Sunday, February 28, 2010

Walking in… Avila, Spain: Avila´s Wall. Saint Valentine´s 2010 Special Weekend: 5th Part.

We arrived to Avila, which was more quite of what we thought. It wasn´t our first time there, this is a place I like a lot, so I usually take there my visits from out of Spain.

We made a car ride around the wall, thought about doing it also walking, but it was a bit late for eating, we could have the risk of finding the kitchens already closed if we delay more thinking about where to go.

Here the video:

We had not a real idea of where to eat, but we did wanted a peaceful place, better if out of the city. Curro did a search with the iphone at the web and we decided to go to a restaurant in Burgohondo.

(To be continued).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Walking in… Avila, Spain: Santuario Nuestra Señora de Sonsoles. Saint Valentine´s 2010 Special Weekend: 4th Part.

After San Martín de Valdeiglesias we went straight to Avila, but at the road, just few kms. away of the city, we found this simple but nice Sanctuary:

It was very cold and even the water of the fountains, which was still running, started to create very pretty ice designs.

It wandered me to find there a 3 tellers restaurant, “Nuestra Señora de Sonsoles, Posada Real, Restaurante”. We went inside, it has 2 areas: one as a formal restaurant and the other one is a cafeteria. Both are nice. They have a dolls collection at the cafeteria plus great views to the city.

It was a very attractive place for eating, but we weren´t hungry already, so we just take a tea and a coffee. All the staff was very kind.

We also noticed there was a rural hostel that seemed to be new, just we haven´t went inside. We continued our ride.

(To be continued).

Friday, February 26, 2010

Walking in… San Martín de Valdeiglesias , Spain: Coracera´s Castle. Saint Valentine´s 2010 Special Weekend: Third Part.

We started the route in San Martín de Valdeiglesias. Actually we were searching a cashier, so we had to go out of the car and to ask to different people, everybody was so kind and nice.

By chance we found the castle, that is being repaired and is not possible to go inside, but what you can see is nice. Here some pics:

And a few more of the village:

(To be continued).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Saint Valentine´s Weekend at Resort & SPA Los Enebrales. Saint Valentine´s 2010 Special Weekend: Second Part.

I went with Curro to the Resort & SPA Los Enebrales, on Friday afternoon, but the traffic was ok. Following the instructions of the web, it´s easy to find the country state where is located the hotel. Just you have to pay attention after Almorox, the sign to enter in the proper road is easy to lost.

The country state is big and in the middle of nowhere (you have 4 kms. at the road just to find out the entrance of the road that goes to the hotel, more or less 2 kms. more). Inside the country state is just the Resort that has only one restaurant.

At the reception desk, chocolates and champagne were waiting us. I can´t tell if this was a special detail due Saint Valentines or if it´s always like that.

The facilities are nice and cozy. Maybe the only one detail I would improve is that there is no lift, ok, it´s just 1 floor, bus as far as they also have not bellboys, you should carry on your bags by your own and if you haven´t pay attention to that detail while preparing your bag, you could spoil the relaxing weekend carrying your bag at the end.

The lounge, nice, when we arrived it was already night, the chimney was already on, as far as we went straight to leave the bags at the room and then back to the lounge, we were lucky to find out the sofa in front of the chimney free. We drink a tea there, watching the fire and went to meet the rest of the hotel after that. When we came back to the lounge, we released we had been lucky before! There was a silent fight for that sofa the whole night! :)

The terrace was precious; no doubt in summer time would be so nice to watch the sunset there.

Our room was a normal double one. Very warm, everything very modern, plasma tv, electric heating. I think due the design of the hotel, all the rooms have a nice view.

There are also suits with Jacuzzi, but maybe because I have a whirlpool bath at home, I didn´t thought the price different was worth to pay for having that kind of room. Here you have the rates to know perfectly what I´m talking about (and remember you have to add the 7% of tax to those prices):

Talking about rates, I should confess this time was a bit difficult for me to know how to approach this post. On one hand our stay there was very, very nice and all the staff were so kind, always with a smile at their face and good manners, great people… but on the other hand, talking about the relation between price and quality (the hotel, the activities, the place…) well… to recommend it or not to recommend it? That´s the point! :/ Well, now I´ll continue talking about the hotel and at the end of this post I´ll talk about this part.

The SPA, from outside and without going inside at all during that night, seemed very well, but I´ll talk about the experience there in another post.

