We just returned from our first real vacation in years. We've had little 2-3 day breaks, but not a whole week since about 2000, I think. Friends gave us a week through RCI (time share), and we found the Colina Del Valle Resort about two hours away that's part of the RCI network. Here's the outside of our little home-away-from-home for the week:
But heat or no heat, we'd venture out daily to grab lunch in town, and then over to the clubhouse where they had wifi so we could check e-mails.
Ivan was on a mission to find good ice cream. This first place had a quaint setting but the ice cream wasn't very good.
A few years ago Ivan learned that there's an orchid indigenous to this area of Argentina, but until recently we hadn't seen one. Here's a close-up of a couple we found during a walk one morning:
Although the resort is within the city limits, it's up a hill along a dirt road and really feels like you're out in the country. Here's a shot of the pool area and in the distance you can see mountains. No matter which direction you looked, you could see mountains.
We had to drive 40 km to get to a gas station with GNC, so twice we made the trip to Villa Dolores. While sitting on a park bench in the town plaza, I saw this cute little Fiat 600 painted turquoise!
Most days we'd go into Mina Clavero for lunch or to buy groceries (usually ate a light dinner in our room). On one of the main downtown streets, amidst all the shops and businesses, was this little private home:
Just two stores over is this great verdularia -- I don't think I've ever seen one this big or as well stocked!
I made two batches of yogurt before we went, and also some homemade granola, so we were set for breakfast for the first five days. When we ran out, we went into town for desayuno at a great little café. You could sit inside, or out in this covered patio area:
We arrived home early afternoon on Saturday and hadn't been home too long before friends called, inviting us to their Christmas Eve party. It didn't start until 9 p.m. It was a potluck so I made potato salad. We appreciate our friends including us even though we're not family, since it was a family affair. Their kids and spouses, and the spouses families were all there. What a meal! We started with appetizers like pickled tongue, pretty pinwheel sandwiches, slices of salami, and various salads. Then they brought out grilled pork and vegetables. Oh, and by the way, we didn't start eating until about 10:30 p.m. :)
We were in the middle of dessert (fruit salad and panettone) when it struck midnight and the fireworks started. So of course we stopped eating and rushed out to watch them -- and the guys shot off some of their own -- before trooping in to finish dessert. Even though I paced myself, I was still stuffed by the time it was over! We left around 1:30 a.m.; the first to leave :) I'm guessing everyone else stayed at least another hour or two. Sadly, although I took the camera, I never thought to get it out of my purse and actually use it.
Today is Christmas, and we had a traditional Argentine asado. I'm guessing most of you sat down to a turkey or ham dinner. Ours was rather different. Ivan grilled pork, slices of butternut squash, an onion, tomato, and Basque-style morcilla (with nuts and raisins added). I made pasta salad, and we had a little potato salad left from last night. Oh, and Ivan baked a loaf of bread. Later on we'll have dessert: homemade vanilla ice cream and sliced fresh peaches. YUM!
I did get my tree up and decorated (the decorating took place yesterday!) and am now enjoying it, all lit up even though it's the middle of the day. Have to enjoy it while I can.
Hoping each one of you has a wonderful, blessed Christmas!