Knitting and Culinary Tour in Argentina and Uruguay
August 24 – September 6, 2020 (Fly home Sept. 7)
- Relaxing four-day knitting retreat at a traditional estancia, above, with Nancy Marchant
- Ferry across to Uruguay and UNESCO site Colonia del Sacramento
- Street art and graffiti tour in Buenos Aires
- Malbrigo yarn mill tour in Montevideo
- Artisan crafts and antiques at the San Telmo weekend market
- Flamboyant Tango dance performance
On this trip, American author and knitwear designer Nancy Marchant, dubbed ‘Queen of Brioche,’ will be joining us from the Netherlands where she lives. In the Argentine countryside, we’ll have a private workshop with Nancy to learn about her brioche stitch specialty. She’ll show us some of the hundreds of different brioche patterns she has created. And during the workshop, we’ll work on a beautiful brioche project designed by Nancy. Fortunately she will be at your elbow to help with any complexities. This is a technique I have not tried and I’m anxious to start a project with Malabrigo’s stunning merino yarn from Uruguay!
Details of flexible itinerary
We land in Buenos Aires at the EZE airport where you’ll be met by Cynthia and/or Gerardo for the taxi drive into the city. If you arrive after midnight, we will send a taxi driver who will have a sign with your name. Check into our charming hotel in the peaceful and pretty Palermo section of Buenos Aires. Discover typical foods and settle into the Argentine rhythm of life as we explore the city. A van will take us around the city on a tour to see the best of the amazing street art and graffiti. This display of pubic art is encouraged by officials and building owners, so artists can work in the open and set up scaffolding for enormous projects covering the sides of multi-story buildings.
From Buenos Aires we’ll cross the Rio de la Plata on a modern ferry, to arrive in the tiny but mighty country of Uruguay. We’ll land in Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded by the Portuguese in 1680, it’s one of the oldest towns in Uruguay. Lonely Planet calls this town “irresistibly picturesque.” Our van and driver will pick us up at the ferry port and we’ll drive a few minutes into town to have lunch. Then we’ll continue to the capital, Montevideo, and check into our hotel. To thoroughly enjoy this historical city, we’ll stay for three ‘knitting- and yarn-related’ days in this pretty town.
Malabrigo Yarn Mill
One highlight of our time in Uruguay will be a tour of the Malabrigo yarn dyeing facility. We’ll see how they make some of their exquisite hues. At the Malabrigo Sheep ranch, the ranch chef and helpers will make an Asado or traditonal BBQ lunch for us (no sheep eaten!). My favorite part of lunch is the little cast iron pans filled with Provolone that melts on the grill–yum! We’ll also meet the Merino and Corriedale sheep and learn about the soft fiber used for the famous yarn.
Another highlight may be devouring a succulent Chivito! This is a the national dish of Uruguay. Basically it’s a huge sandwich composed of a slice of steak (churrasco), with ham, mozzarella, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and black olives. Some people add bacon, and a fried egg! French fries usually accompany a towering, messy-to-eat Chivito. A cheese/egg/tomato version can be ordered for non-meat-eaters. (Both Argentina and Uruguay are not vegetarian territory, but you’ll always find something to eat.)
Returning to Colonia after our days in Montevideo, we’ll learn about its colorful history on a walking tour over ancient cobblestone streets. Later there is free time to stroll the streets marveling at the colorful old homes and shady plazas. You can take photos, visit the cool shops and art galleries. Lunch and dinner on your own in Colonia; it will be fun to choose some interesting places near the hotel. After a couple of nights at a charming and welcoming Posada, we take the ferry back to Buenos Aires.
The Knitting Retreat at the Estancia
Next we drive south of Buenos Aires to the most gorgeous traditional Estancia (ranch). We’ll spend four nights here at the peaceful, woodsy ranch. We’ll immerse ourselves in knitting, making a gorgeous Brioche project created by Nancy, using our hand-dyed Malabrigo yarn. There will be plenty of time to share stories, relax, knit, eat and walk over the Estancia’s 250 acres, then drink some wine and relax some more!
