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Destinations, South America

Beautiful Ideas Help the World: SOUTH AMERICA {Knitting Peace Giveaway}

November 26, 2012

This Cyber Monday, let me introduce you to a different deal. While stores are luring spenders with sales and northern hemisphere folk are preparing for winter holidays, imprisoned women in Bolivia are crafting beautiful artisan goods to support their families and better their lives, empowered by local La Paz based social enterprise Knitting Peace.

Over the past few months, I’ve been featuring organizations I personally love in the Beautiful Ideas Help the World series. These project are impacting lives all over the globe through beauty, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Since I can’t bring back souvenirs for everyone, I’m hosting giveaways along with each post, to offer each of you a little chance at something special from overseas.

Feature Three: Knitting Peace: La Paz, Bolivia

Enter to win this gorgeous hand-knit alpaca wool throw (valued at $180.00!) by leaving a comment; read below for the full story.

The photo above features Knitting Peace’s alpaca wool throw worn as a wrap. The fiery orange was such a hit that it’s sold out already for the season! Giveaway winner to choose between available bone and heather grey colors.

I’m not a fan of gimmicky giveaways, so I’m not requiring tweets or follows, but I’m providing links to Knitting Peace, and I’d love to invite you to follow the project’s story and think about purchasing from them the next time you want your dollars and cents to go toward something beautiful.

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment below answering one of the following questions. (Leave a second comment answering the other question if you’d like to enter twice.)

A) What comes to mind when you think of Bolivia?

B) What handmade gift have you been most proud to make or most honored to receive?

Giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere. (That means you lovely international readers as well!) All you need is a mailing address. Winner will be chosen at random and notified by email. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected and notified. See here for full giveaway terms and details.

Giveaway closes at 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time (that’s Oregon!), on Thursday, December 6th. Continue Reading…

Destinations, Feature Trips, South America, twoOregonians Tour the Cape

Ted’s First Whale and Other Tales from Hermanus

September 29, 2012

When Ted was a kid, he thought whales were the big white things rolling up onto the beach.

You know, waves.

He learned better after a childhood obsession with Free Willy (filmed on the Oregon coast, by the way), but fast forward three decades later and he’d still never seen a whale in the wild.

Our two and a half month visit to South Africa changed that. (The seeing a whale in the wild bit. Not necessarily the Free Willy obsession.)

Continuing this week’s theme of wildlife tourism in South Africa, whale-watching (and watching-Ted-whale-watching) made for fantastic memories during our time in the southern hemisphere. Too, I’m happy to report that no animals were harmed in the making of this feature…

The Hermanus Whale Crier plays his kelp horn to signal a Southern Right Whale sighting Continue Reading…

Argentina, Buenos Aires, Destinations, Featured Places, South America

Mercado: On the Hunt for Local Fashion in Buenos Aires

April 2, 2012

Welcome to Martínez, an upscale district about fifteen kilometers north of the popular tourist and shopping areas of downtown Buenos Aires. We took the commuter train up from Retiro Station, wandered the streets, found storefronts galore boasting eye catching shoes, wardrobe fun, and cute cafes and learned the story of a young designer bringing a fresh take on style to the city.

Hunting through typical shops or standing on the street corner and taking notes, it was easy to see that Argentinian fashion is forward and colorful: patterns, prints and textures galore in shop after shop after shop. Great for the first few browsing sessions, but this girl needed something to jazz up her travel gear and somehow that wasn’t quite it…

Fortunately for me, Marìa del bar Barrera of Mercado Buenos Aires is working to simplify styles and design, manufacture, and sell classic wardrobe staples to natives and international visitors alike. Even more fortunate? She was our landlady!

Once again, real life proves better than fiction. Continue Reading…

Argentina, Buenos Aires, Destinations, Featured Places, Food, Musings, South America

Cosas Ricas: The Best Little Bakery in San Telmo

March 30, 2012

This post is mostly about an unexpected friendship in a new neighborhood and a love affair with my husband, with my life, and with the best cake I’ve ever had (and eaten, too).

Ted and I packed up our bags and headed out the door in the wee morning hours back in early January, prepared to fly off into the unknown and spend the year creating a life together in the midst of continually new circumstances.

When we paused six weeks in to settle into an apartment for one month’s time, little did we know the joy the awaited us down the street and around the corner… Continue Reading…

Argentina, Buenos Aires, Destinations, Featured Places, South America

If…Then – THITW Buenos Aires

March 28, 2012

Quintessential Buenos Aires Experiences:
Popular for a reason, but potentially overdone like a dried out steak.