The restaurant, very well atended, prices: normal ones for a Resort, but for me, high, especially if you take into account it was the only one place for eating inside the county state. Above this paragraph you´ll find some prices for having a better picture of it (the pics are for the room service, but don´t think the difference with the restaurant was so obvious). So, let´s do some calculations: let´s suppose you spend in average 30€ per person, per eating time, the breakfast is included and I´m thinking about not drinking so much wine or eating sometimes just a sandwich; 30€ x 4 = 120€ per person, just for food, for a weekend. And you still need to add the 7% of taxes! Yes, sure! You can also go to eat to Almorox, for example, just that you should drive to go there and if you were planning a relaxing weekend forgetting about driving and other urban life things, that´s why you selected a place in the middle of nowhere, isn´t it? But ok, you always can take your own sandwiches with you! ;P

There are also snacks at the lounge, the price of a sweet snack plus coffe is 4.5€.

The country state itself offers big spaces for walking, the landscape is this one:

You also have an events room out of the hotel, nice and with a capacity for 600 people. They seemed to be specialized on weddings and I could bet it´s the best place at that area for that. If that would be for me, I know other places with prices alike that would be nicer for me, or at least more charming, but in case I would live at that area and I wouldn´t like my guests to go far away of home, definitely that would be my option. (But take into account that actually I haven´t search).

A curious detail: they have ostriches there! :D

As activities, inside the county yard, as I said: walking, watching the ostriches, reading, playing board games (they have), the SPA (Note! You can´t use the swimming pool besides you pay for a SPA session!). Out of the place and thinking about not going so far away, there´s a paintball, just that I´m not exactly sure if a paintball does match with a relaxing weekend. You also can do a route at the closer locations (as we did!) ;)

Here the video of the hotel:

Just being there I was relaxed enough. Watching the prices of the restaurant and the SPA, we decided to go out the whole Saturday, with not a real plan, where the road to takes us :D (I love that!), we reserved a night SPA for Saturday at 23.00 and after drinking a Pedro Ximenez (it’s one of the few alcoholic drinks I like) with the fire light; we went to sleep.

On Saturday morning we´d waked up with no hurries. Went to breakfast, I liked a lot the presentation of it but you had no options, I mean, it was a fixed menu and you can´t ask for something different, but I think if you prevent them that you need a special food, they will do for you. I liked it, besides it was obviously not for diets! :)

Note: this is a breakfast just for one person!

So, now let´s go back to the part if I would or not recommend the hotel. This time I´ll divide it by concepts and not taking a lot into account the SPA area (that I´ll talk about in another post).

But first let me continue doing sums: we said just for food, eating there, staying 2 nights, talking about having lunch and dinner, no snacks (or having a snack and afterwards taking just a sandwich), it was 120€ per person. For the room, including breakfast, 2 nights in a normal double room, is 110€ per person. Till here: 230€ per person… but! You should add the taxes! Including them, it´s 246,10€ per person…. And remember! We haven´t even touch the water of the swimming pool!

So, if I recommend or not this hotel would depend on the following situations:

- You go there because you want to be a couple of days isolated from the world, almost not going out of the room (I leave this for your own interpretation…) ;) and as much going time to time to play something at the lounge, maybe a walk to watch the ostriches: well, not, I don´t recommend it to you. I know other places close to Madrid, Avila or Toledo with better options and prices.

- You want to organize a company event, the kind of going to do activities to encourage the comradeship and that, maybe even having the whole hotel just for you and not giving the people the temptation of escaping of there… Yes, in this case I recommend it, but if you let me think and search a bit more in google, maybe I found you other nice places with better prices! ;P

- You want to enjoy a good SPA, a couple of days for relaxing, romance and pleasure for the senses: no, I wouldn´t recommend you this place then, I´ll explain better why in the SPA post, but resuming, the same: I can recommend you nicer places with a better SPA quality and the same or even better prices.

- You are looking for impressing someone, that has no real idea about SPAs, showing her/him also that money is not a problem for you, maybe due you are seducing her/him and being isolated from the word is a plus for you ;P Yes! This is your place!

- You are looking for a place for your honey moon, you don´t think you will go out of your room so often, the price is not important for you and you want to ensure a very well attention, with all the facilities for making it a unforgettable experience… and the SPA is just anecdotic for you both! Actually just to have the SPA area just for you 2 (or almost), for a night, with candles and champagne: Yes! This is your place!

