Let’s Tango…!


I don’t like the word “show” very much… It somehow says “artificial and superficial”. During our past trip to Argentina (Mac, Soñita, Paito, Andre, Kari, Moni, Dom – you are fab travel mates, by the way…thanks for an unforgettable trip!) our itinerary included the visit of a Tango-Show in Buenos Aires. I was keen to see the Tango and not the show, to be honest… It is common to combine Dinner & Tango (superb concept, by the way) and we chose the “Tango Porteño” at the Porteño Theatre on Corrientes, formerly a cinema-theatre owned by Metro Goldwyn Meyer.

The place is big (like so many things in Argentina…); all the tables are well laid (you can chose to either come just for the Tango, or include dinner); the food is delicious, wine good and the ambience perfect to immerse oneself back to the golden decade of the 1940s, when Tango had its heyday. For over an hour and a half, we are taken back in time, to a glamorous Buenos Aires, full of passion & love.

I am surprised by the staging, orchestra, dancers, singers, costumes, music – all is of fantastic quality – I am dazzled by the moves, the energy, accuracy, flow, dynamism, elegance, passion… There is this one scene, modern, where the performer dances blindfolded (!) with her lover… we witness the utmost perfect, and sensual, declaration of love of two top performers who seem to read each other’s minds constantly, not one movement has room for failure, a mastery of bodies that provokes in me pure admiration and stir the humble feeling of being so privileged to experience this breathtaking show. And wanting to share it immediately with my family, especially with my daughter, who is devoted to dancing, singing and spectacles of any description.

Tamara giving tango a try in San Telmo

Tamara giving tango a try in San Telmo

Buenos Aires and Tango: thank you for a more extraordinary encounter with my inner passion for music and dance. I´ll be back, that is a promise! I know that I have just had a glimpse of a great city and part of its culture, and crave more!

There are more Tango places, of course, that our office in Argentina recommends, such as Tango Gardel, El Viejo Almacén, and Rojo Tango at the Faena Hotel – what a place!

It is impossible to separate Buenos Aires from the culture of Tango: you can feel it, hear it and sense Tango on every corner… next time I´ll take lessons and give it a try myself!

By Tamara W. de Karolys, Commercial Director, MT Ecuador. tkarolys AT metropolitan-touring.com

Discover Tango in Buenos Aires, and wines in Mendoza, with Metropolitan Touring: http://www.metropolitan-touring.com/content.asp?id_page=2159

The Iguazu Falls are awe inspiring!


Iguazu

Iguazu

Visiting Iguazu from the Argentinian side is just perfect. The panoramic views from the upper circuit are amazing, you can get pretty close to the waterfalls and nature as well (from the Upper Iguazu River).

You will be thrilled with the wonderful opportunities this place offers to get a zillion photos of different views every step along the trails (keep these lovely images and sounds in your brain as well!!).

When taking the train trip along the Upper Iguazu River a huge adventure is about to begin. It is certainly quite difficult to understand how the calm Upper Iguazu River that goes with you along the trail suddenly changes its form and takes shape of an impressive and massive waterfall -the Devil’s Throat- which is a mixture of noises, views and energy. An indescribable experience not to be missed!!

The Devil's Throat

The Devil's Throat

by Sonia Lopez, Metropolitan Touring

Discover Iguazu with Metropolitan Touring: http://www.metropolitan-touring.com/content.asp?id_page=1300

More images of Iguazu in our Flickr gallery

Las Cataratas de Iguazú son impresionantes!


Iguazu

Iguazu

Visitar Iguazú desde el lado Argentino es una experiencia única. Las panorámicas  desde el circuito superior son formidables, permite un acercamiento importante a las cascadas y la naturaleza (del alto río Iguazú).

Estarás fascinado por las magníficas oportunidades que este lugar ofrece pues podrás realizar innumerables fotos una muy distinta de otra a cada paso por el sendero (guarda estas encantadoras imágenes y sonidos en tu memoria también!).

Al tomar el recorrido del tren en el alto río Iguazú comenzarás una gran aventura! Es muy difícil comprender cómo aquel tranquilo río que circula junto a ti a lo largo del sendero de repente cambia su fuerza y forma, tornándose en una impresionante cascada gigante -la Garganta del Diablo- que ofrece una mezcla de sonidos, vistas y energía. Una experiencia indescriptible que no puedes perder!!

