Buenos Aires

Written by Nadine Zangerle on . Posted in Argentina

Sure we arrived without Argentinian Peso so we had to pay our taxi with Reals. When we checked with our hostel where we can change money we got the information, that we can exchange money on the street. No bank?

Walking down Calle Florida was a bit strange. So many people just sat there and said “Cambio, cambio, exchange”. After walking down a bit we approached a more serious looking man and brought us to a newspaper stand. Michael went inside and the rate of the so called blue dollar was insane. At the bank you will get 1 – 7.8 and on the streets you get 1 – 14.6. So you double your money and that’s the reason why a lot of tourists exit Argentina to get some dollars elsewhere.

Afterwards we decided to do some sightseeing and strolled down the big Avenida de Mayo to the Plaza de Mayo surrounded by government buildings. The Plaza was the place where the mothers of the disappeared people (during the dictatorship of the 70s) came here every Sunday to claim the bodies of their children. We stood in front of the balcony of the Casa Rosada where Evita and Peron gave their appearances and where 5 governments changed in only less than two weeks during 2002.

How comes that so many National Congresses look like the Wahsington Capitol. At the Plaza Congreso we took some pictures of the Congreso de la Naciòn and on our way to the Obelisk we run into a dutch guy. He addressed us in German and warned us against the bus station. In the morning he arrived after a long trip from Santiago de Chile and when he left the bus station to walk over to the metro station two guys approached him. One poured a liquid in his eyes and they started burning. While he was struggling with those two guys they took everything. With nothing left he went to the police and wanted to go to his embassy just to realize that the Dutch Embassy was closed today. We felt bad for him and gave him some money to pay a room and get some food. Sure we were a bit suspicious but than in the end he was wearing a Dutch jersey had a heavy Dutch accent and looked really messed up. Hope he made it home safely.

In the evening we went to a Tango Show (Consejo Tango). After one hour dance class we had a delicious dinner with wine and 3 hours Tango Show. The show was just mind blowing. They showed the development and different Tango Styles from the 1920 to the year 2000.

The next morning we joined a free walking tour with Nicolas. He was really great and we continued till late afternoon. We became some background information about the political situation and the history of Evita and Peron. In the Labor House, where Evita worked to improve the workers life we listened to an 84 years old man who met Evita. The stories he told where super interesting. Unfortunately Evita died very young – with 33 years on oval cancer.

The funeral lasted 14 days and people waited up to 18 hours in a massive line around several blocks to pay theirs honor to the beloved Evita. Argentina run out of flowers already after one day and they had to import flowers from Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay and Brazil. They conserved her body and placed her in the Labor House. When the government was thrown over by the military dictatorship the body disappeared for 16 years. A fascinating story and we definitely have to read into it a bit.

In the afternoon we changed our whole travel plans. After Michael found really cheap flight tickets back home from Ecuador, we decided to travel Argentina first. No zig-sagging and backtracking to Patagonia in December but going to Patagonia in one week. Less people and cheaper anyway.

But first we have to travel north to see the Iguazú Waterfalls which shouldn’t be missed. Can’t wait to sit on those buses for days.

Accommodation: Estoril Terrazas, Avda. de Mayo 1385, Buenos Aires

Price: AR$ 130 p.P., 6 bed dorm, shared bathroom, breakfast included

Comment: Clean and organized hostel with friendly staff and good situated.


Colonia del Sacramento

Written by Nadine Zangerle on . Posted in Uruguay

We arrived in Colonia late afternoon and dropped our belongings in the hostel. Strolling around the small town we fell in love with this beautiful, old, colonial place. The Barrio Històrico with its Parks - Plaza Mayor del 25 de Mayo and the Plaza de Armas Manuel Lobo - was still connected with old cobble stones. The old Basilica del Santìsimo Sacramento was situated next to a bar with old cars. One of the car’s interior was changed into a dinner table and the other was full of flowers and plants.

We passed the Lighthouse and the four Bastiòn (forts) and went inside the Bastiòn del Carmen with its big chimney. You can stroll around the waterfront forever and the Plazas have cute cafes which reminds me of Italy and Spain. The evening light was magnificent and the sun seamed to burn. Unfortunately we couldn’t get this on a picture since we glimpsed the stunning sunset between the old houses.

This little town was just perfect to take pictures and all the old houses and forts where evidence of the struggle between Spain and Portugal in the 19th Century to win this strategical place at the Rio de la Plata.

