Dónde comer en Nueva York: mi listado de favoritos

Por Karina, de Viajar siempre o soñar con viajar

Seguramente habrán leído donde comer en Nueva York, especialmente en Manhattan en blogs, diarios, revistas con muchas recomendaciones.

A continuación comparto mi lista de los lugares que más me gustan, algunos más caros, gourmet para sentarse a disfrutar de una rica comida, otros más accesibles pero no menos deliciosos:

  1. Katz’s Delicatessen

El más famoso de los llamados “Delis”, conocido por su sándwich de pastrami (pastrón) pero también por una escena de la película “Cuando Harry conoció a Sally”, además de las celebridades, políticos que son sus clientes.

Desde 1888 haciendo sándwiches, así como tradicional cocina judía (Latkes de papas, Knishes de papa, o Matzo Balls), comida típica de Europa del Este. Sin embargo, no faltarán ensaladas, sopas, hamburguesas y hot dog.

Mi favorito: el sándwich de atún.  No dejen de ir a probar estas delicias, no se van a arrepentir, incluso sí tienen una larga fila para ingresar. Casi imposible abandonar Nueva York sin visitar este icónico restaurante, toda una experiencia comer aquí. Ubicado en el barrio Lower East Side, más precisamente en 205 East Houston Street (esquina Ludlow St)

https://www.katzsdelicatessen.com/

  1. Zabar’s

Otro deli imperdible, con su especialidad en Bagels, salmón ahumado es ideal para comprar y llevar, sobre todo sí están alojados en hoteles tipo apart o alquilaron un departamento. Con una riquísima variedad de productos de panadería (bakery) será casi imposible resistirse a una visita a su local del Upper West Side.

También en el local venden utensilios de cocina y algunos electrodomésticos para quienes disfruten de cocinar, además de muchos productos para elaborar riquísimas recetas en casa.

https://www.zabars.com/

  1. Rana

Ubicado en  Chelsea Market, zona muy trendy para pasear, comprar y por supuesto comer algo rico en las tantas opciones que ofrece. En mi caso, destaco Rana por su exquisita cocina, especialmente por sus pastas pero con  un completo menú que incluye carnes, pescados, ensaladas y postres.

Tienen la opción de takeaway, además de brunch.

Lo visité un viernes por la noche en marzo del 2017 con reserva previa. Comí unos ravioles de Calabaza hechos de trigo integral (así figura en su carta: Whole Wheat Pumpkin Ravioli, Brown Butter & Sage) y de postre unos Chocolate Ravioli Rasberry Sauce, es decir, ravioles de chocolate, que los compartimos entre varios comensales. Realmente riquísimos y por supuesto quedé con ganas de probar más. Habrá que volver a NYC y a cenar en Rana.

Teléfono ya que lo ideal es ir con reserva previa: 212.370.0975

http://www.rananyc.com/ info@rananyc.com

  1. Catch

Como lo indica su nombre en inglés de modo literal sería “captura”, en este caso referido a la pesca. Restaurante de seafood aunque ofrece algunos platos de pollo y carne. Sin embargo, aquí deleitaremos todo tipo de pescados, ceviche, wraps y opciones con muchos vegetales. Otro restaurante muy gourmet, para quien desee comer en Meatpacking District dentro de un ambiente elegante y agradable.

Aquí comí un plato de atún, exquisito. Pero como éramos varios comensales también se pidieron variedad de platos como entradas para probar todos un poco de todo. Lo visité en Julio del 2014. No regresé pese a que volví a NY en otras oportunidades.

Lo ideal es acercarse con reserva previa.

http://catchrestaurants.com/catchnyc/

  1. OAC L’aile ou la Cuisse

Un rincón de Paris en Nueva York. Así se presenta OAC, este restaurante ubicado sobre la conocida calle de Bleecker St,  en West Village. Sinceramente no regresé a comer aquí desde la época que vivía en Manhattan, allá por los años 2004/2005. Sin embargo, lo recuerdo como una excelente opción gastronómica.

Desde desayunos, brunch, almuerzos y cenas en OAC ofrecen un completísimo menú francés.  Por la noche, sobre todo los fines de semana la recomendación es ir con reserva previa.

http://aocnyc.com/

  1. Ruth Chris

Cadena de restaurante que ofrece a lo largo de todo EEUU un buen menú basado en carne, los llamados Steak House. No es accesible, pero sí quieren comer buena carne, este es el lugar. También hay opciones pollo y pastas, además de variedad de ensaladas y muy ricos postres.

Cuando vivíamos en NY, había dos locaciones dentro de Manhattan, ahora solo queda la ubicada en 148 West 51 Street en pleno barrio de Midtown, a unas cuadras del Central Park y del Rockefeller Center.

Se puede ir sin reserva previa, puede haber una leve demora pero vale la pena.

https://www.ruthschris.com/restaurant-locations/manhattan/

  1. Smith & Wollensky

Una cadena icónica de Estados Unidos dedicada a la carne aunque también ofrece pescados y otras delicias. Algunos quizá recuerdan la fachada del local neoyorquino, ya que aparece en El diablo viste a la moda (The Devil Wears Prada), su locación de 49th Street & Third Avenue.

Aquí lo ideal es siempre reservar. Fuimos un lunes por la noche, sin reserva y si bien esperamos un rato, tuvimos suerte. Y era lunes, en invierno, de marzo 2015.

El Filet Mingon es uno de los platos más recomendables, el cual comió mi marido. Esa noche me decididí por un salmón, pese a ser un Steak House de renombre.

https://www.smithandwollenskynyc.com/

  1. Applebee’s

Ahora una opción más accesible, que ofrece variedad de platos. Si no queremos comer fast food para abaratar costos, este es el lugar. También es una cadena que encontrarán por todo el país, siendo un restaurante familiar muy visitado. Siempre que fuimos lo hicimos sin reserva.

Se presentan como un Grill + Bar, que ofrecen desde hamburguesas, mozzarella sticks, comida mexicana como quesadillas y tacos, ensaladas, sopas, pollos, pastas así como deliciosos postres. Suelen tener menues de varios pasos que abaratan el precio, como Lunch Combos y por supuesto menues infantiles.

https://www.applebees.com/en

  1. Le Marais

Si quieren algo diferente, Le Marais, un restaurante francés kosher ubicado en pleno Times Square. Rica comida, buena atención. Solo tengan en cuenta la restricción de horario ya que se encuentra cerrado los viernes por la noche y el sábado al mediodía por el Shabat, pero el resto de los días tienen horario extendido.

http://lemarais.net/

  1. Carmines

Italiano muy conocido con dos locaciones en Manhattan, una en Times Square, la otra en Upper West Side, porciones generosas  y buenos precios.  También encontraran a este restaurante en otras ciudades de EEUU como en Las Vegas y Washington DC.

https://www.carminesnyc.com/

Otros para destacar especiales:

Eataly

Un pedazo de Italia en Manhattan. Si bien encontraremos Eataly en varias ciudades del mundo, es una excelente opción para comer y hacer las compras en un supermercado totalmente distinto. Probar desde crepes con Nutella, a pastas o carnes, comprar verduras frescas, pan casero recién horneado o especias. Además de tomar un delicioso café.