Following my story, as I mentioned, the idea was to go out the whole day, where the road led us! :D It was a great day, winter one, of course, that means we had 3 degrees but you see, something I love about Spain is that even in winter time you have blue skies and a shining sun. We were lucky to have a day like that! :D

(To be continued.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

T. G. I. Fridays. Saint Valentine´s 2010 Special Weekend: First Part.

This year we decided to have a big Saint Valentine´s celebration! Actually the point was the good chance of having that day on a weekend and also that we were needing a good relax, so, actually the whole weekend was priceless! :D

We started it with Sil (my daughter), on Friday morning (I haven´t to work and her University classes started after midday). She would stay at home that weekend (the poor girl! She would have the house for a weekend, for her own and the friends she would like to invite! Yes! She should be suffering a lot with the idea! Hehehehe) ;P Eh! She´s a very, very responsible 22 y/o lady! And I mean it! My family would be quite glad if I would be a 10% responsible at her age of what she is!

You see, we were celebrating her birthday and also Saint Valentine, the point is in Guatemala this date is not just for couples, actually there it´s the friendship and love day. I have great memories of my school days, at Saint Valentine everybody exchanging gifts, souvenirs, cards, candies… :D There it´s a nice festivity for everybody and not just for lovers!

So, we started with Sil since the morning, having breakfast at [h]arina. After that we went to the airport, my brother in law, Edu, his wife, Marta and my nephew, Mateo, were going to Tenerife and left me their car to take care of it ;P It was the first flight for Mateo!

After the airport, we went to lunch at T. G. I. Fridays (“Fridays” for its friends) ;P No, it wasn´t about being hungry after that breakfast! Well, actually we didn´t ate that much there knowing we´ll have lunch at Fridays.

I should confess I love good USA food restaurants (sorry, I won´t ever say “American food”. You see, for Latin American people, if you say “America”, you are talking about the whole continent, not just about USA. I know, even they say “America” instead USA and they say they are “Americans”. You see, for me Americans are all the people living in America, the continent, as Europeans are all the ones living in Europe. So sorry, but I won´t accept to use American for just USA things by my own). After this pseudo break of demands, I continue with my story :D So, I like a lot the good USA food restaurants! Note! I said “good” ones! ;P

At Fridays I always have problems choosing my food, because I like a lot of things. Btw: I had read a comment about this place, somebody complaining about how many chicken dishes they have at Fridays and saying something like “If I would like to eat chicken I would stay at home”… you see… I can bet that grilling meat and cooking eggs with potatoes is something quite common in Spanish houses, and anyway a lot of Spanish people ask for them at restaurants. Actually it´s something really different what you eat at a restaurant than what you eat at home (or at least this is like that for me, I should be in a real hurry to go to eat to a place where I find worst food of what I have at home and I should say that Curro and I cook pretty well). So, as I said, the chick at Fridays is very nice! (And I´m not talking about a waiter! Hehehe oh well… let me think…) ;P

Here the menu for you to have an idea of what you find there:

They also have special menus during week day’s midday, including a first course, a main course, dessert and beverage. Also, as in all the Grupo Vip´s restaurants, you could be part of the club, which gives you a card that gives you special discounts and promotions, like 40% of on dinners from Monday to Thursday, or tickets with a discount for another restaurant.

I also like a lot the atmosphere of the place, it´s normal in USA food restaurants to find very friendly restaurant staff. They´re also famous due making you to dance or at least to stand on a chair when they know you are celebrating there your birthday… like in mine in 2006:

I also like the decoration. At least of the one that is at “La Esquina del Bernabeu”, this one has great views of the cross of the streets Concha Espina and Padre Damian, here you can have a better idea of how it looks:

One of the things with more fans here are the desserts. For me the best of their desserts is… that you can take them home! (I usually have no space for desserts eating here!).

After Fridays, I left Sil at the subway station and went to pick up Curro to start our special weekend.

(To be continued).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tre Fratelli: a delicous, well looking and good at any time of the day Italian! ;P

Tre Fratelli

This is an Italian restaurant that just lately had incorporated the breakfasts at their services… a quite successful idea! :) The result is some kind of the “Italian” version of Guatemalan breakfasts! ;P (because I know for sure what they offer are things you can´t find in Italy for breakfast!) but anyway, great options! I´m afraid I haven´t took pictures of the menu or the breakfasts and it´s a pity… I haven´t found in internet as well, not even at their web… but believe me, worth to try them! They also offer the buffet option on Sundays.

