Sunday, November 30, 2008

Argentina...visit to Protestante

OK, by now, you have accepted the fact that there is no way I can cover my visit to Argentina in chronological order. So, today I'll share some of the pictures of our visit to Protestante.

I already discussed some of the group and our lunch. The group there was extremely hospitable and presented the President of AHSGR, Jerry Siebert, with a wonderful plaque.

We also stopped at their church and cemetery. As I mentioned, I found a few family names there and will need to do more investigation to discover where the connection lies. The cemetery is a small town version of the City of Angels cemetery in Buenos Aires.

The clean beauty of the village is evident in the pictures. My favorite memories of Protestante are how pleased everyone was to meet us, how marvelous their hospitality was despite my limited attempts at German and/or Spanish, and how similar our culture is despite the language barrier. My only regret is I did not get everyone's name but perhaps my fellow travelers will be able to help me identify the villagers in the group photo.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Visit to Valle Maria ................................ backtrack to Argentina

I still have many, many stories to tell about Argentina. The experience opened so many new doors and I am trying my best to keep up with all of my new friends. Unfortunately, I was a bit under the weather during the first two days of my four day weekend, but I hope to make up for it on the last two days.

Our visit to Valle Maria was fabulous. My friend Judy Gareis (aka Laverne) shared all of her pictures with me last Sunday. Most of these pictures were taken by Judy and just a few by me after my camera debacle.

Judy and I on the doubledecker bus

Valle Maria Kirche

Mural of tribute to Mary

We visited two other villages, Brasilera and Protesstante, on the same day. More to come on these two villages.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Art and Scottsdale...Is there a better way to spend a Saturday in Arizona?

I will continue with my Argentina stories in futureupdates, however I need to tell you about today and The Scottsdale Artfest.

Many locals artists and writers join together from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 22 and 23. As an author, I will be at Book Street located in the northwest corner of the festival at Scottsdale Civic Center, 75th Street and Indian School Road (7380 E. Second Street.

Visit for details on artists and the event. Visit for info on Book street.

I will be there early from 10 to 12:20 today. Art and Scottsdale on a relaxing Saturday in November. Perfect weather, perfect outing. I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Argentina to Arizona

I arrived in Arizona about 10 a.m. Monday, November 17. My two week journey to Argentina was a fabulous trip. During the hustle and bustle of tours, bus trips and meeting fellow Germans from Russia, I barely had time to think much less write on my blog. Now I am back at work, probably have less time than ever, but I have the Internet access to share more about my adventure.

One of the reasons I traveled on the fourteen hour airline flight was to visit Marienthal, Argentina. Marienthal means Mary's Valley to honor Mary the mother of Jesus. The village is named for the colony in Russia from which my paternal ancestors came. In Spanish, it is Valle Maria.

Unfortunately, Marienthal was a site of a minor vacation disaster. I dropped my camera (a Canon Power shot aka the Maria Sharapova camera). Dare I say I was waiting in line at the ladies room and tried to juggle camera, toilet paper and brochure all at the same time? But, alas, I lost one camera. Today I discovered the memory card still worked. Tonight I finally saw some of the pictures I took in Marienthal. I have a few more technical difficulties to work through.

As I traveled in Argentina, I quickly recognized when I was in a German Russian settlement. The streets were clean, the houses shone fresh with paint, and the graffiti walls were left behind in energetic Buenos Aires. Marienthal is a peaceful, quiet and comforting small colony. Thoughts of retirement penetrated my mind as I watched the relaxed atmosphere of the town.

Beautiful mural behind the altar honors Mary who is
surrounded by Jesus and God as the angels look to her in adoration

Here are my notes as recorded in my Journal
for November 6, 2008.

Ate breakfast and finally connected to the internet to update my blog and check emails. Left the Gran Hotel at 9:30 a.m. and drove to Basilera. We met a group of German Russians at the church and Judy met Julia Gareis. Judy shared her Pleve Chart and we met many others. We visited the Church and enjoyed our visit in Brasilera. Brasilera was founded by Volga German who originally settled in Brazil and moved to Argentina for greener pasture. It is the second village founded in Argentina by German Russians.

Next, Valle Maria, or Marienthal, the first colony founded by German Russians in Argentina. These settlers were from the same village as my grandmparents, Clementine Herrmann Dalhaimer Bauer and Johannes Dalhaimer.

We met the pastor Miguel and many other members of the Valle Maria church. The church was gorgeous, wit the wall behind the altar painted as a beautiful mural representing the Mary, Queen of the world. In the center she is crowned as Queen. On her right side is Jesus and on the left side God the Father. She is surrounded by angels and the adoring people on earth all look up to her.

I gave my card to everyone I met. A young boy said he would email me and I will cross my fingers. Helen had him write down his email address so I will get a copy of it from her.

I also dropped my camera after my batteries went dead. I now know I need to bring paper, pencil and extra battereies with me and not leave these items in the hotel.

Next stop was Protestante. At this Evangelical village we met a group of Volga Germans at their hall used for their Volga German functions

They served us an outstanding lunch of cole slaw, rolls, sausage, chicken, potatoes (cut like broad but baked until crisp), and kuchen. The beverages included Schneider beer which is brewed locally. This group was fantastic and they presented Jerry Siebert (President of AHSGR) with a great award and t-shirt. We all ordered t-shirts which will be shipped to Lincoln and sent on to us.

The beauty of the villages is an incredible contrast to the graffiti and trash filled cities we have seen in Argentina. All of the houses are neat, clean and well-kept. There is no trash to be found. The industrious German Russian traditions hold true here and leave the rest of Argentina wanting.