En Manhattan hay dos locaciones, en el Downtown y enfrente al Flatiron Building.  https://www.eataly.com/

Grimaldi’s,

Probablemente la pizzería más famosa de Brooklyn, casi debajo del puente siendo esta una locación de referencia, por sus vistas. Hay que ir con reservación previa. Cuenta con otras sucursales donde degustar su exquisita pizza. http://www.grimaldis-pizza.com/home

Magnolia Bakery

Seguramente las fans de Sex and the City recuerden este nombre ya que se trata de una pastelería especializada en cupcakes con cinco locales en Manhattan, cuya sucursal principal se ubica en 401 Bleecker Street, en West Village. Además encontraran sus delicias en Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station, Penn Station, y en la famosa tienda por departamentos Bloomingdale’s. https://www.magnoliabakery.com/

Au Bon Pain

Significa “del buen pan”, como la base de una buena comida siendo la estrella de los locales sus sándwiches artesanales que podemos armar con una variedad de ingredientes y tipos de panes, además de acompañarlos de una rica sopa o ensalada. Ofrecen buena variedad de pastelería dulce. Ideal para los almuerzos mientras conocemos la ciudad. Con varias locales, es una excelente opción para un corte rápido y económico. Veremos aquí a muchos oficinistas almorzando o llevando la comida hacia su trabajo. https://www.aubonpain.com/

Pret A Manger

Claramente lo encontraremos no solo en EEUU sino en Europa, siendo la opción accesible para comer sándwiches, sopas, ensaladas. También para ir a desayunar su café orgánico. Una buena alternativa, sobre todo en Nueva York que en general los hoteles no ofrecen desayuno incluido en las tarifas base. Y pagarlo en los hoteles a veces es realmente carísimo. https://www.pret.com/en-us

Una mención a la comida argentina en Nueva York

Viviendo allí, queríamos homenajear a nuestra familia norteamericana cenando comida argentina. Nuestros familiares asiduos visitantes de nuestro bello país, aman nuestra carne.

Por eso los invitamos una noche a comer a un restaurante argentino, que lamentablemente ya no existe, llamado Hacienda de Argentina en el Upper East Side. Lo recuerdo como exquisita cocina autóctona.

Con la nostalgia a flor de piel comimos empanadas y todos, por supuesto, degustamos carne. Para el postre recuerdo haber elegido flan con dulce de leche como correspondía.

No volví a comer comida argentina en NY, aunque lo hice en Novecento y en Baires Grill en Miami. Sé que muchos dirán comer comida argentina en EEUU, pero a veces queremos ese bife o milanesa que nos recuerda a nuestra casa.

Hotel Accademia Verona, una excelente opción

Por Karina de viajarsiempre.com

Si bien escribo post de hoteles visitados para ayudarlos a decidir el alojamiento, son muy pocos lo que recomiendo porque siempre dependerá del presupuesto, gustos y lo que cada pasajero suele buscar.

Quizá para mí cierto hotel es accesible pero a otra persona le resulte caro. Sin embargo, el Hotel Accademia en Verona merece post y recomendación. Estuvimos alojados por dos noches, en abril de 2016.

Llegamos en tren de alta velocidad desde Venecia. Desde la estación Verona Porta Nuova tomamos un taxi hacia el hotel, que se encuentra en una ubicación privilegiada, a escasos metros de la Vía Mazzini, principal calle comercial de Verona. Luego del check in súper ágil, salimos a caminar por la bella Verona (https://viajarsiempre.com/verona-una-grata-sorpresa/)

Ubicación

Situado en la calle Vía Scala 12, a unos metros encontramos la famosa Arena de Verona, la bulliciosa Plaza Brà, la Piazza delle Erbe, la Casa de Julieta y todos los lugares emblemáticos de la ciudad.

Por su ubicación hay muchos bares, cafeterías, heladerías y trattorias de excelente calidad y para todos los presupuestos.

La vista desde nuestro balcón en el Hotel Accademia

El hotel y su rica historia

Este hotel de cuatro estrellas está muy bien conservado. Teniendo en cuenta que la mayoría de los hoteles en Italia son edificios antiguos, el Hotel Accademia es una excelente opción para una estadía en la ciudad. Prolijo, limpio, habitaciones confortables y bien mantenidas. Decoración vintage, con sus interiores con paneles de mármol y habitaciones decoradas en rojo y dorado.

Leyendo en la web del hotel, sabemos que el edificio fue construido en el sitio de la Accademia dei Filotimi, en 1565 para educar a jóvenes nobles. En 1797 se transformó en una posada. Tiempo después, en 1880 se convirtió en el elegante Hotel Accademia Verona como hoy lo conocemos. O sea, nos alojamos en un hotel con muchísima historia. Artistas de la talla de María Callas se hospedaron aquí.

Habitación

Elegimos la Habitación Double Standard con desayuno incluido. Todas las habitaciones incluyen conexión Wi-Fi gratuita, aire acondicionado y calefacción regulables, mini caja fuerte, minibar refrigerado, cafetera y televisión LCD vía satélite.

Habitación sobria del Hotel Accademia
Habitación sobria del Hotel Accademia

Desayuno

El exquisito desayuno buffet  se sirve de 7:00 a 10:30 a.m. También ofrecen un desayuno tardío de bebidas calientes y aperitivos dulces disponible hasta el mediodía. Los huéspedes que lleguen entre la 1:00 p.m. y 5:00 p.m. reciben una bebida de bienvenida de cortesía.

Con mucha variedad de cafés y tés, además de leche, aguas, jugos. Panificación deliciosa, con varios platos calientes como el infaltable huevo revuelto, panceta, salchichas y hasta algunas papas. Riquísimas mermeladas, distintos quesos, manteca y el infaltable Nutella. También variada selección de frutas y fiambres. Ideal para tomarse el tiempo necesario y disfrutar de un completo desayuno.

Servicios

Además del Wi-Fi gratuito disponible en todo el hotel,  el hotel cuenta con  bussiness center con impresoras.

Aunque no lo usé, el hotel ofrece un gimnasio bien equipado abierto desde las 7:00 a.m. hasta las 10:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m. en invierno), opción de bicicletas gratuitas, sujetas a un depósito disponibles para los huéspedes que quieran recorrer Verona pedaleando. Hasta ofrecen paraguas en la recepción.

El hotel cuenta con estacionamiento y por supuesto ofrece organizar los traslados al aeropuerto o estación de trenes con un lógico costo adicional.

Atención

Así como en la web del hotel comentan que el personal siempre está dispuesto a ayudar con reservas en restaurantes, servicios de niñera o tintorería, visitar viñedos locales con un auto privado y hasta organizar un recorrido por la ciudad con su propio guía, destaco la amable atención para recomendar excursiones. Gracias a una de sus recepcionistas conocimos Sirmione, que nos recomendó este pequeño pueblo así como llegar a él.  (https://viajarsiempre.com/un-bello-pueblo-italiano-sirmione/)

Sí deciden una visita a la ciudad, tengan en cuenta esta excelente opción de alojamiento. Aquí les dejo el link en ingles con información de utilidad:

https://www.hotelaccademiaverona.it/en

La elegante entrada al Hotel Accademia

Un bello pueblo italiano: Sirmione

Sirmione es un importante centro turístico, gracias a su balneario, su casco antiguo con un castillo medieval y las ruinas de una antigua villa romana. Dicho casco antiguo se encuentra en una península en el Lago de Garda.

El casco antiguo de Sirmione es muy bonito, atrayendo a miles de visitantes todo el año, a tan solo una hora de viaje de la ciudad de Verona, donde estábamos alojados. En el hotel nos recomendaron tomar un bus (al final del post encontrarán detalles) para llegar a este pequeño pero bellísimo pueblo.

Para acceder al caso histórico hay que atravesar un estrecho puente levadizo al lado de una enorme fortaleza medieval -excelentemente conservada- compuesta por un intrincado anillo de torres y muros que protegían la ciudadela de las embarcaciones y de cualquier intruso. De hecho, está restringido ingresar en auto, y en la entrada al pueblo hay un estacionamiento aunque puede ser complicado estacionar ya que siempre está lleno.

Il Castello Scaligero, símbolo de Sirmione nos da la bienvenida al casco antiguo.

La importancia estratégica de Sirmione era inestimable, además de su reputación gracias a sus fuentes termales en tiempos antiguos. Fueron los romanos quienes construyeron aquí un complejo termal donde hoy en día se pueden visitar sus ruinas. Incluso hoy uno de sus atractivos es visitar el actual centro termal; sus aguas son ideales para tratamientos contra dolores musculares, gripes y otros males. https://www.termedisirmione.com/en

Los imperdibles en una visita a Sirmione:

  • Castello Scaligero, el Castillo de Sirmione:

Se encuentra al final de la estrecha península. El castillo, que data del siglo XIII,  se encuentra rodeado de un canal y tiene en el interior una dársena. Para entrar hay que pasar a través de un puente con arcos. Hacia 1900 el castillo estaba casi en ruinas y fue remodelado. Se puede visitar el interior de la fortaleza para disfrutar las vistas desde sus torres.

