March. 4, 2018 Sunday at Arroyo Verde, Argentina

This is the outside of our building. The entrance to our suite is under the overhang. Back in the day this part of the building held the tack room and some stables. There are other rooms in the building for family and also for the guides to stay in. We are a good ways from civilization so the guides stay here instead of going back to their families. Being a guide is tough on families. You work during the season, any time you have off means no income and no tips from the clients. Winter is time to be with the family, or have a different job.

There was a beautiful tree on our walk to the main building for breakfast. I have no idea what is was. The nice part of traveling to the Southern Hemisphere during our winter was seeing all the flowers, the warmer temperatures, and the longer period of daylight. My favorite day of the year used to be the day the clocks were turned so that I could get more sleep. Now it is the winter solstice as I know the days will stop getting shorter. At breakfast there was a gorgeous sterling silver bee caddy for honey. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was going to appear in my blog!

I went for the scrambled eggs and bacon our first morning. Charlie, one of the guests, here ordered three fried eggs with one piece of toast. The kitchen staff couldn’t understand the order and he always got three pieces of toast. We would all have a laugh in the morning wondering if he was going to get his three eggs and three pieces of toast. He always did, no matter how many times he said three eggs and one piece of toast!

Breakfast was at 8:30, and after that Steve would meet Fernando and they would go off fishing. I would stay back at the Estancia and read, blog or walk around. Here is a beautiful rose bush on property. The Estancia was well known for its gardens, and in the past garden clubs would come to tour the grounds for the day.

Here you can see a traditional garden bed planting of lower plants in the front, higher plants in the middle, and bushes in the back. I never saw anyone weeding. I think the plants are so well established that they only have to do minor weeding.

There was a man made pond near the main house, with an Henri Bouchard stature of a young girl with a fawn. What a great view!

Here is one of the Estancia’s dogs, joining me on my tour of the gardens. I think there were nine dogs in all!

This is the view of the back of the Estancia. There were four bedrooms on the right, the left part of this picture shows the sun room with the white chairs. On the patio outside were different groupings to sit on; couches, chairs, semi recliners, and mesh chairs. I think there might have been a hammock also.

This was the other side of the building where Steve and I stayed. On the left was an office for Martina, and other apartments for family and staff upstairs and to the right.

I probably wasn’t supposed to peak in, but I couldn’t resist! This is Martina’s office.

I liked the compass in the patio. When we first moved into our current house in Poughkeepsie we had a sundial stamped into the concrete. I was quite excited about it until I realized that the metal guide had been broken off. I think it was too dangerous, and people were tripping on the metal guide!

It took me a while to figure out what this picture is of. (It’s been two and a half weeks since we left Arroyo Verde!) This is the view of the front of the Estancia. The bedrooms are on the left, and the fluffy brown dog in in the center of the picture. The family originally stayed here, now guests are in the four bedrooms.

I took a couple of walks the first day, getting the lay of the Estancia. This is as far as I got on this walk. This road leads back to the main road, some 15 kilometers to the main gate. Cattle and horse don’t like to cross the cattle guards. If someone is going riding, they will go through the gate on the right.

While in our room, Steve and I would hear a humming at times. This was caused by the generator on property. You did know that a well documented blog includes a visit to all available places, didn’t you?

This is the dog kennel. I was happy that I wasn’t a visiting dog.

This is where some of the horses hung out. This is not all of them, I forgot how many Katrina said the Estancia had. There was a very old mild mannered mare that was going to be my horse to ride. I said “Maybe next year!”. Katrina said “She may not be alive next year!”

No, this picture is not about my manicure, or how wrinkled my hands are! Steve was having problems with his hands getting cold, and was afraid that he would lose his wedding ring. I told him instead of putting it in the suitcase, I would add it to my ring collection. The big honker of a diamond is my fake travel diamond that I got at Home Goods. I lost one of the trilliants on the side at some point on our excellent adventure. Looks like I’ll have to get another ring before our next vacation. This center stone is 3 carats. I think I’ll try for a 5 carat next time!

Soon it was time for lunch. We had canapés on the patio.

Tomatoes with mozzarella balls. I think this is such a great canapé to make. Just cut your grape tomato in half and skewer it to a mozzarella ball. Sprinkle with parsley to make it festive. Voila, you appear to be quite the hostess!

Charlie asked for a cold beer. I think this mug was kept in the freezer. I don’t drink much beer, but this one looked particularly attractive! There was only one mug. I think one of the guests needs to gift the Estancia. Do you think I could get a free week if I bought some next time? I don’t think so.

We had a lovely salad for lunch.