The next evening we were prepared for the sunset and even if it was magical the sun wasn’t bleeding like the day before. But still, we took some stunning pictures.

Early morning we took the ferry over the Rio de la Plata to Buenos Aires. The express ferry just takes an hour and we will be ready to explore Argentina.

Accommodation: El Viajero Hostel, W. Barbot 164, Colonia

Price:URU 390 p.P., 8 bed dorm, integrated bathroom, incl. breakfast

Comment: super clean and well organized hostel. One of the best we have seen in Central and South    
                 America. They have several hostels in Uruguay, Paraguay and Columbia


Casupá - on track with Pater Karl Zangerle

Written by Nadine Zangerle on . Posted in Uruguay

We followed a lead which we found in letters and pictures of Padre Karl Zangerle. In his letters he wrote about a small town of Casupá, 100 km north of Montevideo.

Let’s have a little excursion of my family history. Just that you know what this is all about. My dad had/has five aunts and uncles who had been in the monastery. Sister Maria Klara and Sister Maria Josefine stayed in Zams/Austria in the Monastery, while Sister Maria Hilga went to India. Padre Franz had a congregation in the Philippines and in Germany. Padre Karl left for Uruguay.

Already in 2010 we found the tomb of my grandaunt Sister Maria Hilga in a small town in India. Despite her death in 1995 she is still called the Mother Theresa of Ooty and received the German Honor Medal - comparable to the Silver Star - for her extraordinary services.

And here we were, finding the marks which Padre Karl left behind. At the bus station Tres Cruces we found the bus to Casupá and were not surprised to be the only tourist on this bus. Well, the inland is not really in the travel description.

Not far out of Montevideo the pace seemed to slow down some more and we observed the flat grasslands. When we finally passed the sign to Casupá we saw a hotel. Probably the only one in town and after the bus driver confirmed our thoughts he dropped us off in front of it.

After we checked in we asked the woman next door about the Convent Parroquia Maria Auxiliadora. In our basic Spanish we explained her our situation and we found each other suddenly in a big embrace. The woman was smiling and so excited that she informed some more people in this little town. We would have been on the Casupá Radio if there wasn’t this crazy hail storm in the night. But let’s come back to the story.

She told us where we can find the Colegio, which Padre Carlos has built and that we will find two “Plaques” there. We got really excited to come so close and when we walked into the appointed street we were speechless. The streetname was in honor of him. “Presbitero Carlos Zangerle”.

At the Colegio we found a commemorative plaque of Padre Carlos and one of the teachers gave us a book with the timeline of the Colegio. Here we found several pictures and stories about my great-uncle. On the walls we still found his pictures which was amazing since he is dead since 30 years.

Back in the hotel two older people greeted us heartily. The old lady was so nervous and hugged me several times. She couldn’t imagine that someone from the family would come and look for Padre Carlos after such a long time. After 30 years working close together with my great-uncle she still knew all the names and asked for my father, my aunt and my grandmother. How are Francesco, Elisabeth and Martha? She was so emotional, tears ran down her cheeks and she was so happy.

She told me what a special man Padre Carlos had been and that he changed the lifes of so many people. He really touched the people and built two churches, a school, a hospital and an orphanage. Also in the neighbor town of Reboledo he is well known.

Even if it wasn’t always easy to understand her due to her loose dentures while she spoke excited about Padre Carlos. But the smiles and her eyes told me more than words can do. It was fantastic. And let me tell you, this woman is 96 years old, her brother 98. She told me “I love life and I am going to enjoy it a bit more!”

Before we left she gave me the direction to Padre Carlos tomb. Montevideo, Cemeterio de Buceo, Calle Aurora and tomb no. 1040. It was an indescribable feeling standing finally in front of my great-uncles tomb. We decorated it with flowers and took some pictures for my family. It is sad that my grandfather can’t see those pictures anymore but we will definitely send them to Sister Maria Klara, the last of the siblings.

Since we were back in Montevideo, we decided to celebrate Michael’s birthday with Andrew. And the hangover was proof enough for the party. Despite the hangover we continued to Colonia del Sacramento. Sorry Michael, next time maybe one whiskey less?

Accommodation: Hotel Cito, Ruta 7, KM 110.500, Casupá/Forida

Price: UYU 800 per double room, own bath, TV

Comment: super clean; when it is raining cats and dogs the water flows in a bit