Sunday, December 25, 2011

Project 365 -- We're in the home stretch

I'm a bit behind with P365 and admit with shame I took absolutely NO photos week before last. It was our first full week home and we were BUSY with a capital B. However, I more than make up for the lack of photos from then by having too many this week.

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:
We spent most of the week right there, because our room had lovely, refreshing, wonderful air conditioning! Not to be taken lightly when the temps are in the 100s! In fact, one day it got up to 108 and we were especially grateful for the a.c.

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.
It wasn't air conditioned, so we didn't stay long. The sun beating in all those windows turned it into an oven during the day.

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.
We did finally find some great helado in a nearby town; actually the best chocolate I've had in Argentina. For some reason it usually tastes fruity rather than chocolatey -- but the chocolate we found at Crillon's in Villa Dolores tasted like cocoa and was not so icky sweet. YUM!

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:
Very pretty, isn't it? Not a typical looking orchid at all, but that's what it is.

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.
And here's the aforementioned clubhouse from the outside:

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!
We're not sure how old it is, but Ivan thinks those were made back in the 60s.

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:
As cute as it is, I don't think I'd want to live smack dab in the middle of town.

Just two stores over is this great verdularia -- I don't think I've ever seen one this big or as well stocked!
On our last morning we stocked up on a bunch of fruits and vegetables to bring home.

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.
I thought about cropping out the fan, but then decided to leave it. After all, our Christmas season is in summer and it's HOT so the fan is a necessary piece of equipment. Since this house doesn't have many outlets, I have to position the fans where I can. In this case, it happens to be right next to the tree :)

Hoping each one of you has a wonderful, blessed Christmas!


Mari said...

Merry Christmas Kim! I loved the pictures - what a pretty place. It's funny to see a fan next to the tree. It's warmer than usual here but certainly not fan weather!

Betty said...

I´m glad you got to spend a whole week relaxing after running around so much in the US. Sounds like you enjoyed your stay. The little house looks great. Love the flowers in front.
I´m amazed places like that club house don´t have AC installed. Over here almost every place has AC´s and it only good for business if they do. Is the electricity very expensive in Argentina?


What a fun vacation it looks like you had. The place was beautiful and I would not have left it either. I was surprised that the RCI clubhouse had no air-conditioning.


What a fun vacation it looks like you had. The place was beautiful and I would not have left it either. I was surprised that the RCI clubhouse had no air-conditioning.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

That little resort look too cute!!!!

I know you are glad to be back home!

I love orchids, I wish I had a green thumb for house pants. I saw so may awesome orchids while we were in Hawaii...just amazing!

I still can't wrap my head around dinner at 10:30....I fear I would have been face down snoozing in the dessert by 1:30AM :)

Merry Christmas

rita said...

Fun week.
Great how you are welcomed into homes and families there in CP!
Glad you got your tree up and are enjoying it. Lovely!

Nirupama said...

Merry Christmas! Thanks for visiting my blog :) It is always nice to learn about new holidays. I like how you didn't crop that fan! Whenever I look back at old uncropped photos I always love those little 'life' details on the margins. God bless.

skoots1mom said...

couldn't remember if i've shared this site with you or not...if i have, please forgive me redundancy...

this is a GREAT idea...just copy and paste the following into your address line:

(I think you'll like her work...i love it!)


The Bug said...

What a great week for you guys! I'm so glad you got to enjoy some down time in a lovely place with AC :)

I remember when I was in Zambia I was invited to dinner at a friend's house. Her family was from Sri Lanka. The meal didn't start until around 10:00 & boy howdy was it spicy! And they said they toned it down for me. Needless to say I didn't get much sleep that night :)