The entree was rice with some kind of meat. I can’t figure out if this is chicken or pork!

Dessert was fried dough dusted with confectioners sugar.

This was so tasty, it gets its own close-up!

After lunch I took another walk. These busy bees were gettin pollen from this flower.

The road kept going, but I headed back to the Estancia. Somewhere ahead lies the stream and across the way Ted Turner’s La Primavera and the mean guard. Steve and Fernando had stepped foot on La Primavera, and the guard told them to get back onto the correct side of the stream! This was a panoramic view of the valley that I took.

This part of the picture is on the mid left part of the picture above. You can see how wide the valley is.

Steve came back about 8:30 and it was soon time to shower and change for dinner.

Tonight we had the brown china at dinner.

We had a different arrangement of flowers at dinner. You can see the candle reflections on the table also!I loved the way the napkin looked like a rose. Katrina said the staff would give me napkin folding lessons. I thought about it. I knew it would be great for my next candlelit dinner party, but thought I would forget how to do them. I was on vacation after all, no lessons of any kind for me!

Dinner started with a vegetable soup. Almost as good as Stella’s soups!

Our entree was spatzle and pork cutlets. There was lots of paprika on the side for those who liked to add more spice to their food.

Salad was iceberg with sliced red beets.

Dessert was a berry mouse. It was nice and light. Katrina was in a bit of a tizzy at dinner. Tomorrow a bunch of Argentinians were coming to stay for a bit. She said they were a crazy bunch. Hmmm, I couldn’t wait to meet them!

March 3, 2018 Lunch and Dinner at Arroyo Verde, Argentina

It was time to head back to the Estancia for lunch. We all loaded into our respective pickup trucks, some a little faster than others! Would you be surprised if I told you that I am always first in the buffet line, when my table is called? I have one eye on the room, and one eye on the person I am talking to, waiting for the signal to belly up to the bar. I also try to listen to two conversations at once. You never know who might have the more interesting conversation. I have tried to be like Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and have my thoughts only directed at the speaker in front of me, but that is too hard and nowhere near as interesting!We got back to the Estancia and toured a wee bit before we were called into lunch. Most of the guests stay at the main house. There are four bedrooms sleeping two to a room. Outside the main house there were benches and deer sheds (antlers) for the anglers to hang waders. Here is a close up picture. “Those are some racks you’ve got there!”First thing you see in the entry way is this magnificent brown trout. 15.5 pounds! The biggest trout that Steve ever caught was 8.5 pounds in New Zealand. This fish is why people come to fish here, well the scenery and the people of course too! There is a beautiful bar where you could take a nip whenever you desired. Arroyo Verde like Tipiluke, included booze and wine in your fee. Some places we have been to charge extra. Some people get quite annoyed when they have to pay for booze. Those people are likely to really drink. A lot!This is the living room. There are lots of family pictures on the bookshelves. This was,and is their family get away place. Arroyo Verde is very comfortable, and cozy. It’s not pretentious at all. We once stayed in a lodge in New Zealand that although it was lovely, the owners were so full of themselves that it was horrible. We couldn’t wait to leave. Here, like at Tipiluike, we wanted to stay and stay. Not to get Delphi in the Bahamas feeling unloved, we love to stay there also!

There are other apartments on the property where the family sleeps when they visit. All of the daughters are married, and they have separate Estancias where their family getaways are. Meimei, the matriarch and Marina ,one of the daughters , still have apartments here. They also have apartments in Buenos Aires. Katrina, the manager lives here during the season and travels when Arroyo Verde is closed in the winter. There are interesting knick knacks covering the tables. No one smokes inside of course. This might be a great dish for candy, but then you wouldn’t see the fish! They even had President Eisenhower come fishing for a day! President Clinton stayed at La Primavera on the other side of the Rio Traful when he visited with Ted Turner and Jane Fonda.

This is another professional photo of the living room. I would often sit on the white chairs and couches in the sun room and work on my blog or read. There is a round table to the left of the white chairs, and I would blog there also. Let’s go to lunch now shall we? All our meals were in the dining room. There were beautiful porcelain birds on the mantle. I looked but didn’t touch. Even at lunch the silver, tablecloths and fine china were brought out. One of the staff made beautiful flower arrangements that changed every day. I think that there were four or five different china patterns. Lunch and Dinner were buffet. There was plenty to choose from. I had a little of everything! Here is another photo of the beautiful birds. The painting of the ponies was interesting. At nighttime it was difficult to see the head of the black pony, his face is so dark. Talking about the painting would generally set Katrina off on one marvelous story after another. She has been a guest at a number of friends homes in the UK. They would often be castles, where the art work on the walls was priceless, with a Rafael here, and a Rembrandt there! Here is a close up of the silverware waiting for dessert! Dessert was warm apple crepes. Aren’t you hungry just looking at them?

