Showing posts with label Newsletter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Newsletter. Show all posts

Monday, December 26, 2011

Newsletter December 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Andrey and I are greeting you from a sunny Calamuchita Valley. We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with love, peace and joy.

The year is winding down quickly and people are recovering from Christmas and now they are planning for New Year celebrations. Schools have closed in Argentina and we are looking forward to the holiday season. The children in Argentina have two months school holidays and many holiday makers come to the Cordoba Province to enjoy the mountains and Mediterranean climate.

This is a very important time of the year for us. We reflect over the past year, take stock and plan for the future. Talking about the future, we are proud to present that Hostel Tinktinkie will be joining forces with a  group called Ho-La Hostels. What does this mean? Ho-La Hostel Group supports `Green Sleep`. We will be part of a group of Hostels around South America that strives to protect the environment and create ecological awareness. Travellers that belong to Ho-La Hostels will receive a 10% discount when they use our hostel and other Hol-La Hostels in South America. We are very excited about this new venture.

I will write more about it as soon as we receive the flyers, maps and signs. We are very excited to be part of this initiative.

We had a lot of events this past month. Three weeks ago I visited a Classic Car Rally. This was something to see! Vintage cars from all over the world participated in a rally that took them through three different valleys. The total race was 1600 kms. Triumphs, Corvette`s, Porches, Austin Healeys and many more exquisite cars were gracing our roads. It was a treat to watch the classic car fanatics!

View the album of Classic Cars here

Bikers from all over Argentina gathered in our Valley 2 weekends ago to celebrate Motofest 2011. It was a long weekend in Argentina and bikers roared up and down the roads with Harley`s, Bmw`s,Cruisers and Choppers. I went there on Saturday and my tongue was almost hanging on the ground as I admired the bikes. People enjoyed the event and I am sure we will be hosting it again next year.

View album of Bikes here

YouTube video of the Motofest!

January is a jam-packed month full of events to entertain the children and holiday makers. We will squeeze in some time to visit some of the events and I will write about it in the next Newsletter. In February a very exciting event is taking place: Rio Carnival.

Most of you have heard about the Rio Carnival. Well, Argentinians who dress up and participate in the event come back from Brazil to entertain us here. The costumes are vibrant and colourful and we get a sneak peak of what the original carnival looks like.

Andrey and I are wishing you all a Happy New Year! 

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential.  ~Ellen Goodman

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Newsletter November 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

We hope that you are all doing well! It`s been a while since our August Newsletter and now we are starting to count the days down to the Festive Season. This year is coming to an end!

September was a crazy and busy month for us. We had to prepare for the Oktoberfest and do some annual maintenance. During the year the rooms stay more or less the same but for the Oktoberfest we convert all the private rooms to shared rooms. This gives us flexibility to cater for bigger groups. Andrey and I are quite a sight when we carry the beds and mattresses down from the top!

Converting the rooms (Click on the link)

Andrey also put up window shutters in front of one the rooms. Not only do window shutters keep the rooms cool during the hot summer months but it also provides additional security. I have grown accustomed to the window shutters in Argentina. It is not an easy task to have it fitted but once it is done, it looks beautiful.

Putting up the Window Shutters (Click on the Link)

The Oktoberfest this year went very well. The event took place from 30 September to 12 October and each year it is getting bigger. The Oktoberfest in Argentina is the 3rd biggest Beer event in the world! The most popular weekend is the second weekend and we were quickly fully booked.

The first weekend was more difficult to market and sell, mainly because it is not a long weekend and people only come through for the day. Mercedes and Marco joined us and we always value return visits.

Merce and Nelieta

I felt so sorry for the guys who arrived the second weekend. We had several storms and airports were closed including the one in Córdoba. Three guys were stranded and only arrived here in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

The group from France, Ireland and Argentina

A group of friends from Buenos Aires

They were exhausted and had to eventually take a bus to get to the Beer Festival because they couldn`t fly. Weather cleared up on the Saturday and the groups had an amazing time, inlcuding lunch underneath a tree. We had people here from Australia, Ireland, France, Wales and locals. What made it even more fun was the fact that most of the visitors were huge Rugby fans and we managed to watch some Rugby matches together.

