ask for. Regrettably there were a few misunderstandings and miscommunications, but rather with staff and owners, with the French couple everything went very well, in Spanish, English and French. The work in the morning took three hours, from 8am to 11am, next siesta until 4.30pm including lunch, and a second shift until 7pm, watering the greenhouses, the beds, the herbs (rosemary, basil, sage, thyme, lavender, mint, parsley), harvest of the different berries (red and black currant, raspberry, blackberry, gooseberry), pest control with tobacco solution and volcanic ash, and more planting- and other projects. We had a free day on every seventh day, but these could be arranged into two in a row too, of course leading to longer periods of work in between free days, at the end of our stay we’ve been working for ten days in a row, so because of this period and the unfamiliar physical work in unfamiliar climate and uv-radiation (protection factor 50) we were quite exhausted, even after returning to Buenos Aires, in general we couldn’t have managed without the resistance stretch excercises (KiD) at all, because we’ve been using muscles not having been used in this intensity for ages.
Four plus petrified armadillo in the garden, on departure day, to hand over and say good bye to Pete and Vickie, both from UK
Because of our joint responsibility for the garden, which we enjoyed immensely, when we’d thought we’d be deployed separately, one in the garden, one in the restaurant, we never got to experiencing the work in the restaurant, the second possibility to volunteer in Bahia Bustamante, so we only met the understandably extremely well off guests partly on the excursions we joined in our free time, or on the historic tour of the place including the garden, most of them were quite interested in what we do at home and found our particular story of two years unpaid leave interesting, apart from our explanations concerning the garden.
Clockwise: Sunset, sunrise, one of the Rheas you could even meet within the settlement, horses for rides, in total five of them, Center: beautiful rainbow, ends didn’t quite fit ;-))
On top of everything the landscape and the location as such are as fascinating as expected, the ocean literally immediately in front of the door, changing it’s colours with the light, which is spectacular in itself, sunrise and sunset couldn’t be more picturesque, also because of the unending vastness, not only of the Patagonian steppe, but also of the sky, and the horizons, and of course the bird variety and the fauna in general, all to be enjoyed by tourists and workawayers/volunteers alike on six half day excursions, among them a navigation to the nearby islands to see, hear, and smell the fantastic sea lions, their females and their offspring, the stink is rather difficult though, as well as to meet Magellan Penguins, Cormorants of different varieties, and a lot of other birds from close by, and a short walk at low tide to one more island where Penguins hatch: as long as none of the chicks have mother and father take turns in breeding, one of them always staying home, once the chicks, mostly maximum two per nest, are one month old, they can and must be left alone, because now they need so much food that both parents have to provide for them!
Evering light green are beds of Samphire, the yummy edible algae, but since this is private but a protected national park too, sadly not for harvest and consumption
The Patagonian Steppe has been flooded by the ocean several times millions of years ago and with millions of years inbetween, and thus actually was the bottom of the ocean at times, so that the original wooded landscape is conserved even today in fascinating, petrified, of course fallen trunks of trees, and the former costlines can be seen from a vantage point in the surrounding plateaus, in a kind of huge canyon, with single bizarre rock formations. In the steppe you potentially find, among others, snakes, scorpions, foxes, pumas, guanacos, hares, rheas, and armadillos.
All of this was more than once the floor of the ocean, bizarre formations included! Top right: don’t miss the petrified trunks lying around!
All petrified wood, unbelievable, it even chinks like porcelaine/fine bone china if you walk over the pieces, which cannot be helped
Carsten once had the chance to do a short ride with guide Daniella and fiancé Ivan, and even managed to haul in another horse without rider, and to his delight had to drive the Defenders, both with, and for working purposes (e.g. bringing horse manure to the garden) without tourists, regrettably there are no photos of either…
The far from insignificant all inclusive amounts paying guests of Bahia Bustamante pay, per person, nearly all of them from North America or Europe, for staying immediately at the Atlantic Ocean, three meals a day (three courses each for lunch and dinner) with snacks on the excursions, which are also included in the price (!!), free beverages inc. Alcohol, are justified by exactly these exclusive and unique nature excursions in small groups (“private Galapagos”), but by nothing else, who expects luxury accommodation and gourmet food because of the high price has not understood the concept, perhaps a marketing- or simple communication issue… There is also accommodation in the second row without food, drinks and excursions, not cheap either, but then you have to pay dearly for the excursions of course, and if the restaurant is full with guests from the first row, let’s hope you brought your own, because shopping isn’t an option, but it says so on the website www.bahiabustamante.com too.
All of those photos of the peninsula adjacent to Bahia Bustamante, last photo top right: can you spot the owl?
Inspiring to learn how much less continuous the employment situation is for young Argentinians: unlimited or even multi-year contracts are nearly unknown, temp contracts of rather less than one year much more common, geographic flexibility in- and outside of Argentina is required (all staff here were of course a good example), and also at the limits or beyond of their qualification, if nothing else is to be found (example: biologist turned tourist guide for Bahia Bustamante). For the same reason the family net seems to be much stronger (living and eating at the family’s, perhaps working in the family business, between jobs) and being prepared to take some more risks (example: our highly valued chef in his mid twenties opens his own chicken barbecue place with his fiancée these days), but they also get to know our current situation much more frequently: to live off ones earnings once not working/between jobs. Very interesting, but of course also with much less of a safety net. At the same time, the percentage of citizens receiving some sort of state support is said to be staggering, even higher than 50%.
Top left: skull of a sea lion, top right: pool obviously has never been dug in or used…, bottom right: view to the steppe from behind the settlement
The other volunteers like us, all we met came from Europe, consisted of: Generation Y, who simply quit their jobs for the sabbatical, are travelling with a very small budget, seven wwoofing stations (like helpx.com or workaway.info but for gardening/agriculture only) within 7 months to their name, in their Toyota Minitransporter, bought and turned mini-camper in Chile, with massive trust in their own qualification AND the job market at home, us German safety freaks of middle age with unpaid leave and continuing contracts (quote Bahia Bustamante colleagues: Mama Claudia & Papa Carsten…), a young anglosaxon nomad, just graduated, fluent in no less than two foreign languages, who is rather not looking for a ‘proper job’ but follows his passion by publicating on the net and trying to thus create an income, frugal lifestyle included, and finally the biologist having rather accidentally become a successful artist and having created a lifestyle suiting her exactly: living and working how and where she likes (single in the Isles of Scilly), and travelling outside of the tourist season in the winter months, for example also as a guide on bird watching-tours, workaway/helpex, and whatever else she’s up to!
Top: Guanacos are roaming the steppe, only predator: puma, of which only few are left…
We saw a whole range of vehicles turned campmobile: from the French volunteers’ mini-transporter, to a remodeled Landrover defender, shipped from France to Uruguay (less expensive than expected, but 50% of the price is customs in Uruguay, but much more expensive in other South American countries!), from Switzerland a Volkswagen Amarok with customized built-in cabin (our own favourite and dream!), to a remodeled, watch it: Unimog, of course German owners, rather an expedition truck, a little over the top in our eyes… ;-)). People and vehicles both very inspiring!
Another way of doing it: inspiring and genius option our French volunteer colleagues chose!
Christmas and New Year’s Eve were highlights in that for a change the staff wasn’t cooked for, but we would prepare the food on our own, regrettably we never got to know whether the owners finally paid for the ingredients, probably they did but didn’t promote it, so they couldn’t be properly thanked, weird,… The first Christmas Eve Carsten and I would have spent together within our 23 year relationship, he caught a nasty, but luckily short head cold after showering under a change of weather, so he wasn’t able to enjoy the, even on Christmas Eve, traditional Argentinian asado (barbecue, chicken, lamb, chorizo), lovingly prepared by guide Nico, ready to eat at about 11.30 pm, in very enjoyable company, al fresco under the unbelievably starry sky and the first full moon on Christmas Eve since 1976, sides were potato salad and lentil-and-carrot salad, red wine from a tetra pak, extra brut sparkly at midnight, which in Argentina is the important point in time of Christmas, our grappa for digestif, very nice, but not very festive, at least the two of us had visited the regrettably unused church of Bahia Bustamante in the afternoon to gather in the name of Jesus… Because of Carsten’s sickness and Claudia’s hesitation we missed that the French volunteer colleagues, who only wanted to drive to see the sunset with their mini-transporter for maximum one hour, hadn’t returned until 11.30pm and it turned out they’d indeed got stuck in the sand and needed to dig themselves out without a tool… Each colleague spoken to about the delay answered grinning they’d probably celebrate their very own Christmas and would certainly be back by midnight… Luckily the two of them bore both the event and the missing rescue mission with their typical humour…
On New Year’s Eve substitute chef Nico prepared chicken and chorizo with vegetables au vin blanc, in the slightly rusty cast-iron coal bowl of a barbecue, first washed and cleaned with oil and tissue, on the three flames of the gas stove, very tasty, but the only food Claudia’s system didn’t fully agree with (hygene, not gluten reasons), Carsten had, as a precaution, eaten leftovers and porridge earlier, and nothing of the dinner… Again sparkly at midnight, and then it was over, getting our everlasting thanks, our wonderful, varied, happy year 2015!
