Archive for the Category ◊ Culture and Curiosities ◊

Views 30 Nov Buenos Aires ranks as one of the world’s most livable, entertaining cities!
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | Leave a Comment

Looking to live in a livable city?
Look no further. According to the 2010 World Ranking of Mercer’s Quality of Life, Buenos Aires ranks as the 78th most livable city in the world! Mercer’s Quality of Life index measures ten key categories, including: political, social, and economic environment, medical and health considerations, public services, transport, housing, recreation, education, and ecological quality (waste removal, water availability and cleanliness, etc.). Vienna, Italy takes the number one ranking.

Buenos Aires ranks as one of the world’s most livable, entertaining cities!

So, when you book your trip to Argentina, make sure to delegate ample time to get to know Buenos Aires and its culture. You never know, one day you may want to live in such an amazing city!

Read the rest of this page »

Views 24 Nov Essential Brain Food: The Alfajor
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | One Comment

As a student, knowing what food will get you through your studies is essential. Perhaps you remember late nights slumped over a computer chowing down on a cold piece of pizza. Or, perhaps twinkies were more your style. Whatever was your handy side-kick, we all know that we probably would not have made it through high school, college, etc. without it.

In this series, we will discuss essential foods to help you through your Spanish language courses. The first is the oh-so-delicious Argentinean alfajor (pronounced ‘all-fah-hor’). Actually, alfajores are found in multiple Latin American countries, but Argentina’s alfajores are spectacular! No trip to Argentina would be complete without sinking your teeth into one (or twelve) of these sweets.

Essential Brain Food: The Alfajor

Picture this – two layers of sweet biscuits glued together by a rich layer of thick caramel sauce (called “dulce de leche”) then coated with chocolate. Mmmmm! There are many variations, and this is just one of them.

Read the rest of this page »

Views 26 Oct Mendoza – Wine to Remember!
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | Leave a Comment

Argentinean wine is world-renown, and in particular, Mendoza stakes claim to being the reason for its recognition. Mendoza is known for its Malbec wines and is situated in a desert region, which means it gets more than 300 days of sun annually. It is also near the mountains, which protect the plants from the Pacific Ocean moisture. Thus, its climate is perfect for cultivating this type of grape.

Mendoza Malbec wines are full-bodied, rich red wines, which is ideal for pairing with fattier cuts of meat. Um – hello – can things get any more perfect?! Argentina is FAMOUS for its asadas and bife (grilled meats). If your mouth isn’t watering by now, well, you must not eat meat or drink wine.

Mendoza – Wine to Remember!

The good news is that once you find yourself in Argentina, you can easily book a wine tour. Many wine schools offer such tours and excursions, and Monique van Dalen (Netherlands) did just that. She booked a tour with a wine school in Buenos Aires and she set out for a weekend to experience all that Mendoza had to offer. Here is her experience…
Read the rest of this page »

Views 20 Sep Insight into the Incas
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | Leave a Comment

Peru is a country rich with fascinating history. Tales of the Incas continue to capture the imaginations of thousands, as hordes upon hordes of people travel from far and wide to explore the countless ruins of this ancient empire.

Peruvians are extremely proud of their ancestors, and you will undoubtedly learn a lot of intriguing information about Incan history during your time in Peru. Here are a few interesting facts to get you started…
Insight into the Incas Read the rest of this page »

Views 10 Mar Both Sucre and Potosí: history, tragedy, richness and culture of Bolivia
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | One Comment

Crossing the border from La Quiaca, Argentina to Villazón in Bolivia is like stepping into a different world. Say goodbye to the very comfortable buses, to the warm climate, the lovely empanadas and to drinking lots of mate de yerba. Say hello to the bumpy unpaved roads, freezing high mountain tops, food stalls on every corner, shoeshine boys trying to make a few pennies and coca leaves to combat altitude sickness. It sounds like chaos, but in the disorganization is Bolivias charm, it is vibrant, eclectic and exciting – a world away from Western culture.

Both Sucre and Potosí: history, tragedy, richness and culture of Bolivia
Read the rest of this page »

Views 07 Oct Buenos Aires, The City of The Cities
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | One Comment

Buenos Aires is a city with a grand reputation, famed for its nightlife, architecture and interesting cultural scene. The city often has been labelled, ‘The Paris of Latin America’; however, the fusion of people and cultural influences, from Europe and Latin America is unique and creates a distinctive and energetic atmosphere unlike any other.