Here is a close up of the humongous pine cones by the fireplace. There was always a hot pot of water for instant coffee or tea in the bar. The bar ware was lovely. I’m not sure which ones I prefer. There were lots of dogs here. I think there were three black labs, two mutts and a very poofy brown dog. There were lots of cats also to keep the rats away. We headed back to the room for a siesta. Steve would be going out fishing at five or so, and fish until dark. Dinner here would start with cocktails and canapés at 9:30 and dinner at 10! After Steve left to go fishing I wandered back to the main house to blog and read. Katrina was in the meadow working her horse. What a delightful view! I had a sliver of cake and then hung out the rest of the day. Kathy and Sarah took a horseback ride.We came back for dinner and were treated by the guard Labradors. Salad first. Dinner was by candlelight so most of these pictures will be lousy. Roast Chicken.

Here are the glazed carrots and whipped potatoes. Here is my dinner all nestled on my plate ready to go down to my tummy!Dessert was delicious. In fact, I would love a slice of that cheesecake now.

Dinner was a lively conversation, there was politics, and talk of fish that were caught and not caught. Mostly not caught as the water was quite warm. We had been warned by guests at Tipiluike who had just been here that the fishing was very difficult. There might be a big fish, but don’t count on catching them!

I bombarded you with posts yesterday, so I might stretch these posts out a bit or not. You never know with me!

Monday February 26, 2018 Tipiliukie

We left with Steve having a happy smile on his face. He fished in the morning and caught a whole bunch of fish. How many I can’t remember, I’ll have to get back to you on that. He keeps telling me how many, but it goes in one ear and out the other. I do care, it’s just any number over ten I just forget.

My hips were sore from riding, and I didn’t have a massage scheduled like some of the others, so I explored a little. I do look awful cute, don’t I?This is the view from one of the back patios. You can see Tipiliuke in the background. This is the gift shop. They didn’t have any baseball caps to add to Steve’s collection so he got a tee shirt instead. We will have to come back another year to add to his cap collection. On the top shelf is a book written by one of the grandsons of the founders of the Estancia. I had no time to read the lodge copy, maybe next time when I won’t have anything new to blog!Kevin had mentioned the other property on site that could be rented. It is called River House. It is perfect for a group getaway. There are definitely at least 4, maybe 5 bedrooms. It was built by an investment banker who has since died. Then a German bought it, who might have ended up in jail, and now some Argentinian businessmen own it. They are looking to sell it, so it can be yours! 500 acres, over a mile of beautiful water, and only $4 US million. Who wants to chip in? There is wind and solar power with a backup generator and batteries. They have satellite dishes also. There is a caretaker to mind the Estancia while you are away. Let’s get closer shall we?

Here is Kevin going up the front steps. The front door is humongous!

Here is the big ass pool table. Every house needs a big ass pool table, doesn’t it?

This is the living room. Can you imagine all your nearest and dearest sitting around and talking about all the fish you caught that day? You can see the dining room from here.

Here is a closer look of the dining room. Looks like at least eight chairs, so maybe only eight can sleep here. Guess I will have to cross some people off the guest list! Ha Ha!

A few of the other guests staying at Tipiliuke came along to see the River House. They weren’t interested in joining me in on a partnership on the property.

The shades in the bedrooms were kept closed due to all the bright sun. There is no air conditioning, but there are usually lots of Patagonian breezes. Nights get very cool. There is no hot tub, or pool. Perhaps we might want to make sure the owners throw in a hot tub to seal the deal! This is the view from one of the bedrooms upstairs. That is one of the side channels. It dries up during the summer. The main river stays in good shape. The lines in the photo are due to my taking the picture through the screen. The River House comes with a full team of help. You get maids, cooks and servers. No need to bring your own personal staff with you. There is a grocery store 20 minutes away if you want to do all the cooking yourselves. This is the mirror in the foyer of the River house. That’s one big ass mirror also! Here is a small part of your 500 acre view. Did I mention that the property comes with a pond? Well it does. Here is Maru, striking a pose for me! Isn’t she adorable? Does anyone have a brother who wants to live in Argentina in the mountains, has a great smile, sparking eyes and a great sense of humor? Shoot me an email. This is the view of the back of the house. Just beautiful! One last view of River House, I can’t wait for dinner and tell Steve that I put a binder on the property. Hmm, the bushes look a little overgrown, we’d have to add a gardener to the payroll. That just might kill the deal for Steve. Back to Tipiliuke and it is time for a Pisco Sour!