A very happy Dave supporting Australia

Earlier in the week I went to the Beer festival to take some photos of the event which included dances and musical performances. We never attend the festival due to commitments at the hostel but we do manage to go during the week and get a taste for what is coming.

Traditional German dances
Typical German food
Beautiful Beer Mugs for sale

Coinciding with the Oktoberfest was our Hostel Birthday! Hostel Tinktinkie turned two! We also want to take the opportunity to thank all our friends, family and visitors for their support over the last two years.

 Hostel Tinktinkie turns 2! (Click on the link)

We have come a long way and we still need to do a lot but in time we will get there! A BIG thank you!

Muchas gracias a todos nuestros visitantes! A big thank you to all our visitors!

I was fortunate to have friends visiting from South Africa and together we took a trip to one of the most beautiful places in Argentina: The Lake District. We rented a car and drove almost 4,000 kilometres for that week. It is very difficult to describe the beauty of this area but imagine turquoise coloured lakes and snow tipped mountains!

Villa La Angostura (Click on the photo to enlarge)

San Carlos de Bariloche (Click on the photo to enlarge)

Unfortunately the volcano in Chile erupted again and played havoc in the already ash-covered Villa La Angostura area. We still had an amazing time and the ashes made it even more special. Not many people have seen volcanic ashes before and it was also a first for us!

Andrey touching the volcanic ashes

We also want to thank the owners of Hostel Don Pilon for their hospitality.

Last weekend our town hosted another gaucho or cowboy festival called the `Fiesta Nacional de la Tradición`. It was very interesting and I saw how the hoofed a horse, milked a goat, made wool and shaved a sheep. Andrey took some photos of different activities which included racing and I went the following day to see more than 250 gauchos and their horses riding into town. It was really incredible to see!

Gauchos getting ready to ride into town.
A young boy demonstrating how comfortable the bed is that a gaucho can m

Milking a goat

On the 26th and 27th a 4x4 event will be taking place here and I am sure we will be heading down to there to take photos and to share it with you. In the beginning of December we have another Ralley passing through Santa Rosa de Calamuchita and also a Biker`s event with Bikers from all over Argentina. They love the mountain curves here in the Calamuchita Valley.

We will be sending out the last Newsletter for this year next month. If you do go on holiday early in December we would like to wish you a safe and blessed holiday! Have fun, enjoy every moment with your family, rest and return safely in the New Year!

A big hug!
Andrey & Nelieta

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Newsletter August 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Andrey and I are greeting you from a windy Argentina! We hope you are all doing well. August is an important month for us. We are officially 3 years in Santa Rosa de Calamuchita! I cannot believe how quickly time is flying and how much we have accomplished over the last 3 years. Many days I have to pinch myself because it still feels so unreal.

The one thing I have noticed over the last 3 years is how much the weather have changed. We experienced a lot of rain, drought, fires, wind, snow, tornadoes and heat waves over the years. This winter was also different compared to last year. Some days have been exceptionally cold with snow the one day and then out of the blue warm sunny days!

Recent snow on the mountains
I really came to appreciate the nature that surrounds us. Previously I would kill any moving insect but now I realize each one plays an important part in the Eco-system. Every year we have the ladybugs who move into the house. They group together in corners and change colour. In Spring they wake up and fly away in search of food. I love these little fellows and look forward to their return every year.

I get terribly upset with people who stop in front of our land and cut down trees because they don´t want to buy firewood. Some people have no respect for nature and after a recent incident I joined a "Green peace" group to try and protect what we have here. I don´t think I will be able to change the mindset but I might be able to create an awareness. It is difficult when people tell you: "I have been born here and it is my right to cut down a tree".

People cutting off trees!
People cutting off trees in front of the hostel
Andrey and I are busy to promote the annual Oktoberfest and will start preparing the rooms towards the middle of September. It means a lot of maintenance and beds that need to be carried down from the second floor. Despite the hard work and preparations we always look forward to the Oktoberfest!

Last month I offered to house sit 2 puppies, 1 mom and 2 cats for fellow South Africans in Alta Gracia. It was a quiet time for us and I was looking forward to get a couple of days away from my normal routine. But Murphy was doing the rounds and just before I left we got reservations from an Argentinian couple and 2 British girls. Andrey´s English is pretty good but he battles with the Canadian, British and Australian English. In the end he didn´t do too bad and I spent some time exploring museums and life in Alta Gracia.

