15 August 2008

Notti Di Ferragosto

Ferragosto is an Italian holiday celebrated on August 15. In present days, Ferragosto is mainly a short holiday where Italian people have short vacations and head to the beach. In our case it was for all night tango. After the main milonga at Portali we headed to Azzuro La Plaza and danced until well after sunrise with ths smoky top of Mount Etna on one side of us and the gorgeous warm sea on the other side. After which it ws time for an early morning dip and a late breakfast of Brioche and Sorbet before retiring for the day - when in Sicily do as the Sicilians do!

14 August 2008

Lido Azzuro Milonga

A picture paints a thousand words! I will let the photos do the talking.

Pablo y Noelia

Fantastic workshops with Pablo Rodrigues and Noelia Hurtado:
giros conenrosques, lapices y sacadas
milonga traspie
juegos milongueros, caminatas y contratiempos

Tonight they are performing at the milonga at Lido Azzuro.

Here is some info... check you tube for videos.


In 2007 they were selected as Metropolitan Champions of Tango Salon of Buenos Aires and Metropolitan Sub-Champions of Milonga.
Noelia and Pablo made an intense investigation with important milonga professors acquiring the style and forms of tango as a popular dance as well as the new tendencies thus merging the traditional essence with modern tango. They combine the attributes of Villa Urquiza tango and milonga with new elements and techniques of contemporary tango. This couple builds an elegant style with the strength of traditional tango, great musicality and movement dynamic.

10 August 2008

Sicily no bags agaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin!

Caminato Festival, Catania, Sicily. 9 - 18 August 2008

Can lightning strike twice? Well with me it can! I arrived safely in Sicily after a long day of cancelled flights and rerouting but low and behold my bag has gone AWOL (absent without leave). History seems to be repeating itself but this time it is even worse as it is on the way out not on the way home! Luckily I had bought a couple of t-shirts at the airport as I had a strange feeling something would go wrong after the cancelled flight. The first milonga at the Excelsior hotel was danced in normal 'sneakers'... please say a prayer for me that the bag arrives before tonight's dance.
Now I am off to buy some toileteries and swim shorts but Kirsty says they only sell Speedo's here as the men like to show off their tackle - so Simon may be joining the macho Sicilian speedo club - check back later for photo evidence!

Stockholm 59

A flying visit to Stockholm this time...taking in the first 3 days of the Tango 59 festival. Verdict- Unbelievable! Shame I had to leave early but the warmth of Sicily was calling. Not many photos from Stockholm due to intense dancing, sorry but I had to prioritise! Looking forward to the next visit up north to the Otono weekend at the end of October.

05 August 2008

Happy as Bunnies

Now I am as happy as a bunny
all luggage has been found and returned to the rightful owners including Johanna's mountain of 'comme il faut' and my giant strawberry and woolly hat from salta
Johanna on the other hand is suffering form CPBATS Chronic Post Buenos Aires Traumatic Syndrome and the only cure seems to ne a one way ticket back down south.

04 July 2008

Lost Bags

We are finally home....but our luggage is not!!! All 3 bags are lost without a trace and to top it all I lost my passport which had the luggage receipt tabs inside it - Nightmare!!!!!!
All shoes, music, dvds, my hat from Salta, dulce de leche, bombillas and mate pots, my giant knitted strawberry, the pixie bag, Viktor's present, Johanna's old photos from the antique shop, and all clothes...all gooooooooone... luckily we had all 72 Alfajores in our hand baggage... so we can comfort eat and be FAT!

Roger and Nico

Veronica, Johanna and Simon risking food poisoning.