Here is Harry, our intern from the UK. Isn’t that a great spread? He really does have teeth! Here we have Lalla and Gianni from Milan, with Mary Jo (her real name is Maria Jose, but we call her Mary Jo, (on Kevin’s phone she is listed as Babe, he calls her “My Little Angel” when he talks to her on the phone. We don’t know what she calls him!) You might wonder how I know all this stuff. Well, I observe and ask questions. Steve scolded me at dinner the night of the faux proposal that I was interrupting myself by asking so many questions!Gianni is an architect. He has designed villas all over the world. I asked him what he thought of River House, he said it was quite beautiful. Maybe I will ask Steve to buy it for me after all!

Gianni was the architect of the Italian President Silvio Berlusconi’s villa. I asked which room was the Boom Boom room, Gianni and Lalla pretended not understand my question.

Goodness, is it time for dinner already? Yes, it is. Let’s have some carrot soup.

Followed by spinach crepes with mushrooms. It doesn’t look so good in this lighting but it was delicious! Dessert was blueberries with a Dulce de Leche cake underneath. Steve’s total fish count for Monday was 15 in the morning and 15 in the afternoon. Steve believes in fishing and not taking pictures of each fish that he catches!

More tomorrow! Remember to send me your likes, and subscribe!

Monday February 26, 2018. Tipiliuke!

Breakfast time! The buffet table is beautifully spread out with Coffee, cereal, meat and cheese. There are lots of spreads to put on your toast, many jams, and of course Dulce de Leche! Look at this little saucer for your tea bag. Isn’t that adorable? I had a fried egg with bacon. Steve had his eggs scrambled. Here is Steve chatting with Annie and Paul, they are from Wyoming. I think they are exchanging fishing tales. What else would you do at a fishing lodge? Here is Steve all geared up and ready to go. His guide Adrian is photo bombing! I took the picture with my iPad, so try to ignore all the stuff on the side. Look at Steve in that vest! He is prepared for everything! This vista shows the volcano Lanin, and on the right is Tipiliuke. While Steve was off fishing I went off riding with Fiona, who is from England and one of the interns, Mike. Why do those power lines always seem to be in the way of the view? (Mary M, I am thinking about you!) Mike is from the UK and one of his relatives is a DUKE! You know I got quite excited about that, didn’t you! Here is Mike giving me a hug. I look pretty calm experiencing my almost royal hug. Maybe I should have packed my tiara!

Jack, Harry and Mike are all from the UK. They are interning here at Tipiliuke. They are having a great time learning Spanish, riding horses, and the hospitality industry. Soon hunting season will start and they will go with the gauchos, translating for the guests. If you know someone who would like to do an internship here just shoot Tipiluike an email . It will be an experience of a lifetime!Here we are on our ride. It was supposed to be an hour. How long will it be?

On our ride we passed by some anglers in a drift boat, fishing the Chimehuin River.

Everywhere you can see is part of the Estancia. Almost 50,000 acres! Just think of the property taxes! I was told that this is not the largest estancia in the area, there are ones down the road of over 100,000 acres!

I spy a guanaco! Do you see his white legs?Here is a picture of Julio. He is our gaucho that is leading us on the ride. He has very sharp eyes. At one point he came back to my horse and grabbed a piece of metal that was on the ground.

Our ride was over two hours and fifteen minutes. My hips were so sore I was almost crying the last fifteen minutes. I decided that one hour to the gaucho meant one hour there, turn around and one hour back. Back at the lodge, snacks awaited us. I think the cheese was a big hit, but I loved the salami!Not sure if I showed you one of the outdoor seating areas. There was a fireplace that was lit after dinner. Lunch time! As you recall, lunch is the big meal, and dinner is much lighter. Lunch was served in a beautiful pergola. It was shady enough that we didn’t get too hot. Temperatures were in the 80’s here. Tipiliuke had charming touches everywhere. Here is the signature brand on the napkin ring, and a little flower sprig in the cloth napkin. First course was a delightful salad. The vegetarians had a much larger salad. The pork was cooked perfecto! I loved the apples on the side. Steve doesn’t like apples so I got to have his also. Dessert was a mango mousse. While I was out riding Steve was out fishing. Yes! He did catch his February fish! Congratulations! Isn’t this one a beauty! I am not sure how many he caught. We’ll find that out later. Ciao, Ciao!

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Sunday February 25, 2018 Tipiliuke!

