Cruising Pipa, Brazil

Pipa is a Magical little town situated in the largest ecological sanctuary in the State of Rio Grande do Norte. A formerly quiet fishermen’s village with cobble stone streets, breathtaking views and warm waters, Pipa got ” discovered” by surfers internationallyin the late 70’s. It’s population and cuisine is almost like a ” Little Europe”… Nowadays, it’s a Gem for surfers, kiteriders ( Pipa means ” Kite” in Portuguese), down to earth, ecological, independent travelers that enjoy Nature. As well as for Lovers seeking for the perfect romantic spot. We landed in Natal, the closes big city and took a transfer for an hour and a half into the Beautiful jungle. Our Incredible Hotel awaited. Pipa has a great selection of Pousadas and Hotels and even hostels to choose from. Make sure if you stay by the beach, that your hotel’s STAIRCASE is in good conditions!!! Ask ahead since hotels by the cliff have 200 steps to go down to the water. We saw several in awful conditions and that could really be a challenge for your stay. Pipa has several Dreamy beaches, we stayed at Praia Do Madeiro but in a full day you can actually take a walk by all the local, Beautiful beaches. Towards the North side, you’ll see incredible, breathtaking cliffs that look almost hand painted, the earth changing it’s colours before your eyes as you blink! Praia da Casimbinhas is on your way to Tibau do Sul, where Lagoa de Guarairas is. This incredible phenomenon will amaze you as a sweet water lake merges into the ocean giving place to all forms of life such as beautiful pink dolphins, camaleons, turtles, lizzards…The entire Pipa area will amaze you. Watching the sunset at Tibau do Sul is a definite must!

Walking toward the South from Praia do Madeiro, you’ll run into Praia Do Amor, Bahia dos Golfinhos ( Dolphins’ Bay) where waters are very calm, there’s less surf and you can actually spot dolphins and relax from the wind as the mountain surrounds you. Pipa is a very windy area, so come prepared, whatever that means to you! ( And thank the wind, otherwise temperatures would be waaay higher! ;-D ).

Every single day, if you hang around long enough, you’ll get to make BEST FRIENDS with the local little monkeys that come by to say hello, looking for bananas, papayas, cashews and anything you’ll offer them! They’re kind, friendly and don’t bite.

Most hotels have transfers for a few bucks;  you can schedule pick ups and drop offs and go downtown Pipa to dine, shop, enjoy fun nightlife ( downtown Pipa is well known in the area for it’s Ecological vibe, Surf and Nightlife) and walk all the way passed downtown and stumble as we did with the ” real town” where it may not be so glam or cool but it has -THE BEST- restaurants the town can offer!

Pipa will bewitch you, even upon arrival you’ll see large coconut plantations, impressive cliffs, white sand dunes, coves and precipices. All surrounded by pristine , warm turquoise waters which you’ll be able to enjoy every day sipping some coconut water straight out of the fruit, kicking back and wishing time will stay still for ever!




Just added some new Artwork from my trips…Hope you Like!!! ;-D

Amazing Alta Gracia – Cordoba, Argentina



” I would never again be the same. This is the magic of travel. Any travel.  You leave your home secure in your own knowledge and identity, but as you travel, the world in all its richness intervenes. You meet people you could not invent; you see scenes you could not imagine. Your own world, which was so large as to consume your whole life, becomes smaller and smaller until it is only one tiny dot in space and time. You return a different person.”

( From Letters to my Son, by Kent Nerburn)

An American in Beautiful Alta Gracia…World Heritage Site : I grew up for several years in the most Amazing place: Alta Gracia,  in the Province of Cordoba, Argentina. This town is known for being the ” hot spot” for many, having their vacation homes there.  Its’ micro-climate , lovely sights, outdoors living and houses filled with history brought many curious local and international tourists that decided to make it their Home…You can breathe history as you walk the lovely cobble stoned main streets and you can almost hear secrets whispered as you walk by the 1800 th century houses…

Alta Gracia’s name means “High Grace”. It is built upon the Sierras Chicas, in a region that the Comechingón Indians used to call Paravachasca.