In true semi-hipster, Portlandia fashion, we were pleased to discover a great number of alternatives to common Buenos Aires hotspots during our month long stint in the city, and we share them below for your amusement and someday-trip-planning-pleasure (perhaps?).

A Trendy “Hole in the Wall” Photo – Taken Especially for my Brothers during our sneaky tour of Majestic Hotel in Buenos Aires.

My brothers and I have an inside joke that I’m about to make public (and probably perplexing, but bear with me): they mock me for seeking out – as we Portlanders are wont to do – lesser known, smaller activities, places, and events that (arguably) posses more character and substance than the overdone alternatives.

“Trendy Hole in the Wall” is their dig; THITW for short. Continue Reading…

Argentina, Buenos Aires, Destinations, South America

Hola, Buenos Aires!

March 26, 2012

Finished with a six week stretch of back-to-back adventures through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Patagonian Argentina, we flew to Buenos Aires, dipped our toes in rooting hormone (sorry, horticulture joke), and planted ourselves into a month long stay in the bustling city.

We arrived to a mid-February heat index forecast of 105 degrees. And oi! The flight from El Calafate to Buenos Aires through a sky full of hot air was truly shocking.

A recap from Daily Travel Journal #41:

So, those classic plane crash scenes: LOST, Cast Away, etc.? Yes, those. Think that; 12-15 seconds of psychological torture. I’m not usually one to be panicky on airplanes, but when snapped out of a nap by the plane jolting violently, jumping (or was it falling?) through the air, throwing the woman in the aisle to the ground, and then sending sensations of weightlessness through my body, my stomach turned and my mind flashed with memories of the 2010 news story of crazy turbulence and the flight that disappeared en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris… The oxygen masks never dropped, but the crew and passengers were all quite shaken. Rough turbulence about an hour later on the descent into Buenos Aires. Apparently, the crazy hot weather plays games with little paper airplanes in the skies. Fast forward: landed, took a taxi to San Telmo, met our lovely landlord, received the keys to our charming little apartment, visited the first of many cafes we’re sure to love, went to a comedy club with new friends from South American Explorers, and settled into our first night in the big city.

“A month in Buenos Aires” had been a travel planning mantra in the year leading up to our departure. Right alongside the “Transatlantic Cruise,” this promise of a pause in fast-paced touring and a complete change from our daily life at home motivated and excited us each time we reached a milestone in our savings goals. Continue Reading…

Chile, Destinations, Landscape Architecture, Musings, Patagonia, South America

Trekking through the Ashes

March 12, 2012

“μ” Trek, Day 1: The western lands of Torres del Paine greeted us with smells of charred wood and scenes of black ash, remnants of a tourist’s mishap when burning waste at a campsite at Grey Glacier. To the south, we could see smoke rising in the distance. Our route was safely finished smoldering, but remote areas of the Park still suffered in flames.

Continue Reading…

Destinations, Patagonia, South America

Torres del Paine: The “μ” Trek

March 11, 2012

Torres del Paines’ recent forest fires altered the face of the landscape and changed the availability of Refugios and campgrounds along the common trekking routes, prompting us to explore Chilean Patagonia’s 598,338 acre natural wonderland on an alternate to the Park’s famed “W Trek.”

The traditional “W” is commonly traveled in five days, four nights from East to West or West to East, depending on preference, and includes trails up and back to three main points in the park: Grey Glacier, The French Valley, and La Torres.

Since Refugio Pehoe on the West end and Campamento Italiano and the in-lying campsites in the French Valley were closed and temperamental weather dealt us clouds on day designated for the middle fork, we let go of the French Valley trail and created our own “μ” Trek. Continue Reading…

Chile, Destinations, Featured Places, Patagonia, South America

Birthday Magic in Patagonia

March 7, 2012

La Casa Escondida: “The Hidden House.” With less than one day to spend in Punta Arenas, Chile between arriving by plane and departing by bus, we put our trust in a quick bit of internet research, made a booking, and hoped for the best.

It’s a tall order to ask to visit a region and get a feel for the people, the food, the architecture, the industries, history, and unique beauty of the place in one week, let alone a twenty-four hour whirlwind visit. It’s a taller order still to ask for a meaningful birthday celebration in the midst of transportation flights, connections, and transfers.

What a gift when outlandish travel hopes and wishes come true!

Our stay at this charming guest house nestled in the woods between the airport and the city perfectly kicked off our eleven day adventure in Patagonia. Continue Reading…