Showing posts with label Visitors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Visitors. Show all posts

Friday, August 31, 2012

Oktoberfest 2012

Yes, it is that time of the year again! This is the highlight of the year - Oktoberfest en Villa General Belgrano!

It is incredible to think that Hostel Tinktinkie will be hosting our 4th annual Oktoberfest. I would like to take the opportunity to take a look back in time and to remember the good times and the wonderful guests that we have had here in the past.

But before I do that...when is the Oktoberfest? The event will run from 28 September 2012 to 8 October 2012. Yes a full two weeks to enjoy traditional German food,dances,music,events and BEER!

Our first Group in 2009.
Our group from the United States in 2010.
One of the groups for 2011 making asado outside.

Friends, we only have 4 places left for the most popular weekend: 5,6,7 and 8 October. So if you want to reserve and thinking of waiting for the last moment, you will be disappointed. Hostel Tinktinkie offers a package of 3 nights and 1 for FREE!

Contact us now if you are interested in the 4-bed private room with individual entrance and bathroom.

Only 4 places available for the most popular weekend!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ivan and his Didgeridoo

Ivan arrived here with a very strange looking pipe. I was not sure if you smoke from the pipe or what exactly you do with it. I thought to myself that smoking could not be a possibility because it was too big. It must have another purpose. But I was so busy and I didn´t get an opportunity to talk to him about it.

The next morning I saw Ivan sitting on a big rock in the corner of the yard and I got the distinct impression that he did not want to be disturbed. He had his eyes closed and was meditating. I tip toed not to make a noise and then suddenly a deep and haunting sound came from the pipe. It was a musical instrument! The sound lasted for a very long time and I stood there frozen, listening and admiring it.

Later after breakfast I asked him what the name was and where it came from. It is called a Didgeridoo. I have never heard the word before and didn´t even know how to spell it! Luckily I was not the only one!

So what is a Didgeridoo?

The Didgeridoo is believed to be the worlds oldest wind instrument. It dates back thousands of years and originated as a musical instrument of the North Australian Aborigine. Ivan however did not get his instrument from Australia but from Indonesia.

Traditionally it is made from one of many species of Eucalyptus branches or saplings. Even though there are hundreds of species, only about 12 are used for Didgeridoo making. The Eucalyptus is naturally hollowed out by millions of termites. It takes at least a year for the termites to hollow a tree out. Harvesting has to be timed so that the wall thickness of the instrument is not too thin or not too thick. It has to be "just right". Making for the perfect instrument!

The thickness and shape will determine which key the instrument will be in. Shorter lengths have higher pitches and longer lengths have lower pitches. Didgeridoos generally range in keys from a high "G" to a low "A". A common "C" didgeridoo will be two steps below middle "C" of a piano. The keys of C and D are the easiest keys to learn how to play on the didgeridoo.

The bark is stripped from the outside and the termites removed and a rim of beeswax applied to reduce the diameter of the large opening. Wax also creates a good airtight seal for the mouth and makes it more comfortable to play. The instrument is now ready to be decorated with ochre paintings that symbolize a tribes food and/or totems.

Before Ivan,Jose and Javier left we asked him to pose for a couple of photos. He took positioning on the rock and started to play. It is not an easy instrument to play.You blow down the tube with loose lips creating a vibration that echoes down the tube coming out amplified as a drone.It is very important to stay relaxed because if you try too hard it will tighten your muscles which contradicts the need to create loose lips. Buzz your lips while gently pushing air down the tube.

We stood there for a little while admiring the sound that came from this tube. The wind was rustling through the leaves and the birds were flying in the sky. It was a beautiful autumn morning and the sounds made it even more beautiful.

Jose told me that he bought the instrument as a gift for Ivan in Indonesia. He owned a small furniture company and imported from Indonesia. Time stood still for a little while but then they had to get ready for the long road back to Buenos Aires.

Ivan, Jose and Javier.

When I look at that rock in the corner of the garden I will remember Ivan and his Didgeridoo.

