Monday, November 23, 2009

Breakfast in Guatemala: Where to Go. Appendix: SPA, hotel and Restaurant Casa de la Colina.

I had the very good luck of going for few days to Guatemala again some weeks ago. Some friends of mine took me to have breakfast in a place I didn´t know: the SPA, hotel and Restaurant Casa de la Colina.

It´s located at the Km. 31.5 of the Road to Antigua Guatemala. It´s a whole hill very well cared for being a precious place where to have peace.

I´m afraid I wasn´t able to take pics of the menu, but the breakfast was great and seems the rest of the food they cook is also very good.

I wish I would have the time to go to spend a weekend at the SPA! ;)

Here my pics:

Almenara de Catalucia: Where the pleasure comes as food!

The past weekend we have to go to Tomares (Seville) due a familiar thing. We decided to go in car, a 4 days trip (that I´ll tell a bit more about in another post), doing a stop in Merida to finally know a bit of it and at the same time to visit our friend Marian, one of our Scrabble pals.

Sometimes in life the situations happen, with no doubt, in a strange way and you should live them to believe them, this was one of those situations.

We start the travel on Thursday 19th. Morning, from Madrid, of course, I wanted to take breakfast in a VIPS (you know my weakness about breakfasts) :D but first, it wasn´t easy to find the place (and it was one that I knew!) ;P but also all the parking around were busy and actually it wasn´t the case to left the car a lot of blocks away, with the luggage inside, it started to became late… sssssooooo… ok, we should find another place at the road.

The GPS of my Iphone recommended as best way for going to Merida to take first M40 and then R5… yes, in a toll freeway, 80 cents are definitely worth to pay for saving time and for driving almost alone at the freeway! (So, I won’t recommend anybody to take toll roads, otherwise they´ll start to be crowd as the free ones) ;PP

Being at the R5, we decided to take breakfast at the first signal indication… but the cafeteria was still under construction. We tried again at the second signal indication… again under construction! So finally it was at the first place out of the R5, at the exit 36 of Extremadura´s road… there were a couple of cafeterias where to go, but one looked nicer than the other one, so we went there.

I loved the decoration of the entrance! It was a small place, but good enough for having breakfast, a snack or a drink. We asked for coffee and a couple of “montaditos” (bread with different things like cheese, ham, etc.). till this point all was ok, nothing remarkable, but actually we didn´t ask about something as interesting as allow them to dazzle us.

The point was when after serving us the montaditos, the girl came with a dish with a bit of “ropa vieja”… “As an appetizer” she said… of course we tried it… and that was when the magic started!! SO DELICIOUS!! We told her it was delicious, she just smiled, but the owner was close and you see, I really can’t remind how exactly it happened, but you know, it was one of this times when one thing takes you to the next one and suddenly… we were inside the kitchen appreciating the great firewood things he has there! All, the stove, the oven, the grill, all heated by Holm oak wood! He showed us the Restaurant room then, so nice! It´s incredible how obvious is when a person decorates a place pampering it!

We went out thinking about when to go back to eat there… and at the middle of the travel we decided to go there for having lunch on Sunday, at the end of our trip. We called to do the reserve: they have no so many tables; it´s traditional Spanish food cooked in a firewood kitchen, so it needs it´s time, then Willy preferred to have few tables but to give a good service, so, better if you do a reserve for going there.

It was a great experience; again the girl gave us an appetizer, this time “judiones” that were almost melting at our mouths! We had a provolone cheese as starter… fantastic!! Rice with lobster as main dish… Oh my! Even in the dishes that you think that they couldn´t be better the Holm oak wood touch, the pampering at the preparation and to give to it the needed time, make the miracle!

We went out feeling like there´s still a lot to discover at Almenara! :D The pity is this place isn´t exactly around the corner for us, and actually a place like that at the center of Madrid would be so expensive and it´s not a matter of if it is as good as for paying more, but you see, in Almenara the price is also something that wonder you.

Somebody told me that actually the best places are the ones that nobody recommends you but you discover them by your own… and also that is not really good to recommend your favorite places, because then they start to be crowded, to raise the prices, to give lower quality, I don´t know! You see, Willy had been already 7 years wondering palates, and that something I had to recommend!