Por Sonia Lopez, Metropolitan Touring

Iguazu - Garganta del Diablo

Iguazu - Garganta del Diablo

Conozca Iguazu con Metropolitan Touring: http://www.metropolitan-touring.com/content.asp?id_page=1300

Mas fotos de Iguazu en nuestra galeria Flickr

Explorando la Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy


Cerro de las Siete Colores

Cerro de los Siete Colores

Uno de los lugares más inspiradores que visité en Argentina fue la Quebrada de Humahuaca ubicada en el noroeste de este país en la provincia de Jujuy. Éste es un valle único rico en creencias religiosas, rituales y festivales todavía practicados por la gente indígena del área. Debido a su riqueza cultural junto con sus bellezas naturales este lugar fue reconocido por la UNESCO como un Patrimonio Mundial en el año 2003.

Viajamos 154 kms en mini bus desde la provincia de Salta hacia Purmamarca (Jujuy) la vía estaba en buenas condiciones y los paisajes eran maravillosos. Las montañas encontradas a lo largo de esta ruta forman parte de la cordillera oriental caracterizada por una variedad de tonalidades marrones, verdes y rojas. Sus colores rojizos se deben a la alta concentración de hierro en esta zona. El Hotel Manantial del Silencio fue nuestro refugio por una noche. Sus instalaciones de casa de campo son muy acogedoras y está ubicado en un lugar bastante tranquilo a unos pasos de la plaza de Purmamarca. El servicio fue excelente, muy buena comida y su personal muy cálido. Las habitaciones son muy cómodas con un baño acogedor y abundante agua caliente.

Por la noche caminamos hasta el centro de Purmamarca y descubrimos un lugar  agradable y tranquilo ideal para aquellos que disfrutan de ambientes calmos. El lugar te invita a sentarte en la plaza y mirar a la gente local en sus actividades cotidianas, se puede también disfrutar de una copa de vino, de un café una taza de té en uno de los cafecitos/bares abiertos para turistas.

Purmamarca square

Purmamarca square

En la mañana siguiente regresamos al centro del pueblo y fuimos sumergiéndonos en un ambiente muy vivo mientras caminábamos por sus estrechas callecitas y finalmente llegamos a una plaza multicolor llena de ruido y movimiento. Todos los días la gente local despliega una gran variedad de productos hechos a mano y negocia con los visitantes. Es común encontrar textiles y artículos de cuero a precios muy accesibles.

Purmamarca – significa “Pueblo de Tierra Virgen” en lengua Aimara –ubicado a los pies del policromático “Cerro de los Siete Colores” que deleita a todos los turistas que lo visitan.

Pucara TilcaraViajamos 176 kms desde Salta para llegar a nuestra siguiente parada, el pueblo de Tilcara, un pequeño y amigable pueblo conocido por su Pucará bien conservado. Esta fue una fortaleza pre-Inca ubicada estratégicamente en lo alto de un monte que brinda gran visibilidad a lo largo de la Quebrada de Humahuaca. Enriqueció nuestra visita el tener a José –un guía local- en este recorrido, quien compartió con nosotros importante información acerca de este  Monumento Nacional.

Después del viaje de 245 kms desde Salta llegamos a Humahuaca, una fantástica ciudad colonial. Este es el lugar perfecto para vivir si buscas tranquilidad, estar rodeado de gente acogedora y disfrutar de deliciosos productos ofrecidos por la Pachamama. Vale la pena recorrer sus callecitas llenas de lindas casas coloniales hechas de adobe.

Migue Angel Quishpe –nuestro guía Coya en este pueblo- fue fantástico. Su carisma me fascinó. Él posee una facilidad de comunicación brillante y es muy conocedor e inspirador. Estuve agradablemente sorprendida por el poema que Miguel Ángel preparó para darnos la bienvenida en Humahuaca … “No te rias de un Coya” … mis ojos se llenaron de lágrimas!

Regresaré a Humahuaca para disfrutar de sus fiestas de Carnaval!

