Sunday, 31 January 2010

Argentina - Asado and Steak

One of our favourite parts of the holiday was all the fabulous meat we ate. Lots of great steaks and yummy lamb. So below some photos of our steaks and asados. One thing to note however if you go to Argentina, they don't eat their steak rare, so if you like it that way keep asking, eventually you'll get a rare steak.

Friday, 29 January 2010

On haircuts and hairdressers

I was very excited on Tuesday as I went to have my hair cut by my old hairdresser. She did my hair for my wedding and then went travelling to New Zealand and I hadn't seen her since. And then she came back!

The trip to the hairdressers got me thinking on a few things about hair. The first one being that a really good haircut is worth paying for. I've had a few over the years and they've varied from pants to mediocre to great. But this trip made me realise properly that to achieve a great haircut the hairdresser has to understand your hair. I have fine hair, but lots of it, which waves in ways I don't understand, plus I have a huge cowslick to contend with. Then I'm lazy, I wash and roughly blow-dry my hair but anything beyond that is too much effort for me most days so having a cut which works with that is imperative.

And Christa, she gets my hair and gives me cuts which suit it, and that I request. Not what she wants to do, or thinks best but she talks to me and then voila. Plus she's very sweet and great fun.

And then there's the salon, the new place she's working at is called Ena Salon, it's on Great Queen Street in Covent Garden. Handily close to where I work. And it's lovely, beautifully decorated, great colours on the walls, lovely spacious work areas and really really friendly people. It also does beauty so I've been for a wax there too and can recommend it for that as well. And being somewhere which is calm, but has fun people and looks gorgeous does make a difference, to be greeted warmly and welcomed in makes me feel that much better at spending money on a hair cut.

So the only question I have now is how do you tip your hairdresser? It's one of those things I've always struggled with, I can't work out how much, I feel uncomfortable doing it and then I get all panicked and spend most of the haircut worrying about it. All advice gratefully received.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Perito Moreno Glacier Photos

So I promised some photos, in no particular order and thought I'd start with some of my favourites from the trip. The photos we took on the Perito Moreno glacier where we did a mini-trek with crampons! The trek was great and the glacier absolutely spectacular. That blue colour is real and the brightness is amazing. Enjoy!

Plus it's amazing how noisy these things are, as they're always moving they crack like a shot gun, a little scary the first time you hear it!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Argentina Itinerary

I realise I have very much approached this all in the wrong way so here goes at a second attempt. And one which is less rambling too hopefully. I shall start with the itinerary with some hotel details etc and then some random photos in other posts and then done!

Bariloche - 5 days
Stayed in Hosteria Las Marianas (very nice, friendly)
Did hiking, horseriding, cycling, boat trip to Isla Victoria and trip to El Bolson

Fly to El Calafate - 2 nights
Stayed at Esplendor (not so nice, too stuffy and terrible plumbing problems)
Mini-trekking on Perito Moreno glacier

Off to Estancia Cristina near El Calafate, travel by boat to get there.
Amazing place, very remote, near the Upsala glacier. Staff lovely, rooms gorgeous and food great. Days hiking on fossil trail.

Back to El Calafate for a free day. Much needed. Also our wedding anniversary...

Off by bus to El Chalten.
Stayed at Senderos Hosteria (really nice hotel again very friendly)
Two days hiking near Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitzroy, superb views and great guide.

Fly back to Buenos Aires for one night before transferring to Estancia La Oriental.
Stunning place, decoration amazing, food great, really relaxed. Got to go on a couple of horse rides and generally relaxed by the pool.

Returned to Buenos Aires to stay at Soho All Suites. Great location in Bs As, in Palermo district, lots of shops, bars and restaurants. Finished our stay with a few days here.

Whole itinerary organised by Patagonia Travel Co, who I would wholly recommend. Christie is lovely and everything we did worked a treat. All transfers worked, all hotels fine and lots of insider knowledge and extra recommendations.

If there's anything you are specifically interested in let me know otherwise I shall choose some of my favourite photos to share!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Argentina - Bariloche

Our first few days were spent in Bariloche. This is in the Patagonian Lake District. It is a beautiful town, very swiss in someways with Alpine architecture and St Bernard dogs in the main square. However the setting is stunning, between the Andes and the Esteppa (the flat bit in the middle of Argentina). We spent NY Eve in Bariloche, in a little restaurant called Naan, enjoying a set menu with of course beef for the main dish. And then at midnight we celebrated with bubbles and some paper lanterns which we released over the town. It was a pretty chilled out celebration but fun nonetheless.