I told Curro how incredible is how better the taste of the food is when it´s done in a wood kitchen and if it was the way our ancestors ate, I´m not exactly sure if we had win or lost with the new technologies, actually, I could bet we lost! But well, he replied it was also a matter of not having now the time it requires to cook in that way… and I replied that also now we have a more variety and fresher products… you know! We should try to find out consolation no matter how! ;P

The address: Carretera a Extremadura, 36 exit, service road. Avenida Madrid 2, Urbanización Calypo, 45950, Casarubios del Monte Toledo. Phones: +34 918139129 - +34 918132488

Imagine what we would lose if the road cafeterias of the R5 would be already working! (Or if we would find parking at VIPS… or if we shouldn´t go to Tomares….) ;)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Available Tours at Margarita Island.

The Venezuelan team did a great effort with the organization of the Scrabble in Spanish World Championship 2009, including even the touristic activities to do there.

They selected a travel agency in Margarita Island for us with special prices and very interesting activities to do.

In my case, this time I couldn´t know if I would go or not till so close to the travel date, so, I usually prefer to contract or at least to reserve the tours in advanced to avoid problems with spaces and similar, but this time it wasn´t possible. I´d ask to the person that was in charge of the Spanish selection if it would be a problem with the travel agency if I decide the tours I would like to take at the last moment, and he said it shouldn´t be.

So, we should travel on November 1st. and I was able to take tours decisions just on October 30th., day when I contacted Caribbean Trip, to talk about the tours I would like to take and to let them know the days I have for doing them, that were Monday 2nd. Tuesday 3rd. and Sunday 8th.

The tours weren´t just in Margarita, here the list of what we can choose:

Cubagua with Er´Corsario: Enjoy the beautiful beaches with wite sand and an spectacular adventure at this boat with all included. Activities included: snorkeling around a sunken ferry, mudterapy at the beach.

Cubagua inside the Catamarán Aquarius II: same as the one before, just I have no idea why it was a bit expensiver.

Los Roques Day Tour: flying to the Grand Roque by plane and from there a sail catamaran to surround the archipelago. Snorkeling in a coral reef.

Canaima Day Tour: I´ll explain this one in my next post.

Coche Island Tour at the North Star: sailing and snorkeling.

Coche Island Tour in a Catamaran: sailing.

Full Day at Posada Oasis at Coche Island.

Jeep Tour: at Margarita Island.

Diving Day at Los Frailes.

Discovery Scuba Diver

Open Water Diver

Snorkeling at los Frailes

You also can go to the following attractions:

Margarita Towns Museum
Watter Park
Musipan Kingdom
Waterland Swimming with Dolphins: this one was explained at my post Swimming with Dolphins.
Waterland Swimming with Seals.

So, taking into account that tour variety, the pity was not to have more days for enjoying them… and also I should say it wasn´t sooo cheap. Well! Asking to Venezuelan friends, they told me what definitely were for not to miss were Canaima Tour and Los Roques. For me was obvious to do the Dolphins swimming and in case also the seals one.

So, I sent my list of tours to the travel agency that Friday, we agreeded they´ll give me an answer of what would be possible and prices (because the prices had change)… but it was already Saturday afternoon here and I had no mail, so I called again… but all for Canaima and El Roque was already booked for that week, so the only option was to do one of them on Sunday 8th. I chose Canaima, but really sorry about missing El Roque. I also sent a list of my selections, in order, for what I would like to do on Tuesday, on Monday we´ll do the Swimming with dolphins and seals thing.

I tried to search something in internet, still trying to have the chance of going to El Roque, but what I found was without prices and it wasn´t time for start to call agency by agency. Suddenly I remind that my friend Raúl told me about a travel agency at the hotel, so, I called him to ask him to please check at the travel agency the chances to go to El Roque on Tuesday and in case the price wasn´t higher than a point, then to please do the reserve for us. So! I did all what I can!

We arrived so late at the hotel that Sunday, Raúl wasn´t on time to check the tour at the travel agency, so we should wait till Monday, but also we had the exchanging money problem, as far as I preferred this time to pay in cash, in bolivars.