Here is a video clip of Ivan playing the Didgeridoo.

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

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dinner time at Tinktinkie.

One of the things we love do at Tinktinkie is to have dinner with our guests. There is something magical about having dinner at the dinner table. I love to use my maroon and gold table cloth from Thailand,  for these special occasions. These occasions are special indeed. I believe that food brings people together. It is one of those rare moments where you can relax, enjoy the food and company and forget about all your worries.

Dinner time at Tinktinkie is special. Andrey is an expert cook and I must admit he prepares most of the dishes. They are way too exotic for me to make! My speciality is the Russian salad. We have a couple of dishes that we like to prepare. Our favourite of course is the "asado", "braai" or barbeque with the Russian salad. But meat has become very expensive so we don't do that often. The other favourites are "Plov" and "meat balls" . They are excellent dishes.

We have also introduced the "Empanada" evening. This is a fun evening where everybody gets involved in the preparation of the food.  We  have a tradition at Hostel Tinktinkie where we "toast". Toasting is a fun way of welcoming people and to thank them for coming here.

This is exactly what we have done when Justin came here for the weekend. We decided to make "Plov". Now "Plov" is an Asian dish where you use chicken, eggplant, rice, carrots and onions. There is a specific way to prepare "Plov". I will not get into details but you are welcome to ask us for the recipe. Justin went hiking for the day and was starving by the time he got back. We had a wonderful evening, enjoyed the company and especially the food. Ru was just as happy because she got some left overs.

Who knows maybe we will have dinner with you soon?

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's been a while!

Dear Family and Friends,

It feels like ages since I have last updated the blog! I suppose time flies when you are having fun...and did I have fun when I went to South Africa in June! About that a little later.

May was a hectic month for us here at Tinktinkie. My trip was not planned and I had to make all the arrangements in a very short space of time. I was worried about Andrey being alone at the hostel, so we decided to ask Alex and Natalia if Babushka Nelly (that is Natalia's Mom) could stay here while I was gone. Alex and Natalia love it here and decided to bring the whole family along. They stayed for almost 3 weeks!

I took the train from Cordoba to Buenos Aires. I was really impressed with the train service. The only thing that didn't impress me was the 17 hours to get there! How I've missed Buenos Aires! The crazyness, the people, and the vibe in the city. I took part in the 25 May celebrations this year. This is a very important day in Argentina because they celebrate their independence from Spain. This year was even bigger, because they celebrated 200 years. I joined the festivities in Plaza de Mayo and it was crazy! I also managed to meet Hendrik and Laura for coffee in a wonderful coffee shop in San Telmo.

The day of my departure was a nightmare, to say the least. Everything was such a rush because I needed to get my  Yellow Fever injection before I could fly. It is a new entry requirement by South Africa. But disaster struck when I lost my cellphone! I am not sure if it got stolen at the bus terminal or maybe I left it in the taxi. Andrey believes it got stolen because it was switched off . I was still in shock and when I eventually got calm on the aeroplane I realized that I have lost my jacket too. I couldn't believe it! I lost my jacket in my frantic search for my cellphone! On that note I left for South Africa!

My time in South Africa was absolutely amazing! I couldn't believe how much OR Thambo Aiport has changed. It is a world class airport and it looked so modern! I was very impressed. Monica was waiting for me and we took a drive through Hillbrow and again to my amazement it was clean, buildings were painted and it looked very nice. I couldn't believe my eyes. What impressed me the most was the atmosphere of unity in South Africa. Flags were everywhere and everybody was participating in this great event.

It was wonderful to see my family in Gauteng again. I couldn't get to my family in the Cape, but there is always a next time. I got spoilt rotten to say the least. I had such an amazing time with everyone and I have realized how much I miss the people. Distance changes people and I was very emotional most of  the time. I missed everyone so much and appreciated each moment..

I managed to see old school friends, some which I haven't seen in 22 years. It was wonderful to talk about the past, the future and what we still want to do. The most special gift was to see my girls, Nadine and Mariska. Words cannot describe how it felt to be able to see them again after 1 1/2 years. I will treasure the memories and my time in South Africa for ever and I would also like to thank each and everyone who made this holiday possible and unbelievable. Thank you!