  • Grotte di Catullo, o en español Cuevas de Catulo:

Son las ruinas de una antigua villa romana, de las más importantes del norte de Italia, dónde además de caminar entre las ruinas de la antigua villa visitamos su museo arqueológico. Desde aquí obtendremos hermosas vistas. Les dejo link para que tengan en cuentas precios y horarios de visita.

http://www.grottedicatullo.beniculturali.it/index.php?en/1/home

Ruinas de una antigua villa romana desde donde disfrutaremos de bellas vistas.
  • Piazza Carducci

La plaza principal del pueblo dentro del casco histórico, con muchos lugares para comer algo y locales para comprar de todo, desde artesanías, recuerdos hasta ropa. Y por supuesto, tomar helado. Justamente en Sirmione encontraremos heladerías artesanales típicas Italianas, todas excelentes, con variedad de sabores. El plan perfecto es sentarse en los numerosos bancos alrededor del lago para disfrutar de unas vistas inolvidables.

  • Spiaggia Giamaica

Podemos ver esta playa desde las ruinas de las Cuevas de Catulo. Bella playa con agua casi transparente. Un lugar ideal para quienes la visiten en verano, aunque siendo primavera ya algunos estaban disfrutándola.

Desde las ruinas, vista de la Spiaggia Giamaica (playa Jamaica)

A lo largo de la caminata verán varias iglesias como Chiesa San Pietro in Mavino, Chiesa di San Salvatore, Chiesa Santa Maria Maggiore, Chiesa di Sant’Anna della Rocca, entre otras.

Como llegar y moverse en Sirmione

Sirmione está a poco más de treinta kilómetros de Verona, lo cual la hace accesible por diferentes vías:

  • En auto

La conexión vial principal es la autopista A4 Turín-Milán–Venecia-Trieste, con una salida justo hacia Sirmione.

El acceso al casco antiguo está restringido: pueden entrar sólo los residentes, los clientes de los hoteles y los que tienen una autorización del Ayuntamiento.

Además, en el casco antiguo no hay estacionamiento libre en las calles sino todo privado. Para quienes no tienen acceso, deben dejar el coche en aparcamientos en la península, fuera del casco antiguo.

  • Tren

En Sirmione no hay una estación de ferrocarril siendo la más cercana Desenzano del Garda de la línea Milán-Brescia-Verona-Venecia. También desde el puerto de Desenzano del Garda  parte el ferry hacia Sirmione.

  • Bus

Hay un autobús directo desde Verona, así llegamos nosotros con la Línea 026, que nos dejó en 11 Piazzale Porto a escasos metros de la entrada al casco histórico. Aquí algunos links que les será de gran ayuda para planear la visita a la ciudad.

http://www.sirmionebs.it/english/arrivare-auto.php

https://www.google.com.ar/maps/place/Largo+Faselo+Bitinico,+25019+Sirmione+BS,+Italia/@45.4906916,10.6083076,3a,75y,169.31h,80.73t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sCUUswOj944f-akhcxdr7qQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x4781935485cc4579:0xd15c5863ab562b99!8m2!3d45.4906973!4d10.6082742

http://www.visitgarda.com/upload/files/autobus-bs-vr(1).pdf

Piazzale Porto, zona a donde arriban buses. Enfrente uno de los tantos estacionamientos para quienes lleguen en auto.
Por esta avenida caminamos hacia el casco histórico, que se puede ver el Castello Scaligero

Dónde alojarse

Los hoteles suelen ser caros en la zona de la península, en el casco histórico. Por tratarse de un lugar pequeño, sí el presupuesto es limitado lo ideal es buscar alojamiento fuera de éste o en las localidades aledañas a Sirmione, ya que todo está muy cerquita.

Nosotros fuimos a pasar el día pero quedamos muy tentados de una próxima visita para dormir aunque sea una noche y poder disfrutar de las aguas termales. En este link información de sus propiedades, tratamientos así como variedad de hoteles.

https://www.termedisirmione.com/en

Uno de los hoteles ubicados dentro del casco histórico

Dónde comer

Lo que no falta en Sirmione son lugares para comer. Nosotros hicimos una parada rápida en Il Guelfo, un sencillo restaurante al lado del Castillo Scaligero para degustar unas ricas bruschettas. La realidad que es caro comer aquí, por eso elegimos este agradable lugar que se destaca es su preciosa vista y ubicación.

Clima

La mejor época para visitar Sirmione es el verano, aunque los turistas abundan todo el año. Como sucede en otras localidades a orillas de los Alpes, el tiempo puede cambiar de forma radical en pocas horas, siendo habitual que de un sol radiante aparezcan algunas lluvias. Nosotros la visitamos en primavera, en un día cálido pero había que tener a mano un sweater. De todos modos, algunos valientes ya estaban haciendo actividades acuáticas en el Lago Di Garda.

Me despido con más fotos para tentarlos a viajar a Sirmione, además de recorrer toda la zona del Lago Di Garda, que cuenta con muchos pueblos de ensueño como este.

Caso histórico, con uno de los pocos autos autorizados a circular.
Estacionamiento en Sirmione, antes de entrar a su casco histórico. Impresionante el nivel de autos.

 

Un último link con información que puede servirles:

http://www.sirmionebs.it/italian/serviziturista.php

 

Londres, parte II

Seguimos recorriendo Londres donde entre el tercero y cuarto día en la ciudad conocimos otros tantos lugares emblemáticos de la ciudad.

Tercer día caminando por Londres

Arrancamos con el Big Ben, una de las imágenes más famosas de Londres, símbolo de la ciudad. La torre, situado en el lado noroeste del Palacio de Westminster, sede del Parlamento del Reino Unido, está construida en un estilo gótico, que alberga cuatro enormes relojes situados en sus caras.

El inconfundible Big Ben

El mencionado Palacio de Westminster, también conocido como The Parliament (Parlamento) que alberga las dos cámaras del Parlamento del Reino Unido (la Cámara de los Lores y la Cámara de los Comunes).

El palacio, que es uno de los cuatro lugares Patrimonio de la Humanidad de la ciudad de Londres, declarado por la Unesco en 1987, se encuentra situado en la orilla norte del río Támesis.

Obviamente cruzamos el Puente de Westminster que se encuentra a su lado, donde se aprecian hermosas vistas de la ciudad.

Sobresale, el London Eye la vuelta al mundo, que ya se convirtió en otro icono de la ciudad.  Aquí el link para planear la visita. https://www.londoneye.com/tickets-and-prices/

Otro icono de la ciudad, visto desde Westminster Bridge

Desde afuera sacamos un par de fotos a la Abadía de Westminster, aquí comparto el link por sí quieren visitarla  http://www.westminster-abbey.org/home

Nuestro recorrido siguió por 10 Downing Street, residencia oficial y oficina de trabajo del Primer Lord del Tesoro y del Primer Ministro del Reino Unido, que se encuentra en Westminster.

Luego caminamos hacia el Regent’s Park, parque con una amplia gama de instalaciones y servicios, un lago con aves acuáticas y un área para botes, campos de deporte y zonas infantiles. El extremo nordeste del parque alberga el London Zoo.

Una parada obligada del tercer día en la ciudad fue visitar el Palacio de Kensington, muy reconocido en las fotos por ser donde vivió Lady Di después de su divorcio.

Además son muy famosos los jardines del Palacio, donde caminamos y nos sentamos durante un largo rato a descansar, contemplando las hermosas flores, su colorido.

https://www.hrp.org.uk/kensington-palace/visit

Kensington Palace y sus jardines tan coloridos

Este día de largas caminatas pasamos por Royal Albert Hall, sala de conciertos en Londres, inaugurada en 1871, siendo uno de los teatros más emblemáticos del mundo y una de las construcciones más distintivas del Reino Unido.

