South America

The time comes again, time to go, travel’s inevitable destination. Feeling ready to go home but not feeling ready to leave. Time of ambivalences and contradictions – I call it brimful of emptiness.  I wrote some of this when I was still in Buenos Aires but I couldn’t finish till...

So as the days count down to journey’s end, a few reflections on some of the charms, quirks and oddities of this intriguing city. Forgive the silliness of alliteration but a string of B-words was just too tempting: bumpers, bicycles, bulldogs and beef. I tried to find F-words but alas,...

For a rapid transition from the ‘real South America’ of Bolivia to the bustle of one of the continent's great cities, what better than Street Art? So, off the plane, some shut-eye, a bit of freshening up and I was off to join a tour. Buenos Aires is famed for its street art, helped no...

A little tribute to Doña Elizabet is necessary. The visit to Candelaria was incredible - but it could have been quite different. You can't help being from another place, another planet, certainly another era, with your modern dress, your money, your view on the world. What made the difference for us...

Isabel is 26 years old. She’s been weaving for 10 years and now has the skill to make the most exquisite pieces on her crude loom - just a couple of strong vertical poles of wood notched to support two horizontal ones. Isabel’s mother died when she was very young...

I think this was my first hacienda; the next one has a lot to live up to. An earlier hacienda built by the Jesuits had fallen into disrepair and the land into disuse. A few owners bought and sold it over the years, including a rather colourful old rogue who made...

Like I said in the last blog, in Sucre you are in a much more indigenous society. Skin tone and facial features are striking - smooth skin the colour of burnished walnut, high cheekbones and jet black hair distinguishing the majority of the city dwellers. How they dress sets apart...

The city is bigger than I imagined, sitting in a valley surrounded on all sides by gentle hills. Red brick buildings have crept up all these hillsides, many of them looking like works in progress, but this is South America so you can never tell! The colour is arresting as...

Eek the errors! I put it down to the soroche! Twas not anyone 'in your skulk trying tondig theur way out'!! Although that about sums up the headache. But, 'someone in your skull trying to dig their way out'. Apologies.        ...

Sorry about the little break in blogmission in the last few days but, well, since having that bad air day, we've been flat out - and I use the term advisedly.  Flat out busy being tourists and, alas, forced to be flat out suffering from soroche. All this has kept...

We booked to go to Bolivia for 5 nights, leaving Wednesday and making the most of public holidays over Easter when Natasha was off work. Destination Sucre, the old capital of Bolivia and a centre of textiles, weaving and chocolate - paradise in other words. A connecting flight in Santa...

The Palacio Barolo is a secret masterpiece of neo-Gothic extravagance hidden right in the heart of Buenos Aires, just down the road from Congreso (parliament). It's not established on the tourist trail of must-see destinations, but for the culturally discerning or the visitor looking for something quite bizarre and incongruous, it...

The asado is an institution here, Argentina at play 'en familia', the focal point on a warm weekend, a feast of food, drink and company, when the hombres flex their culinary muscles and set to work feeding family and friends. My tiny dictionary, the one that makes it to the...

The city is a spectacular blend of order and chaos, a contradiction that has you thrilled and flabbergasted. First off, it's on a huge, flat coastal plain and, with no hills to navigate, the town planners could just put down a perfect grid. Long vertical avenues are intersected by long...

I was back with the abuelas on Thursday. They have a regular outing to the Plaza de Mayo on a Thursday afternoon at 3.30 so I planned my day around it. I wasn't sure what to expect from this, a weekly ceremony that's become iconic, a real destination event. So...

24 March is a big day in the national calendar. It's the day the dictatorship or Dirty War started in 1976. It lasted 7 years and cost more than anyone here could count; most indelibly fixed in the minds of the Argentinian people, it cost the lives of 30,000 desaparecidos...

I don't know if I should be worried that my daughter decided on Day 2 of my stay that a visit to a cemetery would be a good plan...

Buenos Aires packs so many punches it's difficult to know where to start. But an hour on the No 63 bus scorching rubber through the endless streets to the south-western suburb of Mataderos is as good as any. And I do mean scorching rubber. Bus travel here is akin to...

Sao Paulo airport on a humid Saturday morning. Escape from the confines of caring these past few weeks; time for a bit of R&R away from the late winter chill. I saw the sun rise here, a little reluctantly it seemed as it struggled out from a grey-white shroud -...