This is Tipiliuke Lodge. There are nine rooms available for guests to stay in. This is the living room where you might relax in the afternoon or chat before dinner. Here is another place to sit if there is no room in the living room. Many of the guides would sit here while waiting for the anglers to finish up their breakfast before a day of fishing.Would you like to see our room? It’s just down the hallway. Come along!

Room is not in pristine condition as we have started to spread our stuff out already. Here we see Steve doing his unpacking. My Harlequin novel is sitting on the bed stand. I have been doing so much posting that I haven’t been able to do any reading at all! The things I give up for you!

Finally the other side of the room. Don’t you love that hat? I hope it doesn’t get seriously smashed during this vacation. Here we have the bathroom. No toiletries spread out yet! This is the toilet, bidet, and tub with shower. The faucets for the shower were on the side wall, and not the front of the tub. I am used to turning on the water from the front of the shower, and in reaching across to turn on the diverter to make it a shower. When I did that, I would get my head drenched every time. Finally the third time I took the shower I got the bright idea to turn on the taps from the other side of the curtain. Voila! I didn’t get drenched! Fishing for Steve was to start tomorrow so we decided to go for a horse back ride. Steve’s horse appears to be camera shy. Either that or he is giving us the side eye! That is Tipiliuke in the background. No, I will not be climbing it! All that you can see is part of the ranch. After our ride we went on a tour of the property in one of the Lodge’s trucks, this is Chimehuin River. We could see some fish rising. Steve is showing exactly where the currents were going and bringing insects to the lurking trout. Will he catch any fish tomorrow when he goes out? I sure hope so! This bridge was built just after World War One. It was really bumpy! Here is our obligatory “snatch a kiss” in the snap shot! You’d think we were quite in love, wouldn’t you! Well we are, at least I hope Steve thinks so too! Here we are driving over the bridge. The back side!We continue driving as we are going to see the sun set. The scenery is just gorgeous. Did I give you the website yet? tipiliuke.comCan you spot a guanaco?Here they are on the crest of the hill. Guanaco are Argentinian llamas. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

Here is Maru and Steve. I’m looking for a husband for her. She is going to her sister’s wedding this weekend. There are supposed to be 400 guests. I told her that I was praying that she would meet her special someone there!

Steve looks deliriously happy. He is going fishing tomorrow. The water looks excellent, and the scenery is gorgeous. What could be better? This is Tipiliuke, in the far back you can see Volcano Lanin. It is 12,000 feet high. I won’t be climbing that either! Here we are at sunset. It looks like I am getting some heavenly rays sent to me. I wish I could post the video here, of the 360 degree view, but the bandwidth is poor. We will have to wait until I come back home. One last kiss and it is time to go back to the lodge to shower and change for dinner.Pisco Sour time! It’s not as good as Julio’s at Coyhaique River Lodge in Chile, but it will do. We enjoyed empanadas before dinner. Meat and vegetable were available. This is the interior of the meat empanada. First course was a salad. Dinner here is very late, about 9 or even later. Lunch is a big meal of the day. It is served about 2:30. Fishing runs from 9 until 1, we then have lunch and rest in the afternoon. Then those who fish go our at 6 and fish again. Steve says fishing is always best just after sunset. Did I show you how fun the chair cushions are? They were so soft! We were having so much fun at dinner, that I asked Kevin the manager to take a picture of our table. So he did! Kevin is such a wise guy! Here is our table. Next to Steve is Martin from Germany, and his wife is Sybil, she is sitting across from him. The next couple is Maya and Jeraldo. In the middle is Mary Jo, she is married to Kevin. Kevin and Mary Jo run the place. They are amazing. So much energy, and love for what they are doing. They have been managing Tipiluike for 20 years. Maya and Jeraldo are not married. We were all trying to get them engaged. I even took off my fake diamond so Jeraldo could use it but no dice! Since it was last night for Martin and Sybil, and Maya and Jeraldo,a bottle of champagne was brought to the table. I even took off my ring and put it in Maya’s champagne glass so Jeraldo could surprise Maya! (Although I was announcing the whole time what I was doing,so it wasn’t a surprise at all!) Martin gave a tremendous toast, describing the beautiful chapel on property, and how wonderful it would be if the sweet couple got married before the night was out. We could barely breathe we were all laughing so hard. Maya posed for some fake facebook pictures of her being in shock with the diamond in her glass. Too bad I was in such hysterics I couldn’t take my Kodak moment for you! Back to some serious business, Dinner was Ravioli and sauce. Dessert was berries. Sweet dreams everyone.