All posts filed under: Travels

Guatemala III – My month in San Marcos

Looking out over the beautiful lake and the mountains, and following the shifting scenarios of the day from this elevated point is amazing. It’s also very peaceful. That is when the villagers don’t use the loud speaker system they do seemed to love, especially at 7 o’clock on Sunday mornings, playing music or talking like mad. I never did get the hang of what this is all about. I love writing and occasionally pausing to look out over the volcano and the lake, where the fishermen are out on their shallow boats at the crack on dawn every day. Though after the initial thrill it’s dawning on me that my wish of living in nature is not as easy as I thought. To pop down to the village isn’t a task one does lightly every day. It’s just too hard to negotiate the trek up and down the mountain. So I settle into a routine to go down every other day and to bring with me enough food for the day after. I find a really nice restaurant …

Guatemala II – Arriving at Lake Atitlán

I’m on my way to lake Atitlán where I’m going to stay for nearly a month. My thought is to stay in one place and thus have the time to settle down to write and to work. I board a shuttle and we set of for the three hours drive to get to the shore of Panajachel. At lake Atitlán, the transports are made by small vessels darting to and fro between the small pueblos that are situated on the shores of this vast lake. It takes about forty-five minutes for my small boat to arrive to my destination San Marcos. Next stop San Marcos. It’s nice to arrive by boat to a new place. This boat ride reminds me a bit of the archipelago of Stockholm in my own country. The inhabitants of this small village consists of a Mayan population and of westerners, a lot of them spiritual seekers, who believe that there is a special spiritual energy here. The billboards are full of activities on offer such as meditation, yoga classes, Reiki, massage and chakra …

Guatemala I – Antigua

I arrive in Guatemala on a propeller plane and head straight to Antigua. It is love at first sight with this beautiful town, with it’s cobbled stone streets, ruins and amazing colours and textiles of the Maya population. The women here wear the traditional and colourful clothing. The square-cut blouse is called huipil or güipil, the long skirts are called corte, and this is held up by a woven belt called faja. Every region has it’s own distinctive pattern and colour combinations. As a designer I go totally bonkers of delight. The vibrant colours and the intricate patterns of the textiles are so inspiring and I enjoy people watching more than ever here. I like the whole feeling of this old town with it’s beautiful buildings in Spanish baroque style, which used to be Spain’s colonial capital before it was severely destroyed by earthquakes in 1773 and the new capital was moved to a safer place, which is where Guatemala City is situated now. The town is dotted with ruins that remain from the earthquakes. …

Uruguay

I arrive in Uruguay when the summer is starting to build up. After months of living in large cities I’m longing for the sea, beaches and nature big time. So I swiftly sidestep Montevideo when I arrive there with a ferry from Buenos Aires, and head to the bus station. The long-distance bus is packed to the rafters, but everyone is good-natured about it and in holiday mode. My destination is La Pedrera Rocha. Or more precisely, to the small settlement of San Antonio. Here I meet a vast and pristine beach with not a soul in sight, pine and eucalyptus forests and the lovely home of David and his beautiful daughters. They live in a big house that David purpose-built himself as a family home but also as a guesthouse or a posada as it’s called here. This hidden away and very private retreat is only reached by a dirt track through the forest. The house is nestled in the forest and the beach is only a short walk away. It’s made of simple but honest materials, wood …

Buenos Aires VII – Weekends

Weekends are for socialising and the porteños, as the locals are called, love to eat out any time of the day. That said they love socialising so this isn’t only reserved  for the weekends, on the contrary. Often working days end at 7 o’clock or later so dining out is a late affair here. They also enjoy spending their leisure time in their parks and they do have some wonderful parks i Buenos Aires. Here I’m in sea of roses in El Rosedal de Palermo. This park is spread out in about 3 hectares and have some 18 000 roses planted here. Saturday and Sunday markets are also popular to visit. This is one of the best Sunday market, Feria de Artisans de Plaza Francia in Recoleta. They sell high quality craftsmanship and artisan products such as jewellery, pottery, artwork and leather goods. Pretty impressive tree in Plaza Francia. The Japanese garden or Jardín Japonés de Buenos Aires, is one of the largest Japanese gardens of its kind in the world outside Japan, set in the large Parque Tres de Febrero. Here  a zen-like …

Buenos Aires VI – San Telmo, passionate tango and faded charm

San Telmo is the oldest part of Buenos Aires, and has it’s own ambience and faded charm. Very bohemian and very authentic. Here is where most of the passionate tango dancing takes place. At Plaza Dorrego you can se dancers show of their tango skills in daytime for the tourists. But if you want to experience the real hard-core tango it’s the milongas you have to visit. I enjoyed watching the expressive dance. Best viewed live so have a look at the film clip. Street view at Plaza Dorrego. The Sunday market in San Telmo is the largest in Buenos Aires. The centre of the feria is here at Plaza Dorrego and then it spills out on the adjoining streets many blocks away, with stalls after stalls full of antiques, trinkets, bric-a-brac and artisans wares. This is the area where you find all the antique shops. Here is one on Defensa. I find San Telmo is the most architecturally beautiful neighborhood with loads of interesting buildings. Many of them crumbling and with a lot of patina but nevertheless exquisite. …

Buenos Aires V – Eating well in Palermo

Before I came here I rather ignorantly thought that it would be only beef on the menu. I’m pleased to say that Buenos Aires is up there with any other modern big city and have a wide range of great restaurants and healthy organic food too.  Since I stayed here for two months and on a bit of a shoestring budget I didn’t do fine dining but once in a while I enjoyed really nice meals out. Here is a selection of some of the highlights. Starting with the main photo, this is one of the times I splurged and had a delicious lunch. Uco, a fantastic restaurant on Soler, in a great setting with it’s own garden within Fierro hotel. Excellent food and excellent service! As you can see every dish was like an aesthetic and culinary dream. One of the first restaurants I visited, on recommendation, was Las Pizarras Bistro. A great little restaurant on Thames, run by the chef Rodrigo Castilla. We got talking and it ended with that I visited him and his …