Day 17: Enjoying Rio Hermoso Hotel and San Martin

Trip Start Dec 02, 2008
Trip End Dec 26, 2008

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Day 17:  Enjoying Rio Hermoso Hotel and San Martin de los Andes
Friday, December 19th

A lesson in leisurely and graciously enjoying breakfast is the first order of the day.  We walk up to the breakfast buffet and wonder if this could be all that is offered.  There is some fresh fruit, yogurts, and cereals.  I am concerned if Harvey will have enough to eat, since he can't have the yogurt or cereals (his lactose intolerance).  We sit at our table and Jackie asks us if we want coffee and I order café con leche caliente and Harvey orders café negro.  Along with our coffee, she brings fresh orange juice and plates of jams and breads.  They are beautifully displayed (see our photos!).  I ask Harvey again if he would like eggs and he says patience, patience, let's see what they bring out.  After some time, Jackie asks if we would like eggs!  We smile at each other and place our order.  Today's intention is "smile and laugh" and that is exactly what we feel like doing!  Of course, there are two eggs cooked perfectly with tasty tomato garnish.  With a refresh of our coffee and juice, we are content.  We sit beside the large windows facing the river and our thoughts go to how much it would cost to live here for a month - we could rent our home - well, you get the idea!

After breakfast we take a walk by the river.  There is an inviting mowed path of grass that runs parallel to the river.  As we walk, we note that the river has sections that are slow moving, others fast flowing and yet others that are like rapids.  Lupine flowers of pink, white and blue are gently swaying in the breeze.  We find a place to sit and find five different small colored flowers; they are not immediately obvious so if we were walking by we surely would miss them, but as we are sitting among them and carefully looking they reveal themselves.  We hear the sound of the river and birds.  We lay back so we can look up and watch the clouds move in beautiful formations! It feels just feel like creation is happening right before us as clouds merge, disperse, touch one another and then separate.  Like a dance!  Changing every second!  Always in motion!  Like life.  As we age, we learn to adapt and change.  I want to let things flow and be part of the dance!
We return to our room.  After our arrival yesterday, Harvey got our laptop on the hotel's internet satellite connection.  He had to do a little bit of solution-finding with the router and our laptop settings.  Today, the iphone has mysteriously dropped the Spanish dictionary application.  Harvey is now on-line looking into a resolution.  Harvey really does enjoy the analysis and figuring out a solution.  He is having fun.

I continue my Kabbalah reading.   There are two passages that are particularly speaking to me.

ˇ    "Our real task is to develop spiritually.  Your challenge is to be less concerned with time and more concerned with staying clear and focused.  This means letting go of expectations and enjoying wisdom and mindfulness for its own sake, rather than attaching it to outside expectations."

ˇ    "Infinite patterns are available to you.  It is for you to decide which patterns suit your growth and assist you in expanding your mind, opening your heart and nurturing your body.  Become the witness of your thoughts and the many ways in which patterns flow through your consciousness.  The pattern or template through which you operate pervades everything you think, say and do.  You cannot run away or hide from yourself.  You can only be come enlightened to what you are thinking and the patterns you create in your life.  Notice the choices that you make."

I reflect on my daily practice of intentions.  For the last several years, I have been engaging myself in practicing these patterns that I have defined for myself.  As they become part of my everyday experience, they will shape and form the way I think, feel and act.  The intentions continue to unfold as more layers are experienced and greater awareness continues to transform my experience of life.  In a sense, I am traveling within myself, with new experiences and perceptions!

For lunch, we take our seats at our table and ask Vanessa for a salad as well as cheese and tomato sandwiches.  It is relaxing as we chat and look out through those large picture windows.  I absolutely love the views that are visible from every location within the hotel.  Whether you are inside or outside, nature is always in view.

We return to our room to just hang. Harvey is sending photos to his friends of the Buenos Aires tango girls and his rock climbing.  I'm lying in bed looking out the picture window - at the clouds, mountain, and river - all in one view!  It is mesmerizing, and I just stare.  The temperature has dropped and the wind has picked up, creating interesting patterns on the river.   I watch the clouds quickly move over the mountain; much like things change in our lives, we our centered within our inner core of who we are. 