In the 17th century Alta Gracia was as a large ranch (an estancia) operated by Jesuits.  Alta Gracia was founded to economically support the Collegium Maximumor “Colegio Máximo“, one of Argentina’s first universities (Universitas Cortuba Tucumanæ) today: Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, and other educational institutes that are now part of the Manzana Jesuítica (“Jesuit Block”), an important center in Córdoba City. The Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba were named World Heritage site in 2000.

There were many owners to  the Estancia of Alta Gracia:

  • Don Juan Nieto, 1588
  • Alonso Nieto de Herrera, who named it after “Nuestra Señora de Alta Gracia”
  • The Society of Jesus (donated by Alonso Nieto)
  • Santiago de Liniers, 1810, who lived there for about 5 months
  • José Manuel Solares, 1868 (last owner, in his will he decides to turn the Estancia to a Village, called “La Merced”, giving as a gift to his employees pieces of land to raise the village, with the conditions of keeping the Tajamar and going on with the veneration of the Virgin Nuestra Señora de la Merced) That’s why September 24th is the special day in Alta Gracia, in honour of that Virgin.

The most well known sights include:

  • The museum of Santiago de Liniers.
  • “El Tajamar”, a man-made lake that reflects lovely lights and  the ancient built clock tower that stands tall right by it…
  • “El Obraje”, a workshop were the Jesuits taught many Indians the different crafts.
  • The Sierras Hotel, which John F. Kennedy, the King and Queen of Spain, and many others have visited
  • A house where revolutionary Che Guevara used to live. His family moved to Alta Gracia due to Che’s Asthma attacks that were tamed by the town’s Micro climate. His house is  now a Beautiful Museum.
  • Manuel de Falla’s Museum. Manuel de Falla, the Superb composer… one of Spain’s most important musicians of the first half of the 20th century, lived in an icredibly Beautiful home that overlooks the Sierras. He as well had moved to this town due to his health issues and found peace, solitude and Beauty in order to compose his pieces.
  • Gabriel Dubois Art Museum.
  • Railroad outdoor museum.
  • Lourdes Virgin’s Sanctuary: a replica of the original in the Pyrenees (France).
  • Clock Tower: 350th Anniversary of Alta Gracia Monument, now an information office.
  • Ernesto “Che” Guevara, spent 12 years in Alta Gracia, from 1932 till 1944, when he moved to Buenos Aires to be a doctor. There is a Museum in the place where he lived.
  • Enrique Larreta, writer.
  • Belisario Roldán, writer.
  • Alta Gracia also has several Bread and Breakfasts, hotels two 18 hole golf courses and several tennis courts along the city and outskirts. You will not be disappointed neither by it’s quick bites or it’s Delish Fine Dining!

The place exudes Peace… A walk around its old winery along the stream, surrounded by fragrant Eucaliptus Trees ( my favourite walk) or along the Sierras will bring you back to your center and make you Smile.

This town is one of my Fave Places on Earth ❤

Alongside the main Stream...

Taking a walk along the main Stream…

ag 1 paredon


Primer Paredon

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Manuel de Falla Museum

alta gracia dog n ally

Making new Lovely Friends!

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Lourdes Virgin Chapel

alta gracia la merced dark sky

La Merced Church , close to the Sky…..

alta gracia parroquia top

ag ally virrey liniers top                                                                                                          Virrey Liniers Museum

ag amazing door best

Amazing Door at Virrey Liniers Museum…

ag reloj publico best

Clock Tower and Lake view from Virrey Liniers Museum….

ag train station


The Old Train Station… The new City Hall branch where the Love birds Wed…

ag la gruta from circuito


La Gruta Church seen from Garcia Lorca Park



Sierras Hotel and Casino

ag che best motorcycle best


Che Guevara’s Motorcycle – Che Guevara Museum

ag virrey aljibe


Virrey Liniers Museum yard

alta gracia girasoles

The Beautiful Alta Gracia Sierras…. A place that your heart will never forget !