Here a video of Tre Fratelli catering… yeaph, I know, it just contain few seconds of one of their breakfasts :/ but maybe would be also nice to have an idea about the food they can offer:

I have already talk about this at the post "Breakfast in Guatemala: where to eat" but someone advised me it will be more useful to place them in different posts, so here is it, it contains exactly the same of that post, in case of new comments about this place, I´ll write a new post.

Los Cebollines: my Favorite Mexican! ;P

Los Cebollines

This is a Mexican restaurant with Mexican breakfast specialties that are just great! I also love from this chain the decoration of the restaurants. They also offer the buffet option daily.

Here an example of what you can get for breakfast there:

And some pictures to have an idea of the place:

Go to ImageShack® to Create your own Slideshow

I should tell that the lasts times I went in other hours, the food wasn´t as good as it use to... just I can´t tell if this is due I´d improved my preferences ;P or if it was a lower quality thing.

I have already talk about this at the post "Breakfast in Guatemala: where to eat" but someone advised me it will be more useful to place them in different posts, so here is it, it contains exactly the same of that post, in case of new comments about this place, I´ll write a new post.

Portal del Angel: You´ll feel like having wings!

El Portal del Ángel

This is a grill place that since the beginning had been taking care about the place itself where they put the restaurant (nice view, good surroundings, well located…), the exterior of the restaurant and the great decoration of the inside.

I´m afraid I haven´t take pictures of the place neither of the menu and wasn´t possible to find it at internet, but I really recommend to visit it and by now, to check out the pictures they have click here.

I have already talk about this at the post "Breakfast in Guatemala: where to eat" but someone advised me it will be more useful to place them in different posts, so here is it, it contains exactly the same of that post, in case of new comments about this place, I´ll write a new post.

San Martin Bakery: more than just bread!

Panadería San Martín

Yeaph, this is a bakery… but they also have a cafeteria with excellent breakfasts! :) What I appreciate more about this place is that they have done an effort for offering different options for breakfast using eggs, with a great result. One good example of this is the Salvadoran breakfast that includes pupusas (delicious!) ;D or the “hidden eggs” one, that is a big bread that has inside the eggs with sauce.

Panadería San Martín is definitely a great option for trying new breakfast experiences! :)

I had already told this at the post "Breakfast in Guatemala: where to eat" but someone advised me it will be more useful to place them in different posts, so here is it, it contains exactly the same of that post, in case of new comments about this place, I´ll write a new post.

Pollo Campero: A great chicken!

Pollo Campero

This is a Guatemalan chain that is the proud of every Guatemalan. It has been successful not just in Guatemala but also in USA where people from Central America and other Latin American countries love to eat there. In 2006 they opened the first restaurant in Madrid (yyyyyyyeeeeeessssssss!!!) but I´m afraid without offering breakfasts! :( Anyway it´s quite normal due in Spain the breakfast customs are so different.

In Guatemala they offer for breakfast eggs: fried or scramble, with tomato sauce and fried plantains, hash browns, cream, fresh cheese, highly-seasoned pork sausage, ham, bacon and/or refried beans as garnish; they also do eggs specialties as Benedictines eggs; croissants, cheese melts, hot cakes and French toasts. For beverage: orange juice and coffee or tea. ¡Just delicious! :)

Wondering, you also can find Campero chicken for breakfast and a lot of people take it… no matter in Guatemala it´s not a custom to take chicken for breakfast!

The way they present the food is also a way to identify this is a Campero breakfast. Even their bread is different in shape but all so familiar in savor, I think this is part of their success clue.

Something else that makes Pollo Campero a special place is their philosophy. They give free education to their employees and also have different social foundations.

Here an ad:

I had already told this at the post "Breakfast in Guatemala: where to eat" but someone advised me it will be more useful to place them in different posts, so here is it, it contains exactly the same of that post, in case of new comments about this place, I´ll write a new post.

Monday, February 22, 2010

See you Canaima! See you Venezuela! Canaima: 6th. Part.