We also stopped at the Evangelical Church and cemetery. I found three Reimers and a Wiegand there.

Next we drove back past Marienthal and I saw their cemetery. Isabel said Miguel the pastor would have the record of names. The next stop was past the village of San Francisco in Spatezenchuter. At this cemetery Judy located two, possibly three Gareis graves. In addition, this cemetery has preserved many iron crosses from around the area and from Russia. Many were unkept for years and Isabel’s group set aside an area and relocated the crosses there. It is a beautiful monument and way to preserve our heritage.

Then back to Parana and the Gran Hotel

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunset in Argentina...

Awoke early to a bittersweet day in Olavarria at the Hotel Savoy. Left the hotel and drove for three to four hours so our Canadian friends would arrive at the airport in time for their 6:10 p.m. flight. We all made it here safely. Judy and I await our flight at gate 8. It is a little past nine and we just watched in awe as the sunset. We depart at 11:45 p.m. for Dallas and will be in Phoenix tomoorow morning. While we are ready to return home, we will miss the company of friends we were with the past two weeks. I have many more updates to do on the blog, so stay tuned for more of my trip as I get closer and closer to around the clock internet access.

More scenes from Gualeguaychu

As I sit at the airport in Buenos Aires, I realize there is so much more to share about this trip. Before I do, here are some more wonderful scenes from Gualeguaychu.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Scenes from Gualeguaychu

Yes, go ahead and try to pronounce it. After two days, I think I have learned how. It is like "Gwal ee wa chew."

When we arrived and started our city tour, I was a bit confused about this city. However, yesterday was a marvelous day. We walked through the town and enjoyed everything it has to offer. Here are some of my favorite scenes.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Parque Nacional Iguazu...Part 2

Here is the video.

Parque Nacional Iguazu...

Yes, I need to skip a few days of travel adventure to let you know about today. I will have to catch up with the previous days in the next update.

Ok, pictures and videos do not do justice to this place. Phenomenal is a meager and underated attempt to describe it. Iguazu (pronunced Ig wa zu, with the emphasis on the zu)is sixty-seven hectacres of land. I swear we walked all of it today but our tour guide Miryam Aquilear says we only covered five. BTW, I had to buy a new camera. Details will follow in another blog. I am just learning how to use it but I think this one turned out ok. And here are a few pictures of how gorgeous it is. I will attempt to upload the video separately. Cross your fingers.

Also there is a rumor I danced with a gaucho. At this point, I say "no comment." There is no evidence to substantiate this claim.

Tango Show

We attended a Tango Show on Tuesday night. Exciting and fun! We could not take pictures during the performance but here is what I was able to get.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

City of Angels Cemetery

Entrance to City of Angels Cemetery

After the Immigrant Museum tour, we visited the City of Angels Cemetery. For anyone interested in family history, you know the value of this experience. I have attached photos to demonstrate how the diversity of Buenos Aires architecture follows through in the cemeteries.

The mausoleums comprise important aspects of each individual's or family's lives. Of course, the cemetery is most popular since Evita Duarte Peron is buried there. More explanations to come.

Immigrant Museum for Buenos Aires

On Tuesday, we visited the Immigrant Museum at the puerto of Buenos Aires. Not all immigrants entered the country through this port, however there are records for those that did enter here.

The museum shows a video which transports you back to the late 1800's. It shows the ships, the immigrants and some of the famous Argentines who passed this way. Despite the Spanish language, the video was quite understandable.

The Immigrant Museum was also called the Immigrant hotel because it was used as a transition point which provided housing for immigrants.

I checked for records for Dalhaimer, Herzog, Reimer, and Herrmann. They printed out many, many pages for me. I also asked for records on Messer and Kroneberger for my friends Jim Messer and Andy Kroneberger. I received a number of pages and will forward to them when I return home.

Lunch before the Immigrant Museum

Our Group Enters the Museum

Arrived in Iguazu Falls

We arrived in Iguazu Falls a few minutes ago. So far the only good thing about the hotel is internet service. I hope this hotel is able to change my mind. Am I tainted by over 24 hours on a bus sleeping with twenty-five other people? We will see.

I will post a photo and then use my time here to back track and tell the tale of the Immigrant Museum, Parana and the trips to the Volga villages.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

From Buenos Aires to Rosario to Parana

Third time trying to save to this message. Cross your fingers!!!

We traveled from Buenos Aires to Rosario to Parana yesterday via bus. Rosario is a slightly de-energized Buenos Aires with one million people. The contrast of poverty and wealth dominated our thoughts yesterday. I have many pictures to share, but as I mentioned I attempted to post this message three times, so I will leave it sans photo and try to add later.

Today we are off to Valle Maria (Marienthal) and other colonies. Will update as soon as I can.

Ok, so I was able to upload a picture! Anyway, you can imagine my surprise as we drove on Ruta 9 to see the Johnson Controls office! It is a blurry picture at best. I did however get a picture of this futbol stadium. Saw two huge billboards of David Nalbandian, yet could not snap my camera fast enough.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Destination: Argentina

I arrived in Argentina at 9:45 a.m. yesterday. This fascinating city is a melting pot of all European cultures. With a huge population jammed in high rises of all styles, the essence of Latin America culture combines energetic traffic, tolerance and acceptance of all, and eclectic architecture.

More details to come, as it is now 1:30 a.m. and I need to be on a bus for Parana before 8 a.m. tomorrow. The past two days have been filled with travel around Buenos Aires which I will expand on tomorrow. Cross your fingers for internet access.