On Monday I talked with the travel agency people and we confirmed the dolphins and seals thing for that afternoon, the snorkeling at Los Frailes for Tuesday. The problem was that we should pay doing a deposit to their bank, they didn´t accepted me to pay then in cash at the travel agency, no idea why, I really haven´t understand that point. Any way! We had to do juggling to have the time to exchange the money, do the deposit and to be at Diverland at 14.30 hrs. The saddest part was that once at the park, they told us we should have done a reserve the previous day, that the travel agency should know that and as far as we didn´t, we can´t do carrying out part and that the seals weren´t able that day. Afterwards we consult that with other travel agencies and they said it was the first notice they had about having to do a reserve the previous day there… Well!

As I mentioned in a previous post, the swimming with dolphins experience was great! This is something I´ll try to do again as soon as I have the chance to. A real pity the seals weren´t available as well. After that we went to watch the sunset at Juan Griego, something that a lot of people recommended us to do.

Once at the hotel, we even had time to refresh us and to change the cloth before the inauguration of the Scrabble World Championship. After that we planned to din and to go to sleep as far as the Los Frailes Tour will be on the next day. The point was that the girl of the travel agency told me a lot of incongruities, first she told me that she will go to the hotel to fix everything, then she said it wasn´t possible to pay in cash at the agency and I should do a deposit at the bank. She said the time we should be at the reception desk for going to Los Frailes was at 11.00. I had been asking at the reception desk if I had a message from her about the tour, but not. So, at 22.00 that night, I called her at her cellular, as far as till that time we still have nothing for the tour that should be done the next morning… and they she told me that tour to Los Frailes was cancelled due we weren´t enough people for doing it!! I WAS SSOOOO ANGRY!! But anyway in an educated way I told her she had spoiled me a big part of my vacations due she didn´t tried to contact me and to offer me any alternative. It was curious, but instead of offering apologies, she answered so angry, even more than me!!

Based on what happened with Los Frailes tour, I asked to asure me the one to Canaima was assured, she said she would confirm me on the next day.

That Tuesday I was at the travel agency of the hotel as earlier as possible, but first of all, the person in charge there told me the tours to Los Frailes started at 6.00 in the morning, not at 11.00 as the one of Caribbean Trip said, so, of course, at that time (9.00), was no possible at all to join any group. Both agencies offered me tours inside the island, but finally we decided to stay to enjoy the hotel… but we weren´t lucky, that day we had red flag at the beach! :(

I talked again with the girl of Caribbean Trip to check out if all was ok with Canaima´s Tour… and she said that tour was cancelled as well! Of course I said I was completely disappointed with their service, she replayed I was the only one of the group with those problems, that all the rest were so happy with their service. Ok, it could be, I won´t say it couldn´t be just me the one with bad luck with them. But obviously I DON’T RECOMMEND CARIBBEAN TRIP IN MARGARITA ISLAND.

Anyway we had a great time at the Scrabble in Spanish World Championship, at the hotel we had a lot to do and finally we did Canaima´s Tour… but! That´s what my next post is about! :))

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The final: Claudia Amaral vrs. Luis Picciochi.

The final will be Claudia Amaral vrs. Luis Picciochi, 3 rounds, the winner should win 2 of 3.

Here a view of the public room:

The new World Champion of Scrabble in Spanish is Luis Picciochi... CONGRATULATIONS!

And congratulations Claudia! Great Tourney!

Final Classification:

Group pics:

Karaoke Night!

Oh! What a night!!

From left to right: Claudia Amaral, Carmen Vallecillo, Ivette and Graciela González.

Some videos:

Luis Acevedo started:

Florence, couple of Serge surprised us with Jeanette

Another surprise: Carlos García from Venezuela

A great duet with Yuly de Marcano´s husband:

Norma Garza from México:

Valió la Pena by Esther and Ivette ;PP

Carlos Puente


A view of the public:






Scrabble in Spanish World Championship. Final Day.

Yesterday night most of us were at the karaoke ;D

Partida 16

Round 17

Round 18

The Spanish Team classification:

Position Name Won Games

3 Ayala 13,5
5 Topo 12
9 Manchado 11,5
11 Patxi 11
14 Montse 11
21 Carlos 10
23 Antonio 10
25 Alvaro 10
47 Ivette 9
58 Santi 8
71 Esther 7

Congratulations to all of us! ;P

Final Classification:

Duplicates World Championship 2009. Final Day.

Final classification:


Scrabble in Spanish World Championship. Third Day.

Round 11

Round 12

Round 13

15 Round

Classfication list till Rond 15:

Duplicates World Championship 2009. Second Day.