The departure wasn’t without adrenalin peaks either: First daily nagging questions to the young manager of Bahia Bustamante (requested by her) about who would be available on January 11 for a transfer meeting the 1pm Don Otto bus from Garayalde, after all another 60 minutes drive (permanently exceeding the speed limits for the Defenders on gravel roads, stone chipping attacks and dusting of the inside cabin included), finally agreed departure for 11.30am together with the chef and his fiancée, Walter driving, after nostalgic and affectionate farewell from all colleagues and the owner finally departed at 12 noon (equivalent to Argentinean 11.30am ;-))), dropped in Garayalde at 12.55pm, chef and fiancée needed the opposite direction, and so we stood beside the road in the sun, for the bus doesn’t stop at the petrol station, which as usual is a little off the ‘highway’, no, but right beside the road, and waited for another 45 minutes, since the bus came from Buenos Aires again there might of course be a delay of 45 minutes within the 24 hour journey, with our two suitcases, quite a picture, until even the police asked whether they could help us and offered to call Don Otto (no mobile net out here) to ask for the fate of this particular bus, when it showed on the horizon over the hill, we waved with our tickets, the bus thankfully flashed its warning lights because the company Don Otto could only be guessed from the red colour of the bus, quickly loaded our luggage and ourselves, we were the only passengers getting on board in Garayalde, but theoretically they knew we were travelling because of our reservations, and off to Commodoro Rivadavia. Getting a taxi to the airport proved more difficult than expected, but finally managed that too, internet connection for the first time since four weeks at the airport, emergency exit seats on the flight, return to Buenos Aires, Taxi to the flat in Recoleta, where we started off one year ago! What an adventure for us couch-potato-travelers! It seems a little we only now started to really earn the title ‘Lifevoyagers’…
Waiting for the bus…
Now we’re thankful and happy back in Buenos Aires, for recreation and further planning, we’ll keep you posted!
Thanks again for your continuing interest!
Love and meanwhile all the best, C&C, Lifevoyagers
Finally food again, travel overview, and: Merry Christmas!
The famous Pisco Sour, shared and enjoyed in one of the Chilenazo Restaurants in Santiago de Chile! Cheers!
Finally something about food again! In all of the there South American Capitals we of course found yummy food and restaurants, we saved up for every eat out by economically cooking at home on most of the days!
Carsten looking forward to and at his 500 gr. Lomo Vetado Steak in Chilenazo Restaurant, medium rare, they care about their food, so it’s presented on a charcoal filled stove and stays hot!
Mares de Chile Restaurant in Mercado Central in Santiago, fresh fish from their very own market stall, and of course the menu has to be studied with great concentration… ;-)))
The famous ceviche, raw fish and cooked seafood marinated in lemon juice and herbs, here with a ginger sorbet, in Victorino Restaurant in Santiago’s In-neighbourhood Lastarria, with a shared Chilean Brut sparkling wine.
Excellent barbecued octopus at the same restaurant Victorino!
A day at the Pacific coast in Valparaiso/Chile, what an amazing city on more than 40 hills, and what a location: Casa Quatros Vientos, amazing views, great atmosphere, real good food… Hammer location!
A view not only at numerous Hamburg Süd Containers, but even a Hamburg Süd Vessel! And of course excellent food, ceviche again, and mussels drowned in cream and parmesan, delicious!
We turn to Montevideo once more: The southernmost restaurant of Uruguay, La Estacada, with an Asado, meaning Beef Ribs, and some nice barbecued Provoleta cheese and salad.
Glutenfree cake in Gout Café in Buenos Aires, a very rare treat!
Chicken kebab in Solomía Restaurant in Buenos Aires, juicy, with peppers, onions and bacon, and of course “de-kebaped” already! ;-))))
And our favourite Solomía deserts: Queso y dulce, a sweet potato jelly on cheese, not too sweet and therefore delicious, and of course flan, both naturally included in the by now famous lunch menu.
Le Petit Mercado de Buenos Aires (facebook page) a venue organised once a month, with all kinds of delicacies! Tomorrow we will visit the special nighttime Christmas edition!
Sis Kebap Wraps at Petit Mercado de Buenos Aires (facebook page), a treat for Carsten!
Cheese filled, barbecued Arepa, naturally glutenfree because made from corn flour, with yummy dips, a Petit Mercado treat for Claudia!
Another great lunch offer: restaurant El Armenio in Buenos Aires, with a delicious hot and cold buffet!
And that’s what I chose!
Buenos Aires Market in Las Pulgas in spring (hence the clothes ;-)), and Carsten enjoying a juicy lamb burger!
Carsten enjoying his treats: Milanesa, i.e. Wiener Schnitzel, also a signature dish in Milan AND in Buenos Aires, also served as a small sandwich (top right, why not add bread to the bread coat? ,-))), and a sweet treat called Ensaimada, VERY fluffy and sweet, filled with custard, not consumed in one go of course…. ;-))
For home cooking we trace the rare organic markets too, this is the one in Santiago, Claudia is queuing…
Glutenfree Chipa, the typical little cheese rolls made from manioc, topped with avocado and onion
Glutenfree pasta with home cooked courgette-, garlic-, tomato-, lentil-, pizza spice-sugo, of course topped with grated parmesan after shooting the foto! ;-))
Because of our imminent departure to Bahia Bustamante as helpers for bed and food, from 11.12. to 11.01., and the unclear situation re internet access at this place, we’d like to thank all friends, family, colleagues, companions, and interested people for your continuing curiosity in Lifevoyagers in 2015, and pray for all of us to have a happy, peaceful and blessed Christmas, and all the best for 2016, particularly peace…!
Next travelplans to be announced mid of January 2016 in this space!
Warm regards, C&C, Lifevoyagers
PS: A little overview across our 2015 travel year as usual at the upcoming close of the year:
Travel leg (flight, if not listed differently); host; type of accommodation:
DUS-FRA-EZE (BA) (Business Class, fully booked on Air Miles, plus taxes and fees); dear landlord-friends; “own” Apartment 1
EZE-GUR (Sao Paulo)-IST-SIN (business trip); AirBnB-Host; joint apartment (5 months!!)
SIN-DPS (Denpasar, Bali)-SIN; dear friends; Villa Kompiang; “own” bungalow
SIN-IST-CGN (business trip); dear relatives; Homebase Germany; joint house
CGN-MUC-CGN; dear friends; joint flat
CGN-Kristianstad-CGN (rental car); dear landlord; “own” regular holiday home in Sweden
DUS-FRA-EZE (BA) (Business Class fully booked on Air Miles, plus taxes and fees); AirBnB Host; “own” Apartment 2
BA-Montevideo (ferry & bus); AirBnB Host; “own” Apartment 3
MVD-SCL (Santiago de Chile); AirBnB Host; “own” Apartment 4
SCL-Rancagua-SCL (rental car); Hilton Rancagua (Luxury-Alert! ;-)))
SCL-EZE (BA); AirBnB Host; “own” Apartment 5
7 countries inc. Germany (AR, UR, CL, SG, ID, SE, DE)
2 Transit-countries (BR, TR)
14 different lodgings inc. Germany, 2 hotels, i.e. at least 12 different situations regarding cooking and dishwashing (Claudia) and washing (Carsten)
MIND YOU: “own” Apartments cost us even on average less than a hostel-dorm-bed in the same city, we try to arrive at 26 Euros per night and ‘double room’, i.e. for two per night in an ‘own’ apartment (!!), meaning without joining with anyone, only couchsurfing is cheaper, of course this limit doesn’t work everywhere, Singapore of course is far, far more expensive, but in Singapore we were earning of course!
Final philosophy: we found this on one of our (earlier) trips to London behind a shop front window and try to live it, our two-year-work-and-travel time being a big part of the concept of course:
And, as a Dutch garden landscaper with an own park in England once told us: It’s a question of just doing it…
So be inspired! ;-))
Santiago de Chile – what a beauty!
Colonial Cathedral, modern high rise, lovely plaza, enjoyed by locals and (very few) tourists alike!
Cerro Santa Lucia, once Spanish fort, of course inhabited by indigenous people before, changed into recreation area for Santiago’s inhabitants after Chile got independent, now lacking money for maintaining it.
Santiago de Chile is a revelation: admittedly not as charmingly sticking to the past as Buenos Aires and definitely less visibly nostalgic and melancholic, Santiago fares better economically, with a big Service Sector, has more restored and currently used colonial buildings, and is in general much more decluttered than Buenos Aires, but cannot be reached with a non-stop-flight from Germany, not sure about the UK.
A walk on Cerro San Cristobal, towering above Santiago, meeting friendly park rangers, suffering from bad signeage, finally reaching the statue of Mary, mother of Jesus, on the top, and the views!
There she is… Santiago!
Gran Torre Santiago, part of the shopping complex Costanera Center, the highest building on the continent (we’ve got a friend in Munich who ‘loves’ superlatives, so there ;-)))
Funicular up Cerro San Cristobal (yes, there would have been an easier way up, at least we took it down ;-)), and the local Metro, featuring lot’s of art, not well lit though (the art, not the Metro 😉
Collection of mobiles and their development over the decades, exhibited by the local Telefonica company, Carsten started even with one on the bottom right as an insurance salesman in the eighties, how about you?
Our hopes were sky high, and it was an entertaining action film, no true James Bond film though… Just our opinion of course!
Even simply its location at 550 m above sea level, its proximity to and view at the Cordillera of the Andes, at the same time the closeness of the Ocean, result in total in a very special quality of the light and all colours look like scrubbed clean, thus are particularly luminous and intensive, so Santiago, a city apparently loving roses, mostly is extremely beautyful, all this is ‘paid for’ by the equally extremely high UV-rays, whose intensity is publicated daily, and against which sun screen factor 50 can be found at nearly all supermarket cashiers, should your own stock need replenishing.
Wow, nicest loo on the trek! Later we discovered it was only ment for National Park Staff….
Gentle walk in the Sendero Ecológico San Carlos de Apoquindo, (local website, these are difficult to get listed on Tripadvisor, sadly) reasonably well signed tracks, varying flora, clear air, a pleasure!
The location immediately amongst spectacular nature, surrounded by numerous national parks and reserves, mostly accessible by public transport and to be explored on foot, by mountain bike or horse, winter sports areas likewise, and of course the Pacific coast nearby, the neighbouring counties, the variety of vegetation zones even immediately around the city, let alone the cultural offers, create the extremely high recreational value of Santiago, whose traffic though admittedly totally collapses during rush hour, everything stops, the Metro bursts despite the clever use of express trains, everybody who can walk does so, looks like a mass exodus, best to be avoided by the common tourist, if ever possible… The other spectacular landscapes of chile can because of the extremely stretched country, only be reached by plane or, with much more time spent here, be traversed by car. We sincerely hope that we’ll sometime return to Santiago and Chile!