After the great experience of walking behind a waterfall, we went back to the camp by the lake, again in canoe; somebody had brought it to the shore close to Salto el Hacha. First we went to the shore in front of the one we were, Ericka wanted to leave us to swim a bit there… but! As we were starting to go out of the canoe, some Germans complained about this idea, they said for them it has no reason to swim again here, as far as we have done it at the river. :( I have no idea why they shouldn´t want to swim there as well, you see, ok, we have already swim at the river and it was great enough, yes, but this time it was at the lake watching the waterfalls! A completely other story! The point was the ones not willing to swim where the majority so, we all had to lose it! :(

Going back to the camp we went again as close as possible to the waterfalls:

Once at the ranch, the food was already waiting us. We had a very Venezuelan menu: grilled chicken that was so delicious!, potato salad, another salad (sorry! I forget which one!), soft drinks and water. We can eat all what we wanted. All this very well seasoned with tropical music! :D When we finish we had time for rest a bit, just that, again, nobody told us how long it would be or if we could go to the shore of the lake or something. We stayed there, got dressed again, went to the souvenir shop but we haven´t buy anything, you see, from my point of view all seemed to be “made in China” and it´s not about having something against it, but when I travel and buy souvenirs, what I want is to buy things made at the country I am. On the other hand, the prices were completely Europeans. Some Venezuelan friends had already told me that Canaima is a place where just tourist can go, due the prices, very high ones for them. You see, the point is that for tourist the price is not so high, and this is a place that deserves to be visited, so…

We had been also talking with a Spanish there that told us he was the owner of the shops there. After a while Ericka told us that we should wait a bit more but we could do it at the shore of the lake if we wanted. We did it and it was a precious moment, we had been reenergizing us watching this wonderful landscape:

It was time for going back to Margarita, flying over Salto Angel… but! It was so cloudy! :( snif! Snif! Snif! And you see, for me the price was worth enough in case we watch Salto Angel as well! Stop! This deserves an explanation! Of course this travel was great! It was impressive enough to walk behind a waterfall and to swim watching tepuis, of course, and I do recommend this travel, but you see, the cost was around 350 US$ and was just a one day travel. And yes, I know, you can´t blame anybody for having a cloudy day, but, I do think the pilot should tried to fly over Salto Angel at the morning as well, maybe we would watch a bit more then. But well! Anyway it was a marvelous experience and this is part of what we saw going back to Margarita:

That night, already in Margarita Island, we din the 4 together and after that Esther, Rosa and me (Curro was so tired), said good bye to the island in “our own way”. We had been playing Scrabble with Esther while Rosa learned a bit how to play pool, we went to dance a bit to the disco, we went to watch the moon from the shore of the beach and finally we were talking a bit, at the side of the swimming pool, with some of the Scrabble friends that were still there.

Btw: somebody asked me why I haven´t comment a lot about the Dunes Hotel in Margarita Island. You see: the hotel was ok. Not excelent. Not fabulous. Just ok. The place in general, ok, a lot of swimming pools, a lot of activities to be done, a nice beach… about the food of the different restaurants, well, it was ok, I wouldn´t remark anything, actually, when the thematic dinners (where they make the food accordingly of different countries), we said it should be the “free version of the Hotel Dunes” of the food of that country, because the dishes weren´t even a bit alike the ones they suppose to be. So, we eat very well, yes, just nothing to remark and when it´s like that, I don´t think it´s worth to talk about that in my blog. Would I recommend that hotel? It depends. First of all I had no time to meet other hotels there, so I can´t tell if you can find better options or if this was the best one. Would I recommend Margarita Island as a tourist destiny? Uf! So difficult to say! Actually not. If this is for the beach: I had seen betters. Resorts: I had seen betters. But Canaima is a great place really worth view, better for going for several days.

That was our last night in Venezuela, the next morning we went back to Madrid.

See you Venezuela! I wish I would go back there again! :D

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Walk behind a waterfall, like the Last of the Mohicans! Canaima: 5th. Part.

We walked to Salto el Hacha after swimming at Carrao River. The road was a bit hard, even having some steps that help to climb, but they were a bit high, but there was a handrail as well.

Here some videos of the road for you to see a bit of it:

This one was coming back from the waterfalls, but here you can appreciate a bit better the difficulties of the road:

Once at the waterfall, Ericka (our guide), explained us that the floor of the road behind the waterfall was rock, so we should take care about what we wear at our feet. The soles of our shoes weren´t appropriated, so she recommended us to wear just socks or even nothing instead of our shoes. I used my socks, but I should say that in case of knowing this in advanced, I would choose ones with a discreet color! ;P Curro decided to use his shoes, no matter if weren´t the appropriate ones.