Here the second day classification list:

Scrabble in Spanish World Championship. Second Day

7th. Round

8th. Round

9th. Round

Round 10

6 people of the Spanish team playing against each other!

Here the classification list till Round 10:

PLACE/PLAYER Country Points Average Ranking
1º AMARAL, Claudia Argentina 9 2,9º 90,0%
2º GONZALEZ, Diego Argentina 8,5 6,0º 85,0%
3º PICCIOCHI, Luis Argentina 8 5,2º 80,0%
4º AYALA, Juan Carlos España 8 15,7º 80,0%
5º OLAIZOLA, Benjamín Venezuela 7 6,3º 70,0%
6º PEREZ, Airán Venezuela 7 12,7º 70,0%
7º SANCHEZ, Montse España 7 15,1º 70,0%
8º MOAVRO, Horacio Argentina 7 18,4º 70,0%
9º GONZALEZ, Graciela Argentina 7 22,2º 70,0%
10º OLMOS, Hector Argentina 7 23,9º 70,0%
11º MILLAN, Eufrasio España 7 24,7º 70,0%
12º NAVARRO, Patxi España 7 26,0º 70,0%
13º LAGUZZI, Rocco Argentina 7 26,4º 70,0%
14º MANCHADO, Joan Ramon España 6,5 9,2º 65,0%
15º GONZALEZ, Carlos Venezuela 6 20,3º 60,0%
16º OLAIZOLA, Carlos Venezuela 6 20,9º 60,0%
17º MARTINEZ, Carlos Venezuela 6 22,3º 60,0%
18º NOGUER, Álvaro España 6 22,7º 60,0%
19º GEICHER, Adriana Uruguay 6 22,8º 60,0%
20º PEROZO, Diana Argentina 6 23,5º 60,0%
21º PUENTE, Carlos España 6 26,1º 60,0%
22º CONSTANTIN, Aglaía Colombia 6 26,5º 60,0%
23º KLIE, Héctor Estados Unidos 6 26,7º 60,0%
24º LUGO, Valeska Venezuela 6 31,5º 60,0%
25º MERDINGER, Victoria Argentina 6 31,9º 60,0%
26º MORRIS, Enma México 6 32,7º 60,0%
27º WINIARSKI, Sabrina Uruguay 6 33,9º 60,0%
28º ALVAREZ, Antonio España 6 34,6º 60,0%
29º URDANETA, Johnny Venezuela 6 37,7º 60,0%
30º VALLECILLO, Carmen Argentina 6 45,2º 60,0%
31º CARRIZO, Kelo Argentina 6 53,7º 60,0%
32º GARCIA, Cristian Chile 5 19,2º 50,0%
33º GUZMAN, Héctor México 5 20,8º 50,0%
34º TERENZANI, Alejandro Venezuela 5 21,0º 50,0%
35º OSPINA, Daniel Colombia 5 23,1º 50,0%
36º GARCIA, Carlos Venezuela 5 29,2º 50,0%
37º ESPINOSA, Carlos México 5 33,2º 50,0%
38º HARRISON, Sylvia Colombia 5 33,5º 50,0%
39º FERNANDEZ, Damian Venezuela 5 35,5º 50,0%
40º GUERRERO, Francisco Javier México 5 37,3º 50,0%
41º DELGADO, Selene Uruguay 5 37,8º 50,0%
42º MÜLLER, Marta Virginia Costa Rica 5 40,0º 50,0%
43º PEROZO, Jairo Venezuela 5 40,5º 50,0%
44º RUIZ JUVERA, Jorge México 5 41,0º 50,0%
45º PARRA, José Venezuela 5 41,2º 50,0%
46º ACEVEDO, Luis Argentina 5 43,8º 50,0%
47º OCIO, Gonzalo Uruguay 5 48,7º 50,0%
48º TRAJKOVIC, Aurora Estados Unidos 5 55,4º 50,0%
49º GONZALEZ, Ivette España 5 58,9º 50,0%
50º CARDILLO, Analia Argentina 5 62,6º 50,0%
51º EMIG, Serge Francia 4 35,8º 40,0%
52º RIBAS, Rogelio Argentina 4 40,6º 40,0%
53º LATTUF, Javier Venezuela 4 41,4º 40,0%
54º CARRILLO, Raúl Venezuela 4 41,4º 40,0%
55º SALAZAR, Octavio México 4 42,4º 40,0%
56º GARZA, Norma México 4 43,0º 40,0%
57º ROJAS, Daniel Venezuela 4 44,2º 40,0%
58º MAYNARD, Francis Costa Rica 4 47,7º 40,0%
59º MORA, Alberto Colombia 4 47,9º 40,0%
60º PESCE, Andrea Uruguay 4 49,5º 40,0%
61º RODRIGUEZ, José Luis Venezuela 4 52,7º 40,0%
62º ABADI, Irene Uruguay 4 59,1º 40,0%
63º CAVERO, Miguel Perú 4 60,0º 40,0%
64º RODRIGUEZ, Esther España 4 61,6º 40,0%
65º BIELBA, Lorena Costa Rica 4 65,9º 33,3%
66º GAMOU, Franklin Uruguay 4 67,3º 40,0%
67º MOSCOSO, Alfonso Perú 4 71,8º 40,0%
68º CHACON, Constanza Colombia 4 73,1º 40,0%
69º GONZALEZ, Alejandro México 3,5 47,2º 35,0%
70º GIL, María Victoria Chile 3,5 71,5º 38,9%
71º GARCIA, Carolina Uruguay 3 60,5º 30,0%
72º ROSALES, Santiago España 3 62,1º 30,0%
73º GARCIA, Virginia México 3 65,2º 30,0%
74º BOBADILLA, Jorge Colombia 3 69,5º 30,0%
75º FRITZ, Valerie Colombia 3 70,2º 30,0%
76º GIANELLA, Patricia Perú 3 72,6º 30,0%
77º SANHUEZA, Víctor Chile 3 73,1º 30,0%
78º TEJEIRA, Dulce Estados Unidos 3 77,1º 30,0%
79º WHEATON, Merry Estados Unidos 3 78,7º 30,0%
80º MONDRUS, Ana Costa Rica 2 75,3º 20,0%
81º BOBADILLA, Luz Estados Unidos 1 80,9º 10,0%
82º GALINDO, Hilda Colombia 1 81,3º 10,0%