Another gentle walk along the north eastern part of the Parque Metropolitano, Cerro San Cristobal is part of it, the kitsch colour of the flowers is reality!
Lovely view of the Cordillera of the Andes on the same walk!
Parque de la Quinta enjoyed by the kids on a Sunday, public colouring of printed contours of cartoon figures a favourite pastime for the kids. The candy floss is only the tip of the iceberg in South America’s sugar consumption…
The Chileans are mostly extraordinarily friendly, English isn’t particularly far spread though, good thing again we speak some Spanish, a lot of Peruvian food is on offer, both in Peru and in Chile the delicious, very strong though affordable ‘Pisco Sour’, presented in a champagne flute, is the national drink (slight recipe differences), for the two of us a shared one is enough, but then we can’t hold it anyway ;-)), because of Chile’s extremely long Pacific coast fish and seafood in general and ceviche, raw fish and seafood marinated in lemon juice and other delicious ingredients in particular, are the national dishes, as well as Sushi, to be had literally everywhere, thus a clearly less steak and barbecue-/asado stressed cuisine than in Argentina, but of course available too. Locals love a cool grain drink with grains and soaked dry peaches in it (Mote con Huesillo), though in addition to it’s strangeness not consumable for your common celiac anyway ;-)).
Trip by rental car to O’Higgins Country (one of the then liberators of Chile), 2 hours to the south of Santiago, came across Termas de Caucenes, pre-colonial hot springs, this is the bathing hall from the 19th (!!) century! It still is a hotel (though not ours) and the baths are in use! And O’Higgins has been reported to have bathed here himself!
No, it’s not a coffin, it’s a bath tub, end of the 19 hundreds this wasn’t considered wellness, it was considered clinical, therapeutic! Repeat: still in use today!
National Reserve Rio Cipreses in O’Higgins country, it took us 16 km of gravel road without a 4×4 (as Carsten kept commenting… ;-)) but what a reward!
One of the amazing encounters was a colony of Tricahue parrots, beeeeaaaauuuuutiful! But also a landscape of succulent plants and the like to be seen!
Our flat finally another lucky draw with AirBnB: Very affordable, unbeatable value for money, panoramic views from 26th floor particularly at dusk and dawn, from ceiling to floor windows across the city and the Andes, roof-terrace, -pool, -jacuzzi and -barbecue as well as good and well maintained joint laundry facilities, 24-hour concierge, the owner fulfills our every wish because with one month we already count as long-term-guests, only the lack of a comfortable sofa keeps haunting us since Singapore, where it was literally sold from under our butts because of the landlords moving at the same time we left, then recently in Buenos Aires where we had to buy a King-size-spread to cover the mini-sofa, which was clearly retrieved from the dump and respectively lumpy and dirty, to be able to use it at all, in Montevideo it was new but very uncomfortable, and finally here in Santiago one of the flimsily designed legs broke off once we sat on it (highly uncomfortable again) together, repaired immediately by the landlord but we have not sat on it together since…, in general people don’t seem to stay at home a lot in South America, so no need for a nice sofa, in total IKEA quality seems surprisingly desirable all of a sudden… ;-)). We’re no night owls though, plus constant evenings out eat into the budget quite quickly, we on the other hand love to have so much time now for reading to each other, researching our travels and of course blogging, and the days after all are spent exploring and organising daily life, so a nice seating accommodation for the evenings would actually be nice, meanwhile we keep sitting on the bed, the longer the less optimal, to say the least… ;-)).
The only true disadvantage of Santiago are the regular earthquakes, a particularly questionable ‘delight’ on 26th floor, when shirts aired on hangers are visibly set into swinging motion, together with the building and the bed, nobody except us found this even remotely remarkable, wasn’t strong enough apparently, and happened only once so far, thank the Lord!
Sunset from our flat, living room with kitchen, night view from flat, nice!
Roof-terrace of our building and day view, also very nice ;-))!
After our most intensive marathon-research ever, ever, ever, and some fruitless emails to El Calafate with it’s “must see” glacier Perito Moreno (at the very least), we, determined as we are, cancelled our bookings for this place, some of the costs born by us, because of acute and apparently organised/institutional rip-off of individual, foreign travellers, and to instead prepare for our work-for-bed-and-food stay at Bahia Bustamante in our beloved Buenos Aires. We now finally fully understand how to book places like El Calafate in Argentina to avoid the rip-offs, but this was really the worst, it started already with accommodation prices (which could have alerted us), continued with Airport-transfers, let alone local tours which you’re kind of dependent on to get to the glaciers. It’s not the foreigners’ fault that Argentina doesn’t have a working currency and economy, and we’ve never encountered anything like this in other parts of Argentina when we travelled them last year! So for other remote parts of Argentina we will from now on book package trips locally with local currency exchanged by ourselves, though even a little more expensive for foreigners, fair enough, or else with credit card guarantee but local payment in cash via booking dot com (otherwise they will add unauthorised adds!!) that’s how you get the fair deals! Lesson learnt!
Take care, we’ll keep you posted!
Claudia & Carsten, Lifevoyagers
PS: All our Tripadvisor reviews can be found here, there are even more for Santiago than quoted here, I hope the automatic translation works well, they force me to do them in German… ;-))
Three South American Capitals inside of two weeks – what a difference!
We finished off for the time being in beautiful Buenos Aires with a 1,5 hour very nice public tango lesson in Confiteria Ideal with just one more couple and can now at least move to tango music (no photos though, sorry), and a visit to the Tigre Delta, particularly in spring a fantastic maze of rivulets of the Parana river and its offspring, forming thousands of tiny islands used either as weekend hideways, tourist accommodation, or else tiny farms to make a living. To get to know the whole area would take at least months, and information is scarce on all interesting local topics, such as public boat transport, but we mainly figured it out for our next visit: Interisleña – La colectiva del delta.
One of the innumerable canals and jetties in Tigre Delta, in the midst of spring green!
Turn of the last century elegance, when Tigre was a getaway for BA’s rich and beautiful.
The shop has come by, of course on a boat!
Pippi Longstocking actually lives in Tigre! ;-))
To get to Montevideo we chose Buquebus Company and a combination of a one hour boat trip, to cross the Rio de la Plata to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay (complete with immigration into Uruguay on the Argentinian side), and a two and a half hour bus ride, anlog the coast to Montevideo, the latter giving us a glimpse of the Uruguayan farmed countryside, with rolling soft hills of kettle meadows and fields dotted with smaller and larger Hacienda-style houses, also passing Hamburg Süd containers on trucks again ;-)).
It is of course an excercise in patience, supposed to come two hours early, but counter opens only 1.45 hours before departure, staff milling around, ignoring customers, where do I know this from ;-)) ?
Leg room on boat for Carsten’s long legs: check ;-))
Lifevoyagers happy on the bus!
Montevideo awaited us with an ill researched relatively new and supposedly modern, rather expensive flat of a single student who moved back with his parents for our stay (we only learned the latter upon arrival, we thought the flat was purpose bought for rental on AirBnB and the like), looking pristine on the photos but featuring heaps of dust including original builders dust, no wifi (!), no cups whatsoever, two malfunctioning electronic hot plates and no electric kettle, so no coffee in the morning and no home cooking, which was when we learned that instant coffee is also soluble in cold milk (or equivalent), at least providing us with something like an Iced Latte. There was more amiss, but one of the lessons learnt is that in South America ‘modern and new’ need not equal quality…. So this was altogether a rather expensive stay, also because Uruguay has a stable currency and does/has to import nearly everything apart from meat and wine, other than Argentina (who do not produce much more day to day stuff but decide not to import anyway), luckily we stayed just one week, good decision…
At least we were welcomed by a wonderful sunset!
You just got to change your perspective every once in a while! ;-)))
The city itself for us was not as immediately likeable as Buenos Aires, Montevideo of course being a village in a size comparison and even kept small by Buenos Aires in its beginnings, BA dreading the competition, doesn’t have any of the marvelous Café Culture of BA around its old town and center with its interesting architecture, where they also shut all shops from Saturday afternoon, but only in its newer eastern parts, doesn’t hug or use its long coastline except for lovely beaches backed immediately by the six lanes coastal thoroughfare with next to no restaurants/bars using the view. We loved the people though, many of whom did not miss a chance to ask us about our travels, many of them having had some or other point of contact with Germany in their lives, so we were chatted up by a bus driver, a professor for achitecture, an elderly Tango teacher lady, and numerous local passersby addressing us in German. We also joined in an amazing Tango Café Concert within the Week of Tango in this supposed country of origin of Tango, fascinated once more. One of the highlights was of course the evening with my two English Teacher Training Colleagues, we were so enthralled by their observations on remote teaching for the British Council and their personal adventures we even forgot to take a joint photo… Oh, and every second to third person you meet in the street carries their elaborate, to the brim mate-tea-leave filled cup and metal straw PLUS thermo around with them, for replenishing the cup.
Feria de Tristan Narvaja on Sundays in Barrio Cordón, a feast for all senses! We also visited Parque Rodó, Parque Prado, Jardin Botanico, the old town, Mercado Agricola de Montevideo, the central cemetry, and, as always, nearly walked our soles off….
We walked nearly all of the 18 km of the Rambla de Montevideo and there were lots of nice spots, but keep in mind the 6-lanes-thoroughfare including its noise in our backs! And: number of restaurants to speak of countable on two hands, only few of them actually turning to the Rio de la Plata: La Estacada (no view but surreal and nice ;-)) and Salmueira Café (actually with stunning views!).
My Baywatch-Hubby! Master of the waves… ;-)))
Café Concert Sundays at Joventango, it just doesn’t get more passionate and authentic!
Carsten at Murano Restaurant appreciating the steak knives! The Asado on the plates, part of a lunch offer, show beef ribs with a special cut. Due to no home cooking, we also tried Restaurants Don Peperone and El Rastro, as well as the Mercado del Puerto.