 I am also very, very proud of how South Africa has presented the World Cup Soccer! They have done an amazing job!!!

I came back just in time to celebrate my 40th birthday!  For months I was scared and depressed to turn 40. See now people start to  label you as middle aged, old and over the hill. But I realized that the best 40 years is still to come so I am not scared anymore! Thank you again to all my family and friends who celebrated with me in South Africa and also a big thank you to Andrey who made my return and day here just as special.

The schools are closing in July and we are expecting some people here later in the month. We will keep you posted!

Andrey & Nelieta

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hostel Tinktinkie Newsletter April 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Andrey and I hope that everyone is well. Our friends in the Northern hemisphere are celebrating spring and we down south are preparing for winter. Well, look at the bright side. Winter is time to make big pots of soup, drink hot chocolate, wrap our cold bodies in blankets, shiver in front of the fire and put on weight. I am only joking!

We had a really busy Easter period with a lot of interesting people. Remember I told you in the March newsletter about the Ballerinas? Well, we had 6 beautiful ballerinas here. They are from a city called Rosario, not very far from Buenos Aires. They stayed with us for a weekend. I was dying to get a picture of them striking a ballet pose. While we waited for the taxi to pick them up I grabbed my camera and they were immediately ready to show me some moves. Before Andrey knew what hit him they took him by the hand and he joined them. It was hilarious! Then it was my turn...I don’t think I can ever be a ballerina! But on a serious note these girls are good. Have a look at their website if you have some free time.

Jonny and Thomas, two cousins from Carlisle in the UK, passed through here on their way to Mendoza. They have an amazing adventure in South America andlater Jonny will head down to Australia. He studied for a pilot and will be learning to fly big commercial planes in Australia! Thomas studied environmental science and we had some interesting discussions about farming and the environment. We also had two women here from Carloz Paz,. Natalia and Micaela! I could not spend a lot of time with them because we had a house filled with people. But I am staying in contact on facebook.

The same day when Jonny and Thomas left, Alana and James from London arrived. Alana is our first Australian at the hostel. They both live in London. Alana and James came from Cordoba and wanted to spend a couple of days in the country side. I had some very interesting discussions with James about South Africa and marketing. There are so many South Africans living in London. In fact even James could speak some Afrikaans and he was actually very good!

April was our month for celebrations. Marina, Misha and Agustina from Buenos Aires arrived and we celebrated Agustina’s 5th birthday here at Tinktinkie. We held a small party for her. We decorated the kitchen with balloons and her mom hid small presents inside the balloons. She was so scared to pop the balloons and ran out and closed the door. We had a delicious cake and in the afternoon we had an “asado” or braai. They had so much fun exploring nature and insects. They brought a telescope with them and watched the stars at night. It is getting more and more difficult to see stars in the big cities.

Here they are so bright you can almost pick them from the sky.  Agustina made herself at home playing in the building sand and with Ru. It was wonderful to have a child here. They stayed with us for 5 days and then took the train back to Buenos Aires.Marina and Misha are from Russia but Agustina was born in Argentina. She is only 5 years old but fluent in Russian and Spanish. Incredible!

Daniela joined us when the big rush was over. She came from Buenos Aires and asked the bus to drop her off in the main road, 700m from the hostel. In fact they dropped her off 5kms from the hostel! We did not know what to do. So I decided to get on the scooter and go and fetch her. She was standing next to the road and I loaded her and her backpack on the scooter and came to the hostel. It was fun! Daniela took her time to explore all the places in the Calamuchita Valley. She celebrated Agustina’s birthday with us and she was also here when Hendrik and Laura arrived.

