Sunday, 24 April 2011

Return of the Mac!

Not to sound pompous or anything, but it would be quite to factual to make the assumption that the general population must have wondered whatever happened to michcellaneous.blogspot. com.

Cold, dreary nights sitting by the laptop with a mug of hot Ovaltine (THE BEST!), in anticipation of a blog post which ventured into the dark corners of the earth with a crappy Nikon camera, were lost in despair. With every right click of the mouse on the 'refresh' button, there was still no life. The naysayers said that the blogging superstars were gone... for good.. but with Easter upon us, it's certainly time for a Resurrection!!

That's right, Brothers and Sisters, I'm bringing this blog back to LIFE!!!

The last time we all caught up, I was discussing being in some cold climate with a bunch of dogs. No, I'm not referring to St. Moritz but to Bariloche in Argentina and hanging out with a St. Bernard's.

You're probably all wondering what other delights Michi and I encountered as we continued the rest of our epic journey across a diverse land of immense history and culture. The joys we experienced could certainly not be conveyed in a blog post but basically we saw a bunch of penguins

and a bunch of ruins.

Now moving right along and fast forward a year.... our adventure resumes in diverse land of immense history and culture......

Monday, 29 March 2010

Swiss (Inter)National

Ok. I have lied. I have lied, lied and lied. Much like Ashley Cole, I have lied…. but for very different reasons.

In my previous blog entry, I told my faithful and loyal readers that a blog update would be coming in the next couple of weeks. Those weeks have now turned into two whole months!!!!

Yes, a negligent case of false advertising has occurred but I will now atone for my sins as I describe my glorious life in Swizzy.

Ahh..… oh to wake up every morning and breath in the glorious mountain air. To be seduced by the wondrous lakes and snow-capped peaks almost touching the wispy clouds.


Which in a blink of an eye turns grey….


To be enchanted by the crisp mountain air, like being in a magical fairy-land, and feel a rush of invigoration as you stroll through lofty trees, craning your head to see the very top of each one.


The multitude of lakes never fails to dazzle as each one sparkles like sapphires in the glistening sun…. well, when the sun’s out anyway!!




It makes me feel so patriotic at times that I place my hand on my heart, beat out my chest and sing “ Die Schweizer Nationalhymne “, saluting the great flag of Confederation Helvetica.


Ummm… actually, something’s not right with this picture… things aren’t adding up….

At this point in time, the following comments run through my head….

  • Que??????????
  • Where’s the red and white flag??
  • Aren’t I in Switzerland??
  • What??
  • This is still Argentina???
  • OMG!!!!! It’s just like Switzerland!!!!!


“ Oh God…. when will we she ever learn??? “, says Michi exasperatedly.

I am in fact, folks, still describing the Swiss-like fantasy world of The Lake District in Argentina! There are many more South American adventures to write about in my blog, so I need to pick up from where I left off and it’s only fitting that I continue with Argentina’s answer to Switzerland’s natural beauty… it in fact comes very close to rivalling CH’s offerings.

The jewel of the crown would have to Bariloche.

These are the views from our hotel room – there has been absolutely no photoshopping here, I can assure you. Incidentally, we stayed at the same hotel where the British Ski Team frequent when on training camps in Argentina. Coincidentally, the British Ski Team are all Austrian but now choose to pledge their allegience to Her Majesty The Queen aka Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith…. The Commonwealth rules; yes, I know!!


Look at all that sparkle!!


Now, the Swiss vibe was really in full swing at ol’ Bariloche.

Here we are at an “ authentic “ Swiss restaurant. Swiss National, Michi, could hardly contain his excitement, of course!


More lakes and mountains channeling a rather Geneva-n ambience… well, not so much Geneva but more on the other side of the border, towards Evian, France…. if you squint, you can almost see a water-purification-bottling plant below… ;-)





The views just blow you away…. literally!




Some Swiss-looking sheep were scattered around to resemble The Appenzell or even Scotland, really….


A lovely stream which could easily pass as a sewage canal in Switz!


And the piece de resistance – a Gaudi-esque coffee shop in a little township called….. drumroll…….“ Colonia Suiza “…. just to emphasize that good ol’ Swiss love, eh? Yup, Michi felt right at home in Zurich…. not!