Seguimos nuestro rumbo hacia la famosísima tienda Harrods, un lugar imperdible, aunque no compremos nada. Pero solo mirar sus escaparates, como están presentadas incluso las comidas vale la pena una visita y por supuesto comer algo.

Ya regresando hacia el hotel caminamos por Bond Street, una de las principales calles de compras de Londres, y por supuesto Oxford Street, que se encontraba muy cercana a nuestro hotel.

Y otra tienda que aprovechamos para recorrer es Selfridges, otra parada obligatoria de la ciudad.

Cuarto día: dedicado al British Museum

Nuestro último día entero en Londres estuvimos visitando The British Museum, museo de la ciudad de Londres, siendo uno de los más importantes y visitados del mundo. Sus colecciones abarcan campos diversos del saber humano, como la historia, la arqueología, la etnografía y el arte.

Realmente vale la pena dedicarle varias horas,  con sus distintas salas y exhibiciones. Además que el propio edificio es otra obra de arte.

Aquí el link con información de utilidad para planear una visita: http://www.britishmuseum.org/

Un breve resumen

En nuestra corta visita de 4 días, hemos recorridos diferentes distritos como Westminster, Belgravia, Kensington, Mayfair, Soho, City, Covent Garden, Knightsbridge, Fitzrovia, West End.

Y nos quedó pendiente Nothing Hill (sí lo sé, todos van por la película), Camden Town (otro de los imperdibles, quizá algunos piensen que por no visitarlo no conocí a la ciudad), así como Southwark y Canary Wharf. Y subir al London Eye.

Pero son las excusas perfectas para planear otro viaje, sé que quedó mucho por recorrer.

Cierro el post con un tip, más fotos,  links de información.

Fish and chips: la comida más típica de Londres, pescado -normalmente merluza- rebozado y frito acompañado de patatas fritas.

https://www.royalalberthall.com/

https://www.harrods.com/en-gb

http://www.selfridges.com/US/en/features/info/stores/london?cm_re=Homepage-_-Slide7-Mod-_-CT-LondonStore-US

 

El Parlamento, el río Tamesis y una de las tantas panorámicas de Londres
Harrods, un paseo de compras imperdible

 

A great hotel in NYC: Residence Inn New York Manhattan / Midtown East

As many of you know, I have had the joy of living some time ago in NY, precisely in Midtown West, close to Upper West Side. Every time I can, I return to the city, which I considered my second home. But until now, I never wrote about the hotels where I stay in different occasions.

I’ll start with Residence Inn New York Manhattan / Midtown East, that in March 2017 we stayed for the second time because the excellent location, personalized attention and the possibility of having a room that is like an apartment.

Location, location, location

Four blocks from Fifth Avenue, ten blocks from Central Park, and other ten to Times Square. Access to all the subways and buses, because the hotel is located just a few meters from Grand Central Station, on 48th Street between Lexington and Third Avenue.  

It’s an ideal area to walk (except in days with an intense snowfall). From here I walked to Flatiron Building, Macy’s and Columbus Circle in the middle of winter, but it will depend on each one as how we endure the cold weather.

The Lobby of Residence Inn New York Manhattan / Midtown East
The Lobby of Residence Inn New York Manhattan / Midtown East

The hotel

Has many kinds of rooms, with kitchenette, free high-speed internet, includes a complete breakfast, laundry, and a small but full equipped gym. Also accept pets.

In both stays I used the laundry, a cheap option in case of need to wash clothes, especially in long stays. Of course the laundry has washing machines and dryers; in your room you will have iron and the ironing board. The hotel sells a coin for the washing machines and dryers. Also, sells cleaning products such as liquid laundry soap and softener. In cases on long stay is better to buy these products in bigger size at many of the supermarkets around the hotel.

The Residence Inn New York Manhattan / Midtown East is modern, clean, prolix hotel, in good shape. Also has the guarantee of being a Marriott, which have quality hotels for different segments.

The rooms

The rooms are comfortable, modern and offer since King Studio, Larger Studio, One-bedroom king suite with a living area, to Executive Premium Suite that offers a separate bedroom with one king bed, all this bedrooms has a fully equipped kitchenette. And the of course, the East Side Story Penthouse with an outdoor terrace and a full kitchen.

We always booked the Larger Studio, with the kitchenette that has a big refrigerator, microwave, burners, dishes, dishwashers and glassware. These kitchenettes are ideal to have dinner there if you are tired or in winter season you don’t want to go out again at night.

View from our Larger Studio in March 2017
View from our Larger Studio in March 2017

In fact the hotel offers a shopping service at the supermarket, they leave you a list and you indicate what you need to be bought. These services we didn’t use, but it’s perfect to business travelers without time, especially in long stays.

Our two stays at the Larger Studio were very good, to highlight the comfort of the closets and bathroom, the room with your desk and the aforementioned kitchenette that we use a lot especially in this last winter stay. Another advantage of the hotel is having so close one of the best, at least for me, supermarket like Morton Williams just two blocks from the hotel, it was the perfect solution for cold nights.

Not only variety and quality, Morton Williams Supermarket  offer a large option of food ready to heat in the microwave, besides a lot of salads and sandwiches, very fresh, done in the same day that you’re buying them. That option is perfect to save money if you don’t want to have lunch and dinner in restaurants o eating fast food every day.

Even being in Midtown, still area of many offices, you will find residential buildings and townhouses, people who lives in this neighborhood, because of that there are a lot of supermarkets, delis, and more.

Our Larger Studio
Our Larger Studio

Gastronomy

It deserves a few words the breakfast that offer variety and the personal attention, especially from Carlos and Claudia, to whom I highlighted in a TripAdvisor review, as you have the chance to know the dedication they bring to the passengers.

Breakfast with many options of coffee, variety of teas. Any kind of bakery, bagel and donuts, pancakes, waffles with a lot of toppings, different breads. Juices, yogurt, fruits and cereals. Also hot options as in every hotel in US, always you’ll find bacon, eggs, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, smoked ham, cheese, and something with potatoes or omelets.

If you are on holidays take the time to enjoy it.  The business travelers use to have breakfast early and very fast, even in some cases they go to the breakfast room to pick something and have it at room. Also in your room always you will have coffee and tea as courtesy.

The Residence Inn New York Manhattan / Midtown East also offer the delivery of meals from different restaurant from 5:00pm to 10:00pm.

Just a few blocks don’t miss to eat in the exquisite Smith & Wollensky, at least once.

Some usefull data:

The hotel has parking services. Be aware that the fare per day is USD 60.-; of course driving in Manhattan isn’t cheap.

Check in: 4:00pm

Check out at noon

148 East 48th Street New York Nueva York 10017, EE.UU

Telephone: +1 212-980-1003

http://newyorkresidenceinn.com/location/

http://www.mortonwilliams.com/ 

 

 

 

 

Mi Buenos Aires Querido: “El Bajo”

Let’s continue touring Buenos Aires around the area known as “El Bajo” which includes the newest neighborhood in the city such as Puerto Madero, and some historic like Retiro, San Telmo and La Boca.

In Retiro, you will find the train station and subway line C, also Plaza San Martin (square), Kavanagh Building, skyscraper became the highest in South America that in 1999 was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

In this neighborhood is located the Parisian Arroyo Street with important architectural buildings, stately palaces and huge French-style residences. Among them stands out the Estrugamou Palace built in 1929, the Mihanovich Tower or Torre Bencich. On the corner with Suipacha Street was the Embassy of Israel, destroyed by an attack on March 17, 1992; today is a square in memory of the victims. This street is the nerve center of art galleries, fashion houses, embassies and social activities, with the event “the night of art galleries”. Arroyo Street was renovated this last year, being one of the most elegant streets of Buenos Aires.