If you are interested to read more about the places that I have visited in Alta Gracia, please click on the link to see photos and to read my blog:

La Gruta
Museo Maneul de Falla
The Clock Tower (El reloj del torre)

Maggie and Ico
Maggie and Ico
In a previous Newsletter I mentioned Martin who travelled South America with a motorbike. Due to unforeseen circumstances he cut his trip short and decided to go back to Germany. We were very happy that he stopped here for a couple of days. We helped him to book a flight and arranged for accommodation close to the airport. What a complicated process to get a motorbike on an aeroplane. But it was also very interesting for me and hopefully I can help other travellers in the future. Martin landed safely in Nuremberg and is happy to be home.

Martin packing and getting ready to leave for Germany
We also had our first people from Spain here - Marc and Marta. Lovely people who enjoyed cooking and made wonderful company. Mariano from Cordoba joined us for a couple of days and it is great to have return visitors at Tinktinkie. Last weekend we had Miguel here from Rosario. I nearly fainted when I saw all the handmade shoes that he was selling. He told us that it takes 4 days to make a pair of shoes. If you want to see what the shoes look like follow the link! You might faint too!

Marc y Marta de Españia
Marc and Marta from Spain
Rachel and Nauka de Inglatera
Rachel and Nauka from England
Maxie our adopted cat left for a month and came back just before I left for Alta Gracia. He has made himself so comfortable you would think he was born here! Ru and Maxie get along just fine and it is incredible to see a dog and cat play without hurting each other.

Ru and Maxie our pets
Ru and Maxie
We are also proud to announce that we have received a sticker from Tripadvisor endorsing our hostel. TripAadvisor is a very important Internet site for travellers. We have received good reviews from our customers and TripAdvisor gave us their stamp of approval! What makes this very special is the fact that customers have to type a review and then email it. We all know that people will sit down to type a letter of complaint but not always type a letter of praise. A Big thank you to our customers!

I will not be sending out another Newsletter until the end of October or middle November. Wish us well for the Oktoberfest!

God Bless.

Andrey & Nelieta

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Newsletter June 2011

Dear,Family and Friends,

Andrey and I are greeting you from a very cold Argentina!Last night we made our first fire in the fireplace and it was wonderful to hear the sound of the wood as it was burning. I love the smell too! I don´t like many things about the winter but this I do like. To cuddle up next to the fire and to feel the warmth on my skin. We still have a long way to go and spring will only be here on 21 September!

When I wrote to you last month I was worried that I will be running out of news. To my surprise it was an action packed month and I have too much to tell you! Our town hosted a couple of exciting events like the Argentina Ralley 2011, a traditional Cowboy show, I celebrated my birthday and we had a couple of interesting people at the Hostel! On a sadder note we had a small gas explosion in the geyser but luckily without major damage.

Let me tell you more about that. The man who installed our gas geyser did a terrible job. The pipe he used was too small and the angle was wrong. For 2 years we have battled with a geyser that keeps on cutting out when it is warm. Poor Andrey had to sit in front of the geyser many a night to manually operate it. It was just my luck that one morning when I switched it on,an explosion occurred inside the geyser. It could have been condensation or dirt in the pipe but nevertheless the explosion was so powerful that it blew the pipe out of the geyser and some papers on the notice board.

I was in such a shock that I couldn´t remember Andrey´s telephone number. He left for town a couple of minutes before this unfortunate incident. Luckily I didn´t get injured and we had no major damage to the geyser. Andrey had to buy a bigger pipe and make a huge hole in the wall. Now the geyser is working like a dream and we have permanent hot water.

Lovers of fast cars would have loved the Ralley Argentina! People came from everywhere to support the event. There were no South Africans in the race but two Russian cars. One car had a female driver. I wrote a blog about it so you are welcome to read all about it. Rally Argentina 2011

Last Monday Argentinians celebrated "Day of the flag". This is a very important celebration and when I have heard that our town will be hosting a show where the gauchos or Argentinian cowboys will be performing, I knew I was not going to miss this one. I have never seen the cowboys in action and this was a great opportunity. The Cowboys of Argentina!

