Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Photo of the Day: The Seven Lakes Region, San Martin de Los Andes, Patagonia, Argentina

Luis and I spent several weeks in December and January 2010 (summer in the southern hemisphere) busing, hitchhiking and sailing our way through Chilean and Argentinian Patagonia to meet up with our dear friends, Nils and Preeta, in Torres del Paine National Park on the southern tip of Chile. En route, we hiked and camped through the gorgeous lake region of Bariloche, Junin de los Andes and San Martin de los Andes. One sunny Sunday, we took a day trip by boat to Los Siete Lagos (The Seven Lakes), one of the most stunningly beautiful regions of South America. Given the unparalleled scenery of the continent, that's no small statement; the vistas were breathtaking: tall, verdant cliffs, slate blue lakes, rolling fields of wildflowers alive with humming bees and butterflies and powerful, icy waterfalls.
We stopped for lunch and a cold beer on one of the beaches and watched the more ambitious paddle by us in kayaks or swim laps in wet suits (the water is literally glacial). After lunch, we hiked into the hills to visit the many cascades and local farms before reboarding our small boat to depart for the next breathtaking spot.    

Photo of the Day: Musicians on the Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

Musicians on the Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic (photo by Simone Cannon)

The heartbeat of the city almost always lies within its musical scene: local musicians, buskers, innovators, street dancers. In Buenos Aires, it's the tango dancers who perform for the tourists at the Sunday San Telmo antiques fair; in Rio, its the capoeira performers who practice at local academies, and in Prague, it's the street bands that congregate on the Charles Bridge, playing for tips. Tourists and locals delight in the creativity and spontaneous style of the musicians, who, while working to scratch out a living, add a stratum of joy and lightness to a city with a rich and difficult past.  

I visited Prague in July, 2005 with a straight-laced friend from Texas who was scandalized by the Bohemian lifestyle, the easy access to the hallucinogenic liqueur, absinthe, and visits to art museums filled with saintly looking maidens wearing nothing but their smiles...quite a culture shock after her sleepy hometown of Tyler. To her, the Czech Republic gave new meaning to the catchphrase "it's like a whole other country".