The diverse neighbourhoods (barrios) of Buenos Aires each have their own inimitable flavour and feel. The elegant northern barrios of Belgrano, Palermo and Recoleta are known for their shopping, nightclubs, trendy bars and restaurants.

Buenos Aires, The City of The Cities

The extensive parks situated in these areas, provide space to get away from the congestion of the city during the day. Recoleta hosts the famous Cementerio de la Recoleta with its dramatic mausoleums for distinguished Argentinean individuals (including Evita and many ex-presidents), as well as several other reputed galleries and museums.
Read the rest of this page »

Views 16 Oct EL CAMINITO, LA BOCA, BUENOS AIRES
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | One Comment

Nightlife in Buenos Aires
It was a sunny September morning in the great city of Buenos Aires. My friends and I were waking up from yet another night out on the town, Porteño Style. (NOTE- in this city people don’t go out to the bars and discotheques until two or three in the morning–afternoons are the new mornings). As we sipped our Cafe Con Leche, eager to embrace the fleeting day, we decided upon a plan of action: it was time to for La Boca. Unknowing of what was to come, we began our journey.

La Boca, or “the mouth” holds a very special place in the hearts of Porteños. In many ways, it can be seen as a symbol of Argentinean Culture. While you might be thinking that this barrio has been given such a name in honor of its inhabitants–a people characterized by rapid, loud, and incessant talking– this is not quite the case. La Boca is home to the opening or “mouth,” of the Riachuelo River, the first natural port in Buenos Aires. This water way offers a nice beak from the hustle and bustle of the city center. On a clear day you can catch local fisherman and their families taking antiquated sail boats for a ride. Read the rest of this page »

Views 12 Oct NIGHTLIFE IN BUENOS AIRES
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | Leave a Comment

In front of closed doors

Buenos Aires quite rightly holds a reputation for its unrelenting and diverse night life offering countless theatres, clubs, bars and restaurants to keep porteños (people of the port) and visitors occupied. There’s certainly more than enough to do behind the doors of the city’s night-time haunts (for a good resource on keeping up to date with the daily range of events see: www.vuenosairez.com) but there are other more unofficial events taking place on the streets themselves. Indeed, a surprising aspect of life in the city particularly for northern European visitors is the sheer number of people walking the streets after dark. Perhaps most famous amongst these nocturnal activities are when the locals gather in the plazas, seemingly spontaneously, to dance tango and drink mate. Less well publicised and harder to track down are the groups of graffiti artists working their magic on the walls of buildings throughout the city.

Nightlife in Buenos Aires

Read the rest of this page »

Views 08 May LA BOMBA DE TIEMPO
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | 3 Comments

Are you like many others who think that Monday is the most boring night of the week? Well, if you are in Buenos Aires, you will be sorely mistaken. If you head up to Cultural Center Konex Monday nights will become your favorite night of the week. Your week will begin with rhythm, dance and loads of energy.

La Bomba de Tiempo

This is a tribal party where sounds come mostly from the drums and the added elements of dance music. La Bomba de Tiempo is a tropical cocktail with a mix of Indian, Moroccan, Brazilian, Argentinean and African sounds. Read the rest of this page »

Views 23 Abr TRANSPORTATION IN PERU
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | One Comment

Transportation system in Peru is a great mystery. How do they find their way in this chaos is still a great unknown.
In Lima there are different means of transport, and so we have: buses, combis, colectivos (private cars that transport individuals), taxis, motor-taxis (half motor-bikes half rickshaws). But the prevailing means of transport in most of the cities is a bus. This concerns also Cusco, where I live. Combis and taxis have conquered streets of this city.
Transportation in Peru
Combi is a very interesting phenomenon. It is a van, which according to residents has enough space for about 24 people with approximately 14 (small!) seats! Just squeeze and problem is solved! Well, at least you get to know each other more Combis are owned by private companies and there are plenty of them. In a combi there is usually one person on board (except for a driver) who manages the car and shouts out loud the route (he or she usually calls the names of the streets with an enormous speed, so you better listen carefully!). When 5 combis come at once and stop at the same “paradero” (bus stop) you get a nice havoc. But everyone knows its way, so there is no problem. The only confused ones are tourists, who gaze with amazement. There are no timetables at the stops, but this was smartly solved. You can always ask the person managing the combi if it passes through a place you want to go to… provided you know some basic Spanish.

Read the rest of this page »