20 countries, 38 states

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Visitors in Argentina!

GMa and Poppy came to see us!
Mike's parents came to Mendoza to visit for this past week and we had a ball! Their flight was delayed, luggage lost (temporarily), and Gabe got sick but we made the best of it! They brought us tons of goodies...books for the boys to read every night, special snacks that we haven't had since we left, and most importantly, lots of hugs, snuggles, and kisses that we've been missing!

waiting for surprises

One of the first days they were here, we took them to the lovely park that is a couple of blocks away and enjoyed the playground and the perfect temperatures. The boys loved playing with their grandparents and Mike and I enjoyed a bit of a break from questions and little hands. After naps, we walked to the main plaza and saw a street performer show, fountains, and got a couple balloon animals! And that night, we toasted to three months of traveling with a lovely Mendoza Malbec and a huge bar of Buenos Aires dark chocolate!

Mike's mom is a foodie like me so we took her and Pop to the Mercado Central, a large farmer's market downtown. It's about half market and half cafes and there were cheeses, sausages, veggies, fruits, and meats to explore! Espressos and beef and egg empanadas for the medialuna (Latin America's version of afternoon tea) rounded out the day.

You can't visit Argentina without attending an asada. Asada translates to barbeque in Spanish and since Gabe wasn't feeling too well that night, we decided to have our own asada in the courtyard of the place we are staying. Pop and Mike grilled corn on the cob, portabella mushrooms, and veggie steak rollups over the charcoal grill and we enjoyed the chilly evening with glasses of red wine. Delicious!

Mike took his parents down to San Rafael the next day to see some property and while the land needed too much work to salvage, lunch was a hit! Local beer and lomitos, a huge sandwich filled with fried egg, ham, beef, tomatoes, greens, cheese, and served with homemade mayo and ketchup! Wonderful!

We weren't up for doing much the next day so we headed down to the Parque de San Martin and had a sausage, cheese, and quince paste lunch with stunning views of the lago. The water was perfectly still and an iridescent blue-green and mirrored the turning leaves beautifully. Then, after lunch, the boys entertained themselves by watching the tadpoles and throwing rocks into the formerly still water while the adults and baby Gabe chatted.

That afternoon when the boys went to sleep, Diane and I headed out to the Chacras de Coria market, known for their wide selection of artisan craftsmanship. We did a bit of Christmas shopping and treated ourselves to a cappuccino medialuna and a long talk. We even returned home to a roast chicken and veggies! Thank you, Mike and Poppy!

Later that night, Mike and his mama went on a solo date of their own and visited Antares, a local pub where they tasted 8 different beers and shared a few tapas and dessert!

The next day was a easy one...playing and reading with the boys all morning then an ice cream treat (the best ice cream we've had in South America!) in the afternoon! Pop had pina and vanialle, the boys had chocolate and frutilla mixta, and I had dulce de leche and brownie with dried fruits! Delicious!
And that night, Mike and I snuck away after the kids were asleep and had our first date in three months! That's a record for us!

Our last two days were filled with bakery runs, park outings, and an afternoon at the Plaza Independencia, where we found "Argentine Santa Claus", according to Michael, where he was selling the most beautiful handmade knives.

Pop and Di offered to babysit the boys again and after they fell asleep, we headed out to Azafran, a very fancy parilla (steak) restaurant in Mendoza. We had a blast and enjoyed a personal sommelier, a five course tasting menu, including hand-rolled octopus empanada, saffron and oxtail raviolis, filet in pastry, and lavender ice cream. It was out of the world delicious and we highly recommend a visit.

For our final dinner, we chose El Patio de Jesus Maria, a famous local restaurant, known for their parilla. We had course upon course of grilled meats brought to us, including steak, sweetbreads, and baby goat, and enjoyed it next to a local specialty, papas fritas con huevos...French fries with scrambled eggs! It was interesting to say the least!

We had a good time with Harry and Diane and in Mendoza. Yesterday, we boarded a 3 1/2 hour bus south to San Rafael to look at a few investment properties for the week. Stay tuned for more adventures next week!

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