Also this year, the Retiro Train Station corresponding to the Mitre Railroad was reopened with the modernization and restoration of the terminal, including the central hall, the platforms, the façade and the entrance. Surely you will know if you take public transportation. In case you don’t at least once try to go to see this true jewel of the city.

In front of the Retiro Train Station, you will see the Argentine Air Force Square where the Monumental Tower stands, known to locals as “The Tower of the English“. Sixty meters high, the Tower is lined with red bricks and stone. The structure is placed on a basement with four staircases on each side and landfills at its corners. The foundation stone was placed in May 1910, and it was inaugurated on May 24, 1916. On the 7th floor is the clock, for which the Tower was originally known as the Clock Tower.

In front of this square, you will see the Sheraton Hotel building, as part of the Retiro postcard next to Leandro N. Alem Avenue. Crossing Del Libertador Avenue begins the historic Plaza San Martin (square), one of the oldest in the city. The French landscaper Carlos Thays, responsible for the main green spaces of the city also incorporated new vegetation’s species. The Plaza San Martín shows important monuments and sculptures.

On Florida Street at 1000, where it is no longer pedestrian, the Kavanagh Building is located, an architectural symbol of Buenos Aires with its Art Deco style, shaped like a ship’s prow. A few steps take a walk along Reconquista Street, now pedestrian, there are many bars to sit and have a drink and enjoy watching the rhythm of the city.

Walking along Leandro N. Alem Avenue, you will come across another square, Plaza Roma.

Leandro N Alem Avenue at sunset

In the corner of Alem Av. and Corrientes Av. is the Kirchner Cultural Center. During the weekends and holidays they offer guided tours to know the history of the building that between 1928 and 2003 was the Post and Telecommunications Palace (Palacio de Correos). You can learn about its history, the beautiful architecture, see its rooms and halls, where today you can enjoy concerts and artistic activities for all audiences.

Already in the previous post (/) about the city I commented on nearby places like Luna Park, Casa Rosada that are also about this area but they belong to the neighborhood of Monserrat.

Continuing towards the south, after passing the Plaza de Mayo, the neighborhood of San Telmo will begin, with its traditional Plaza Dorrego (square) and antique stores. Every Sunday the Feria de San Telmo (a fair) operates in this plaza, becoming an ideal tour for both the inhabitants of Buenos Aires and tourists. There are many antique stalls with an air of flea market. The square is surrounded by nineteenth-century mansions, which have been recycled and transformed into cafes, antique shops (especially on Defensa Street) and upscale restaurants. The bar in the area put tables on the street and is one of the places with more street artists in the city. The square is considered “Historical Place” since the Independence of the country was announced to the people of Buenos Aires in 1816, declared months before in the city of Tucumán.

Between the historical buildings of San Telmo, they emphasize the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Buenos Aires on the Avenue Columbus Walk with neoclassic style, the Market of San Telmo on the streets Defense and Carlos Calvo, inaugurated in 1897, the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity and the Parish of San Pedro González Telmo. Other attractions in the neighborhood are the Plaza de la Historieta (ideal for going with the little ones), the Minimum House, the San Lorenzo Passage, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Historical Museum, the Lezama Park and the Atelier of the world famous goldsmith Juan Carlos Pallarols.

Continuing towards the south of the city, the neighborhood of La Boca appears, many know him for his football team. Caminito, that little typical street of the city very colorful, makes it an emblematic walk. In this area you will find gastronomy, bars, street artists. In La Boca visit the Benito Quinquela Martín Museum, La Ribera Theater, Proa Foundation (a space for disseminating artistic movements of the 20th century, including current proposals and special national and international projects), the Usina del Arte (multidisciplinary cultural center) and the Boca Juniors Stadium, better known as La Bombonera.

Bordering the neighborhoods of La Boca to the southwest, San Telmo, Monserrat and San Nicolás to the west and Retiro to the northwest, with the Ecological Reserve of Buenos Aires and the Río de la Plata to the east is the most “new” and modern: Puerto Madero. It’s a neighborhood with a lot of port history since the founding of Buenos Aires. Although in the mid-1990s a recycling plan was decided with a master plan for Puerto Madero as we know today. It started as an area of ​​elegant offices and restaurants and then also became a residential neighborhood, being the most expensive square meter of all Buenos Aires, millionaires, businessmen, celebrities and many expatriates live in this privileged area.

Offices and Residence Building in Puerto Madero

On the Alicia Moreau de Justo Avenue there are the old docks, today modern offices and loft-type apartments. On the other side of the levees were opened numerous streets, boulevards and avenues (all are named after Latin American women of recognized trajectory), squares and parks were created such as Micaela Bastidas and Mujeres Argentinas, installing monuments and fountains. Historical infrastructure was also restored such as the Walk of Costanera Sur and the old parks designed in the 1920s.

Since December 2001 the Woman’s Bridge (Puente de la Mujer) work of the Santiago Calatrava, Spanish architect, is a wonderful artwork which has a lighting system allowing seeing at night the view that provides us.

Woman’s Brigde.

As always useful links to build this second tour of the city, which in one day can do it perfectly without missing the most important points of these neighborhoods:

http://www.proa.org/esp/

http://www.bocajuniors.com.ar/

http://www.cck.gob.ar/

http://mercadosantelmo.com.ar/

http://pallarols.com.ar/

http://www.museomoderno.org/

https://museohistoriconacional.cultura.gob.ar/

And finally, I leave you a gastronomic recommendation from the neighborhood of San Telmo to eat Argentine meat and other specialties of my country in La Brigada http://www.parrillalabrigada.com.ar/

 

Mi Buenos Aires Querido: Our Downtown

This post stars with the title of a tango that identifies us in the whole world, in the unmistakable voice of zorzal Carlos Gardel; Buenos Aires is one of the most important cities in the world, where I have the privilege of living here.

Here you’ll find a guide of the unmissable places in neighborhoods like Monserrat, Balvanera, San Nicolás, in the area known as our Downtown:

–  Obelisco (Obelisk): synonymous of Buenos Aires located in the intersections of Corrientes Avenue and 9 de Julio Avenue, at Plaza de la República (Republic Square) a place known even in a photo.

There are not guided tours to climb to the Obelisco, except on specific occasions that the Government of the City of Buenos Aires authorizes tickets, these are booked in advance and of course are limited.

In fact many “porteños” (people who are born and live here) are the first to sign up, to climb the narrow stairs and enjoy a unique view of the city.

Obelisco at Plaza de la Republica

Av. 9 de Julio: another icon of the city because as being the widest avenue in the world – 140 meters -, that no one will be able to cross from one point to another without stopping by the traffic light (except running).

Avenue recognized worldwide for that record, but also for its physiognomy seen in many photographs and postcards. Under almost all its route runs Line C of the subway, connecting the train stations of the neighborhoods Constitución and Retiro.

In addition, the “Metrobús 9 de Julio” was inaugurated in 2013, where around 10 bus lines operate, helping to speed up traffic on this busy avenue. In other post I’ll write about how to move around the city.

Taking the subway (metro) and the urban buses is a good way to move and know Buenos Aires.

Teatro Colón, famous opera theater of Buenos Aires. Due to its size, acoustics and trajectory it is considered in the top five in the world, competing with the Scala of Milan, the Metropolitan Opera House of New York, the State Opera of Vienna, the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) of London and the Opera of Paris, among others.

The building occupies 8200 square meters between the streets Tucumán, Libertad, the Arturo Toscanini passage with a square facing Viamonte Street, and Cerrito Street (separated by a small boulevard from 9 de Julio Avenue)

Besides going to see some Opera or Ballet event, you can visit it with guided tours, every day, including holidays (except May 1, December 24, 25 and 31 and January 1). Check prices and schedules on their website: http://www.teatrocolon.org.ar/es/visitas-guiadas

One of the entrance to the Colon Theatre

Palace of Justice of the Nation: a few meters from the Teatro Colón, separated by the Plaza Lavalle that constitutes three blocks of green space, in this building is where the Supreme Court is located, being that its construction began in 1905, finishing just in 1942

Avenida de Mayo, the avenue that remind us to Spain, similar to the Gran Vía in Madrid, located in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Monserrat, was the first avenue in the Republic and in all of South America.