Thank you everyone for all the birthday wishes! I had a lovely day with a very nice braai and a delicious piece of meringue cake! We also watched the rugby! Yes we do follow the Super 15 here in Argentina. We watch it on the Internet. Poor Andrey didn´t have much of a choice who to support. I bought him a Sharks hat when he was in South Africa and he has been a loyal supporter ever since. I will be holding thumbs for my team - The Stormers!!!!

 I am saying goodbye with a funny Russian music video that was sent to us by a German friend, Thomas. Enjoy!

A big hug from Santa Rosa de Calamuchita.

Andrey & Nelieta

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Newsletter May 2011

Greetings from a cold Santa Rosa de Calamuchita! Andrey and I hope that you are doing well. Things are starting to wind down now that winter is approaching so news will be a little scarce.

Martin from Nuremberg, Germany arrived here for a couple of days in April. He ended up staying for more than a month! Martin decided to take some time off and tour South America on a motorbike for a year. He came with a cargo ship from Hamburg to Buenos Aires. Martin saw our Hostel on the internet and liked the idea of spending time, recuperating, in the countryside. Unfortunately he made the mistake, like many travellers, to go to Santa Rosa La Pampa first, instead of Santa Rosa de Calmuchita in Cordoba.

He is currently in Bolivia and will be seeing countries like Colombia,Peru, Brazil, the Amazon jungle, Chile and more. Martin has promised to come here next year April before he heads back to Germany.

With Martin here we used the opportunity to explore some towns nearby. In our line of business it is important to be up to date with museums and places to visit. Luckily the towns are close by so we can easily hop on a bus or the scooter and embark on an adventure. On one such a day we took a trip to Embalse were we´ve discovered a very interesting museum. We visited the Embalse Power plant, where our electricity is coming from and walked close to the lake.

Entrance to the Municipal Museum in Embalse
The museum is telling the history of Emblase

Walking at the Lake in Embalse
 We also visited our friends Hendrik and Laura in Alta Gracia. We had an amazing day and they are wonderful hosts. While we were in Alta Gracia, we paid a visit to the Che Museum. It was my second visit and a first for Andrey. I love this museum!

Our friends Hendrik and Laura with Andrey

Che´s motorbike which had been used in the movie "The Motorcycle diaries"

Grant and Martin arrived here for a weekend. They are both from the United States. Martin is studying for a pilot in Cordoba and Grant is working as a teacher in Rio Cuarto. Martin will go back to the States in November and Grant in July.

This coming weekend our town is hosting the annual Rally Argentina. It is not as huge as the Dakar but it passes 700m from Hostel Tinktinkie which is very exciting. We are looking forward to have a return visitor here this weekend.

A couple of nights ago a little cat walked into the kitchen when we opened the door. He is such a gorgeous little thing. We gave him some food and shelter and she quickly crawled into my heart. The problem with a stray cat is that you never know whether they will be staying or not.


We should be seeing snow soon on the mountains. That means cold…brrrr! I am not looking forward to that but it is Andrey´s favourite time of the year.

I am looking forward to be chatting to you all again next month!

God bless and wrap up warm.

Andrey & Nelieta

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Newsletter March 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Another month is quickly drawing to an end and autumn is creeping up on us. I wish summer could stay just a little longer. But I will not be greedy and we are very excited for our family and friends in the Northern hemisphere that are welcoming spring. Andrey´s mom had to shuffle snow (1.5m deep!) to be able to get out of her door!

A beautiful autumn sunrise

 Andrey and I hope that you are doing well and that life is treating you good. Once again I would like to thank the people who reply to our newsletter. It makes writing so much more enjoyable.

What happened here at Tinktinkie? We had a couple here from London, James and Claire. Normally when we receive a booking we offer to wait for people at the bus terminal. It just makes things easier when you cannot speak Spanish. We did the same for James and Claire. Well, when we confirmed the time of arrival, we realized that their tickets were booked to the wrong Santa Rosa. In fact there are 3 Santa Rosas in different provinces in Argentina! We quickly had to inform them that they need tickets for Santa Rosa de Calamuchita. Luckily the bus company, Chevallier, was kind enough to change the tickets on short notice, without a penalty.

Long distance busses in Argentina are excellent. James and Claire found that out very quickly. They offer a full course meal, Whiskey, wine and Tia Maria when you depart. Breakfast is just as good and the busses are really comfortable and luxury. They told us that they certainly don´t have busses like that in the UK!