We decide to go for another walk on the property, this time in a different direction along the river, closer to the rapids.  We find a log to sit on; we listen to the water, feel the breeze and just relax and feel the calmness.  Harvey listens to some music and I take some photos.

When we return to our room, we take a nap.  How relaxing is this?  When we awake, Harvey googles the Bach Inventions and reads the analysis.  He has had a growing appreciation for Bach and is enjoying understanding more of the technique and approach that Bach took in his compositions.

I stare out of the window and watch the cats paws, the wind ripples, on the river.  I feel the beating of my heart and a sensation from my throat.  I don't know what it means. Am I finding my voice or is my voice finding my heart?

Today has been a treat.  To feel your own rhythm and enjoy a place as beautiful as Rio Hermoso Hotel is unforgettable! 

Wait!  The day isn't over! 

Tonight we are to have dinner with Fernando and Cecilia who we met at El Faro.  We drive the last 25 minutes of the Seven Lakes Route to San Martin de los Andes to meet them for dinner.  This is our opportunity to see Lago Mechanico, lake# 10).  The approach to San Martin is dramatic as the road nears San Martin it is carved out of the rock and as we look down we see the town nestled in the mountains at the edge of Lago Lacar.  The streets of San Martin de los Andes are paved and clean.  We have never seen such a tidy town with compact trash containers in front of each home (see photos).  The streets are lined with well maintained homes and shops; flowers, especially roses are prolifically displayed as if everyone has a green thumb.  No one could possibly starve here, as there seem to be small, quaint restaurants on every block.
Before meeting Fernando and Cecilia, we find the chocolate shop, Mamusia, that was mentioned on TripAdvisor, on San Martin and Moreno Street.  The staff are friendly, the chocolate holiday decorations and treats are creative, the selection is enticing....when we taste the sample and say a simultaneous "wow", the staff and other customers smile.  We get carried away with our selection and purchase far more than we'll eat while in Argentina; I guess we'll just have to take some home!

We find Fernando and Cecilia hotel and as we wait for them a man walks up to us, speaking quickly in Spanish and we are not sure what he is saying.  He has walked across the street where he was standing with a group of people in interesting dress (see the photo gallery).  We kind of think that he is asking for money, but we are not sure.  A car pulls into the driveway and we point to this man exiting his car as someone who might be able to help him.  I look up and see in the hotel window that some people have been watching the interchange and we smile at each other as I shrug.  I think the man may be Mapuche, based on the way he is dressed.  Mapuche are those whose ancestors were here before the arrival of the Spanish. 

When we see Fernando and Cecilia, we do the kiss on both cheeks and gaily walk the streets of San Martin de los Andes to the restaurant they have selected.  It is one that offers regional specialties such as smoked meats and cheese as well as beef and boar.  It is called El Regional restaurant on Villegas Street.  It is charming and atmospheric and offers excellent food beautifully displayed.  Our vegetarian plate of smoked cheeses looks like a sushi dish!  Harvey's steak was big enough for sharing and was excellent.  Our waitress was pithy and delivers one liners as we chose wine and made our selections.  She gave us complimentary appetizers and at the end of our meal, offers complimentary champagne.  We gladly toasted our reunion and the sharing of a meal with Fernando and Cecilia!  We had lots of fun - smiling and laughing!

On the return trip to the Rio Hermoso Hotel, the road is pitch black.  In the total darkness, we look back and see the glistening lights of San Martin de los Andes.  They seem to sparkle.  By the time we arrive back at the Rio Hermoso Hotel it is 1 AM.  We expect to quietly park the car and go to our room.  So, with surprise, the front door opens and there is someone to greet us!   Welcome home!  Next to each side of our bed is a little dish with a chocolate treat!   That little dish is our entire day - a TREAT!  We smile and nod off to sleep.

Today's photos:
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