Category Archives: Uruguay

Cats Around The World

The other day, we were sharing pictures from our trip with friends. As we went down memory lane, we mentioned that during our travels, we saw a lot of cats in all sorts of different countries. Being the cat fanatic that I am, I realized that I had never written about this. This was one of the greatest things on the road. Especially in South America, we were joking around that the hostel description should really say “cat included”. So here, we go. Enjoy!

Letztens haben wir Freunden Bilder von unserer Reise gezeigt. Als wir in unseren Erinnerungen schwelgten, kamen wir auch drauf, dass wir auf unserer Reise viele Katzen in allen möglichen Ländern gesehen haben. Mir als Katzenfanatikerin wurde dann bewusst, dass ich noch nie darüber geschrieben hatte. Die Katzen waren eins der besten Dinge unterwegs. Besonders in Südamerika machten wir Witze, dass in der Beschreibung eines Hostels eigentlich “Katze miteinbegriffen” stehen sollte. Also los. Viel Spaß!

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

El Bolsón, Argentina

During a Patagonia hike in El Bolsón, Argentina. I have the tendency to talk to each cat I see. Most are very friendly. Während einer Wanderung in Patagonien. Ich tendiere dazu, mit jeder Katze, die ich sehe, zu reden. Die meisten sind sehr freundlich.

Téo at the Altos del Sur Hostel in El Bolsón, Argentina

Téo at the Altos del Sur Hostel in El Bolsón, Argentina. Téo loved the attention. Téo im Altos del Sur Hostel in El Bolsón, Argentinien. Téo hat die Aufmerksamkeit sehr gefallen.

Rafa at Natación

Rafa at the Refugio Lago Natación near El Bolsón. Rafa im Refugio Lago Natación in der Nähe von El Bolsón.

Mendoza, Argentina

At our hostel in Mendoza, Argentina. We called her “contemplative cat”. In unserem Hostel in Mendoza, Argentinien. Wir nannten sie “nachdenkliche Katze”.

Los Andes Hostel in Arequipa, Peru

Cat included at the Los Andes Hostel in Arequipa, Peru. Katze im Los Andes Hostel in Arequipa, Peru miteinbegriffen.

Cusco, Peru.

At the South American Explorers’ Club House in Cusco. You can tell we’re in Peru just by looking at the colorful blanket. Im Clubhaus der South American Explorers in Cusco. Man erkennt schon an der farbenfrohen Decke, dass wir in Peru sind.

Rohan & Baja

Melissa’s Rohan and Baja in Somerville, MA during our 4-day layover in April 2011. After 5 months in South and Central America, these cats looked rather fat to us even though Melissa claimed they had lost weight. Melissas Rohan und Baja in Somerville, MA während unseres viertägigen Aufenthalts im April 2011. Nach 5 Monaten in Süd- und Zentralamerika sahen diese Katzen eher fett aus, obwohl Melissa behauptete, sie hätten abgenommen.

Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An, Vietnam. This cat was very scrawny and we felt a little bad for it. Naturally, animals in poorer countries are also not doing as well. People were feeding chicken bones and noodles to her, which we found rather disturbing. We gave her some attention. Diese Katze war sehr dürr und hat uns ein bisschen leid getan. Logischerweise geht es Tieren in ärmeren Ländern auch nicht so gut. Die Leute haben sie mit Hähnchenknochen und Nudeln gefüttert, was wir echt ätzend fanden. Wir haben ihr ein bisschen Aufmerksamkeit geschenkt.

Hagia Sofia

A majestic cat inside Hagia Sophia, one of the greatest structures on earth in Istanbul, Turkey. Eine majestätische Katze in der Hagia Sophia, eins der großartigsten Gebäude der Welt in Istanbul, Türkei.

And at  the end of each trip, taking selfies with our neighborhood cat is always the best.

And at the end of each trip, taking selfies with our neighborhood cat is always the best. Und am Ende jeder Reise sind Selfies mit unserer Nachbarskatze immer noch am besten.

