Category Archives: Holiday

Argentina: Bus vs plane

Considering that driving to Ushuaia from Buenos Aires via bus takes approximately three continuous days of bus riding, we were very happy to take a 3.5h flight instead. The price made sense too.

(psst, I did it anyway!)

We heard great things about how affordable it is to ride long-haul buses, but when it came down to booking during high season with only a few weeks left and on the spot while in the country, it was expensive! A bus ride might cost $170, while a flight would be $200. Saving $30 to spend a 24-72 hours in a bus suddenly didn’t really make sense, unless we were keen to explore the interiors of Argentinian and Chilean buses, which we actually weren’t.

The problem is that often booking domestic flights in a South American country is more expensive for foreign tourists, and in fact, it sometimes did stop us. From Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and from Bariloche to Buenos Aires cost about $269 per person per flight on Google Flights, but on LATAM’s website, they would double or triple in price if you went to check out. A $240 bus ticket looks very different compared to either a $269 or $750 plane flight.

How did I get around this? Well, even though LATAM is a member of Oneworld, their flights show up in Delta (Skyteam alliance) flight searches. For whatever reason, I could look up the flights directly on the Delta site and purchase them there for the same price as in Google Flights, and I could not do this on the LATAM site. Even better was that I am still a Oneworld gold member, so I got some more upgrades and lounge access for us. (Just kidding, there is no lounge in Buenos Aires or Ushuaia or Bariloche! Hahaha. But it did get us priority boarding.)

Unfortunately, this didn’t work when I was looking to book Aerolingus tickets from El Calafate to Bariloche, so we ended up buckling down for a 24h ride from El Chalten to Bariloche, which ended up being like 26h. It was not a great day, but the bus tickets were still a lot cheaper than a $800-900 plane ticket.

We ended up flying down to Ushuaia, taking the bus to Puerto Natales in Chile to visit Torre del Paine, then to El Calafate, El Chalten and Bariloche before flying back to Buenos Aires from Bariloche.FWIW, it’s not fun traveling as a celiac on buses. They do not provide any special food for you at all, you just receive the pitiful “meal” above: a sandwich, bread-thing, and cookie. There is no opportunity to get off the bus during stops, so you need to bring enough food and drink for the entire journey. Also, they only provided this crappy meal twice, and one cookie for breakfast, so Kay was pretty hungry and needed snacks too, even eating double the portions since he got all of my bus food. I’m glad we asked beforehand and that we bought ALLLL the pão de queijo in El Chalten before we left!

The moral of the story is, buy the plane tickets if you can finagle the price. It is worth it, especially on shorter holidays, to see more of the country instead of being cooped up in a bus. If you have several months off and find good bus prices, go for it. Otherwise, fly and don’t regret it!

Swiss National Day

Swiss National Day was the start to our week of holiday and it was a great start at that. Kay’s brother came home and we celebrated the holiday with my FIL as our new slightly smaller family.Even though we are all still pretty sad at times without my MIL, we found time to laugh and appreciate the time we have with each other. There is definitely a lot of love in this family.I’m feeling a little more outnumbered these days, but I guess with six brothers, I should be used to that anyway, right? 🙂 Whatever the case, I am happy to be here!The day went by all too fast and before we knew it, several hours had passed and it was time for my FIL and BIL to go home so that Kay and I could pack for Montenegro.

I am not sure when is the next time we can all be together, but I look forward to it.

PS, isn’t Kay’s Hawaiian shirt just great?! 🙂 He bought them on our honeymoon and I love when he wears them for BBQs!

Early Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving all! Hope you enjoy a nice meal with your loved ones tomorrow.

Every year since 2007, I have celebrated Thanksgiving with my rotary house friends that I met during my first months here. The original Thanksgiving was a special day because my American classmates were visiting me from Germany and Kay, known as “Patrick” back then, made an unexpected decision to join at the last minute.

We were all students at the time and didn’t have much money. I remember that I didn’t have 100CHF for a turkey, so I bought several chicken breasts to feed over 20 people. (Hah!)  We also didn’t have an electric mixer, so we enlisted the help of Kay to beat the cream for the whipped cream.

We all took turns whipping the cream. It was really tiring!It ended up being my last visit with Kay before I left, where I hugged him for the first time, hoping he would get the hint that I liked him. (He didn’t.)

It might have taken us awhile to get started after that, but I’m pretty sure if he had never come to Thanksgiving that we would not be together right now. So every time we celebrate Thanksgiving with our friends, I am reminded of my beginning in Switzerland and thankful for all the time I have with my friends here after what was supposed to be a three month internship.

Each year we set a date in the autumn that works for all of us, which is quite difficult with two musicians in the bunch. One of the girls is Canadian, so we try to do it between Canadian and American Thanksgiving, but last year she was so busy we had to have it the first weekend in December.

This year we were also slated to have it December 6th, but some schedules changed at the last minute and we managed to have it the weekend before Halloween before Kay left for a month.

Last year we hosted, but we take turns, so this year it was at someone’s house in Zürich. They made sure to ask about my gluten-free needs and I planned to take some GF stuffing and pie.

Thinking I would have until December to practise some GF pie-making, I only had a coupe days to find a recipe and hope that my first gluten-free crust would not be a disaster.

I was really happy that the dough from this recipe was fairly easy to work with for gluten-free and that it tasted fine. It was too sticky to pinch the edges well, so I had to use a fork to make the decorative edging.

I absolutely adore our friend Thanksgivings. It is always lovely to catch up with friends and I always look forward to enjoying a delicious, filling meal with great wine.

What is there not to love about Thanksgiving? Do you ever do a separate one with your friends?

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

We don’t have the day off in Switzerland, but I took a day off so I can fly to the States today for a friend’s wedding in Baltimore tomorrow.

I swore I would never do this crazy wedding weekend in the US again, but here I am! I get in on Friday night, the wedding is on Saturday night and then Sunday afternoon I fly home and go directly to work on Monday morning when I get off the plane.

I am already tired thinking about it, but very excited to see old design friends, celebrate America and be a part of my friend’s special day. I just love weddings!

What are your plans on this awesome long weekend?

A belated happy New Year!

Holy beejeezus. I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last post!

Things got a little crazy in December. I was trying to arrange for my little sister to visit me from her exchange program for Christmas, which meant picking her up and dropping her off in a different country. Meanwhile Kay was finalizing all our holiday plans before we headed to Oman for New Year and Thailand for two weeks.

We’ve just gotten back now and my poor plants need watered, I have a lot of work to catch up on and lots of photos to go through.

Hopefully I’ll get some time to get some normal posts up again soon. In the mean time, I hope you all had wonderful holidays! Did anyone make any resolutions for 2014?