Our rented car! Just kidding… ;-))
Street Art at its best!
A surprise bus strike on the day of our departure to Santiago including the private bus companies, and a taxi driver refusing to use the metre and insiting on a rather high flat rate had our adrenalin levels shortly rising, but the money for the bus ticket was returned without hesitation, we still didn’t have enough Uruguayan Pesos to cover the taxi fare to the airport, but a country where you can draw US-Dollars from ATMs surely has its taxi drivers accept USD?! He didn’t have a clue about the exchange rate propagated all across the place, so in the end it was our advantage. Plus the lady at LAN check-in (the Chilean Airline) had mercy with Carsten’s long legs because of her basketball playing son and gave us emergency exit seats ( we were that early).
Lounging at the Gate waiting for boarding, very comfortable! And doesn’t he blend in just marvelously? ;-)))
And so off to Santiago de Chile, the third South American Capital within two weeks, again completely different and very likeable, more of it in the next post!
Have a good time meanwhile, take care,
Out and about in Buenos Aires, and: next travelplans!
Spring sky in Botanic Garden of Buenos Aires! And more soothing views in this wonderful place:
A gentle stroll in Jardin Botanico, the wonderful botanic garden of Buenos Aires, on a weekday, usually a working day, in most temperate climate in spring in September in the southern hemisphere, with wonderful sunshine, flag-blue sky without a single cloud, together with my beloved, feels like a stay in a pleasant sanatorium, so soothing, so free to breathe, physical and psychical back-pedalling encouraged, and on second thoughts also feels like I still need and earned such a sanatorium stay for recovery from my after all rather fast-paced life so far… My generation and older might remember the Sissy-movies, her recovering on Madeira? A scene I always found deeply peaceful, despite its melancholic mood, again like ‘here I am human, here dare I be’. Or else is this how life should be, instead of the treadmill?
Street art commissioned by and for the Children’s Hospital for its outer wall: fairy tales and children’s TV series.
Floralis Generica, Plaza de las Naciones Unidas
Paseo Rosedal, wonderful rose garden a la Regents Park in London, one of our favourites too!
Not yet in full bloom but progress can be watched from week to week!
In addition it’s now proven that even a few days are well worth a visit, if only it wasn’t so far away…: even when we only once enjoyed the charcoal-grilled 300g Ribeye- or Rumpsteaks of extraterrestrial quality, most reasonable and best lunch offer in town at our favourite restaurant Solomía, of course al fresco, only once walked these streets of old, new, derelict, or modern architecture and multifaceted street art, only once visited one of the wonderful parks and only once listened devoutly to Orchestre de Tango de Buenos Aires and singer Jesus Hidalgo for free in Salon Dorado of the Palacio de la Legislatura, brought to attention courtesy agendacultural.buenosaires.gob.ar, all of this in the mere first four days, to only mention a few of the mostly free activities, then you can be sure, even a few days are worthwhile, even more so our four week stay this time, everything we’ll experience here in addition was not only a great present but already wealth beyond measure!
In Gout Café, enjoying glutenfree delicacies! This kind of expenditure has to be rationed, though, for us as travellers on a budget, but this makes them even more valuable!
Houses of Parliament Buenos Aires
Rio de la Plata… For us a view somehow always the stuff dreams are made of!
Free concert at the Palacio de la Legislatura, Salon Dorado, Orchestre de Tango de Buenos Aires and singer Jesus Hidalgo, listen to a sample of his tangos here, on youtube.
Wonderful garden of Museo de Arte Espanol Enrique Larreta, worth visiting!
Our next travel plans take us to Montevideo in Uruguay by boat and bus next Friday for one week, where we will also meet two colleagues from the English Teacher Training, who both teach English remotely to students in rural areas of Uruguay for British Council, then by a split flight first for four weeks to Santiago de Chile with some trips to sea and mountains, next via Buenos Aires to El Calafate in Argentina’s Patagonia for Perito Moreno Glacier and the surrounding area.
So far, so wonderful, in our eyes, but next is the absolute highlight: on December 11th we’ll travel to Bahia Bustamante on Patagonia’s Atlantic coast, and will be helpers in exchange for bed and food on a small hostelry on their vast seaweed-farm in the middle of nowhere without any chance to shop for supplies, with a fauna nearly without comparison, in our free time we can join the guests for their tours. We are excited about how that’s going to suit us, the jobs to be done in 6 hours on 5-6 days a week range from working in the vegetable garden and doing repairs and paint jobs to helping with the guests at reception, in the restaurant, kitchen, rooms, and anything else that needs be done. This and a wealth of other possible and impossible chances for work in exchange for bed and food can be found on www.helpx.net and www.workaway.info, the offers couldn’t be more interesting and varied, across the whole globe! In this way we hope to get ourselves access to all kinds of lifestyles and destinations, of course in sensible doses, interlaced with vacation phases.
We’ll keep you posted!
Warmest regards, C&C, Lifevoyagers
And finally: local BA Barber of Carsten’s trust! ;-)))
Oops, we did it again! And: more curiosa from BA!
Always an inspiration! Where do we go next time? There are even destinations we’ve never heard of…
After even more marvellous hospitality by dear friends on our way back from Sweden, meeting with even more dear friends at their place, as well as by our dear host family near Cologne, tax issues for 2014 and other dreary stuff sorted, we finally did it again! We caught a plane to Buenos Aires, Business Class, fully booked on Miles-and-More-Miles, from Düsseldorf via Frankfurt.
Oktoberfest even in Lufthansa Lounge! But at least some glutenfree turkey meatloaf with gherkin, certainly not my favourite, but glutenfree beggars can’t be choosers!
Saw the Weltmeister-Siegerflieger from Business Class Lounge, even if through window pane! A pity it wasn’t ours, but happy to have spotted it anyway!
Would we want to bore you with that flight stuff again? Yes, we do, if only just to show that collecting Miles by
- flying Star Alliance, and
- using the Miles-and-More-Creditcard, even for small purchases, for collection and unlimited storage of Miles, WHICH UNFORTUNATELY DROPS/HALVES TO 1 MILE PER 2 EUR TURNOVER FROM 2016!!, and
- collecting points with the Payback-Programme (sorry, not available in the UK yet!) which can be changed into Miles-and-More-Miles twice a year, and even having your parents collect Payback-points for you on your Payback-Partnercard,
result in awesome Business Class Flights, particularly for the long haul destinations, which I wouldn’t ever dream of buying with money instead of Miles, and apart from the cost for the creditcard, which of course has to be factored in, listen closely, IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES TO COLLECT THE MILES YOU NEED!!! When we didn’t understand the game yet it took us TEN (in figures: 10) years to collect the Miles for an awsome return Business Class trip to New Zealand, and all we paid were the taxes, i.e. far less than an eco trip would have cost, and man, did the long collection time and its results pay off on that long journey, even the use of the lounges! I even challenge anyone not collecting Miles by flying at all to become a member of the programme, get the creditcard, and collect Miles only via creditcard turnover and Payback-Programme, and see where it gets them! Flying Business Class fully on Miles certainly gets you most value for your Miles, and it worked for us for NZ once, and for Argentina last year (Return), and for Argentina twice already this year, one way each, all of them Business Class. So don’t say we didn’t tell you!
Upper Deck Boeing 747-8! Yesssss!
Sunrise even the flight attendant took a photo of!
This now was our’s, arrival in BA early in the morning (this is below the clouds again ;-)), but we never tire of that sight and the particular plane!
We also tell you about the trip itself because we just love to be on the road, or in the air in this case, for us it’s an important part of the whole fun, particularly this way of course… and at the other end spring in Buenos Aires was already waiting for us! Upon arrival we bought bus-cum-taxi-transport into town from Tienda Leon, met our landlady and moved into our flat (cheeper even than our already cheep ex-flat in Hamburg, but it’s not the one we used back in January, mind, that one was occupied this time), discovered its pros and cons, don’t ask, did some bank business for ourselves and for friends, bought rechargeable SUBE-cards for public transport and the latest Guia T for navigating the bus jungle, went to Nuñez for our favourite lunch Restaurant Solomía and a terrific satisfying and leasurely lunch, and even bought supplies, because cooking most of the time and thus saving allows us to enjoy said lunch every now and then… Perfect programme to fight jet lag too, which is easier flying west anyway. And so off to bed… But don’t miss the curiosa below!
Lunch for 7 Euro at Solomía, including wine, dessert and coffee! The steaks really are out of this world… Beyond comparison! And: this is what a happy (but jet-lagged ;-)) man looks like!
And this is how spring in the southern hemisphere looks like, roughly to be compared to Sicily in northern hemisphere in their spring! Highly recommended!
BA Harbour: A link to both Hamburg (Hamburg Süd-Container) and Singapore (Hanjin-Container)!
So, is this the Green Corridor in Singapore, or else the Costanera Sur in Buenos Aires?
A Japanese Garden even in BA! Didn’t go in because of the entrance fee, but caught a glimpse and dearly remember the one in Singapore. See how our thoughts are still occupied, with that kind of reminders…
Compulsive hoarder gone Business in Mercado de las pulgas, now that’s where you really want to go for curiosa in BA!
A venetian gondola in Puerto Madero, somewhat lacking the atmosphere, but nice try anyway!
Two houses designed in the Gaudí fashion with a copy of the dragon door of Güell Pavillions of Barcelona, one of our favourite European cities, spotted on one of our many strolls through BA!
The latest Bond movie casting it’s shadows ahead, us aficionados very much looking forward to watching it in…. Santiago de Chile!
Next blog post will hopefully be ‘out and about in BA in spring’ and of course more food, but we haven’t been too idle and planned our next steps already, so more to come, stay tuned!
Thanks a lot, as always, for your continuing curiosity in what we’re up to!
Love, C&C, Lifevoyagers
Balm for all senses!