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Do It Yourself: Building Picture Frames in Brookline

This post is somewhat travel related as it is about our travel pictures. During our trip, we took so many pictures that we thought it would be nice to frame them and hang them up afterwards. Now that we actually have a nice new home, what better way is there to fill the empty walls with impressions from pictures all over world? 

Since many of our pictures have custom sizes, especially large panoramas, it is kind of hard to find a frame that isn’t ridiculously priced. Last year, we ordered two framed pictures from Zazzle. One of them was $100 AFTER a 20% discount. Phew! That’s a lot if you want to order more. Plus, the printing quality wasn’t the best with parts of our mountain panorama coming out too dark in the end. 

After ordering much better prints from AdoramaPix, my dear creative husband Matt found a store in Brookline that lets you build your own frames: The Framers’ Workshop. All you do is go there, select the materials and get started. It’s not that hard to do. You just need time. Today, we spent about 5 hours there building 4 frames. It was fantastic. The staff was super helpful and guided us through all steps from putting the frame pieces into the vise, gluing them together, drilling holes and adding nails, cutting the photos, doing the matting, puttying the holes, putting the glass in, doing/cutting the dust cover, and adding the final wire. 

With a 15% discount through the Belly app, each frame came to about $59 excluding print costs. You can only get a standard frame with a picture for that amount from Zazzle, but again, their prints are not that great, and if you have custom sizes, then the do-it-yourself approach seems the way to go. Plus, the satisfaction of having done something yourself and learning lots of new English vocabulary? Priceless! 🙂

Drilling holes

Drilling holes. Löcher bohren.

Heute geht es ein bisschen ums Reisen und zwar um unsere Reisefotos. Als wir unterwegs waren, machten wir viele Fotos und dachten uns, dass es schön wäre, sie danach einzurahmen und aufzuhängen. Jetzt, da wir ein schönes neues Zuhause haben, was bietet sich mehr an, als die leeren Wände mit Eindrücken aus der ganzen Welt zu füllen?

Da viele unserer Fotos Sondergrößen haben, ganz besonders große Panoramas, ist es ziemlich schwer, einen Rahmen zu finden, der nicht schweineteuer ist. Letztes Jahr haben wir zwei Fotos mit Rahmen von Zazzle bestellt. Eins davon war 100 $ NACH einem Rabatt von 20%. Puh! Das ist ganz schön viel, wenn man nachbestellen will. Außerdem war die Fotoqualität nicht ganz so toll, weil Teile von unserem Bergpanorama am Ende etwas zu dunkel waren. 

Nachdem wir bessere Fotos bei AdoramaPix bestellt hatten, fand mein lieber kreativer Mann Matt einen Laden in Brookline, wo man Rahmen selbst zusammenbauen kann: The Framers’ Workshop. Man muss einfach nur hin, sich die Materialien aussuchen und loslegen. Es ist nicht schwer. Man braucht nur Zeit. Heute waren wir ca. 5 Stunden dort und haben 4 Rahmen zusammengebaut. Es war fantastisch. Die Mitarbeiter waren sehr hilfreich und haben uns alle Schritte erklärt, wie z.B. die Rahmenteile in die Schraubzwinge zu spannen, sie zusammenzukleistern, Löcher zu bohren und Nägel reinzuhauen, Fotos zu schneiden, das Passepartout zu machen, die Löcher zu kitten, das Glas reinzumachen, die Staubbespannung draufzukleben bzw. zu schneiden und am Ende den Draht dranzumachen. 

Mit einem Rabatt von 15% durch die Belly-App kostete jeder Rahmen um die $59 ohne die Fotokosten. Dafür kriegt man einen Standardrahmen mit Foto von Zazzle, aber wie bereits gesagt, die Fotoqualität ist nicht so toll und wenn man Sondergrößen hat, dann ist man besser bedient, wenn man das selbst angeht. Außerdem noch die Genugtuung, etwas selbst gemacht zu haben und dabei noch viele neue englische Vokabeln gelernt zu haben? Unbezahlbar! 🙂

Matt and the mat

Matt doing the matting. Matt mit Passepartout. 

The first one is done! Das erste ist fertig.

The first one is done! Das erste ist fertig!