It begins on Bolívar Street connecting the historic Plaza de Mayo (Square de Mayo) with the Plaza del Congreso (Congress Square) in an area of ​​about ten blocks.

Throughout the avenue many places that recommend tourist guides will be seen, in one of its ends the Casa Rosada, seat of the national government, can be visited for free during the weekends (https://visitas.casarosada.gob.ar), the Cabildo de Buenos Aires (today a highly recommended historical museum, takes us to the Buenos Aires of 1810 when the May Revolution took place, the basis for independence that was declared in 1816 in the province of Tucumán), Barolo Palace until the 1930s it was the highest in the city and in South America, as was its brother ‘twin’ the Salvo Palace, built by the same architect in Montevideo. Today you can visit this office building with its guided tours, which is a National Historic Landmark. At its peak it has a lighthouse that was lit on special occasions. (https://palaciobarolo.com.ar/visitas-guiadas).

Following the avenue of May we will find the Edificio La Inmobiliaria that is distinguished by two red domes, Hotel Castelar, Avenida Theater, Passage Urquiza Anchorena and the legendary Café Tortoni.

A fact that shows the progress of Argentina back in the early twentieth century, is that below the Avenida de Mayo runs Line A of the subway, inaugurated in 1913, making Buenos Aires the first South American city, and the thirteenth city of the world to have it like London, Athens, Istanbul, Vienna, Budapest, Glasgow, Paris, Boston, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia and Hamburg. Today the formations are modern, but until the year 2013 the old La Brugeoise cars, of Belgian origin, were running on their tracks. Eventually, for certain tourism events or celebrations of the city, they have some of those cars to circulate on their tracks.

The walk through Avenida de Mayo finish at Congreso de La Nación (The Congress), in front of the Plaza de los Dos Congresos (square), at the corner of Entre Ríos and Rivadavia avenues.

Corrientes Avenue gathers the bohemian of Buenos Aires with its theaters, bookstores and the best pizzas shop (pizzerias for us) of Buenos Aires.

Here it’s impossible not to eat in Guerrin, my favorite! But there are also Las Cuartetas, Banchero and more.

The avenue connects the neighborhoods of Chacarita to Puerto Madero. The most tourist area of Corrientes Av. is bounded between Av. Callao and Av. Eduardo Madero.

In Madero Av is located the Luna Park, a traditional indoor stadium founded in 1931. Throughout it you’ll find the Gran Rex Theater, the Opera Theater, the Paseo La Plaza (complex of theaters and restaurants).

Walking around Corrientes Av. you will cross the Plaza de la República and also the pedestrian Florida Street.

Pedestrian Florida Street, from Rivadavia Avenue to the Plaza General San Martín (San Martin Square) in the neighborhood of Retiro, with an extension of 11 blocks. Along this street we notice the presence of many galleries, such as the Güemes Gallery, the city’s first commercial “skyscraper”, the Jardín Gallery, known for the sale of computer inputs.

Also Galerías Pacífico inaugurated in 1890, restored and transformed in a commercial center in 1990, with fine businesses where many tourists concur. If you are in Buenos Aires during the Christmas season, do not miss visiting it since is exquisitely decorated with its beautiful Christmas tree.

Finally the building of Harrods, abandoned since 1998 when was closed. Always with rumors of some endeavor, all the “porteños” are expecting that this rumors concrete because it causes pain to see the decadence of this historic building.

Much remains to be done obviously, such as the neighborhoods of Puerto Madero, Retiro, Recoleta, Palermo, La Boca, San Telmo, Belgrano, among others, I will write in following post.

I leave some interesting links to plan a visit to the City of Buenos Aires:

http://www.cafetortoni.com.ar

http://www.pizzeriaguerrin.com/

htps://turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar/es

https://cabildonacional.cultura.gob.ar/

http://www.paseolaplaza.com.ar/

http://www.congreso.gob.ar/

http://www.galeriaspacifico.com.ar/

Miramar, the best childhood memories

This post is totally different, dedicated to Miramar, a place that refers to my childhood, to my best memories of the city, known as “the city of children and bicycles”.

For those who read me from abroad, Miramar is a city located in Buenos Aires Province, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, our Argentine Sea.

Miramar is almost 450 kilometers from the City of Buenos Aires, and less than 50 kilometers from the neighboring Mar del Plata, the famous seaside city.

Panoramic View of Miramar
Panoramic View of Miramar

My first visit I don’t remember because I was almost three months old and during more than 20 years I had there my summer holidays. Eventually I return, although not as often as I would like.

All my summer holidays back in the 80’s, 90’s and the beginning of 2000 were here. On some occasions, we even went at the end of December to spend the New Year’s Eve, magical moments with the fireworks losing on the sea.

The city, beaches and forest

Miramar has different kinds of beaches; in the city center and the beaches of the North, which are quieter and wilder beaches over the Route 11, from where you get to the city, before the well-known General San Martin Arch, which gives us the Welcome.

There is also more beaches to the south, passing the “Vivero” (the forest), where Miramar joins its neighbor Mar del Sur little town.

The beach at the entrance of the “Vivero”

Miramar has the lush forest “Vivero Dunícola Florentino Ameghino”, an oasis of trees and nature, which is impossible not to visit. You can reach by foot, car and on bicycle, the transport par excellence of Miramar.

The “Vivero”, as we call, allows, in certain areas, to make barbecue (provides the infrastructure) to spend a nice day.

As for urban design, the city has four diagonal lines that converge to four central squares, avenues and a pedestrian street of great commercial movement that connects the central squares with Costanera Avenue.

The city has seven avenues, and only on them the construction of high-rise buildings is allowed. In the inner streets only low-rise villas are allowed, these are. For example, Parquemar neighborhood or the pier area with beautiful mansions and chalets.

Also in the blocks near the center you can find houses with their gardens, a few blocks from the sea.

In fact, in Miramar there are no traffic lights, it is a city of about 37,000 inhabitants, which can reach 500,000 in the summer season, but the traffic flows. The only rush hour can occur on Costanera Avenue at the time of returning from the beach, but it’s still tolerable.

The true is most of us turn off the car because it’s almost not used, unless you decide to go to the beaches away from the city center or to visit the “Vivero” to make a barbecue.

What to do in Miramar?

Discounted that the beach is everything, but there is much more.

The “Vivero” has many visitors on a cloudy day or with sun but very windy to be at the beach. Barbecue, hiking, biking or go to the playground of this forest is part of the fun there.

In my childhood I could spend hours on my bicycle traveling around the city. Everybody enjoys the bicycles, many places to rent them.

You can also make a trip to Mar del Sur, to visit this uncrowded beaches, the historic Hotel Boulevard Atlántico, with many myths around it. In fact, when I learned to drive, I remembering driving in a route for the first time with my dad, the 17 kilometers that separates Miramar from Mar del Sur.

Other attractions, rides in 4 × 4 at the sand dunes: http://www.ciudad-de-miramar.com.ar/html/medanos.html

Another place “historical and famous” is Mickey, American type bar that sells the richest dulce de leche pancakes!!! It also delights us with hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, huge ice cream desserts, which remind me of those childhood flavors. Today it continues with its decoration intact, as it remained in time, back in the wonderful 50’s. It is a must stop in the city.

https://www.facebook.com/mickeymiramar/

Mickey bar, don’t miss to try the food here. Located in 9 de Julio Street, the main commercial street of Miramar.

How to get to Miramar

The city of Miramar has a bus terminal, inaugurated in 2011, located on Avenue 40th, bordering the old railway station (out of service, although I hope the train returns, after repair of tracks and new trains).

Bus companies offers trips from/to different points of the Atlantic Coast, City of Buenos Aires, Greater Buenos Aires and the main provincial capitals. In addition, the city is connected by several companies of cabs.