“Our” cottage in Sweden, much too big for two of course… but so cosy and convenient!
Carsten enjoying his favourite armchair in the cottage ;-)).
What’s Sweden’s recipe for this thorough peace, tranquility and relaxation we always experience when visiting? Of course there are space and time and room for thought and togetherness, ever so scarce when working, and of course easily available elsewhere on any holiday. But Sweden’s abundant and varied flora and fauna, its special light and colours (check the photos!), the sounds of nature, its deep silence at night, Sweden’s relaxed people, and its sheer space particularly in comparison to the number of inhabitants, the latter definitely one of the causes of the former, apart from the good food, are what makes us say with Goethe: “Here I am Man, here may I be!”
So we also used this tremendous space and time to digest and reflect on these amazing first eight months of this part of our Lifevoyage, to read a lot, even out loud, which we love to, even some spiritual books with chance for personal growth, discussed them among other things, also for example the refugee situation which keeps us in its grips, and even started planning our next travelling steps, with some simple but mindboggling revelations, more on that separately!
Yesterday we had the pleasure and honour of a visit of the Danish host of ‘our’ cottage here in Sweden, whom we’ve known for years meanwhile, together with one of the Eritrean refugees in Denmark he supports by being one of the coaches and scouts for them in these foreign surroundings and circumstances. We very much appreciated the chance to hear their story, both the tiniest glimps of what the Eritrean family have suffered during their life, on the flight, and at their new location Denmark, as well as to get information on the Danish system of personal support for refugees and its multiplication. The face to face encounter confirmed impressively what we had suspected already: we cannot even begin to understand what hardship the refugee’s situation brings for them, and I doubt we would be able to shoulder anything like this ourselves. It also reminds me of the situation of my parents who were refugees in and after WWII and as reluctant and desperate having to leave and having to face uncertainty, and they did not have to learn a completely new language… when all they ever wanted was stay at home in their respected beloved countries and live in peace. Most recent coverage on Facebook shows that the causes of not only the most recent disasters that made people take that ultimate desperate decision to leave might be more staged and orchestrated than we dare to deem possible… We won’t have heard the last of this, both the two of us personally and in general.
Here are nonetheless some of our impressions, of course including food, als you know or have come to know us… ;-)). New trick by the way to stay updated with the translation of the blog posts: I do them in English first! Works fine! ;-)))
The mystical footpath to lake Immeln.
And there it is… Lake Immeln, and only a tiny bay of the whole thing…
This year we were able to enjoy strawberries far into September, I cannot say I approve of this, must be the particular culture, but we couldn’t resist due to smell and taste: heavenly, just as we remember from our childhoods!
Just to give you an idea about the first course on our tiny barbecue for two!
But apart from lake Immeln there’s also the Baltic Sea, this is the pine tree footpath leading to the beach, the pine smell is one more olfactory balm…
And there it is, the Baltic Sea, how many more shades of blue can you wish for?
I think this is our first selfie ever, ever, ever, at Ahus beach, not particularly flattering for Carsten but that’s just the photo, I promise!
And that was our view in the selfie position ;-))).
Smoked herring for 50 Eurocent each, yummy!
Hovdala Slottsrestaurang, weekday lunchbuffet, yummy again! And affordable too!
Lunch offer in Ahus Gästgivaregard, again affordable and extra extra yummy… Yes they can!
Carsten’s favourite flower!
And a beautiful example of the fauna! (The butterflies, not the fellow enthusiast ;-))
So it’s off to Germany and even more treasured hospitality tomorrow, off to Buenos Aires coming Thursday, we’ll keep you posted!
Warmest regards, Claudia & Carsten, Lifevoyagers
Germany and Sweden calling!
With Singapore and all of my terrific Singaporean colleagues still very much in our heads and hearts, we very much enjoyed the reunion with our families and friends in Germany. We spent many good days, from spending time with dear friends at one of their amazing barbecues with even more amazing “side” dishes and deserts, “of course” all glutenfree (not at all a matter of course!), and without a chance to reciprocate the invitation, given our momentary set up, celebrating 30 years (!!) of friendship with my oldest and dearest friend, visiting, with my godchildren and their family, which are the hosts of our current address in Germany, the Museum of Ethnology Rautenstrauch-Joest in Cologne, an outing to Wildlife- and Birds-of-prey-Park Hellenthal in the Eifel, to a generous barbecue at my cousins and her family to celebrate my mother’s birthday all together with my brother’s family, and a wonderful invitation to a gourmet restaurant in nearby Netherlands, De Hamert, to celebrate early my parents in law’s wedding anniversary, by now a tradition of ours. And of course a lot of happy time was spent at and with our German hosts discussing, playing, reciprocal treating of myoreflexology and bio-meditation, cooking, career counseling for the eldest goddaughter, and the like.
De Hamert Restaurant, Lobster Menu…
Even a weekend in Munich and surroundings got achieved, thanks to the hospitality of dear friends, thus making possible an annual reunion we started five years ago, when two of them got married. We had never expected it would be possible at all this year, due to our travels, but there you are! Complete with outings to some amazing Bavarian countryside, great discussions, a church service at the parish of our friends, yummy Bavarian food, some of it enjoyed in a beer garden, an extended walk through central Munich and the “English Garden”, all in wonderful, blue-and-white-bavarian weather, heart, what else can you ask for? Even though I told my Singaporean colleagues: Germany does not solely equal Bavaria! ;-)))
Ammersee in Bavaria, wonderful boat trip!
Monastery Andechs, famous for its beer, cheese, … and of course religious history!
Munich town hall
So the three and a half weeks went by in no time and we left for Kristianstad in South of Sweden via Hamburg, and enjoyed even more hospitality from dear friends, first at Burg Henneberg, the smallest Castle in Germany (visit their cultural events if you can, it’s worth it!), and then at our ten-day-visitors’ to Singapore, a dear couple living close to Hamburg we’ve already been travelling with in the past, hence the invitation to a ‘Portuguese evening’, copying the style of dinner we chose when we visited Portugal together last November, where we also stayed the night to do the second leg of our journey to Sweden the next day, Hamburg, that is, not Portugal ;-)).
The hospitality we’ve come across everywhere has been nothing short of amazing, thanks a lot to all of you for having us!
Leaving for the 7.45 am ferry from Puttgarden, Germany, to Rodby, Denmark, already feels like total relaxation to us because we’ve done it for close to two decades now, so we very much enjoyed even the drive to our wonderful rented cottage in Sweden, arriving not without a stop at the local Swedish burger fast food chain Max, where we enjoyed our first Swedish lunch this visit, a yummy burger in a glutenfree bun, imagine that!
And now we are literally bathing in the amazing nature, woods, meadows, lakes, sea, surrounding us, including a lot of wonderful silence and, even more cherished than back in Germany: fresh air, so hard to come by in Singapore…, we are relishing gentle strolls within the typical Swedish skerry-landscape with a lot of rocks brought by glaciers literally ages ago, one meal daily is a tiny barbecue for the two of us ;-)), we already saw an open air performance of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice by the American Drama Group Europe on their European Castle Tour 2015 at Baeckaskog slot (they visit a ton of castles each summer, among them minimum 25 castle’s in Germany, but they do productions in Asia too, check them out!), we joined the town of Simrishamn celebrating their annual herring’s day, revisited Kristianstad’s Naturrum Museum on Vattenriket of river Helge, also featured in our xxs-walks tab, we feasted on delicious glutenfree cake in cosy Conditori Duvander, we pilgered to the original IKEA warehouse in Älmhult where it all started for IKEA and dearly remembered our visits to IKEA Singapore’s two branches, granting us a little European feeling when we needed some, including affordable crisps (despite all better knowledge my personal comfort food ;-))), and of course a lot of twosome relaxation in and around the lovely thatched Swedish cottage we love to rent for three weeks, if at all possible, each summer. It feels excellent to, for the first time, not be paying this rent in addition to a rent for a place in Germany, as we of course used to for holidays, but not to have a permanent place in Germany to pay for while we are traveling, else it wouldn’t work anyway, budgetwise!
Your perfect Swedish view including lake Immeln, skerry rocks, and cottage (not ours though) in falu-red! Plus colours have a special quality in these latitudes!
From the kitchen window at breakfast! Amazing! It staid for ten full minutes, unaware of us watching!
Here is it, our nano-barbecue, with “our” cottage in the background!
My new vegetarian “fork-bite-burger”: Glutenfree barbecued buckwheat-bread, raw garlic, rubbed on, ghee, barbecued: spring onion, halloumi, mushroom, from the bottom! Every bite delicious, t.b. varied with courgette, sausage, etc., etc…. ;-)))
Conservatory at Bäckaskog Slot, shelter from the rain, if any!
Warmest regards, C&C, Lifevoyagers
Good bye Singapore, see you again!
Five unbelievably exciting months are behind us, enough for now as well, but we’re richer by new experiences on all kinds of levels!
Singapore does have a mould problem, sometimes including mouldy tap water, and for the 50th Birthday the government should reconsider whether to still address its citizens solely as Cartoon-Figures, if at the same time they aim at having this people of consumers take on more personal responsibility and show more compassion to each other! This said, it is nearly our only criticism, even as short-time-residents of this country we had a lot of privileges with our Employment- and Dependant-Passes, and even administration worked well at the Ministry of Manpower, we only had wrong information at the beginning from third parties…
We are grateful on end for this amazing chance, not least because this destination would have been too expensive for us as travelers without a job (!!), and for all personal development that came of it, we close this chapter with a last fireworks of photos and personal tripadvisor-comments, and of course hope to return to Singapore some time!
Advertisement for a drink made from green tea in the Tube! Nobody can ignore this… ;-)))
Gardens by the Bay, even without visiting the expensive greenhouses a pleasure both day and night!
Gingerblossom in Botanic Gardens, beautiful…
Smaller Monitor Lizard in Botanic Gardens, which meanwhile are UNESCO World Heritage!