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All of them from left to right: Paine Grande in Torres del Paine (Chile), house in Punta del Este (Uruguay), La Sal Mountain panorama, Arches National Park (Utah), Le Poulbot (Paris). So many great memories!

Alle von links nach rechts: Paine Grande in Torres del Paine (Chile), Haus in Punta del Este (Uruguay), La-Sal-Bergpanorama, Arches Nationalpark (Utah, Arches = Bögen), Le Poulbot (Paris). So viele schöne Erinnerungen!

You know you’re in South America when…

Man weiß, dass man in Südamerika ist, wenn…

(1) … your toilet cannot handle toilet paper … deine Toilette nicht mit Klopapier umgehen kann…

(2) … despite paying for the bathroom, you might not get any services, i.e. toilet paper, soap, or occasionally a flush (rather a bucket of water)… obwohl man für das Klo bezahlen muss, man wahrscheinlich keinen Service bekommt, z.B. Klopapier, Seife oder manchmal eine Spülung (eher einen Eimer Wasser)…

(3) … on a bus the movie is taped or ripped, as evidenced by cut-out commercials or an occasional movie in Russian with Spanish subtitles, and if there isn’t a movie, your only entertainment might be Enrique Iglesias for hours … im Bus der Film aufgenommen oder eine Raubkopie ist, zu erkennen an den rausgeschnittenen Werbungen oder einem gelegentlichen Film auf Russisch mit spanischen Untertiteln und wenn es keinen Film gibt, die einzige Unterhaltung Enrique Iglesias ist und das stundenlang…

(4) … instead of a taxi, you might suddenly end up in one of these… man anstatt in einem Taxi plötzlich in einem von diesen sitzen könnte…

(5) … people are peeing everywhere (side of the road, sidewalk, etc.)… Leute überall hinpinkeln (Straßenrand, Bürgersteig, usw.)…

(6) … you can have the peace of mind of a cop with a machine gun when you withdraw money from an ATM… man sich beim Geldabheben am Bankautomaten sicher fühlen kann, weil ein Polizist mit Maschinengewehr hinter einem steht…

(7) … dogs are friendly everywhere (except for the one who bit me in the leg in Pisco), and will follow you no matter what. We had dogs following us on hiking trails or to the supermarket, waiting in front of it until we got out, and moved on with us… Hunde zutraulich sind (außer dem einen, der mir in Pisco ins Bein biss) und dir überall hin folgen, egal was passiert. Uns sind Hunde auf Wanderwegen oder bis zum Supermarkt hinterher gelaufen, haben draußen gewartet, bis wir fertig waren und sind dann weiter mit uns gelaufen…

(8) … llamas cross the road … Lamas die Straße überqueren..

(9) … your portions are simply enormous (I had to re-post this picture)… die Portionen einfach nur riesig sind (das Bild musste ich noch mal hochladen)…

(10) … you don’t know where to go next… man nicht weiß, wo es als nächstes hingeht… 🙂

Crappy Old Cars!

Not much going on today, and tomorrow will be another travel day (with a 17 hour bus ride) so not much posting. We are likely arriving in Patagonia on the 28th, so stay tuned until then. For now, here are some awesome old cars!

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Adiós Uruguay

Today was a travel day again. We went from Punta del Este via Montevideo to Colonia by bus, and then took the ferry back to Buenos Aires. If you ever want to take a bus, COT is one of the companies you can choose from. The bus system is great here, we even had wi-fi on the first bus. The second bus was a little older, and the connection didn’t work. Overall, there is free wi-fi everywhere here, at the hostels and hotels, as well as the Tres Cruces bus terminal in Montevideo. The ferry to Buenos Aires was luxurious, spacious, quiet, and a pleasure to ride in.

A few words on immigration procedures. When traveling to Argentina from the U.S. as an American, you currently have to pay an entry fee of US $140, which is not the case for German citizens. It’s a reciprocity fee, which means Argentinians are also charged when entering the United States. Going from Argentina to Uruguay is a very simple process. You get your ferry ticket at the Buquebus Terminal in Puerto Madero, and then proceed to immigration. The Argentinian authorities mark your passport with an exit stamp. After that you turn around, and you will find the Uruguayan authorities right across in the same room. You receive your entry stamp and an entry card (tarjeta de entrada), which you need to keep until you leave the country, because you need to return it to the Uruguayan officer. After getting your entry stamp for Uruguay, you’re all set!