Mr. Julio, a Pemon that had been with us during the whole tour, was carrying a big plastic bag for keeping there all our belongings that we didn´t want to get wet. No way to take the cameras with us… but! I had a waterproof single use camera! You see, maybe it seems silly, but I had been checking in internet and seems it´s not so common and actually I think the point here is that at the travel agencies don´t give advice of it. Actually I had one due the swimming with dolphins experience, they didn´t allowed us to take our own pics… but was wonderful to have it here! :D We got bad habits using digital cameras: to have the chance of checking the pic after taking it, so if it´s needed to repeat it, you just do it… or to take a lot of pics, almost with no limits, that was a problem because we just forgot about it till we had just few pics left! :/

Special recommendation about the camera: this is the kind of experiences that won´t have a lot of times in your life, unless you live close to a place like this, of course! ;) So, if you give a lot of value to the point of having good photo memories and you had decided to take a waterproof single use camera with you and you don´t want to have a bad experience, would be better if you take with you several cameras and take several pics of the places you like most. Even Kodak people recommend that: “Water pictures are a bit unpredictable, so take extra pictures to increase the chance you'll get several that you like.” Source: We were so lucky, all the pics were ok, but if I would have my digital one I would repeat several of them. Also the quality is not excellent. I don´t know if this depends on the kind of camera you choose, the one we used is a very good one (no, hehehe, we haven´t choose it! It was the only option we had!). Anyway, based on this experience, I recommend it to you, is this one:

We start to walk behind the Salto de Hacha. I was quite excited! Ok, ok, we all were! :D I don´t know if I had already comment this in another post, but I have the habit to go close to the guide… and I have no idea why I have the bad luck that my companions usually go at the end! But this time I tried to go close to Rosa and Esther at least, just that not always.

The first almost we all did was to go under a small waterfall, like if we would being in a SPA, actually I told to a couple of German ladies that were close to me at that moment “a good massage, eh?” and one of them replayed: “yes! And for free!” and I thought “well, free, free… we are paying a lot for this tour!” but haven´t told them that, I had no plans to spoil that perfect moment to anybody! ;)

We continue walking and it was marvelous! You can feel the force! The vitality! I went close to Rosa exactly in a moment where she was starting to shout out loud for joy! So I joined her! Hehehe. Yeap! The Germans surely got shocked! ;P

The wall of the hill that was behind the waterfall was 100% rock with a bit of moss. You should take care about where to step (but actually the Ericka´s trick about wearing socks worked perfectly, anyway you should take care about that), take care about your head and also where to touch. I´m not trying to get you scared about doing it, it´s just that in a moment that I was ahead of them, enjoying the beauty of the place and in a moment I turned back and Esther and Rosa were helping Curro… that was with the head bleeding!! He had banged it with a part of the wall! I was really worried because he was bleeding a lot. In seconds I imagined what we should do to take him out of there in case he can´t go by his own! He also felt down when we were going back… due the shoes! Of course! You see, afterwards I had been thinking and I got the conclusion that maybe the place was so romantic and bucolic that he felt the need of giving his own touch to the tour! ;P

Ericka told us this was the place where the waterfall escene of The Last of the Mohicans had been filmed:

Once at the final of the part we can walk in, it was a space where we can took out the cameras without getting them wet (you should take care anyway). Here the video:

It was a real pity to have to go out of there; I was with a strange mix of vitality and inner peace, a strange mix, yes, but… a great one!! :D

(To be continued)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Swimming in Canaima´s River. Canaima: 4th. Part.

After walking in Anatoliy Island, that actually was short, no more than 20 minutes, we went to the opposite side of the Island where the Carrao River is. Ericka invited us to swim a bit there. Due the color that the tanning gives to the water, it was like swimming in a river of tea! :D

The water was great! For European people, got used to find cold water at rivers, lakes and beaches, even in summer time, not always they find nice when the water is cold but not freeze ;P I enjoyed it quite a lot! Actually, my problem is the opposite one: when the water is so cold I can´t go inside!

It was a great moment, we laughed a lot, we also had time to appreciate the views with tepuis, and we even saw a Pemon family navigating the river in a dugout canoe! I really had envy the calm that this people seemed to have! But specially, the happiness and inner peace they irradiated!

Here some images of our experience:

(To be continued).

Friday, February 19, 2010

Enjoying the beauty of Canaima. Canaima: Third Part.

Since we arrived in Canaima I was levitating! That green! That bright in everything! I even had ask my fellows if it was something that someone else had put in my coffee or if they also have been watching everything more brilliant and with more color… but they said I was right.

The small ranch at the resting place was already ready for the lunch and part of its atmosphere was tropical music at the background.