Humahuaca

Humahuaca

Por Sonia Lopez, slopez@metropolitan-touring.com

Join Metropolitan Touring to explore Humahuaca: http://www.metropolitan-touring.com/content.asp?id_page=2061

For more images of Jujuy and Salta, see our Flickr gallery

Exploring the Humahuaca Valley, Jujuy


Cerro de las Siete Colores

Cerro de las Siete Colores

One of the most inspiring places I visited in Argentina was the Quebrada de Humahuaca located in the northwest of this country in the province of Jujuy. This is a unique mountain valley, rich in the religious beliefs, rituals and festivals still retained by the Indian people of the area. All this cultural peculiarity together with its beautiful qualities of nature qualified it as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2003.

We travelled 154 kms by mini bus from Salta province to Purmamarca (Jujuy). The road was in pretty good conditions and landscapes were wonderful. Mountains along this route are part of the eastern range characterized by its different shades of brown, green and red. Its reddish colours are due to the high concentration of iron in the area.

Hotel Manantial del Silencio was our refuge for one night. A cosy country style hotel located in a quiet place a short walk from Purmamarca’s square. Service was excellent, great food and friendly staff. Pretty, comfortable rooms well equipped with a lovely bathroom and plenty of hot water.

At night we went for a walk to the centre of Purmamarca and found a very nice and relatively quiet place ideal for those who enjoy being in a calm atmosphere. You can just sit in the square and watch the local people doing their everyday activities or have a wine, a coffee or a nice cup of tea in one of the tiny coffee/bars opened for tourists.

Purmamarca square

Purmamarca square

In the morning we returned to the town and were immersed in a lively atmosphere as we walked through the narrow roads and eventually reached a multi-coloured main square full of noise and movement. Local people display everyday a variety of hand made products and trade with visitors. You will mostly find textiles and leather articles quite affordable.

Purmamarca – meaning “Town of the Virgin Land” in Aimara language – is settled at the foot of the polychromatic “Cerro de los Siete Colores” (Hill of Seven Colours) which delights the senses of all the tourists that visit it.

Pucara TilcaraOur next stop was about 176 kms from Salta. We visited Tilcara, a small and friendly village known for its well preserved Pucara (ruin). This is a pre-Inca fortification strategically located on the top of a hill to be easily defensible and to provide good views over a long stretch of the Quebrada de Humahuaca. The nice experience about visiting this place was that we were escorted by Jose -a local guide- who shared interesting information on this National Monument.

After travelling 245 kms from Salta we finally arrived to Humahuaca, a fantastic colonial city. This is the perfect place to live if you are looking for tranquillity, being amongst charming and lovely people as well as having delicious products offered by the Pachamama (Mother Earth). It is worth walking along its narrow paved streets: you will see pretty colonial houses made of adobe that still conserve its shapes.

Miguel Angel Quishpe – our local Coya Indian guide in this town – was fantastic. I was mesmerized by his charm. He has brilliant communication skills, and is very knowledgeable and inspiring. I was pleasantly surprised by the poetry Miguel Angel prepared to welcome us to Humahuaca … “No te rias de un Coya” (Do not laugh at Coya people)… my eyes watered!

I will be sure to return to Humahuaca, particularly over Carnival in February – its festivities are legendary!

Humahuaca

Humahuaca

By Sonia Lopez, slopez@metropolitan-touring.com

Join Metropolitan Touring to explore Humahuaca: http://www.metropolitan-touring.com/content.asp?id_page=2061

For more images of Jujuy and Salta, see our Flickr gallery

Buenos Aires – Aires y Gracia


Calles de Caminito Porteño: el adjetivo con que se conoce a la gente de Buenos Aires, es también la palabra clave para entender esta ciudad, que parece tener una urgencia de lanzarse de cabeza al Río de la Plata.  Sus congestionadas avenidas, todas, apuntan hacia el río y el Puerto.  Y sus grandes edificios compiten unos con otros por la mejor vista del “océano de plata” (de allí el nombre).  Puerto de entrada…  Nexo.

CaminitoLa ciudad enviaba toda la producción de los alrededores del continente a través de sus puertos.  A cambio, distribuía los bienes manufacturados que llegaban del sofisticado mundo de ultramar, a lo largo de las pampas, las montañas y las planicies.  Aquí, las influencias de París, Londres y Madrid desembarcaban de los barcos a vela o los vapores.  Aquí, las riquezas de América del Sur se transportaban, tasaban, estibaban y vendían.  Es como un punto de intercambio que uno puede entender el carácter de Buenos Aires y sus singulares cualidades.