Crab on flipflop, near Sentosa, we’re not quite sure whether it was still alive… But this is how it drifted past us!
The trip to Bali remained our only venture outside of Singapore, but what a treat!
Still Bali, no comment…
Not only animals can be dangerous! Particularly given size and spikes of this fuit, see also further below!
Instructions for dealing with the own species… ;-)))
Caution with snakes! In Fort Siloso on Sentosa, we reported…
Well ordered and highly efficient! This is how we know and love the Singaporeans! In a way more Prussian than the Prussians… ;-))
Huge Monitor Lizard in Sungei Buloh Wetlands in the north of Singapore, highly recommended!
Pity we didn’t see any crocodile… you can’t have everything!
The mudskipper (in the picture to the left ;-))) in the Wetlands are much smaller, but they really look this cute! Carsten too of course… cute, that is! ;-)))
Menu in the Wetlands, for shorebirds only! ;-)))
Congratulations for the festivities at the end of Ramadan!
Pasar Malam specifically for the festivities at the end of Ramadan!
View on Singapore’s skyline seen from Kusu Island, there is an affordable hop-on-hop-off roundtrip by boat via islands St. Johns and Kusu, a pity you cannot sit outside on these boats…
Unforgettable night skyline… sigh….
At least once I wanted to get myself opened my very “own” fresh Durian (“stinkfruit”, think of creamy blue cheese but not of fruit), a one time only and quite expensive pleasure, I ate it all, and because of its smell of course al fresco!
A last Durian icecream right before leaving, in my farewell t-shirt! Carsten enjoyed Mango-Passionfruit again, sharing is not an option with Durian icecream… ;-)))
Good bye Singapore, all the best for your 50th Birthday, see you again!
And what’s next? Courtesy of AXA we’ll now be in Germany for a short stint to visit our families and enjoy the reunion, before we go to the south of Sweden for nearly four weaks, a true relaxing phase, and end of September to Buenos Aires again, to again try and start our exploration of South America! Of course not without enjoying BA for a while again before leaving… ;-))).
More from the road soon!
Warmest regards, C&C, Lifevoyagers
On to Sentosa!
So we originally didn’t want to go to Sentosa at all, the island just to the south of Singapore. After all we’re no fans of Universal Studios, Fun Parks, colourful light shows, all-inclusive-resorts, golf clubs, and the like! In the end an invitation of my boss to visit the Singapore Yacht Show for free in Sentosa Cove, where the rich and the beautiful can be found, brought us to Sentosa anyway and, surprise, surprise, we were hooked! Also we found out that this year, because of Singapore’s 50th Birthday, there is no entry charge for “entering” the island on foot via Sentosa Boardwalk, if you take Sentosa Express from VivoCity you still have to pay four SingDollars, this is the equivalent of the regular entry charge for the Island.
We researched thoroughly beforehand, as always, we just can’t help it, but how to get to the the three free circling bus routes on the island on foot couldn’t be found on the net, so to be scouted on site, the answer of the local information wasn’t helpful either, the procedure to escape from the fun areas and reach one of the roads rather difficult, in the end achieved by stepping through botany, hurrah, a bus at last! We for sure were the only visitors of the Yachtshow arriving by bus, travelers that we are for the time being, thus probably the confusion of the Tourist Info on Sentosa ;-))). Instead, after finally arriving at the Show, we shared the probably most affordable glass of Champagne (real Champagne, that is!) of Singpore, 18 SGD, around 12,60 EUR at the time, it just doesn’t come cheaper in expensive Singapore, so priorities well chosen, in our minds ;-))! The visit also showed Carsten and I share the same taste in yachts too, not that it would matter, though ;-))).
And then the variety Sentosa has on offer even for fun resistant people like us! Allbeit manmade, but picturesque beaches, well visited even by locals and the mostly Phillippine brigade of maids employed in Singapore who get the Sunday off, if they are lucky, of course without swimming, because of the view on all the ships waiting for cargo and who knows what they release into the ocean, little manmade wavebreaking islands, sometimes to be reached via rope-bridges (Warning: No naked flames! Carsten: Look, not even the flames are allowed to strip! ;-))), the “southernmost land point of Souteast-Asia” (Singapore is not considered an island itsself because of the connection to Malaysia by bridge, dito Sentosa with Singapore), a spectacular cable car ride on Sentosa and back to Singapore “mainland”, free rides on Sentosa Express once one is on the island, free tram rides along the beaches, and even Nature Trails through secondary rainforest and along parts of the northern coast, complete with warnings regarding snakes and other creatures, letting one thoroughly forget Tourist Sentosa.
Mount Imbiah Nature Trails, start off the small Sentosa Nature Discovery Museum, and Tripadvisor did not allow us to enter the Trails as a sight, when a lot of other natur attractions are…
And finally Fort Siloso, the old British Fort, when Sentosa was still called Belakang Mati, and where the British managed to be ambushed by the Japanese coming from Malaysia by bike in WWII. Result: three years of occupation of the worst sort including “purges” among the population.
Of course we als Germans must not cast any stones, but both has shaken Singapore’s late founder Lee Kwan Yew, who sadly died in March, as much, that he vowed to give his everything for Singapore never to be dependent again. Goal achieved. What did he give up for it? His live, he said. This also explains why peace in this small country meant so much to him that he, for example by limiting the freedom of the press, ensured that the resident ethnicities, religions and cultures cannot attack each other publicly, but not in order to promote his own ideology, power, or advantage. And guess what, this peace is highly valued. Every visitor interested in Singapore’s history should thus come to Siloso Ford on Sentosa if his time allows it, history presented in a capturing way and in wonderful nature with magnificent views both to mainland Singapore and the South China Sea!
Nevertheless, not least because of Sentosa as a tourist attraction, resources are countless, for example in the Malay Food Street!
Conclusion: meanwhile we’re been to Sentosa several times and always enjoyed it a lot! Never say never! Mind you, to get off the island on Saturdays around 8pm, when all families and nightlife-ignorants like ourselves leave the island in hords, on foot is the best solution because of the long queues for Sentosa Express (free on the way back to VivoCity!), busses and taxis!
Siloso Beach by day and at dusk!
End of this week our stay here runs off, again with one laughing and one crying eye, as we say in Germany… We wouldn’t have wanted to miss this experience at any rate, as much is clear! We hope to post soon, and then with a lot more time, a retrospective including lessons learnt, also with a view to the near and far future! Meanwhile all the best!
PS: Cannot leave out AXA – Tower, it is rather ubiquitous in photos of Singapore CBD anyway ;-))
Happy Easter from Singapore!
We are particularly sorry for the long silence, Microsoft 365 cut us off of the administration of our own website, and even today its only doable via a workaround… Bloggerpleasures par exellence! But: here we are, back again, at least!
‘Our last view from the balcony in daylight, 25th floor, not really very well grounded….
View from VivoCity Shopping Mall to Sentosa, the fun island: wherever there is turquoise water, we feel good! ;-))
Before we soon post about numerous activities and, of course, food stories, find here a little about our everyday life in paticular and about Singapore in general, spiced with a few impressions.
Fort Canning Park: Tall palm trees, huge leafs!
“Leafy” house, here not rare but the future!
Dempsey Hill, who ever did military civil service has been sworn in here, old military quarters, now cafés surrounded by nature.
Fort Canning Park, old lighthouse and city, wherever are palm trees, we feel good! ;-))
Very roughly outlined: Singapore manages taking care of its citizens quite well, partly via having the inhabiting foreigners, expats, and visitors pay, but also via its own 10% top earner citizens! For example with a mass-housing-programme that allows more or less 90% of the people to buy a flat of this programme, of different sizes and styles, in high-rise-complexes with a good infrastructure, an for an interest rate that is 2% higher than the rate for obligatory saving which both enployers and employees participate in to the advantage of the employee, and also this fond provides the mass-housing-company with cheeper credits to fund building these flats. The interest rate is thus nearly cut off from the market. Resulting in more than 80% of Singaporeans owning their flats, what do inhabiting foreigners, expats, and Rich Singaporeans pay on the private property market? Clearly their problem, and: They’re loaded anyway! This explains why we, though now admittedly also more central, pay even more for our second accommodation than for our first, but without pool, with private bathroom but not ensuite, we might have found a hotel which might have made an offer at that kind of daily rate, but for example having to take out the washing wouldn’t have been worth it neither in effort nor money, let alone the space provided: as an airbnb participant you can mostly use the flat of your hosts in total, inc. kitchen, washing machine, tumble dryer etc., we’ve moved last weekend! The huge advantage beeing that we were able to meet and check the hosts beforehand in person to know their attitiude towards long-stay rentals.
Merlion, Marina Bay Sands Complex, and ArtScience Museum.
View from Marina Bay Sands Complex, Merlion is a little to the right from the photo ;-)).
City with high rise buildings and in contrast the old shophouses at the quay, today maintained as restaurants.
Different example: public transport is good, is permanently enhanced, and is VERY cheap, there are a myriad of taxis, there’s not a lot of room, a car is a luxury product, so Singapore asks for an import tax of 50% of the original price, and number plates for 10 years, inc. tax, road fees, insurance for one year, are auctioned, minimum bid 90.000 SGD, for luxury cars even more… This is why then you pay here for example for a Mini Countryman as much as for a Mercedes S in Europe… And still there are cars on end in Singapore, among them also the most expensive ones, Carsten keeps calculating once he sees a Maserati or Bentley again… How even companies can afford all the company cars, even at special conditions, I don’t have a clue, but that might just be me… ;-)).
Little India with outlook at Arabian quarter and City, old chinese Shophouses, nicely redecorated, you just don’t get much more contrast!
Or do you? ;-)))))
Sri Mariamman Hindu Tempel in Little India, here closed, else even more colourful because of the people ;-))
And also Thian Hock Keng Buddhist Temple in Chinatown.