Ericka, our guide, recommended us to wear the most comfortable cloth we had. It was a perfect day thinking about the light and weather, but as far as it´s at the Venezuelan jungle, we could swept a lot after walking a bit, her recommendation, as far as the plans were including to swim in a river, was about being just in swimming suit. They had small rooms for us to change the cloth and even places to leave our belongings. The ranch had a house in front, with some baths, the mentioned rooms and afterwards I discovered also a shop there. Both buildings were at the middle of the jungle. So, being at the ranch, all you can see was the house, the way to the airport and the vegetation… so! It really wondered me a lot to discover we were just few steps from the lake with the beautiful waterfalls we saw from the plane! :D

We went to the shore of Canaima´s lake and while we were enjoying the view, Ericka was explaining us about the place, its settler, the Pemons and about the laws that protect the place (just Pemons could buy lands there, something that from my point of view is quite good, btw), about the vegetation, the animals, that the color of the lake was due the tannin… just that I was levitating so much watching that marvelous place, that I really don´t remember a lot, I´m afraid.

We navigated at the lake to the other shore in a dugout canoe, going as close to the waterfalls as possible. I like to take binoculars with me to this kind of places, it´s always great to appreciate a bit closer them.

We walk a bit in Anatoliy Island, they, the Spanish people, Germans and Americans were quite impressed by the vegetation, for me it was quite alike Guatemala, which is always great for me.

(To be continued.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

From Orinoco´s delta to Canaima. Canaima: Second Part.

The landscapes from the air, going from the Orionoco´s delta to Canaima were just great! :D

The Savannah, viewed from the air, precious! The Tepuis: impressive! And to watch the waterfalls while landing… amazing!! I felt in a dream! :D

In the same airport we found a small handcraft market, the guide told us we have just one more place for buying handcrafts, so we stayed a bit watching there. After that we went to a ranch that was at the same time the place to eat and the place to rest a bit.

Here a video for you to also enjoy it, just I should say it has no comparison with watching it right there.

(To be continued)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Going from Margarita Island to the Orinoco´s Delta. Canaima: First Part.

It was 6:20 in a Sunday morning. Esther, Rosa, Curro and I were already at the Hotel Dunes ´ reception waiting for our taxi. The night before we haven´t went to sleep soon, as far as that was the night of the end of the Scrabble in Spanish World Championship, but our illusion about what was coming up made us to be there that early with a big smile in our faces! :D

When we arrived at the airport they went to take a coffee to at least pretend to be awake! ;P I haven’t, because if I eat or drink something before 9:00 I usually have stomach problems, and wasn´t a good idea to take that risk before travelling by plane! We did the check in so quickly and went inside the waiting room talking about the experiences of the last days. In a point, I don´t remember exactly why, I started to sign and dance a bit of “valió la pena”, the song Esther and I sang at the karaoke… and she placed at my side to sign and dance as well! All this at the airport, full of Europeans and USA tourists! Hehehehe ;D

Our plane was a small one of the company LTA. At the waiting room we meet some Germans that would do the several days tour (lucky them!). Their guide explained all of us our respecting tours.

We should go first to an airport close to the Orinoco´s delta (sorry, I forgot the name!) :/ there the other group would start their adventure and we should continue to Canaima, flying over Salto Angel in our route to Canaima. So, it was important to choose a good window for taking the best photos and videos… something that I´m afraid wasn´t easy even being just few people, due the windows were with a lot of scratches or/and dirty.

The view was magnificent! Quite a lot of green, so brilliant, full of life! Sometimes you don´t released about how big is a country since you watch it from the air. It really wondered me, because other countries of the area, like Argentina or Brazil, exploit a lot their natural resources in a touristic way, but Venezuela, at least as far of what I had heard or watch before going there, doesn’t do it as how they should.

Here a pice of the beauty you can watch from the skye going from Margarita Island to that airport close to the Orinoco´s delta:

We arrived at the first airport, the other group went out and I took advantage to try to find a better place with a window without scratches neither dirty, but actually I haven´t found it, the best window I found was with a sight of a wing and part of one motor and I had to ask for a napkin to clean it up. After few minutes the steward told us that we should go out of the plane as well. We left our belongs at the plane, but nobody told us that more people will come in as well, so, I left the bag at the seat, but actually the right thing was to left them at the lockers of the plain, that´s what Curro did, for example. We went in different seats, in order to have a window of our own each one.

