March 3, 2018 Hola Arroyo Verde!

I am way behind in my postings, and I have decided if I don’t catch up I may lose some of my dear followers. Or even worse, I might not gain new ones!

So before getting up on our last morning at Casa Luma de Montana, I took a long last look at the beautiful ceiling. This hotel would not have been out of place in Italy. I loved the frescos on the ceiling.

This was the room where we stayed in Bevagna, Italy on my 60th birthday trip. We had a one bedroom suite with living room. The hotel was an old Palazzo. I’m hoping the angel fresco was above the bed and not the fighting guys. That would have led to a lot of bad dreams!

Now that I am comparing Casa Luma, it would have been more fitting in a rustic Italian villa book. Perhaps this one! Or on the cover of a magazine, like this one!We had our last breakfast and said good by to the beautiful view of Villa la Angostura. We met Fernando who would be our driver to Arroyo Verde. When we go to the parking lot we saw a beautiful drift boat. Steve thought “My, what a nice boat!”. This was Fernando’s boat, and he had towed it from whereever he last was all the way to Casa Luma, towed it down the hill to the first parking lot, backed it in and was going to hitch back up to it and drive it to Arroyo Verde. As anyone who has towed a boat, and backed it up can appreciate, this was quite a formidable task. But Fernando had a very powerful truck, and was able to maneuver quite easily. If it’s your business, you learn quickly!

We said goodbye to Elizabeth and were off. Like me, Fernando had a beautiful hat. The hats were kept on the back seat next to me. This is the stone and concrete driveway that led to the main road. It was quite steep. Fernando handled it so easily. I thought for sure we wouldn’t make it up the hill! Silly me. We drove through town, this is the fishing store that Steve and I visited the night before. You can see the “Simms” sign over the front door. “Simms” doesn’t mean fishing in Spanish, it is a name brand.

This was going to be today’s truck ride. We left Villa La Angostura, drove on Route 40 to intersect with Route 237, traveled north along the Limay River and then turned left at Confluencia and traveled along the Rio Traful to Arroyo Verde. I think it took us a good three hours.The road traveled along the Rio Limay. It was very picturesque. Steve was planning on taking an all day drift boat ride in Fernando’s boat, one of the days of our stay. I would have the option to join them. Would I go, or would I stay? This area was called Valle Encantado, or the Enchanted Valley. This rock formation was called Dedo de deus, or”God’s Finger”.

There was lots of road construction on this part of the road, so I took lots of pictures of the rock formations. I won’t bore you with them!

Well, maybe just one more. This looked like a great place to stop and stare. We finally arrived at the main gate. The road to the estancia is about 15 kilometers, and it’s a dirt road. I think I’ll leave off now. Stay tuned for the next installment.

Thursday March 1, 2018 Off to dinner, Las Balsas, Villa La Angostura

We had reservations at Las Balsas at 8:00 for dinner.lasbalsas.com

Since our hotel’s restaurant was closed we were going to have to go elsewhere for dinner. This was one of the restaurants that our travel agent had recommended. Eight pm is a little early for dinner in Argentina, but we figured we would be one of the first diners.

Steve inquired at the front desk how far the restaurant was from our hotel. “Not far, maybe a kilometer or two.” Steve thought once, then twice and decided to call for a taxi.

I thought I had a picture of Steve at the front door of the hotel, and here it is!

Our driver arrived a little after our requested time of 7:45, and we were off. We drove into town and then through town. We turned off onto a dirt road. We began to get a bit nervous. Were we being kidnapped? We thought of our friend who knows martial arts, was an Eagle Scout and would probably have a knife strapped to his ankle! He would have been able to handle this situation!

Steve in not quite a panic, scrolled through his iPhone looking for the name of the restaurant, that he had thoughtfully added before we left the hotel. Steve finally found it, and showed it to the driver. “Si, Si, Las Balsas”, the taxi driver nodded.

I was only a little bit relieved at this point. The driver could still have been lying to us, but although he was big, he was a fat big. As long as the driver didn’t have a gun, a knife and a bunch of backup thugs, Steve might be able to protect me. We really didn’t have that much cash on us, to steal, as we had left our tip envelope with all our guide money back home. We also could have dropped the envelope someplace in the airport or Buenos Aires, while we were shuffling papers in our trip folder. We will have a big laugh if we find the envelope at home. We had been able to put the tips on our bill at Tipiliuke. Everyone prefers dollars instead of pesos because of inflation,

Finally we saw a sign for Las Balsas! We drove a little further, and there it was!