We had a great empanada evening and we taught them how to make empanadas. It was great fun!

Claire and James making empanadas
Claire and James will be touring South America for the next 6 months. They are keeping a blog of all their adventures. Here is the link if you want to follow them.

Empanadas with meat

Last year the Government has introduced extra holidays for 2011 . It is all to promote tourism and for people to get away more often. A nice long weekend. The past weekend was a long weekend . We will start preparations for Easter soon. April is also a month to celebrate birthdays and I have been tasked to plan a birthday party for Andrey. Luckily he made it easy for me and chose the venue: La Cumbrecita.

Manu and Veronica came here for a couple of days from Villa Maria on a beautiful bike! It makes our little "Poegie" look so small. Bikers love the mountain roads and the curves here in the Calamuchita Valley. I cannot blame them it is so much fun on a bike. I can just imagine what is must feel like to be able to tour this beautiful country on a big bike.

On that roaring note I would like to share an extraordinary moment, captured by us some time ago. One evening we saw an incredible lightning show. It lasted for almost 40 minutes. What made this show so spectacular was that the thunder was running across the sky without a single sound. I have never seen anything like that before. The video is quite long but you are welcome to stop it when you want.

A big hug from Argentina!

Andrey &  Nelieta

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Newsletter February 2011

Hello family and friends,

Andrey and I hope that the New Year has been treating you good so far! I guess everyone is back in the rat race. We are doing well. The schools here in Argentina closed middle December and some schools will only start again in March. For the tourism industry it is excellent news but I feel sorry for the poor parents. It is not always easy to entertain children for 3 months.

January was such a fun month! It all started with the Dakar 2011 that came past our Hostel again. It took us by surprise because we were not expecting the same route. The news spread quickly and we gathered a small group of South African, Russian and Argentinian supporters. Flags were waving outside and nothing could damper our spirits, not even the rain! We saw our favourite drivers and we had a blast! I managed to get hold of South African bike rider Albert Hintenaus. I mailed him the photos and he was so kind to forward me a Pdf document with his account of Dakar. If you want to read more about my Dakar experience please follow the link below.

My Dakar experience 2011!!!!!

Official Dakar photo: Bridge 300m from Hostel Tinktinkie

People often ask us if we meet interesting people. The answer: "Yes!". I think all people are interesting as we are all unique. But some people do stand out like Leonard Cohen. No he is not the famous singer Leonard Cohen but he is a very talented artists. Leonard and Elsa visited us last year when I was in South Africa and Andrey took these pictures. I drew everything from photos that he took. His work is truly remarkable.

Leonard drawing a picture that he took on a ranch close to us.

The picture in progress

A work of art!

In December we had Daniel and Juan Pedro from Buenos Aires here. They study insects! Needless to say they came to the right place because we don´t have a shortage of insects here! They have a fascinating job but nor something that I would like to do. I am terrified of all insects and they seek me can run but you cannot hide!

Daniel and Juan Pedro are having a fun moment at Dakar 2011
In January we had Patricia and her husband Marco here. Patricia is a very talented opera singer in Buenos Aires. She won a scholarship and will be training with some of the best singers for the next two years. One of her teachers is from Russia.
Marco and Patrica

The holiday season bring a lot of fun activities to town. We are looking forward to the Carnaval that will be taking place next weekend. It is not the size of the Rio Carnaval in Brazil but it is beautiful to watch. The people wear stunning outfits and they sure know how to entertain the crowds. The video clip below was taken last year.

We currently have a couple from Saint Petersburg, Russia here. They are looking to settle in Argentina within the next 6 months. They say the weather is too cold and they want to move to some place warmer. They like the Calamuchita valley and we wish them luck and hope they find something that they can call home.

We are still having beautiful weather and I love the summer! The river is running strong and after heavy rain we can hear the rush of the water. It is so beautiful. People often comment on how beautiful and bright the stars are. It is true. At night you can almost touch the stars. Our visitors love to sit outside at night and admire the stars. It is sad that in the big cities it is almost impossible to see the stars. How blessed we are!

God bless dear family and friends! We miss you guys stax!!! Until next month.

Andrey & Nelieta


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