Daily work is from 8am to 7/8pm for me, made possible by the IT-project, and France, who we depend on here, only starts fully working then, most colleagues here start one hour later than I and are still in when I leave, not unusual in Singapore as it seems, without worker’s councils and trade unions, and with the regular asian upbringing and attitude of work, work, work! But it’s very nice to be of help and without any other responsibilities not as demanding as my two jobs and practice administration back in Hamburg. Here weekends are completely free! We make use of the lunch breaks together, enjoy the city, the environment, and the delicious, manifold food offers in the evenings and on weekends, Carsten backs me washing, shopping, organising, and is, as usual, better at being a ‘housewife’ than I am ;-)), I’m the breadwinner instead, all very well!
In case we are homesick for Sweden or need something familiar, our IKEA family card works even here, inc. Köttbullar for lunch ;-)))
Happy Easter from Singapur! Take care, C&C, Lifevoyagers
From Buenos Aires to Singapore!
These are not all of the CELTA-colleagues, pity, but I just wanted everybody to see this nice photo!
Sadly blurred, but anyway: There she is after take off, the golden city on the silver river! By by my love!
What a day! Last assessed lesson, prepared until the wee hours, taught after four weeks and seven lessons, still nervous, but got an ‘above standard’, and the standard expected from trainees of course rises with the Progress of the course, so veeeery happy, but also goodbyes from the dear CELTA-colleagues, in whom I’d met a bunch of wonderful people, this alone was worth the slavery, let alone the great English-students who were taught for free by us teacher-trainees, just for a small deposit they got back when they attended at least 80% of the course. Mind you, an excellent possibility to improve one’s Spanish for free too, because there’s also Teacher-Training for Spanish and They need students too! But then farewell from our flat-oasis, farewell from our neighbourhood Recoleta, farewell from… Buenos Aires! What can I say, to our own surprised we were ‘homesick’ for BA even before departure, the tears ran… We will be back, God willing!
Find a reasonable flight from BA to Singapore, to the west would have made sense, but nearly nobody offers that route, even Aerolinas Argentinas have cancelled their Route to Sydney, and secondly the Pacific Ocean is so much bigger then we think, and we would have lost a day because of crossing the dateline, which we couldn’t afford since I had to start on Monday, March second. Finally found sensible flights with Turkish Airlines at Fairliners.de, for a Commission, which is ok given the huge savings on the price even according to Turkish Airlines themselves, but Fairliners.de don’t show that Commission in the first place, which isnt’t so fair after all… And be aware that Turkish debits the creditcard in USD, so more fees for foreign sales… Favourable anyway, Carsten travelled in Business Class because eco comfort wasn’t available on the last leg of the journey from Istanbul to Singapore, and if the seat range is shorter than the though, then you simply cannot sit! Seat ranges were different when he travelled with his parents 25 years ago. He quickly took a shower in the 7000sqm lounge in Istanbul while I enjoyed a coffee at the venue of our trust ;-)), he had a tartlet, access to Star Alliance Lounges cannot even be bought, so Claudia had to stay outside… And all of this although, despite ordering when booking and of course confirmed in writing, Turkish did not have glutenfree food for me on Board, on neither of the three legs (BA to Sao Paulo to Istanbul to Singapore), and only managed to find one on the second flight by nicking it off another passenger (???), who had decided he’d want to eat “normal” (what do you mean, “decided”? This is a condition!! What do you mean, I’m not “normal”), and of course I declined. But it had only been a terrible mixup (aha?!), and would I please, please, take the food? So two meals on three legs within thirty hours of travel, an all this just because caterers don’t bother Kabellänge the components of the meals in terms of allergens, I could have probably eaten most of it, but the bread and the desert, so what..
Istanbul, Star Alliance Lounge, tiny corner, tiny part of the savoury offers…
…and one of the desert offers…
Higher than the clouds… Dusk or dawn? We lost count… ;-))
Approaching Singapore: Ships waiting for cargo.
Arrived safely, hosts very nice but not quite of one opinion whether to host at all, so we had to find somewhere new for the second and third month, booked for one month only anyway, to see whether we get along, but what a view over Singapore from the 25th floor! In this city each and EVERY step is tropical but highly modern Exotic, not only regarding nature (greened buildings vs jungle wherever nature get’s it’s way), but also regarding food (mega cheep vs. mega expensive, very traditional vs. Most modern fusion), not to forget the climate (freezing cold in Busses vs Why do I feel like I’m in a sauna with all my clothes on?), but also the architecture and the cultures and religions present offer extremely wide spans! Nevertheless, this clearly is Asia “light”, despite the tropical climate…
Workload high, as expected in an IT-project with deadlines, but fun with nice international colleagues, I hope it stays like that! Soon more of our adventures, and it really does feel adventurous… Love, C&C, Lifevoyagers
We never tire of it, the Merlion, landmark of Singapore!
First meal in Singapore: Malaysian food with peanuts in their skin and crunchy mini anchovis, delicious and my favourite!
And indeed the view from the balcony… unforgettable!
Buenos Aires, the green city!
Whew, the CELTA-Teachertraining is the hardest thing I’ve done to myself within four weeks since the non-medical practitioner-exam, but it’s a lot of fun too! Less time for blogging, though…. Here are a FEW examples of photos which show just how green Buenos Aires is! A lot of streets are treelined too!
This is not in famous Recoleta-Cemetry, but one close to the Eco-Market in the Chacarita neighbourhood, this cemetry is even much bigger, but of course Evita isn’t buried here….
At Plaza Barrancas de Belgrano, also hosting the Glorieta (Tango!), urban green that doesn’t stop fascinating us, especially including palm trees ;-))!
Another superb example: parks like this on the corner of Arenales and Parana, the size of one block, can be found everywhere, they refresh the eye and provide chill and oxygen!
The biggest and oldest gumtree, Gomero, in town, just beside Recoleta-Cemetry, it’s a single tree and its branches have to be supported, planted in 1878, width more than 50m!
Porteños, enjoying the park at Fuente de las Nereidas close to Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur at Rio de la Plata, wonderful…
Remainders of Palermo Park with ‘Regatta’-Lake inc. paddleboats, adjoining the inner-city non-public golf-course, which of course once was part of the public park…
Plaza Libertador General San Martin in the center of town (Retiro), again old tree population!
Detailed view of Plaza San Martin, siesta very welcome, but a siesta is always welcome in this city… ;-))!
Bus and benches show the relation to the size of these blooming trees close to the ‘eternal’ flame for the Malvinas.
And again Plaza San Martin, stretching far, with a little bit of sky in Argentine blue!
This makes quite clear why it is possible to fall in love with this city, doesn’t it? Of course there’s also the tragic deterioration of many historic buildings to mention, that odours of several types may surround you at any time, that even well frequented roads have deep potholes in them, that the country is economically struggling, all that and more is what Buenos Aires is too! But then again she compensates for a lot too, not least because of her green ways….
Take care! C&C, Lifevoyagers
People who know us are already waiting for a topic that’s dear to us: yummy food! Of course we are cooking more than eating out, at the very least with an eye on the budget, but we also found the deal of town for Carsten: restaurant Solomía in the Nunez neighbourhood, review will soon be published. here’s the preview, but only in German… This quality and quantity cannot be copied for this price when cooking at home! Just look at the ‘bucket’ of wine, that’s enough for both of us! By the way, in the photo I’m eating barbecued kidneys, an exception….
These chese slices, Provolone or Provoletta, are also served barbecued, delicious, look how decorative they are waiting for their fate… ;-))
But you can also get salad, and because of the climate not being tropic, and the water from the tap is declared safe for drinking (not that we do, I just need to think about German waterpipes (not nice), so I cannot even imagine waterpipes in Buenos Aires…), we dare eat the salad despite the ‘tropic’ rule peal it, cook it, or leave it alone…. Have a look at the nice dips and the ricecracker for coeliacs! For more tips for coeliacs in Buenos Aires please send an email!
Another glutenfree treat, you get it in some of the bakeries: Pan de Queso, or Chipás, made from cheese and manioc/tapioca flour, one of the many recipies (in English!) here, delicious again, and nearly ubiquitous over here! Sure a treat for parties! By the way, I bought them… ;-)))
This is where I once have to cover my friend Caro’s field of Recipies and Lifestyle (in English!), one of our favourite meals are the lemon spaghetti from a very old cookbook, recipe here in German I’m afraid, our changes: Noodles back into the pot after draining, minced parsley on top, heatened oil + ghee with garlic on top, do not heat (more!!) lemon juice, but put it on top last, mix, and serve immediately, this way it’s even more “lemoney”. And you can pretend it’s summer in the middle of winter! Can I tempt Caro into trying it and translating it for you on her blog if she finds it worthy?
Other dishes we like to cook over here: All crème-soups (tip: for puréeing of the sautéed or steamed vegetables keep some raw ones to puree together, and/or add an apple before puréeing) can in summer be served cold the next day as a kind of Gazpacho, you might even purée cooked lentils in for this purpose, and add some balsamic vinegar to the cold soup… I admit, at the time being you probably better eat them hot!
My favourite fruit, Maracuja or passionfruit, there are many kinds , and we can hardly ever get this one in Germany, big and yellow, but only the small, brown, wrinkly ones, they need not be bad tasting though! To check the quality from the outside is difficult….
More soon! Take care, Claudia & Carsten, Lifevoyagers
10 curiosities about Buenos Aires and its inhabitants, the Porteños
On Thursday we finally did something real touristy: A Tour with BA Free Tours,, a guided walk of 2,5 hrs you pay for at the end whatever it was worth for you, this modell is known in Germany and other countries too. Here are 10 curiosities we learned about and photos of curiosities we found, most of them of course very well debatable…:
1. The Big Mac Index since 1986 (!) compares the purchasing power of countries by using the price for a Big Mac Meal, this is why the president of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, asked McDonalds to lower the price for the Big Mac Meal in Argentina, to make it look like the country is better off than it actually is. Actually you don’t find the Big Mac Meal on the McDonalds’ menu, but you get it once you order it!