Duplicates World Championship 2009. First Day.

Here the first day classification list:

Who is who?

Curro and I propuse you a game:

Can you tell us to who belongs each pair of hands?

A small help! They are just Spanish World Championship 2009 players!

Good luck!

Scrabble in Spanish World Championship. First Day.

The Venezuelan team has done something so original: they play part of Rocky team to announce the round will start, so, nobody has to be jelling out. :D

My first round with Héctor Klíe:

Second Round

Third Round

4th. Round

5th. Round

What the Scrabble World Championship Players do when they aren´t playing Scrabble?

At the beach

We couldn´t swim due the red flag was on…

At the swimming pool

Some players are at the Extra and Nations Cup… others…

Eating watching the beach

Esther, Rosa, Alvaro, Curro and I eating at the restaurant that was in front of the beach.

Giving Impressions

Montse Sánchez gives and recives impressions...

A picture for the history

Ivette with the 3 Scrabble LADIES

From left to right: Claudia Amaral, Aglaia, Ivette and Montse Sánchez

Now Santi and Esther with the 3 Scrabble Ladies

The Rede guys

With "Miss Margarita 2009" ;)

Bisque at the Italian Restaurant

This is life after Scrabble!!

Dreaming with a life tv transmission of the Scrabble Championship as if it would be soccer

In case Scrabble fails…... ;PP (Jooookeeee!!!)

Relaxed night

Topo playing ping pong

Manchado teaching how to play... pool!!!

Don’t forget to watch as well the Karaoke night!

Scrabble World Championship: Extra Tourney and Nations Cup

Today 2 Tourneys of the World Championship had been played: the Extra Tourney and the Nations Cup.

The Extra Tourney is an open tourney that gives 5 entrances to play the World Championship. Congratulations to the winners!

The Nations Cup is a team’s mode (by countries). This time we have 8 teams playing. In each round play 3 players by team. Each team has 5 players (2 supplies). For Spain are playing: Antonio Alvarez as captain, Patxi Navarro, Montse Sánchez, Eufrasio Millán and Carlos Puente.

The winner was Argentina… Congratulations Argentina!!