Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Colonia SWEEETza (its really Colonia Suiza, I was making a funny...)

So after spending a few expensive nights(expensive for our purposes, really only about $13 US p/per) in downtown Barioloche we opted to take the hour long bus ride to the other side of Lago Moreno to quaint mountain town of Colonia Suiza. Colonia Suiza was founded by Swiss settlers in the late 19th century and was the first of many Swiss settlements throughout Patagonia. The town takes much pride in its Swiss roots, which is evident from the small artesenal chocolate stands and the Alpine architecture, and still retains much of the expected charm and personality of a small European settlement, largely due to the fact that it is still only has a population of 86 permanent residents, scattered along a stretch of road no longer than one New York City block, and is surrounded by nothing more than campgrounds and rugged wilderness.

But what was truly amazing and entirely unexpected about this quite, little village nestled between some of the regions most beautiful mountains and lakes was that it is a FREAKIN PARADISE FOR LIVE MUSIC!!!! Mwwwauuaahahahahaha!!! Every single night at the town´s one restaurant/bar (which couldn´t possibly hold more than 50 people comfortably) there was a new live act to enjoy. One night we saw a local jazz/funk/samba group called Pica Pica, who brought the house down with covers of Ray Charles´ Halelujah, Yes I Love Her So and Parliament´s Motor Booty Affair. The next night we saw an Argentine Blues (or Bluss, as the sign outside read) duo who played mostly their own material and some songs by Memphis, an famous Argentine blues/rock band from the late 70´s. To top it off, most nights the music followed a futbol match (one night Boca v. River, another night Argentina v. Costa Rica) which probably drew in every crazed futbolista within a 5 mile radius! So there we were, only steps from our campsite with wild futbol fanatics and dreaded, music-loving, hippies to enjoy along with our enormous, 6 peso plate of papas fritas to feast on. Life couldn´t get much better...or could it?

On our day/last night in Colonia Suiza the town was inundated by more dreaded, petrouli scented, hippies and wild, mountaineering beardos (along with a sprinkling of cute Argentine families and their ADORABLE children) for the 8th annual Festival de Musica de La Montana, an all-day, multi-genre, FREE music festival to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and sustainable living in Patagonia. Along with Gustavo and Paolo, our amigos/vecinos from the campsite, Kate and I took the festival by storm! We sat in the sun devouring mulitple choripans and tortas while listening to some of the best (or at least most interesting) musical acts in Argentina. Some of the highlights were a latin jazz trio from Buenos Aires; Cristina Dall, a boogie woogie and blues pianist from the famous, all female blues band Las Blacanbus, who played amazin renditions of Sweet Home Chicago, Rock Me Baby, and two phenonmenal covers of the Beatles´ Drive My Car and Back in the USSR; an enormous and high-energy cumbia band composed of the most hilarious/dirtiest old men I´ve ever seen called Agua Sucia, and the wild dance party that ensued; and an outrageous punk/ska band dressed in shameless costumes that really entertained the adolescent crowd who needed to release some pent-up, late night agression with some good ol´ fashion moshing. And all of this for FREEEE and in a feild not a half a mile from our campsite! What more could you ask for?


  1. Colonia Suiza!!!!!!! Now you guys are starting to rock and roll! keep it up, the stories, and descriptions, with pictures to boot is really making me come back for more and more!!! live it up! It is turning out to be quite an adventure already!!! what can i say? im soo jealous of you bastards! But really i dont know how to describe it exactly, almost proud but not, because that just sounds not like how i feel....but something....something great!

  2. By the way, awesome picture of you wes, drinking something at which seems to be the top of the world!