Miramar also has an Aerodrome, with a control tower inaugurated in 1997 that allows the arrival of small aircraft. I remember when the control tower and the airstrip were opened, the rumor was that Aerolineas Argentinas flights could come, but it never happened.

In fact, many passengers arrived with Aerolineas Argentinas flights to Mar del Plata and from there took transfers to Miramar. Hopefully one day, at least on summer time, we will have flights connecting Buenos Aires with my beloved Miramar.

Most of the people arrives at the city by car, from Buenos Aires through Highway Number 2 to Mar del Plata and then continue along Provincial Route Number 11. It can also be reached by the Provincial Route 77 that connects with Provincial Route 88.

Accommodation in the city.

One of the shortcomings is the lack of a 4 or 5 star hotel. Obviously, Miramar has many hotels of two or three stars, but in recent years appeared some very good, aparts- hotels or cottage with exquisite taste, aimed at a family audience or couples who request a spa, beach services, different amenities.

Having an apartment that belongs to the family since the 60’s, I never needed a hotel, but always seemed to me that the hotel offer was limited.

If someone wanted something premium, you must rent an apartment (some of them offers cleaning services) or the beautiful villas around the city. Houses in Miramar are really beautiful.

If you go to Mar del Plata, visit Miramar for a day, at least once. You will not regret it.

Also it’s worth mentioning that Interbalnearia route number 11 will provide a unique landscape between both cities, seeing the sea, cliffs and forests, as well as a path of curves and slopes that makes it very touristy.

Following some hotels recommendations:

Alto Miramar >> http://altomiramar.com.ar/

Puerta del Bosque >> http://www.puertadelbosque.com/

Costa Remanso >> http://www.costaremanso.com.ar/

Villasol >> http://www.hosteriavillasol.com.ar/

Before arriving to the city, Miramar Golf Course is located; where there are charming little houses and apartments for rent, with hotel services called Cardon Miramar Links Apartments, offering panoramic views of the sea, a swimming pool, a private beach area. Ideal place for golfers.

According to experts of the sport, they qualify to the field links type Scottish, of the decade of the 30’s, as one of the few in that style in South America.

The landscape of the golf course and the sea is very attractive. In addition, the English House Club gives this distinctive touch, which those of us who had been to Miramar always love to see it.

Some photos of a visit in December, which is why you will see fewer people. I hope you can take a walk for the beautiful Miramar:

Beautiful houses in front of the sea
23rd Avenue, with a boulevard.

Argentina, so many places to visit…

My country has a lot to offer, Argentina has a unique mixture of landscapes, so different to each other. We have all different kind of weather, mountains, countryside, sea, lakes, desert and jungle, big cities, smaller, charming towns.

My last trip inside Argentina was to Ushuaia and El Calafate, in October 2016, two magical places, with only one visit for sure isn’t enough.

Badly called Faro del Fin del Mundo, the real name: Faro Les Eclaireurs, Ushuaia

As a child I visited El Calafate, in the 80’s, on a family road trip, with my dad driving a Ford Falcon around the Argentine routes. After leaving Buenos Aires we stopped a few days in my dear Miramar, where I had my traditional summer holidays. From there we skirted the entire coast until we reached El Calafate stopping in destinations such as Monte Hermoso, Carmen de Patagones, Viedma, Las Grutas, Puerto Madryn, Puerto Pirámides, Trelew, Rawson , Gaiman, Comodoro Rivadavia, Caleta Olivia, Río Gallegos and of course, El Calafate. We could not cross into Ushuaia because in 1986 the road was very complicated and wasn’t recommended it. From this road trip someday I will write a vintage post with this particular trip, a memory forever.

This famous sign illustrates the immensity of our Argentina, October 2016
This famous sign illustrates the immensity of our Argentina, distances in kilometers. October 2016

I got to the chance to know the beautiful Ushuaia in 2016, the end of the world, and return to Calafate, that changed from a small town of 5 blocks as I remember to a small city, with a modern airport, a lot of hotels (when I went in the 80’s there was only a hotel and a couple of inns, all very simple), restaurants and many travel agencies for excursions. The Perito Moreno Glacier has a separate post; beautiful, imposing, walk through the glacier is a unique and highly recommended experience.

The majestic glacier Perito Moreno, El Calafate

Previously another local destination was Mendoza, in November 2015. It was not the first time in the province, since it is a place that I try to return because it is one of the most beautiful provinces. Also in June 2015 we took a getaway to Mar de Plata, out of season, ideal to enjoy it, with the luck that was not so cold (was winter time).

Mar del Plata, the famous seaside city in winter, June 2015.

If I keep going back in 2014 we visited Iguazu Falls, that wonderful park full of foreign tourists, who are impressed with the waterfalls and the boat trip to feel the water so close. I believe that adventure tour was one of the most impressive excursions that I did, “touching and felling” the falls, getting soaked but happy, a moment of fullness.

I could continue mentioning provinces, cities, towns, which are worth visiting that I know. Salta, Córdoba, Bariloche, Villa La Angostura, Cariló.

Also, those of us who live in Buenos Aires please try to discover our city. All the people, who visited Buenos Aires, from different countries that I spoke were delighted with Buenos Aires. Sometimes we walk around Buenos Aires without realizing that we are passing through a historical place, of an incalculable cultural value but for us it is “normal” because may be we see it every day, in our commute.

I will go up post little by little of my favorite places in Argentina to inspire us to travel, I still have as much pending to know as Tucumán, San Juan, San Luis, some areas of Mendoza, I want to return to Ushuaia in the middle of winter. I hope the National Government and the tourism industry understand that Argentina needs more diffusion and investment to attract local and foreign tourists and of course to the Argentineans in order to re-elect our country as a tourist destination, which has so much to offer.

Let’s travel through Argentina!

 

Mendoza, land of wine, Aconcagua Mountain and much more

Now, I’m sharing this post about the city of Mendoza, and some places near this provincial capital.

I had visited Mendoza three times and I know I’ll go back. It’s so beautiful and a lot to do there.

My first visit to the land of wine was in April 2006, the second in October 2007 and finally November 2015.

Except for the 2006 visit of a week, the other two occasions were only 3-day stays; in fact Mendoza Capital is ideal for a typical weekend long getaway.

The City of Mendoza has several squares, starting at Independence Square in the downtown; it is the most extensive, covers four blocks, in which there are many monuments, water sources, and an artisan fair. On my first visit I bought a beautiful necklace, which today I continue wear it.

All the spaces have been remodeled, keeping in perfect conditions. Equidistant from this central square, there are four more squares: Italy, Spain, San Martin and Chile.

And around them are some traditional buildings such as the Provincial Legislature, the National College and the Independence Theater.

The square “Plaza Pedro del Castillo” was also remodeled, during excavating several treasures were found such as the remains of the original Cabildo from the colonial era and the water fountain that fed the ancient inhabitants. In this area, the city of Mendoza was founded, where the Museum of the Foundational Area (MAF) is located, there you will be able to see excavations with vestiges of the ancient city. It’s an archaeological museum “a site and interpretation”; whose purpose is to protect the material remains found there.

Jesuit Ruins of San Francisco
Jesuit Ruins of San Francisco

In the West corner of the Pedro del Castillo square you can visit the Jesuit Ruins of San Francisco. The building was built by the Jesuits between 1716 and 1731. In the year 1861 it was destroyed by a devastating earthquake. The place was declared a National Historic Monument where you can see the ruins of the Jesuit temple, the only visible remains of the ancient city of Mendoza. Here there is also an Interpretation.

Another must-see in the city is the Gral. San Martín Park that was designed in 1896 by the architect Carlos Thays, renowned French landscaper.

Main entrance to General San Martin Park
Main entrance to General San Martin Park

On the park there is a huge artificial lake, this artificial mirror of water that has an island, a rose garden, several pergolas and sculptures. Also, ideal for water sports, since there is located the Club Mendoza de Regatas for wakeboarding and rowing.