Yendo cronológicamente por la historia de la ciudad, se debe empezar por los antiguos muelles y el Barrio de La Boca.  Desde aquí creció la ciudad.  Las casas construidas con zinc corrugado y trozos de madera y pintadas en los coloridos tonos de los botes de pintura que se podía conseguir, están dilapidadas y turísticas, es un área que vive de su pasado y no de su clase trabajadora actual.  Sus calles se ven polvorientas y estropeadas, pero amadas, y mantienen un significado casi religioso para los fanáticos del cercano Boca Juniors.  El ríspido respiro del acordeón con sus tangos, canciones y lamentos, emana de las casas y almacenes, donde se venden recuerdos que los visitantes se ven obligados, si no a comprar, a admirar detenidamente.  Es brillante, colorida y divertida, quizás la imagen que más tiempo perdura en nuestro recuerdo de la ciudad.

Las Calles de San Telmo.  Un poco más hacia el norte están las calles y casas de los períodos colonial y republicano, más ordenadas y adornadas: el Barrio de San Telmo.  Sus calles principales empedradas se llenan de puestos de venta los fines de semana, compitiendo con los almacenes llenos de antigüedades, cachivaches, y peculiares diseños de muebles y ropa.  El ambiente es bohemio y desordenado, un poco como la versión criolla del mercado de Portobello en Londres.  Tiene un aire de caos organizado.

El día domingo que lo visitamos, ríos de gente local y turistas fluían en ambos sentidos por las calles, y uno tenía que navegar entre ellos, los kioscos y muchas personas que vendían alimentos en sitios improvisados.  Parece que los residentes locales habían decidido vender la mitad de su almuerzo a los paseantes para ganar unos pocos pesos.

Antiquarian tango, Buenos AiresAccordion friendsFuera de un almacén de antigüedades en Plaza San Telmo, un artista del acordeón sacaba notas a su instrumento al tiempo que conversaba con un amigo, mientras que dentro, nos brindaron un show de un trío de tango, cuya edad promedio debían estar bordeando los 65.  El refinado bailarín, inmaculadamente vestido con un traje gris a rayas y sombrero, debió haber sido un inefable seductor en su juventud.  Guiñaba el ojo a las chicas de nuestro grupo y las hacía sonreír.

La anomalía en esta histórica narrativa es el área de Puerto Madero.  Estos antiguos muelles, que perdieron su razón de ser en el siglo XX, hacen que uno retroceda una década, cuando las autoridades decidieron regenerar el área.  Las bodegas de rojo ladrillo visto, funcionales y simétricas, recibieron una nueva oportunidad de vida, aprovechando al máximo los dos kilómetros de tierra que la ciudad le ha robado al río a lo largo de los años.

La Parolaccia, Pueto Madero, Buenos Aires

Actual, el Puente de la Mujer diseñado por Calatrava, proveen un elegante punto por el cual cruzar a la parte más nueva y más sofisticada de la ciudad, donde se alzan edificios de apartamentos de 50 pisos y se han inaugurado hoteles de lujo.  Las viejas bodegas alojan ahora a los mejores restaurantes de Buenos Aires, repletos el día domingo que estuvimos allí, y disfrutamos una comida fantástica en el bistró italiano La Parolaccia  (www.laparolaccia.com).

Streets of Recoleta and Alvear PalaceA medida que avanzamos al norte, saltamos a fines del siglo XIX y comienzos del XX, Recoleta definitivamente se siente europea.  No como el París que algunos pensarían, pero ciertamente una amalgama de un puñado de ciudades europeas.  Los techos de estilo mansardo color gris pizarra y las paredes de piedra color crema de muchas edificaciones, son indudablemente elegantes, mientras que los almacenes en las calles que rodean al famoso Hotel Alvear Palace, son en verdad chic.  Hay paseadores de perros y cochecitos de bebés, esquinas con puestos de revistas, alquitraves que se envuelven y se enroscan, y una agradable simetría y formalidad.  Aquí se encuentran hoteles famosos como Four Seasons, Caesar Park (www.caesar-park.com), Hyatt y Recoleta, una excelente base desde donde explorar.

Los parques de Palermo continúan hacia el norte, un bienvenido contraste para el bullicio de la ciudad.  Estos son parques formales, ordenados y delineados, con inmensos y cansados árboles de Gomero y museos como el impresionante Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA – http://www.malba.org.ar).