So, we went out of the plain, but nobody told us we should go inside the airport, so we stayed right there, at the side of the plain… till someone told us by signs to go inside. We stayed in a waiting room with a cafeteria, at that time I was able to eat something with no stomach problems, so I went straight to ask for a coffee and something to eat. Another lady came after me and she tried to ask about her food before me. Actually this is something “so Latin-American” so, I had life training on it, so I know perfectly what to do to avoid it (that means I asked about the food the first) ;P

Immediately I went to choose a table, they were doing the line to ask about food as well. I got sit giving them my back, as far as we had no idea of how long we´ll stay there; I started to eat as fast as I can. I wasn’t watching them, so, I couldn´t avoid laughing a lot when I heard Esther claiming so angry: “Ok! Does someone else would like to cut in the line like if I would be invisible! Damn!” :D Yeap, she was out of training for Latin-Americans´ customs! ;P

We were waiting for another group that was coming late from nobodyknows ;P they were a lot, mostly Germans. (Just that nobody explained that to us). Thanks of God we had our seats reserved! Well, more or less, in Curro´s case, as far as he left his belongs inside the locker, the seat looked like an empty one and somebody took it. So he had to sit in another one with the window with a lot of scratches. All this for finally not over flying Salto Angel! They said we´ll do coming back to Margarita, but with no explanations about why. Actually, if there´s something I really should complain about in that tour, is about the constant lack of information.

(To be continued.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Café Pushkin: an emblematic place in Moscow.

Louis invited me to din at the Pushkin Restaurant at Cafe Pushkin that btw I haven´t heard about in my whole life… so, as far as none of us were dressed as for going to a fancy place, I didn´t thought it could be one… and it was! I felt a bit embarrassed when I saw how the people going there were dressed… but well, Louis was also with jeans, so, at least I wasn´t the only one! ; )

A video of Café Pushkin food: (this one isn´t mine!).

The place was great, just so expensive… but… I wasn´t paying! ;)

I also drunk a cup of chocolate, the way the waiter did it was like they in Russia use to do some centuries ago, was a small show at all! : )

I have already talk about this place at the post "From Russia with Love! (Final Part)" but someone advised me it will be more useful to place them in different posts, so here is it, it contains exactly the same of that post, in case of new comments about this place, I´ll write a new post.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mayke Ame: Tibetan Refuge in Beijing.

Just getting inside of Mayke Ame, was completely like travelling to another world. The decoration, the music, the cloth the staff was wearing… wow!

Guess what! At the entrance it was a Prayer Wheel! Oh yes! I made it to run! :D

To select the food was so difficult, but I always like to try the food of other cultures, so finally I just let Zoe to choose the more typical things.

The first thing I got was the Yak Chas Tea, made with yak butter, tea and salt… this is a quite typical drink in Tibet. I´m afraid I didn´t like it… maybe it´s the kind of savors you should have the custom of taste them to enjoy them, so, I´m not saying it´s not good, just that wouldn´t be something I´ll drink again.

The different dishes we had were really good, you can have an idea of them here:

As I mentioned, Zoe was friend of part of the staff, so in a moment she ask the Chef to come to our table and to explain me how to cook Tibetan food… :$ Oki, I had hear the explanation and even recorder it in a video… but no, I haven´t try to do it by my own! ;P

There it was a special food offering chest:

During the dinner different artists had been singing and playing Tibetan instruments, wearing as well typical cloth.

When we were finishing our dinner, someone of the staff was with a lot of white neckerchiefs and started to distribute them to the clients.

So, everybody should give (as far as we want), neckerchiefs to people, no matter if you knew them or not, wishing them good luck, with a special music played for that. In one of the tables were several Lama´s Monks and they were the ones that started, after the musicians went to sing specially for them. So, it became in some kind of “wishing good luck dance” with all the people at the restaurant. After exchanging the neckerchiefs, the leader of the group invited all of us to continue dancing, so, we all, including the monks, made a big circle taking the hand of people situated at both sides and started to jump-run-“dance”. I should say it was really happy and funny surrealistic moment! :D

At the end Zoe took me to the monks table to great them, so the one that was some kind of the Dalai Lama´s representative gave me a special blessing plus a signed pic of the Dalai Lama. I had been searching info about that to explain it better at this post, but I´m afraid I have no clue if it´s normal to be a Dalai Lama´s representative in Beijing, I was quite surprised of that.

(Hem... yes... he was talking by the mobile when I took this pic! ;P )

Yeaph! Was such a great experience! A Tibetan party with a lot of strangers including Lama´s monks! :D

I have already talked about this place at the post "A Mystic Experience: Lamas in Beijing Second Part" but someone advised me it will be more useful to place them in different posts, so here is it, it contains exactly the same of that post, in case of new comments about this place, I´ll write a new post.