If you are ever hungry after an all-night milonga be sure to head to the fantastic diner in Villa Urquiza where you will be met by the sociable waiter Nico and his shy friend Roger. The food is terrible, the place is run-down and shabby and the prices are dirt cheap with the emphasis on dirt. It seems like the Argentine version of McDonalds(**or Buenos Aires' answer to Stippe's) with the waiters in uniform complete with matching caps and big name badges. Nico was very sociable and told us his brother lived in a big town in England but he couldn't remember the name of it, we said is it London and he said yes that's the name of it - he had even been there for a week to visit, but had forgotten the name. They run a customer service campaign here where the waiters give you a small paper to fill in to rate the service, food and atmosphere ad you can add additional comments about the waiters- now we knew why Nico was being so friendly. We were each given a small book of recipes written by the chef of the diner (probably not a best seller).
Quote of the evening "Roger...manteca por favor!"
**For those not from the south of Sweden be sure to visit Stippe's next time you are here.

01 July 2008

Buffet Libre

All the sanwiches, cakes, biscuits and buns you can eat! We were back at Marina Santa Fe 3666 for the second time in 24 hours. Between 1700 and 1830 they have Tea and cakes. They open the doors earlier but you cannot help yourself to the food until 1700 then it just goes crazy as hoardes of old ladies rush to the buffet to grab plates and plates of exquisite sandwiches and cakes. These ladies have sharp elbows and look like they haven't eaten for a week,it is very dangerous to get in their way. The buffet is a set price of 21 pesos and is great value. The Marocchi family joined us for tea. The night before we were at the same restaurant with Pablo and Cinthyia for the 'Tenedor libre dinner' again there is a set price this time 40 pesos and you can eat everything from pasta, sushi, pizza, salad, meat from the grill. Al the food is very fresh and cooked individually as you order it. I lost count of how many dishes Johanna ate but I know she had lamb, sushi and beef steak, among others - this place would be going out of business if Johanna had found it earlier during our stay. I have never known anybody eat, sleep and dance as much as her, I think she is still a teenager inside even though she acts like an old aunt.

Guess the age!

Carolina told us that it was her birthday on the 30th June. We were very curious to know her age so we tried to guess - we came to the conclusion that she could be anything between 25 and 33. I finally chose 32 as my guess and Johanna agreed. When we gave Carolina her present of new headbands (her favourite accessory, see the photos)I plucked up the courage to carry out the cardinal sin of asking a lady her age. She said that we should guess. When I said 32 she screamed NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I am only 29 everybody thinks I am older. Then Johanna dropped me in it by saying well I guessed that you were younger...so I was left to try to dig myself out of the big hole by saying that she looked a lot younger but I presumed she must be older due to her vast dance experience and method of teaching. I had forgotten the most elementary lesson of life... if you are so stupid as to ask and guess a lady's age take at least 5 years off your guess. Quote of the day Carolina: "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo I am only 29"

Last lesson - Carolina

Now we have had all the lessons with Carolina Calas in Belgrano and we have our heads full of instruction and hours of taped moves to watch and practice - the hard part now is to get the body to instinctively do what the brain wants it to. There will be hours and hours of practice in Sweden to continue the training. Dancing apilado with amagues, apile, giros, adornos, voleos, rebotes, enrosques, calsitas, putting intonation into the dance, working on the balance, finding the correct posture and most importantly the walk which is 90% of the dance.

Wooly hat!

My new wooly hat a present from Pilar to keep me warm during the cold winter in Sweden. The hat is from Salta in the north of Argentina.

Villa Ballester

Last Saturday we travelled by train to the suburb of Villa Ballester to meet Cecilia, her mother Pilar, Batuque the dog and the cousins visiting from Spain. Pilar had been cooking for two days ahead of our visit and we were treated like royalty to a wonderful dinner, with lots of veggies for me. Batuque took a shine to Johanna and in particular her leg and he was banished to his little house under the fireplace for being a chico malo (bad boy). Later on at La Viruta Johanna told the story to one of the guys she danced with but he misheard the word 'dog' and he thought that during dinner there was a man under the table trying to have sex with her. The reputation of Argentinean men just got worse!! Quote of the day from Johanna's dance partner: "Yes, you have to be careful with the Argentinean men"

Pixie Bag

Now we have finally found Pixie's bag shop tucked away on a small street in Palermo. For anyone else with the same abstract taste as the Pixie the shop is called Puro amd is at Borges 2184 www.zapatillaspuro.com.ar

26 June 2008


The journeys on the underground trains are always entertaining. Sometimes you can be entertained by a singer with guitar or other times by the sellers that pass throught the carraiges. The sellers try to flog you anything from a pen with a light on it to bus timetables and knitted strawberries. As you can see from the photo I just couldn't resist the knitted strawberry, although we have no idea what it is for.