Los barrios de Palermo están siendo atomizados en distritos más pequeños por los periodistas y quienes se benefician de los bienes raíces.  La gente local ahora habla de Palermo Soho y Palermo Hollywood.  Sus casas, con frentes bajos, son transformadas en exclusivas boutiques, bares, hoteles, restaurantes y cafés.  La “juventud dorada” se reúne en las terrazas, calentadas por tubos metálicos, para ver pasar a la gente y disfrutar del sol en un día feriado –lunes, una bendición para disfrutarla luego del intenso frío que han soportado los porteños este invierno.  Quizás aquí la influencia es más norteamericana, mas Sunset Boulevard que Boulevard Saint-German.  Y sin lugar a dudas, la ciudad más temprano que tarde, encontrará una nueva identidad para adoptarla como suya.

La ciudad-puerto de Buenos Aires parece estar constantemente en movimiento, cargada con esa energía nerviosa que he sentido en muy pocas de las ciudades que he visitado.  Su pasado y su presente están inexorablemente unidos a su rol como el cauce por donde pasan las modas, los negocios, los gustos, el comercio, los estilos y las ideas – como una marea que fluye y refluye desde su corazón.  Continuamente, y algunos dirían obsesivamente, se transforma, se modifica, se reinventa y hoy en día, lanza sus creaciones híbridas y su irrefrenable creatividad hacia el mundo, como nunca antes.

por Dominic Hamilton dhamilton@metropolitan-touring.com

Para visitar Buenos Aires con Metropolitan Touring, ver http://www.metropolitan-touring.com/content.asp?id_page=1797

 Las Calles de Caminito.

Ver fotos de Buenos Aires en nuestra galeria Flickr aqui:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/metropolitantouring/sets/72157624609709491/

Argentinian Charm


Metropolitan Touring (Ecuador office) fam trip to Argentina at Iguazu Falls

Besides the fact that when we think of Argentina what first comes to our mind is Buenos Aires – a magnificent city, by the way!!!! – during a recent trip I discovered a couple of things.

It is common in Latin America to refer to the Argentinians as “the ones that know it all”. The ego of the Argentinians is something we always talk about. But travelling in Argentina for 11 days completely changed the way I think.

I found the most amazing, charming and friendly people, from the bus drivers we had, to MT Argentina´s General Manager who travelled with us throughout the trip, it’s no exaggeration to say I now have tons of new Argentine friends now!!!!!

We travelled to the northern part of Argentina, the province of Salta, quite Andean. Our local guide Miguel Angel was so proud of his culture and ethnics, showing us around and telling us about the famous Humahuaca Carnival (held in February), we all felt the irresistible urge to book a trip in 2011 so we could be part of the fun too!!

And then there was Diego our guide in the Salta region, full of good humour and with a great ability to hold ones attention. And César our guide at Iguazú Falls, was something out of this world, a young man with so much knowledge of his rainforest, you just had to love him!

All in all, I have found my preconceptions of Argentinians swept away: surely one of the best reasons to travel there is!

Andrea Swigilsky, Division 8 Commercial Manager, Metropolitan Touring.

Join us to discover Argentina and meet the ‘charming Argentineans’: http://www.metropolitan-touring.com/content.asp?id_page=1299

Buenos Aires – Airs and Graces


Streets of CaminitoPorteño: the adjective used to refer to people from Buenos Aires, is also the key word to understanding this city, which seems almost to rush headlong into the River Plate. Its congested avenues all point to the river and the port. Its high rises vie with one another for the best view of the ‘silver’ ocean (thus the name) beyond. Gateway… Nexus.

Streets of Caminito The city funnelled all the produce of the continent’s hinterland out through its docks. And in exchange, distributed the manufactured goods of the sophisticated world beyond back across the pampas and mountains and plains. Here, the influences of Paris, London and Madrid disembarked on the clippers and steamers. Here, the riches of southern South America were transported, taxed, hoisted and sold. It’s as a point of exchange that one can understand Buenos Aires’ character and unique qualities.

Working through the city’s history chronologically, one has to start at the old docks and the neighbourhood of La Boca. From here the city grew. The corrugated zinc and patchwork wood houses, painted in colourful hues from scavenged paint pots, are dilapidated and touristy, an area that lives off its past rather than its working class present. Its streets are dusty and worn, but loved, retaining a quasi-religious significance for the fans of nearby Boca Juniors. The accordion wheeze of tango songs and their laments emanate from its houses and shopping arcades, turned over to selling the souvenirs which as visitors we all feel obliged to, if not buy, then at least peruse. It’s bright and colourful and fun, perhaps the most lingering image one has of the city.