And, I’m afraid this is where I would have to question the “ Swiss-ness “ of this place. Given that the above structure could be the lower level of “ La Sagrada Família “, it would be more fitting if this little village in which the aforementioned cafe resided in was re-named “ Colonia Barcelona “. We’ll just have to use our imaginations here, folks…

Despite this Gaudi gaffe, Bariloche really prided itself on being South America’s Switzerland, and continued with this theme, with all the lakes….







… and all the chocolate on offer. I was most suitably impressed with Bariloche’s chocolate which was as good as Lindt, in my opinion. Well, not as good as the Lindt balls but just as good as their other chocolate! All that Michi could say about Bariloche’s finest chocolate was “ Average “. Must be the Swiss pride coming through there!!

And Switzerland wouldn’t be Switzerland without the following:

1. The watches – the prestige brands being Swatch and Flik-Flak, of course!

2. The banks '- well, they’re barely there now… hehehe just kidding!

3. Roger Federer – who else? ;-)

This is where Bariloche falls well short but nevertheless it does resoundingly redeem itself in the Swiss-“Single-White-Female” stakes by having in abundance the




( apart from Mr. Michael Ruflin and RF, of course!!, and perhaps, Simon Ammann – according to my friend, Barbara, anyway. )!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am of course referring to Switzerland’s pride and joy…. its national treasure…….


or simply the St. Bernard’s to us lazy Anglophiles.

Posing with one of these fine creatures, would have to be the greatest day of my life. And that is not an exaggeration.


This gorgeous man’s name was Samson, btw. It must be the hair.

Ok, I lie. Here’s an even better photo with the best that Switzerland/Bariloche has to offer!!


Monday, 1 February 2010

The blog must go on!!

Ladies and gentlemen, my most ardent followers and other distinguished guests, I hereby extend my sincerest apologies for not updating my blog.

I am currently in Switzerland and have been catching up with my old friend, Roger, as he claimed yet another Australian Open title in Melbourne. Woo hoo!! Now that the tennis is over, normality can resume and I can once again update my blog to keep you all riveted with the adventures that occurred in the continent, South America. Believe me, there is plenty to blog about so keep tuned in for my latest entries.

Hip, hip hooray for that, boys and girls!!


Sunday, 27 December 2009

Mendoza – Fine Whining

We went from one night in this


to spending the following three nights in this:


No, it’s not a retirement village. It’s in fact, a not too shabby upgrade to The Park Hyatt Spa and Resort in Mendoza. Now, that’s what I call a backpacker’s – 5 star style! Thank you very much! I was just thankful that The Park Hyatt had a flushing toilet, unlike the aforementioned campsite, without a million and one dead bees, much like the aforementioned campsite.

From whining in this:


to wining with these bad boys:



Mendoza is the nucleus of Argentina’s superb wine industry. Located about 40 minutes outside of Mendoza is the little town of Maipu, which is home to a multitude of vineyards. There are wine tastings at each vineyard, accessible by bike. A more acceptable form of drink driving, methinks.

IMG_1152 IMG_1150




Wine isn’t the only delight in Mendoza. With The Andes as a spectacular backdrop to the vineyards, it was hard not to be enthralled by the natural beauty of Mendoza.


N.B. Right about this stage, MICHI BROKE OUR BELOVED CANON CAMERA AND SO WE HAD TO BUY A BOTTOM-OF-THE-TOILET NIKON CAMERA – IT’S SH*T!!! The pictures from here-on-in will be below par. Many apologies but you’ll have to make do with your imagination. Disculpe-me.

For his misdemeanour, Michi was relegated to driving duties on a delightful day out on Ruta 60.


It was a worthwhile venture though, as further afield you had this funky looking sedimentary bridge, whose dandy Spanish name I’ve forgotten:


And the mighty ACONGAGUA!!!

Go gaga for Acongaga

The Acongagua is America’s – yes, both North and South – tallest mountain. It’s bigger than The Matterhorn and Mont Blanc put together. Ok, maybe not, but it’s still pretty tall.

We couldn’t be ars*d climbing it, but we had a look at it and the surrounding National Park. It’s all very “ The Hills Are Alive “ Arige style, darlings.



DSCN0086 DSCN0087

How dare you call me an old fossil!!


Oh… sorry… you meant this…….


Here’s the mighty beast itself – The Acongagua!!



In actuality, the surrounding area, which smothered the highway from Mendoza to Santiago, Chile, was outstanding and made the drive spectacular.









These snow-capped beauties were the perfect prelude to The Lake District of Argentina as we left Mendoza behind.