The next day we went hiking with Max. To explain who Max is I need to explain how we organised the trip. Our entire trip (bar the transatlantic flights) was organised by Christie Pashby of the Patagonian Travel Co. Her husband is Max and he is a qualified guide. More on the trip organisation later.

Anyhow we went off out into the Esteppa. It was a grey day in Bariloche but out there it was bright sunshine and whipping wind! The hiking was great, seeing the landscape, the nature, being in the sunshine and enjoying being in a huge open space without anyone else there.

Photos are clockwise from top left, me on NY Eve, the Esteppa with the amazing wind whipped clouds, horses head in the Esteppa and the view back to Bariloche.

There's lots more to tell you about the days we spent in Bariloche so I shall wrap up this first post for the next one. Any questions let me know!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Thoughts on where to start...

Finally back on UK soil, and happy to be so. The holiday was great, amazing even and I have so many wonderful memories but I knew it had to end sometime and it seems now is a good time. I feel genuinely refreshed and being in London today I was made to remember why I love living here. Although in all honesty the cold is not such a nice homecoming!

Anyhow, I have lots to tell so am trying to work out the best way of doing it. I think to make it succinct, interesting and perhaps useful will be hard but perhaps feasible. (Fingers crossed!)

But I also have lots of other ideas floating around my head, I find I often write posts in my head and forget I never put finger to keyboard and then wonder why the post doesn't exist! So this year I shall aim to put those ideas into words.

And this weekend I shall start with some photos and stories, now to select which photos from the 900 or so we took when away! I promise I shan't bore you with them all.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

An update from Buenos Aires

We're still in Argentina :) Which is a wonderful thing. Right now we're in a hotel room in Buenos Aires trying to avoid the heat outside, which is hot! I shan't complain, but suffice to say we need a little while for it to cool down for our English skin and blood.

For the last two days we've been out on an Estancia in the countryside, amazing apart from the mosquitos who have eaten me and are now causing me to issue all sorts of weird noises as I try not to itch my bites.

I can't believe our time here is almost over. We've got the next couple of days to explore BA and then it's back to London. This is the longest holiday I've ever had, and one of the most amazing in terms of experiences and sights. I have so much to share with you all I don't know where to begin and how not to bore you.

I'm sorry again for my crapness at commenting on your posts and being around posting here. I shall try and resume normal service as it were soon. Once I have recovered the shock of being back and the post-holiday sadness. Until then, take care one and all! Xx

Sunday, 10 January 2010

One year ago...

I married J. I started the day nervous, excited, thrilled, hesitant and every other emotion possible running through me. Then I walked up the aisle with my father, towards J...

We said our vows, exchanged rings and were husband and wife.

And then we left the church, on a freezing January evening, to cheers, smiles and a feeling of elation.

Dinner, speeches, laughter and love followed.

Finished up with dancing, drinking and the final feeling of an overwhelming emotional journey.

It was an amazing day, I was so happy with everything, there are of course some things I would have rather done differently, with the knowledge I have now, but no chance to change them so better to be happy with all I had.

If you want to see more, check out my old blog London Bride. And of course if you are planning your wedding and have any questions let me know! Xx

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Argentina - Patagonia 1

The above photo was taken from the top of a long climb, looking towards the Andes over the Patagonian Esteppa. We did this on New Years day, quite the way to get rid of any fuggyness you might have left over!

It's quite spectacular here, vast open landscapes, huge mountains, bright green trees, clear blue rivers and lots of nature. Hard to describe and even harder to capture in a photo.
Today we leave Bariloche, we've had lots of fun here, hiking, horseriding, boat trips and cycling. Plus lots of good dinners and great wines. We're heading further South, where it'll be colder. Not quite as cold as the UK at the moment but colder all the same. And also the days will be longer. One of those things we've been loving the most is the length of the days. It's odd to think that when we get back it'll get dark so early.
Anyhow, we'll be heading off for our flight soon so I shall keep this brief. Lots more to tell you about and lots more to do in the next few days we're still here!