2. ALL Porteños who can afford it visit a psychologist regularly, and people also talk about it! Victoria, our guide on the tour, consults one once a week, saying: “If you are of a certain age group and middle class, and you don’t consult a psychologist, then you sure got a problem!
Dog walker is also a popular job, there even are dog-playgrounds in town!:
But everybody needs a break now and then, the dog walker was nowhere in sight…:
3. Everybody who can afford it buys private health insurance over here, and for a bonus they get free aesthetic surgery every few years, even once a year in case you bought a more expensive package! Boob-jobs are most asked for, so this industry booms!
4. Import into the country is only possible if you export the equivalent value too, for protection of the local economy, so a lot of well known brands closed their branches in Argentina down. But Ferrari bought a vineyard, exports wine, and can therefore import Ferraris…
Different from Germany, you find coffeebeans instead of rice in salt shakers to bind humidity, in case it’s a glasshaker it of course looks like bugs…
5. 10% of the populaltion of Buenos Aires are Jewish and here you find the only kosher McDonalds in the world outside Israel.
6. Our own observation, confirmed by Victoria: At the ‚busstop’s’ Porteños form a perfect queue, but in the Tube they don’t even let you get out but push in all at once, no matter what! Victoria can’t explain it either….;-))
Just a second…. China??? No, even here the elderly meet in parks to jointly do some exercises, that’s the way it works!
7. Victoria: The ETERNAL flame at the memorial for the Malvinas/Falklands-War of 1982 is typical Southamerican: sometimes it burns, sometimes it doesn’t… ;-))
8. The ‚Cartoneros’, often people who lost their jobs after the first big financial crisis of this millenium, collect, mostly at night, with highly stacked wheelbarrows, paper and other recyclable material from the streets and the litter, which they sell to create an income: If Buenos Aires practice more waste separation, like in Germany, these people would be without income.
9. Most important export product of Argentina at the time is? Not steak, not wine, no: soybeans! Monsanto cannot be far…
10. Beerbottles are liter-bottles over here, just like a Bavarian Oktoberfest quantity ‚Maß’, and they like to present them in a wine-cooler in restaurants!
By the way, guide Victoria is a kindred soul: She travelled the world for a year even twice already, worked over 10 years in an ‘office job’ (her words) with her business-degree, and now swapped the office for the BA Free Tours-Job. She loves travelling! On the tour was another German Guy who took time off to travel!
All the best, C&C, Lifevoyagers
Just a moment…?!?
Short digression, because of current events: A very desirable module of our whole concept is coming true: On 27th of February we will, after having finalized the CELTA-Training, go to Singapore, to work for AXA Corporate Solutions Singapore for at least three months! It’s my dream come true as regards a short term assignment at AXA CS abroad, and Carsten will keep me covered, that’s really necessary what with the Singaporean working hours and the quite challenging climate for Europeans! We’ve been working at this since AXA Mobility turned up in Germany, back in the middle of the nineties…
Accommodation is expensive in Singapore, the currently most expensive city in the world, so we use AirBnB and found something very nice. Don’t panic, AXA predicted even higher costs , so this is not bad at all! And since the alternative, fully tiled studio, 24sqm, far from the city center, for 500 Euros less, is not really an alternative and we also value the local contact highly, so be it! At first for one month, to see how we get on together, the first contact was very nice already. And dorm or hostel are out of the question considering the climate, the duration, and us Flashpackers!
How to get from Buenos Aires to Singapore? Hardly anybody flies to the left, i.e. west, from here, and first to the north via the US and then west isn’t our cup of tea really. Even Aerollineas Argentinas cancelled, or had to cancel, the route BA to Sydney. So after most thorough research by Carsten we found an offer of Turkish Airlines: BA – Sao Paulo (ca. 3hrs), Sao Paulo – Istanbul (12,20 hrs), Istanbul – Singapur (10,40 hrs), however, astonishingly enough, Turkish only show flexible tickets and their prices, whereas providers like Fairliners (German company), apparently have contingents of fixed price tickets, of course much cheaper… Learned something again! Just like on the opposite fluege.de never shows the basic-price-tickets of Germanwings, and therefore doesn’t show the cheapest tickets, although promised….
In short: We are very happy and keep enjoying the rest of our time here in Buenos Aires even more, no chance of a third month…. But we will return for sure! Soon more from Buenos Aires in this blog!
Argentinian ‘graded’ building, well refurbished, and a fully functional airy lift:
How does it feel, is a question we hear a lot from people knowing about our mini-retirement, and we’ve already asked ourselves the same question, now, right at the beginning, even when it already feels like several weeks. We couldn’t have started off more smooth and luxurious flatwise, as the photos show, we feel very, very grateful towards our Hamburg hosts! This will change considerably while we’re vagabonding!
On the other hand it doesn’t feel like a vacation because we’ve never travelled with such a tight budget before, that’s also Why the Outlaw of the day is different from holidays, as I said, daily cooking, a lot of shopping for fresh food items, but also conquering the blogging-techniques and starting off all our other ressource-projects, soon the hardcore-English-Teacher course, in short, and as my Brother would say: definitely too few chilling…
View into the interior shaft, with a lot of windows, you can walk the flat in a circle around it!:
The major difference, however: the mercy finally to be able to to this in our very own tempo, our very own time, without competing commitments, however dear they are to us, at any chosen time of the day or night, sensibly interrupting by outings in this fascination city as a treat, and each step outside our flat is one, that is unspeakably good, and it feels as if we’d earned it too. To be able to do it too is what’s merciful, many would have earned it, perhaps even all of us…
Comfy couch corner, dangerous… ;-)))
One of the reasons to do this just now was how, to say the least, strange it is what’s going on in this world today, back when we took the decision, but even more so now, after the more and more extreme and violent incidents in and around Europe, at the moment we can do with a little breather from these, a short break, a little distance, this lunacy will catch up with us anyway. Here we are without TV and decidedly so still without a daily newspaper, just equipped with Internet, and we choose our distance…
“Everyday life” in Buenos Aires
„Everyday life” in Buenos Aires: Up to 38 degrees celcius now that it’s summer, so that means everything muuuuuch slower than in central Europe in general and with us speedos in particular, potholes and dog poo on the ‘sidewalk’, slalom too ducking under the airconditions dripping from above, some little street vendors with everything you can imagine, shopping of food of much less choice and quality, as expected, that is only affordable because of the Dolar Blue, the inofficial exchange rate, now daily cooking with unfamiliar gear, starting to haul water in again due to lack of drinking water from the tap, involuntary and therefore reduced consumption of Nespresso-Coffee due to the existent facilities in our rented flat, even old luxuries-Carsten is against it ;-)), what a sight: us two reluctant and rather indignant customers in a posh Nespresso-Store, I bet this never happened to them before, at least you can recycle the capsules… Everyday life in Buenos Aires. We love it, which is why our spontaneous pledge to stay one more month than planned has already been granted by our hosts!
Birthday Claudia: Off we go to one of the rare Organic Markets, El Galpon, 7 km from our flat, of course well within this huge city. Fortified by a good breakfast two blocks on foot to the next tube station, wrong track of course, trains drive on the left while cars drive on the right, we didn’t remember that from our last visit, first ticket gone, no changing of tracks underground, so out, up, over, down, in, wrong tube line, this stop caters for two lines but the second entrance with the same name is one block down….second ticket gone, all covered by our pre-paid SUBE-Tickets…. On to the next stop, right line this time, unfortunately closed because of fitting of airconditioned cars. No problem, we have the plan for the more than 300 bus lines of this city with us. Which of the streets in checkered layout is drivable in our direction? 50& chance, we of course choose the wrong one, ask the friendly lady at the bus stop, no, line 71 leaves from two blocks down, alright. We miss No 71 by seconds, but now we’re on the right track with the next 71! Nice journey, airconditioned with a view, right to the organic market, not a problem! How long it took is, must, not to be considered in this city….
Organic market El Galpon, every Wednesday and Saturday from 9 to 5, alongside the Chacarita Station, ca. 500 meters from the main Street passing dogs and the new and old railway tracks of the train station with more or less rotting cars, here they tend to drop everything exactly where it has been shut down, were there not the police station at the entrance to the more or less unmade road, we would have hesitated, but also see groomed modern cars parking, seemingly customers who can afford it. An old warehouse, a DIY-Parilla (grill) in front, an idyllic, shadowy little garden with improvised bistro tables on one side, the solar-cooker simmers already, and then the market from the inside: just as in organic Germany 30 years ago!! Man, are they serious in what they’re doing: no plastic, please, no fruit on offer whatsoever, the wretched looking vegetables sold out to the patiently queuing customers after three hours, even here no bread available that deserves the name, but lady hygiene articles made from washable cotton, as I said they’re serious about their attitude! Managed to get hold of beetroots, zucchini, zapallitos (pumpkin harvested ultra young), carrots were sold out, bought the worst bread ever as it turned out later, the goat cheese is worth its weight in gold and we don’t buy it. Enjoying (organic?) coffee and organic cake in the pleasantly cool garden we watch the young holistic physiotherapist at work, his customers, of different age groups, tell him about their symptoms under the tree and he treats them while they’re standing, making do.
We watch a similar little improvised enterprise later at the Glorieta in Belgrano, there’s a Milonga here today, announced daily under www.hoy-milonga.com, from our bench with pole-position-view of the dance floor: With power snatched from this pavillon, this afternoon shared by tangueros and entrepreneurs, and water from who knows where, a few young guys are lovingly washing cars in the street and have a lot of customers, and again: making do, even Carsten would have been satisfied, not that he was a customer…. Tango sounds in the background, of course we’re too early, but thus able to watch the tango lesson of two couples, both not in the mood of participating due to the lack of participants, the view from the elevated park on this part of town is stunning and full of contrasts, green parrots fly past, we’re more than fine! How very nice not to have to justify that we spend the evening of this eventful day in the oasis of our flat and not out and about, which simply isn’t who we are!