Streets of San TelmoSlightly north come the streets and houses of the later colonial and republican period, more orderly and ornate: the neighbourhood of San Telmo. Its cobbled thoroughfares are lined with stalls on weekends, competing with the shops stuffed with antiques, bric-a-brac, funky designer furniture or clothes. The feel is bohemian and down-at-heel, a bit like a criollo version of Portobello market in London. There is an organised chaos feel to it.

On the Sunday we visited, rivers of locals and tourists flowed up and down its streets, and one had to weave between them, the stalls and the huge number of people selling small amounts of food in impromptu places. These looked like local residents who had decided to pick up half their lunch and sell it to passers-by to make a few pesos.

Accordion friendsOutside an antique shop on Plaza San Telmo, an accordion player eased the notes from his instrument as he stood chatting to his friend, while inside, we were treated to a tango show by a trio whose average age must have been 65. The debonair dancer, immaculately-dressed in a pin-strip grey suit and trilby hat, must have been a regular rake in his youth. He winked at the girls in our group and made them giggle.

The anomaly in the historical narrative is the area of Puerto Madero. These old docks, which lost their reason for being in the 20th century, make one jump to a decade ago, when the authorities decided to regenerate the area. The functional yet symmetrically-pleasing red brick warehouses were given a new lease of life, making the most of the progressively-claimed two kilometres of land the city has stolen from the river over the years.

La Parolaccia, Pueto Madero, Buenos AiresToday, the Calatrava-designed Puente de la Mujer provides an elegant point at which to cross over to the newest and swankiest part of the city, where 50-storey apartment blocks rise and a couple of top-flight hotels have been inaugurated. The former warehouses host some of the best restaurants in Buenos Aires, packed to the gills on the Sunday we visited, enjoying a fantastic meal at the Italian bistro, La Parolaccia (www.laparolaccia.com).

Streets of Recoleta and Alvear Palace
Jumping back to the late 19th century and early 20th century as one heads north, Recoleta undoubtedly feels European. Not entirely the Paris that some would make out, but certainly an amalgam of a handful of European cities. The slate-grey mansard roofs and the cream-coloured stone of many properties are undeniably elegant, while the shops lining the streets around the famous Alvear Palace Hotel are chic, to be sure. There are dog-walkers and baby strollers, street-corner newspaper stands, architraving that wraps and curls, and a pleasing symmetry and formality. Here one finds the Four Seasons, Caesar Park (www.caesarpark.com),  Hyatt and Recoleta hotels, all making fine bases from which to explore.

Palermo’s parks spread further to the north, a welcome counterpoint to the bustle of the city. These are formal parks, ordered and delineated, punctuated by huge, tired goma rubber trees and museums such as the impressive Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA – www.malba.org.ar).

Palermo’s neighbourhoods are being atomised into smaller districts by journalists and real estate profiteers. Locals now talk of Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood. Their largely low-fronted houses have been turned over to trendy boutiques, bars, hotels, restaurants and cafés. A jeunesse dorée crowd hangs out on terraces heated by metallic tubes, people watching and enjoying the sun on a holiday-Monday, as a blessing to be savoured after the bitter cold that has chilled porteños this winter. Perhaps here the influences are now more North American, more Sunset Boulevard then Boulevard Saint-Germain. And soon enough, the city will no doubt find another identity to adopt and make its own.

The port city of Buenos Aires seems constantly on the move, charged with a nervous energy like few cities I’ve visited. Its past and its present are inextricably linked to its role as a conduit; fashions, trade, tastes, commerce, styles and ideas ebbing and flowing through its heart. It continuously, and some would say obsessively, transforms, reworks, reinvents, and today, sends its hybrid creations and its irrepressible creativity out into the world like never before.