A little extra info:  Alta Gracia is a city located in the north-centre of the province of CórdobaArgentina, just twenty minutes by car or 50 by bus from Cordoba’s Capital. Buses come and go every fifteen minutes. It’s twenty minutes away from the very touristic Villa Carlos Paz, known for its lakes and night life and fourty five minutes from the Amazing enchanting Villa General Belgrano, Villa Alpina and La Cumbrecita…These last three towns are “MUST SEES” !!!!



Elegant Buenos Aires

Hello Everyone, HAPPY NEW YEAR! …Long time , since I broke my wrist 2 months ago and I can barely type. BUT. that didn’t stop me from travelling!!! …Had a lovely visit to Buenos Aires…Where amazing old buildings stand tall among the fast paced city.

I found my time to walk around and managed to take some photos. We stayed near posh Puerto Madero, where Martin and I visited Fragata Sarmiento, a beautiful history filled boat. Along the days we made our way around  San Telmo, Palermo , Palermo Soho ( can you say Very Posh??!!) filled with lovely little book stores, shops and awesome restaurants…highly recommend dining there….

We cruised through the famous neighborhood of La Boca, where the world-famous Artist  Benito Quinquela Martin lived and opened an Art School… Here’s a tad bit more info about this Soulful Artist :

We roamed around its’ Magical, colorful houses and made friends with a number of very friendly KATZ  ;-D

We dined at the gastronomic neighborhood of Las Can~itas, the trendiest yet, with its’ Fine Dining and Delicious Gourmet Restaurants..

I was Delighted to walk the lovely cobble stone streets and just looking at the Building tops exuding History…walking by old coffee shops filled with Tango, and Secrets from an other time…

Casa Rosada ( equivalent to our American White House)                                                                                              Casa Rosada, Argentinean ” White House”

The World Famous El Obelisco                                                                                                     The World Famous ” Obelisco”

 Peace and the City :-)

” Peace and The City”

Fragata Sarmiento, Puerto Madero

Fragata Sarmiento …Puerto Madero

Amazing Old Buildings....

Lovely Lil' Coffee Shop ...                                                                                       Lovely Antique Coffee Shop, San Telmo

San Francisco de Asis Church...Where the Argentinean Current Pope used to give his Mass!

San Francisco de Asis Church…The Church where our current Argentinean Pope used to give his Mass !

San Telmo, Orange Juice Man! LOVED HIS FRESH JUICE!      Man making Freshly Squized Orage Juice…It was ** Delish** !!!- San Telmo Neighborhood

Beautiful La Boca Neighborhood

Beautiful, Colorful La Boca Neighborhood….

La Boca " Little Gossip House of Dreams..."

” Little Gossip House of Dreams”
La Boca... MUST. GET.DA.KAT !!

MUST.GET.DA.KAT! La Boca Neighborhood

Beautiful Palermo Soho Restaurant...My Fave!

My Fave Restaurant in Palermo Soho!!

Traveling through the Argentinean North

” I would never again be the same. This is the magic of travel. Any travel.  You leave your home secure in your own knowledge and identity, but as you travel, the world in all its richness intervenes. You meet people you could not invent; you see scenes you could not imagine. Your own world, which was so large as to consume your whole life, becomes smaller and smaller until it is only one tiny dot in space and time. You return a different person.”

( From Letters to my Son, by Kent Nerburn)

Martin and I decided to take a drive through the Argentinean North from Cordoba, where we live….It’s a 10 hour drive taking the freeway.( Make sure you bring enough food and lots of water since there aren’t enough stops on the way!!!)

The best way we found, is to make sure you have hotel arrangements in Salta, and from there take day trips. We stayed in a very reasonable yet beautiful Hotel in Quebrada de San Lorenzo. It’s 10 minutes from Downtown Salta, but you definitely need a car , otherwise, if you’re walking, we saw plenty Hostels and Hotels in the Downtown area.

From there we went to the Saltworks or “Salinas Grandes”in the Province of Jujuy, all the way North, almost by the limits with Chile, Cachi, a dreamy small town within the Salta Province where we found “Olivers” -THE- best empanada restaurant we’ve ever been to. The owner has been flown to London to special events just to make his famous Empanadas Saltenãs that are like no others in the country! Cachi also has a Fantastic Archealogical Museum and a Beautiful Church.