24 June 2008

Bad Spanish

Don't let Johanna order pizza for you, especially not if you are hungry. Trying out her new Spanish skills she went to reception of the hostel to ask them to phone for a pizza. 45 minutes later I went down to check if it arrived and the guy said that she has not ordered anything she had just come down and talked about pizzas then went back to the room. The guy must have thought she was very lonely or bored with my company that she has to start pizza conversations with complete strangers. I shouldn't have laughed so much because the next day I thought I had ordered salad and potatoes only for the waiter to bring me pork chops :(
Johanna meanwhile ordered rump steak, mashed potatoes and salad - if you look closely at the picture you might just be able to see her salad. Quote of the day Simon: "I am a Vegetarian" Waiter: "Then why did you order pork chops?"

Shop till you Drop

More CD's and shoes. Johanna is winning the shoe buying competition by 10 pairs to Simon's 6 (2 tango 4 sneakers). But Simon is miles ahead when it comes to music now adding Tanturi, Di Sarli, D'arienzo, Calo, Canaro and D'angelis to his previous purchases from last week. The latest shop to be bought out by Johanna was Minassian at Cordoba 1190 a dance shoe store, stocking jazz shoes, run by a friendly old guy who was born in Greece in 1935 and came to Argentina in the 50s. Not only do you get good service here you also get the life story thrown in for free.

No More Kisses

El Beso is closed until further notice, apparently due to fire regulations. So no more The Kiss, no more cabeceo to find your dance partner, no more 4 song tandas where it takes you almost the entire first song of a tanda to find and meet your partner in the mass of closely spaced tables, no more only moving one metre forward for each song, no more of the very traditional Sunday milonguero milonga. Buenos Aires is a poorer place this week...

22 June 2008

Lost and Found

After a full day wandering the streets of Buenos Aires, there was still no sign of Johanna so I returned home and was just about to ring the authorities and report her missing when I noticed a lump under the covers on her bed - there she was - she had been asleep aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall day.

Cafe Tortoni

An absolute must on a visit to BsAs is coffee at Cafe Tortoni, people have been telling me this ages - but until today I have not been there. Now I know what all the fuss is about, this place is amazing it is not only the oldest confiteria in Buenos Aires but it also the most well-preserved. Small rooms at the back add to the quaint atmosphere along with two olde-wordly theatres and what has to be the plushest smokers-room I have every seen. Thank you Cinthya and Pablo for taking me to the world's most beautiful cafe. Ps I have been told by Cecilia to thank her too as she has told me to visit the place but I never listened to her

La Boca and San Telmo

I finally managed to catch up with Cinthya and Pablo and spent Sunday afternoon doing the obligatory sightseeing stops of La Boca, San Telmo market and Cafe Tortini. Johanna was strangely missing this day...

20 June 2008


A week has flown by all ready and we have fitted loads in, here is an update...

Milongas: Visited so far in chronological order: La Confiteria Ideal, El Beso, La Viruta, La Milonguita; La Viruta, Villa Malcolm, Canning, Practica X, La Catedral, Villa Malcolm, La Viruta, ??(forgot to set the alarm and slept all night)??, Canning.

Lessons: We have had 8 private lessons with Carolina Calas as a couple. Next week we will start some individual private lessons, Johanna will have some with Humberto and some with Carolina.

Food: Simon has eaten two carrots one whole lettuce, 5 tomatoes, 7 peas and 10 kilos of alfojores. Johanna has eaten a whole cattle farm, they are running out of beef in Argentina.