By Dominic Hamilton – dhamilton@metropolitan-touring.com

Join Metropolitan Touring to discover Buenos Aires:  http://www.metropolitan-touring.com/content.asp?id_page=1797

Colours in Caminito

View photos of Buenos Aires on our Flickr gallery here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/metropolitantouring/sets/72157624609709491/

Metropolitan Argentina Staff goes Whale Watching at the Valdes Peninsula


It was early in the morning in the city of Puerto Madryn, with breathtaking scenery, as we watched the first sunlight on the shores of Golfo Nuevo (New Gulf), in silence as we warmed up with a cup of coffee.  Led by Andres, our tour guide, we bravely left the hotel to face the cold windy morning, as he told us how his Welsh ancestors had arrived at the peninsula over one hundred years ago, and made Patagonia their home.  Aboard the van, we crossed the Patagonia steppe as we drank hot mate and heard the stories of the people who live, work and love in these rugged lands; the native’s culture, the Welsh tradition, the B&R (born and raised) and all those people who conformed this dreamer and rebel southern identity characterized by insurrection and dreams.

We took to the sea in Puerto Piramides, armed with fashionable orange lifejackets, anxious and expectant; our eyes wide open to spot the whales, we almost didn’t blink, as we knew that one of those whales who visit the peninsula periodically could be Alfonsina, the Southern Right Whale that we had recently adopted at Metropolitan Touring Argentina as part of our sustainability efforts.  We believe that protecting natural resources through responsible tourism can be the greatest contribution for a better Planet Earth ( see http://www.metropolitan-touring.com/content.asp?id_page=2075 for more on this initiative).

Emotions surged, as we saw them… far far away. A tail, a fin, it seemed as if our sea friends were trying very hard to catch our attention: one of them dove into the water doing stunts, the other let us to watch its tail up in the water; a third was shooting a water jet into the sky.

The exclamations of joy and tenderness were immediate. We walked from side to side of the ship to appreciate as much as we could. Cameras and camcorders could not capture all the wonder and beauty. Nature was throwing a party and we were invited to celebrate!

A whale with its calf came too close to our boat. Our tour guide explained that they were a female whale with her calf born one year before and the games they were playing were the last before they parted: they had been together for a year and it was time for the calf to start life on its own. Perhaps, this powerful influence that whales have on us may not be another thing that seeing our own life’s values: love, family, freedom, natural connection being part of the unique and mysterious universe…

The truth is that whale watching is a unique experience that can connect us with essential emotions and feelings that teach us that life is holy and loving in all its expressions, and that striving to keep it is our utmost aim and our most important mission.

La magia de Los Potreros, una auténtica Estancia Argentina


Enmarcada por las verdes y suaves montañas de las Sierras de Córdoba, Los Potreros brinda una experiencia profunda y auténtica sobre los aspectos relevantes y la vida cotidiana de una estancia típica en Argentina.

Luego de 40 minutos de viaje desde la ciudad de Córdoba, llegamos esa mañana de domingo a la estancia, con la inquietud y ansiedad de saber que nos esperaba un grato día por delante.

Fuimos recibidos por sus propios dueños, quienes nos esperaban con abundante desayuno argentino…Café con leche, Jugo de naranja y unas deliciosas facturas caseras dentro del antiguo casco de la estancia, sentados en unos acogedores y mullidos sillones alrededor de un hogar a leña.

Luego nos dirigimos a la cancha de polo, donde pudimos ser espectadores de lujo de un vibrante partido entre huéspedes ingleses y parte del staff que finalmente terminó con todos felices:  1 a 1.

El mediodía se mostraba con un sol pleno y radiante. Los colores de los pastizales y enormes eucaliptos se fundían en un paisaje que no podíamos dejar de admirar.

La mesa se encontraba servida bajo una sombra reparadora donde un asado criollo era nuestro plato principal, acompañado de exquisitos vinos. La cordialidad y gentileza de nuestros anfitriones hacían gala de una marcada vocación de servicio, donde la calidad y la atención personalizada eran los rasgos distintivos en cada vivencia que compartíamos.

Un postre tradicional de queso y dulce de membrillo fue el cierre de este gran almuerzo y esto dio paso a escuchar la guitarra de un auténtico cantor serrano.

El atardecer temprano nos sorprendió con destrezas de los caballos Peruanos de Paso y sus jinetes, quienes nos permitieron montar y experimentar la sensación de un trote único y sofisticado.

Un dejo de nostalgia nos invadió por momentos, queriendo ser parte aunque sea por unos días de ese mundo tan distinto a nuestras urbes. Un mundo donde uno se encuentra con la naturaleza, las tradiciones y la excelencia de un servicio acorde a la belleza que circunda la estancia. Un lugar en el mundo…