Salta is a wonderful, colonial city filled with amazing churches, there are a couple Museums, one of them is the World known Museum of the Llullaillaco children. Inca Mumies, sacrificed as children, kept in the Ice for hundreds of years ( very interesting, very well done, pretty morbid for my taste, being a children’s Art teacher and Art Therapist, couldn’t get through the end…). Here’s a website on it…

Salta is very impressive by night, make sure you spend an evening walking around or dining…Churches are glouriously illuminated!

Driving everywhere through such hights, we found ourselves dizzy while we kept seeing people everywhere chewing something , the actually looked sort of like squirrels!!! 😉 So we asked around and we found out you can chew coke leaves ( hojas de Coca) and it helps tons with the dizziness…You can ask around ( people are very friendly) or find your little bag for $ 10 Argentinean pesos ( about a buck or two) and problem solved!!!

Driving North from the Province of Salta, we went through the amazing Salta Jungle, passed through a dessert filled with an incredible variation of cacti and ruins that date hundreds of years and we finally reached Purmamarca,  in the Province of Jujuy.

Now THAT was our Absolute Favourite!

It’s home for the Cerro de siete colores ( Seven colour Hill). We realized for next time, we’ll definitely stay there a couple nights. Although small, this Magical little town stole our hearts; it’s got this Incredible Hill that steals the scene as its background, a wonderful market where you can find regional gifts for yourself and to take home such as hand made sweaters, blankets, preserved fruit, belts, dolls that imitate the ancient dolls Inca children used to play with and delicious Restaurants. Plenty of Hostels and EVERYTHING there is walking distance. If you stay overnight, you can take a small hike ( guided or on your own) up the Seven colours Hill and just delight your eyes with the view of Gorgeous Purmamarca.    ally hostal

Salta by night

Salta Church by night

7 clores

Seven colours Mountain, Purmamarca, Province of Jujuy

salta ruins martin

What’s left of an Ancient home….on our way to Purmamarca, Province of Jujuy

martin n ally purmamarca

Purmamarca, Province of Jujuy

purmamarca market  Purmamarca Market

salt owl

Saltworks…Jujuy, almost at the limits with Chile!

franklin sister lamb ally best New Friends! 😉

cachi church

Cachi church, Province of Salta

devil's throat the monk

Calchaquies Valley; ” The Devil’s Throat” and ” The Monk”, Amazing rock formations the entire way!

federico n ally

Purmamarca: Hangin’ with Baby Federico! ❤

salta winery

” La Esteca ” Winery

I, as a crazy Animal lover, was so excited to see Llama everywhere! At some stops, people sell their regional sweaters, jewlery and blankets and there , just like dogs, sit their pets, very sweet Llamas that will cuddle up to you, and you can take photos with by leaving a small donation 🙂

After our eighth day we finally started our way back to the Province of Cordoba. We said goodbye to relaxing Salta and it’s kind people, and in a blink of the eye we were going through Cafayate, still in Salta. It’s a town located at the central zone of the Valles Calchaquies ( Calchaquies Valley) . It sits 1,683 metres (5,522 ft) above sea level. Many of the most impressive sights in the Valley ( due to Incredible Rock formations that ACTUALLY have names and look like things such as a Frog, or a Monk) of the Rio las Conchas ( Conchas River) (Quebrada de Cafayate) are along the paved, 183-kilometres-long National Route 68 that goes from Salta to Cafayate….. And get ready!!! since you’ll find Delicious to the sight and buds wineries along your way!

….After a 10 hour drive, we finally got back to Cordoba, welcomed by our Beautiful Sierras, amazing fresh green sights and weather…a nice break after so much desert on our way!!

It’s been a couple months now, and as I close my eyes, I can still feel the quiet, from Salta’s Mountains, when I’d open our Hotel window every day…being received by Birds, the colonial rooftop view and gorgeous trees in a protected area ❤