Overall, Uruguay was quite impressive. Beautiful coastline and countryside. As mentioned before, it was much richer than we thought, and prices were often en par with Europe (i.e. accommodation, coffee, and beer), which left us quite disappointed, because we thought our dollars would go very far here. And you would definitely not think that if you saw some of the old cars, run-down buildings, and broken sidewalks. Nevertheless, I’m happy for the Uruguayans that they live in such a great place, which will surely catch up even more over the next few years. We saw a lot of construction projects on the way.

One last cultural note: Before leaving Colonia, we had one of the national snacks – chivito, a steak sandwich. Very greasy and tasty! This was our final impression of Uruguay, and now we’re back in Buenos Aires. Two nights to see more of the city, and to get everything organized for our trip to Las Cataratas del Iguazú (Iguazú Falls) in the Northeast of Argentina, right at the border with Brasil.

Punta del Este – Casapueblo and Playa Brava


Today’s journey took us to Casapueblo, located 16 km outside of Punta del Este in Punta Ballena. We decided to rent bikes again, and ride along the beach boulevard – a terrific choice! The first part of the ride was mainly flat, but at the end we had to climb a few  and one major hill(s) to get to our final destination, which was worth the effort.

Casapueblo is the house of the Uruguayan artist and architect Carlos Páez Vilaro, dedicated to his son Carlitos Miguel who was one of the sixteen survivors of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crash on October 14, 1972. The whole house is a mix of a museum and a hotel facility. You can only go in if you’re willing to leave some cash. While one option is to pay the entrance fee to the museum, the other one gives you the choice to go to the restaurant, and order some food or drinks (you have to sign in first so there is no way of sneaking down undetected). We picked the first one.

Inside, we watched a short movie about the artist, narrated by himself with a lot of footage about his life, and his artwork. We then moved on to check out his paintings. The exhibition was a little small, but we learned some things about him. First of all, his paintings are very colorful. Second, he claims that he feels like “a citizen of the sun” (Me siento un ciudadano del sol), and uses it a lot in his artwork. An example is one of the pools at the house, because the floor is covered by a large sun, which then shimmers through the water. Very pretty. During his life time, Carlos Páez Vilaro also met Pablo Picasso, and was inspired by him. What I also did not know was that he created murals and sculptures for varied government offices, corporate headquarters, private homes, and other buildings, among them 11 in the United States.

The building itself was built in 1958, and reminds you of Greece’s white houses. It definitely looked like that with the cloudless sky today. We touched it on the outside, and noticed how cold the walls were despite the heat today. Overall, it was worth our long bike ride, and I would recommend it to everyone else out there if you end up in Punta del Este. Just don’t expect a large museum. Going outside kind of counts as part of the museum though. You can also check out the restaurant, which is nine stories down from the entrance, if you’re up for some food, or coffee.

After our bike ride back, we went to Playa Brava (the “wild” beach), a beach with tons of big waves. It’s exactly on the other side of Playa Mansa (the “tame” beach). We went into the water, fighting the waves, and had a blast jumping, yelling , and laughing. This has been a good day, and I even got some small burns on my hands and one foot – in late November!

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Travel Day

Today was mostly a travel day, so this will be a short post. We left Colonia this morning by bus for Punta del Este on the east coast of Uruguay. The buses in south America are generally excellent with fast connections, and large terminals with tons of options. The terminal at Buenos Aires has over 200 ticket windows!

Punta del Este is about what you would imagine a smaller Cannes or Miami Beach to be. The main attraction is the beaches and the place is a major destination for water sports enthusiasts. Somehow we’ve also checked into one of these party hostels with loud music and staff who are apparently encouraged to “express themselves.” We’ll spend just one full day here and then it’s back to Buenos Aires and on to Iguazu Falls, so stay tuned. In the meantime check out some of the pictures of Punta del Este.

Incidentally, it occurred to me that the embedded map was not really working, so I have moved it to the links until we can figure it out.

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