A Historic Cafe in Buenos Aires - Cafe Tortoni


If you visit the Cafe Tortoni in Buenos Aires, you will feel as if you've entered a movie set from Europe in the 1800's. The cafe's interior resembles an aged Parisian cafe that has not changed it's beautiful interior for some time.

In the late 1800's, the Cafe Tortoni was a magnet for the local intellectual and artistic elite. The most famous Argentinian artists and writers like Jorge Luis Borgues, Carlos Gardel, Alfonsina Storni and Benito Quinquela Martin met there often with their friends. Today, there are still visual reminders of these famous guest. There are sculptures, paintings, photographs and letters by the artists through out the cafe's interior and some sections are named after a writer or painter of that era.

In addition to it's rich history and art, the Tortoni now hosts these wonderful, intimate Tango Shows every night in their two tiny backroom theaters - The Alfonsina Stormi room and La Bodega. I often tell first time visitors to stop by the Tortoni for a tango show. They are beautiful shows for very reasonable prices - about $80 pesos per show ($22 dollars). Can't beat that with a stick!

Unfortunately, unlike the old days, when the cafe was quietly populated by locals, today, the Tortoni is filled with tourists from around the world. for it's benefit or it's demise, it has been included as a "must visit" in the route of the yellow double-decker tourist bus that drives around Buenos Aires these days. Oh well, it is still a must see.

On the good side, the cafe does a wonderful job at spacing just the right amount of people inside the cafe, so it does not disturb its quiet, genteel air. People are only allowed in as tables empty, so if you go, wait patiently, for it's really worth it. Once inside, don't forget to visit the back room where they have the original shaving room. In the old days, one could go to the Tortoni to get a coffee and a shave.

The cafe is opened most of the day, so feel free to stop by for lunch. For more information on the cafe's history or to access their daily tango show schedules, please click on the following Internet link. Gran Caf�Tortoni 150 a�os con la Cultura Argentina

Cafe Tortoni
Ave De Mayo 825
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fun in Miami - Kitesurfing Lessons in Biscayne Bay


For an amazing experience in Miami, head to Key Biscayne for kite surfing lessons with the pros from Miami Kite Boarding. I just completed my first two hour lesson with them and it was exhilarating! I swear! I can't wait to go back!

Classes are held in the beautiful shallow waters of Biscayne Bay, inside Key Biscayne's Crandon Park. Call ahead to schedule your lesson and they will provide you with all the necessary gear. Bring a hat, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen. Also, it helps if you wear a long sleeve shirt and a pair of long shorts (so you can wear their harness comfortably over the shorts). If you have neoprene booties, bring those too, but if you don't own a pair, don't worry, they have a bunch to lend out.

Lessons can be scheduled for 10 am or 1 pm everyday and prices vary according to the learning package you select (check their website for more information on this). We chose a two hour morning class that cost us $150 dollars each. It was a good call, the beach was cool and empty when we first arrived and the two hour lesson was long enough.

During our lesson, we first learned to prepare a kite for flight. For this, we cleared the lines of knots and hooked the lines to the kite. After this, we launched the kite in the air and practiced "feeling" the wind with the kite while our feet were firmly grounded on the sand. Initially we used a small training kite that measured only 3 meters by one. But even though this was a tiny kite, we quickly learned that it was powerful enough to drag us through the sand if placed in the right angle to receive the full force of the wind.

Stewart, our friendly Aussie instructor, told us that women were faster learners of this sport. Why? because, he claimed, learning to maneuver the kite was not so much about muscle, but about finesse and women were better at this. Humm, that sounded encouraging.
On my first attempt at holding and directing the kite in the wind, I realized that it was not as easy as I had first imagined. The kite was extremely sensitive to my shifting of the handle bar and it tugged heavily on my arms. One wrong move and it could fly out of control into a "danger zone" - the area in front on me where if the kite were to go, it would knock me to the ground in a fraction of a second, that fast, boom, down. After a few tries, I began to get the "feel" for the wind and for the kite. It was a rush and I was hooked!

If you're interested in a Kite Surfing lesson, please check Miami Kite Boarding's website in the following link - Kitesurfing Lessons - Miami kiteboarding Lessons

Miami Kite Boarding - IKO Certified

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