Here we are on Midsummers Eve.
Wet feet, umbrellas blowing in the wind.
No we are not in Sweden - it does actually rain in other parts of the world as well at Midsummer. The only think we missed was the snaps otherwise it could have been traditional, so we made up for it with a bottle of Malbec from Mendoza. Glad Midsummer Skål!!!


WE found the Havanna coffee bar, espresso and alfajores a perfect pick-me-up before the tour of the tango shoe shops. As you can see the photo was taken before Johanna had her dose of espresso, she woke up soon afterwards and bought 6 pair of shoes in just 2 hours.

La Catedral

La Catedral remains one of the strangest but 'must visit' milongas in Buenos Aires just around the corner from Practica X it is a perfect finish to a Tuesday night. With an uneven floor, beer crates for chairs and a huge plastic heart hanging from the ceiling it is definitely a dress-down place - pity noone told Mariano :)

16 June 2008

Weak at the knees

Johanna has a weakness for the Argentinien men but there is one particular kind that makes her go weak at the knees - the taxi-drivers. I don't mean the so-called Tango taxi drivers(the men that hire themselves out for the evening to dance with the ladies), I mean the real taxi drivers who sit behind the wheel in their black and yellow fiats. Here is one of her favourites!


Weather report from Buenos Ares. Glorious weather, well almost, colourful leaves adorn the pavements, the city is cooling down but the sky is still blue and the sun hasn't gone into hibernation, yet! Temperature around 9 - 12 degrees with a light south-westerly wind. Yesterday was apparently exceptionally nice for the time of year - but we missed it as our nocturnal habits meant that we never saw the light of day.

Dinner quiz

Can you guess who ate the carrot salad and who ate the medium-rare Argentinien steak?

Clue - maybe it will help if you look at the faces
Answers on a postcard to Geronimo Primero, Nicaragua 5765.

15 June 2008

Zoega's Presso

Don't you just hate 'those people' that can't travel abroad with their precious tube of Kalles caviar,'knäckebröd' and especially Swedish coffee. I mean do these people think that coffee doesn't exist outside Sweden? After all it comes from Brazil or Colombia and is only brought to Sweden to be roasted. HEEEEEEEEEEEEELP...now I have become one of 'those people' taking South American coffee from Europe back to South America - but thank God I did, there is nothing like Zoegas ;) especially when the B & B serves 'lagrimas'.

REENCUENTR0 3 milongas 1 day

The first day was long and just got better and better as it went on. The afternoon matinee milonga was made to the obligatory salon of Confiteria Ideal, the place is steeped in history and tradition and even though the dancers there are nothing to write home about a trip to BsAs cannot be made without dancing there at least once. The quote of the day came from a guy who tapped me on the shoulder and said "I'm 80 years-old and still dancing", when I told him my age he dismissed me and said I am double you and when I said Johanna's age he just laughed. The long-awaited dinner at the parrilla Reencuentro lived up to its standard of the past. I had 3 provaletas and salad (a strange choice for a place famous for its meat), while Johanna ate half a cow and was heard muttering, between mouthfuls, "This is how meat should taste". El Beso was the first evening dance. Johanna was not impressed at all why and was heard to say " Why did I travel all this way to dance with dancers at this level" it was not the best night at El Beso, Sunday is usually a lot better. La Viruta saved the day, say what you like about this place, they play crappy music at times, people can be drunk, chaos on the dance floor, not the best dance surface, dingy, tacky, like a basement nightclub but the dances here can be as good as anywhere else. Now Johanna's mood had changed and she now new why she had travelled so far and is quoted as saying "The best dances...ever".

Salsa queen

0615 Johanna caught in the act, strutting her stuff to the tones of salsa at La viruta and she wasn't even drunk! While she discovered a talent she didn't know she had with one of her new found Argentine admirers Simon was left to entertain himself in other ways

Milonga De Los Morochas

Milonga De Los Morochas - El Beso - the brunettes milonga - lucky for me that I had two with me otherwise they probably wouldn't have let the blond guy in.