In addition to Nancy’s workshop and brioche lesson, Cynthia will present an Update to Andean Knitting Powerpoint showing examples of some of the new innovations and techniques done in nearby Bolivia and Peru. The estancia house has roaring fireplaces in the library and living room so it is very cozy for hanging out in the evenings. As a break to your knitting, you can walk around the ranch and visit the horses, chat with new friends, or read a good book, between breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner.
Food at the Estancia is plentiful and delicious; we will savor the famous Argentine asado or BBQ of meats and sausages; vegetarians will have other options. The estancia cook will make some of Argentina’s most classic dishes and typical desserts. And one day we will make our own lunch of empanadas! People from last year’s trip are still craving the rich homemade caramel topping called dulce de leche. Every day we will have tea and cookies in the afternoon, then dinner later, as is the custom.
Back to Buenos Aires
We’ll then head back to BA, as locals call it. Much of the city is reminiscent of Paris back in the day; the architecture and ambiance, down to the huge sycamore trees, are so similar! One morning, we’ll take taxis to the fascinating Recoleta Cemetery which contains hundreds of huge and elaborate mausoleums, decorated with marble statues, in a wide variety of architectural styles. Many Argentine presidents are buried here, as well as Eva Peron and other famous people.
On our last Sunday, we’ll enjoy the scene at the lively San Telmo weekend art and antique market and we’ll have lunch with Argentine friends at a popular spot. At some point we’ll wander along the “Yarn Street,” within walking distance of our hotel. We found that the shops sell mostly synthetic yarns, but there are a couple that carry other fibers. And some of the synthetic is quite unusual and appealing, especially for children’s garments.
The next and final day is at leisure: shop some more, relax and wander around the neighborhood, then pack up your suitcases for the trip home! Lunch on your own this free day. Fabulous Tango Show and Farewell Dinner on last night.
(Arrive August 24, depart for home September 7.)
Plan your plane departure time for September 7, but not too early in the morning, so you can enjoy the TANGO SHOW with Dinner and wine at Angelito’s the night before.
TOUR COST: $5150.
(Single supplement available for $850.)
Includes 14 nights accommodation in double/twin rooms in comfortable boutique hotels with private bath, and at the historic estancia (hacienda) with some shared bathrooms.
Also includes all meals except a few lunches and dinners on free days when the group is not together, all soft drinks and water during meals, three-days of knitting with Nancy Marchant, taxi transportation into city from Buenos Aires airport (EZE) on group arrival date, all interior transportation by private Mercedes Sprinter van with professional driver, city taxis, and modern ferry boats (BuqueBus) round-trip across the river between Argentina and Uruguay; Street Art Tour of Buenos Aires in private van, Tango Show and dinner at Angelito’s, Malabrigo yarn of your choice for Nancy’s workshop project, and a special pattern/project designed by Nancy.
Wine flows quite freely in Argentina and Uruguay! It is included with some meals: at the estancia, at the sheep ranch BBQ, and at the Tango dinner show.
BTSA Latin American assistant Gerardo Guzmán will also accompany you, Nancy and Cynthia on the tour, to help translate menus, run for taxis, make dinner reservations, etc.
Not included: International air fare, airport departure transportation, alcoholic beverages except wine as noted, personal items such as luggage porter tips, and between-meal snacks and water or drinks (if you haven’t eaten enough at our bountiful meals!). We will have bottled water in the van for road trips.
We will arrange your airport departure transportation for you, but it is not included because everyone departs at different times/flights.
Please make your plane reservations to arrive at EZE, the main Buenos Aires airport. If you arrive at either Buenos Aires airport on a different date from the group arrival date, you’ll pay the taxi into town, but the hotel will arrange your pickup at the airport.
For more images, see the Argentine and Uruguay trip Photo Gallery.