This is a picture from the hotel web site. You can tell by now, which photos are mine, and which are the photos from the professionals! The lighting and angles are so much better!

We exited the taxi, laughed with our driver, gave him a big tip, and entered the hotel where the restaurant was. Here is a relieved Steve outside the restaurant! We were deliriously happy. Here is Steve inside the restaurant. You can tell who is taking all the pictures. It’s not that I don’t like to have my picture taken, it’s just that I like to take many pictures. Do you know that I have 19.890 pictures on my iPhone? I need to do some serious editing!The restaurant had a lovely view of Nahuel Huapi Lake. The waitress delivered some delicious breads. We were served oil and also beet butter. Dinner was going to be a three course prix fixe menu. Steve wasn’t that thrilled with the menu. For once, I didn’t check out the menu on the internet.

I ordered still water with ice. I don’t think I have ever seen ice so cold looking in my life!We were given an amuse bouche. It was very tasty. I think it was a broccoli puff with cream.Steve ordered the grilled prawns, mushroom, pumpkin and lemon creamy purée, chives and almond pesto. Lisa A, make sure your son the chef looks at today’s blog post!I had the Cold Tomato soup, marinated goat cheese, basil, black olives, confit tomatoes, cured ham and toasted bread. The tomato was ladled into the bowl. I love it when the waitress does that, it is always such a pretty picture!I had the Patagonian trout, avocado and orange salad, cherry tomatoes, peach emulsion, almond, chives and caper vinaigrette. It was a little too rare for me. Steve’s entree was the skirt steak, sweet potato textures, criollo sauce with roasted peanut and sautéed mushroom. Steve’s dinner was the better of the two. This little dish was on the table, I didn’t realize that it was a salt dish!We had a mango sorbet palate cleanser. I loved it, but Steve hates fruit. My dessert was the passion fruit curd, dacqoise and coconut sorbet. Steve of course, tried none of this!Steve had the dark chocolate and carob cake, stone fruits, and Lunta Malbec wine ice cream. I helped Steve with his dessert also! Here is Steve waiting for the check to arrive. The restaurant was really empty! It doesn’t get happening in Argentina until much later!We wandered around a little bit waiting for our taxi back to the hotel to arrive. You might be wondering how I could remember so well what we ate. Well, I took a picture of the menu!

Back to the hotel, and we were off to bed.I thought this was pretty neat, so I thought I would show it to you. This was the view of the ceiling from my side of the bed.

We go for a boat ride tomorrow!

Thursday March 1, 2018 Luma Casa De Montana, Villa La Angostura

This is the view of where we are staying (lumapatagonia.com.ar) from Nahuel Huapi Lake. Luma is a beautiful Italianate Villa. The story I told you previously about Queen Maxima I think is all bunk. I tried to do some research and found no family connections. So either the story is untrue or the facts are well hidden. We finished lunch and decided it was time to explore the hotel. This is the view from the patio. I could leave you just staring at the picture, but I am sure you want to see more. If not, well just stare at that beautiful picture until you are ready to explore with me. We looked over the railing to see the gorgeous pool below. Looks nice doesn’t it? Here is Steve helpfully pointing out where are room is! He is such a good sport!Off to the side was also the other part of the hotel. These rooms had true balconies and patios, instead of the Juliet Balconies, that we had. I think those rooms had a different price point than ours! Look, many chaise lounges! That seems promising for a layabout. We descend below and I drop my stuff to reserve my chaise lounge and explore.Once more, the beautiful view!This pool has a door so you can go outside, or stay inside! There were Jacuzzi bubbles in the circular area. This pool deserves a closer inspection doesn’t it?Okay, that’s close enough with out going in!

There was a path leading down toward the lake. I looked at it and told Steve “Have Fun!”

When Steve came back up he told me that I definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed the walk to the lake below. He did throw the obligatory stone into the Lake. Isn’t that something guys have to do? Kind of like male dogs peeing on every hydrant that they go by on their walkies?We headed back in to explore the spa area. There was a sauna, and some bathrooms. Steve sure looks like he is in a hurry isn’t he? There was a chair under a fabric canopy. I am not sure what goes on there. I think that this was a price list for spa treatments. Who can interpret it for me? There are 20 Argentinian pesos to the dollar. There was an interesting sculpture on the wall. I behaved. Steve did not have to tell me not to touch it, nor to stare at it longer than oh, ten seconds. We ascended the stairs from the spa to the main floor. Pay attention to these stairs, I will have an unexcellent adventure on them in the future! Steve had a beer on the balcony and then we went back to our room to change for dinner.

More later!

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