It was Hendrik and Laura’s 2nd visit and it was really great to see them again. They are always willing to help. When Andrey asked them to buy and bring the DVD writer that he wanted from Buenos Aires, they did not hesitate to help us. They only stayed for 1 night and we decided to have a nice meal together. Daniela was still here and joined us. Andrey made one of his specialities called “Plov”and it was a winner. The food and company was excellent! Daniela, Hendrik and Laura left the next morning.

I joined a travel site in January, which I am enjoying immensely. I write travel reviews and blogs. It is also through this site that I met Una. She was referred to me by another travel buddy Fernando. Fernando is Argentinian and now lives in Florida. To make a long story short, Una contacted me. They were on their way to Mendoza and wanted to stay here for a couple of nights. What made her trip so special was that her mom, Anne  joined her here in Argentina. Una is from Iceland and her mom is originally from Denmark. Then it started to rain and got cold. But luckily they managed to see La Cumbrecita and some other places. We also had a delicious meal together. They returned to Iceland in the midst of the volcanic ashes!

Last but not least was Andrey's birthday!I wrote a separate blog about that. We had a wonderful day together.

We were blessed with wonderful people here at Tinktinkie.  We had a fun filled and action packed Easter week at Tinktinkie. Andrey will be looking for work this month. We need an extra income to carry us through the winter months. Please pray with us that he will find something soon. We wish everyone a good May and God bless.

Andrey and Nelieta

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

January 2010 newsletter

Dear Family and Friends,

Andrey and I hope that you are well and that everyone had a great December holiday. We kicked January off with a bang!

We had a group of 9 people staying at the hostel on 1 January. They were part of a catering team for Dakar and had to travel early to their next destination. We did not see much of them because they checked in at 1am and checked out at 5am. Andrey and I were like 2 excited children to get ready for the Dakar event. We organized our cameras and made sure we got front row seats! (A blog of the event is available with pictures.)

Guests started to arrive slowly. First we had a French young man and his American girlfriend, Clement and Elicia. They travelled from Buenos Aires and have been in Argentina for a couple of months. They stayed for a 2 nights, rented bycicles and explored the country side.

Then we had Ignacio from Rosario. Rosario is a town not very far from Buenos Aires. He came here to climb Champaqui with a tour group. Champaqui is one of the mountains ranges close to us. Our friend Alex comes here on a regular basis to climb the mountain in training for Aconcagua (one of the higest mountain series in South America). Iganacio is a very interesting young man and he is planning to hitchhike his way through Mexico to Alaska and on to Russia! We wish him well.

Next came Leila and Judith. They are 2 friends from Buenos Aires and were planning to travel up North. They are also young aspiring actresses and singing and dancing were at the order of the day. They were a breath of fresh air in the hostel. I loved having them here. They made themselves comfortable and that is what our hostel is all about.

Whe had a "all girl" week when Tatyana from Russia arrived. She is travelling on a motorbike through Argentina! She came here on recommendation from our friend Alex and loved it here. She was on her way to Chile and stopped here for 2 days. At the Chilean border they refused her entry because her bike was purchased in Argentina and she is not a resident. We are following her adventures on LiveJournal and she is now heading to Patagonia. Safe travel Tatyana!

Then we had Diego and Giselle from Buenos Aires here for 4 days. They are a young couple that were on holiday up north and wanted to visit the calamuchita valley again. They enjoyed the country side and especially the river. They were spending most of their time relaxing at the river and swimming.

Last but not least was our visit from 2 sisters Sthefanie and Paula. Sthefanie took her younger sister on a trip and they were coming from Cordoba. They stayed one night and Paula celebrated her 16th birthday here. Our youngest visitor at the hostel so far.

It has been an amazing month and we were fortunate to have had so many people here at the hostel! We are getting allot of enquiries which means that people are starting to notice "Hostel Tinktinkie" on the internet. The holiday season has been quiet this year. We are still plagued with drought and it is extremely hot. (See the blog about the rain)

I am also attaching a picture of Julien and Sheree from South Africa. They visited us over Christmas and we had a really good time speaking "Afrikaans"!

We are looking forward to the month of February, with an upcoming family visit and more, exciting people at the hostel.

Andrey & Nelieta

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