The main entrance to the park receives us with Los Portones, gates made of molten iron, crowned by the figure of a condor and the Mendoza’s coat of arms.

Upon entering the park, at the roundabout of the Caballitos de Marli, we took the Avenida de los Plátanos to the south. Through this avenue you can access the Fountain of the Continents, which has characteristic motifs of the European ornamental fountains of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Fountain Caballitos de Marli
Fountain Caballitos de Marli

In the area there are many ice cream stands, food trucks, and the park is ideal for a picnic. Within the park are the famous Frank Romero Day Greek Theater, stage for the National Harvest Festival (known as the Amphitheater), as well as the Zoo.

From the park you will reach the Cerro de la Gloria, where is located the Monument to the Army of the Andes, through pedestrian paths (there are ramps for the disabled) or by car on paved roads to enjoy a beautiful view of the city from its multiple viewpoints. There is a parking lot for some cars and excursion buses.

Cerro de la Gloria
Cerro de la Gloria

You cannot miss the Civic District, where the administrative activity of the Province is concentrated, a district inaugurated in 1951, with the Government House and the Palace of Justice, stunning buildings.

In the summit of the building of the City Hall you will find the Terrace Garden Mirador open to the public and located at a height of 30 meters to enjoy a panoramic city view.

A walk along the Sarmiento pedestrian street is a must, the commercial center of the city. Before the artery changes the name to Emilio Civit, you will see the tracks of the metrotranvía of Mendoza that circulates along the route of the old railway corridor, the General San Martín Railroad.

The street Emilio Civit, which concentrates the largest number of houses declared Cultural Heritage of the city, many date from the beginning of the last century. In addition, you can already see the Gates of the General Park San Martin mentioned.

There is also the Las Heras Av. with the old Mercado Central, with its traditional fruit stalls, meat. And Av. Aristides Villanueva, place of the nightlife due to the number of pubs, and restaurants.

The Gómez Building is a kind of miniature replica of the Empire State Building that has become the emblem of the urban profile (corner of Garibaldi and San Martín), a mixture of rationalist style and art deco.

Gómez Building, the art deco building in Mendoza Downtown
Gómez Building, the art deco building in Mendoza Downtown

On its terrace you can have a coffee in “El Décimo”, a viewpoint which offers excellent panoramic views of the city and mountains while enjoying a delicious lunch or dinner.

Mendoza is also known for its irrigation ditches, a channel through which irrigation waters are conducted, which are found throughout the city. Be careful when crossing the street, for one can fall between the distances of the path with the cord of it where the ditches are.

A nice walk, minutes from the city, don’t miss Chacras de Coria, small town, district of the Luján de Cuyo department. Ideal for walks and bicycle rides through its tree-lined streets, with many palm trees and an old train station that reveals the antiquity of the place. It became a gastronomic pole recognized for the excellence of its proposals. On Viamonte and Mitre streets you will find restaurants and grills where regional specialties and sophisticated cuisine are served.

Several boutique hotels are camouflaged among these beautiful residences, being much appreciated by foreign tourists.

Like every city that grows, there are more and more shopping malls that remain open, unlike the rest of the commerce in Mendoza, with a running schedule until 10 pm.

A few minutes from downtown, is the modern Mendoza Plaza Shopping. My favorite is the Palmares Open Mall in the department of Godoy Cruz, innovative for the area because of the building infrastructure, similar to the US shopping malls. Prestigious stores, haute couture and international gastronomy, within the framework of a privileged area for its landscape looking towards the mountains.

Nearby in Guaymallén inaugurated in 2013 the most recent mall in Mendoza, La Barraca Mall.

Also the tourist bus of the city of Mendoza crosses the city, with 18 stops, which include the most important points of the Mendoza capital.

http://www.ciudaddemendoza.gov.ar/turismo/sitios-turisticos/

Below a list of excursions that can be done from Mendoza city:

Vineyards: below you will find two websites to select which vineyards to visit. From the best-known and largest wineries such as Zuccardi, Pulenta, Norton, NietoSenetiner, to small winemakers. Remember that many of these vineyards have exquisite restaurants, in addition to touring their vineyards and learn more about this industry. Beside to the vineyards another key industry of the province is olive oil.

Also I visited Olivícola Boutique PASRAI (where the tasting requires the sacrifice of eating some delicious bread and cheeses with their oils)

http://caminosdelvino.com/

http://www.mendoza.travel/excursiones-a-bodegas/

Some vineyards
Some vineyards

Aconcagua Provincial Park, with their high peaks that exceed 5,000 meters reaching its maximum expression at the North Summit of Aconcagua (6,962 meters), this park attracts the attention of mountaineers from all over the world because is the highest mountain in the American Continent. It’s an easily accessible park located on the international road that to Chile, located about 165 km from the city of Mendoza, and 75 km from Uspallata. In my case I only visited it on the first trip to Mendoza and we went on an excursion with the people of Huentata Agency whom pick us up at the hotel. The famous Puente del Inca, is near the entrance of the Aconcagua Provincial Park. Within this tour we pass through La Villa Los Penitentes, a few kilometers from the Chilean border, it has a great development thanks to the Penitentes Ski Center. In the area there are varied hotel infrastructure from shelters, hostels, apartments and hotels. As it was April there was still no snow and the hotels were almost empty because there was no ski season. Remember ski season in Argentina is between June to September.

http://www.aconcagua.mendoza.gov.ar/

http://www.penitentesweb.com/temporada/

http://transporteshuentata.com.ar/excursionesenmendoza/

Aconcagua Mountain
Aconcagua Mountain

– Villavicencio Nature Reserve: The Villavicencio nature reserve is a protected natural area in the department of Las Heras, province of Mendoza, Argentina, located 50 km from the city of Mendoza, between the depressions of the Uspallata valley and the eastern plains of the Andes mountain range. A highly recommended visit where your mineralized water flows. In addition the road from Mendoza to Villavicencio is going through the San Martinian Routes.

http://www.rnvillavicencio.com.ar/

– Potrerillos Reservoir: it is located on the Mendoza River about 70 kilometers from the city. With many activities in the dam Potrerillos, that offers different services, accommodation, and adventure tourism and water sports, like sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, and sport fishing of various species of trout. Also horse rental. There are restaurants that offer exquisite typical foods. And shops that sells elaborate crafts.

Potrerillos Reservoir
Potrerillos Reservoir

I leave some links with hotels that I stayed, and an unmissable restaurant:

NH Cordillera: here we stayed in April 2006, four stars, nice hotel with good rates, facing the square San Martin, a few meters from Plaza Independencia and Sarmiento pedestrian street. https://www.nh-hotels.com/hotel/nh-mendoza-cordillera

Park Hyatt Mendoza: I visited this hotel on a business trip, invited by a travel agency, where they took us for a breakfast. Opposite square Independencia, this luxury hotel no needs further introduction, a just mention that has magnificent 19th century colonial façade. https://mendoza.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

Hotel Raíces Aconcagua: hotel where I stayed on that work trip in October 2007. Very nice hotel, now called Raíces Aconcagua, at that time was the Hotel Aconcagua, located half a block from Plaza Italia. http://www.raicesaconcagua.com/

Intercontinental Hotel: another five star luxury hotel, away from the city center, although only a few minutes away by taxi, ideal for business and leisure travelers. The hotel is located next to Mendoza Plaza Shopping, the largest shopping center in the city. The hotel has a casino, the largest event hall in the west of the country, indoor pool and luxury spa. This was a pleasure trip; we rented a car through the hotel to move around Mendoza. They gave us Upgrade to the Suite. We stayed in November 2015.

http://www.intercontinentalmendoza.com/

Francesco Ristorante Barbera: Restaurant located in the heart of the City of Mendoza, beautiful gardens, VIP room and an original wine cellar. Exquisite food and perfect attention from all your staff. Of the three visits, I dined there twice. I highly recommend it. http://www.francescoristorante.com.ar/