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Great post from a great Blogger friend and a good follow up (or more accurately prequel) to this week’s Tunes Tuesday!

musingsofanoldfart

My wife and I have long been fans of the musical Les Miserables, so yesterday we took two of our children to see the recently released movie with Hugh Jackman as the lead character of Jean Valjean. We were not disappointed and enjoyed the movie immensely. Of course, a few people have noted some of its imperfections, yet on the whole, it is a very moving experience and fills in a few details that the play could not.

As an aside, I also enjoyed the dramatic movie made a few years ago with Liam Neeson in the role of Valjean. As for the recent musical version, I would encourage you to see it , whether you have seen the play, early dramatic movie or not. If you have seen the play, you will be even more moved by Anne Hathaway’s Fantine singing how life has killed her dreams. The music is so wonderful, sometimes the everyday tragedy  of…

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Tunes Tuesday: Let it Be

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Happy New Year! I realize I am a little late with New Year’s greetings, but I just got back from my holiday vacation. Today’s Tunes Tuesday pick may not have the most poetic lyrics, but after having listened to this song hundreds of times, for some reason, I really heard the lyrics for the first time this past week.

Every year, like everyone else, I make New Year’s resolutions. They are rarely of the “I want to lose 10 pounds” variety – not because I couldn’t stand to lose ten pounds, but because I prefer to think more about what would help feed my soul in the upcoming year.

Past resolutions have included going to see more live music, spending more time with friends and family and spending more time on my own doing things that increase my contentment and joy.

As I look at this list of resolutions, I realize that they all speak to my desire to live more fully and appreciate people and things that are most important to me. This year’s resolution is no different.

I am a worrier – always have been, may always be. I come from a long line of accomplished worriers, especially on my Dad’s side of the family. If there were awards for worrying, we would have a cabinet full of trophies. But the truth is, worrying does not help anything. I know this to be the case, but nonetheless, I worry.

So, this year’s New Years resolution comes to me from the Beatles. There will be an answer – let it be. For this Tunes Tuesday, I present the Beatles’ Let It Be.

Let It Be
The Beatles

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

What do you think? Do you make new years resolutions? What are your resolutions for 2013? Are there any songs whose lyrics speak to how you would like to live?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading and happy new year!!

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Filed under Music, Poetry, Uncategorized

Tunes Tuesday: Same Auld Lang Syne

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy New Year from Buenos Aires! (Note: newsofthetimes.org will be taking a break for two weeks while I am off backpacking in Patagonia and taking LOTS of pictures!!!)

This song is the song that inspired my holiday Tunes Tuesdays – it has been a favorite tune for a long time. Can’t you just feel the awkwardness and the snow turn into rain?

Same Auld Lang Syne

Dan Fogelberg

Met my old lover in the
grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stole behind her in the
frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve
She didn’t recognize the
face at first
But then her eyes flew
open wide
She went to hug me and she
spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried.
We took her groceries to the
checkout stand
The food was totalled up and
bagged
We stood there lost in our
embarrassment
As the conversation dragged.
We went to have ourselves
a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at
the liquor store
And we drank it in her car.
We drank a toast to
innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond
the emptiness
But neither one knew how.
She said she’d married her
an architect
Who kept her warm and safe
and dry
She would have liked to say she
loved the man
But she didn’t like to lie.
I said the years had been a
friend to her
And that her eyes were still
as blue
But in those eyes I wasn’t
sure if I saw
Doubt or gratitude.
She said she saw me in the
record stores
And that I must be doing well
I said the audience was
heavenly
But the traveling was hell.
We drank a toast to
innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond
the emptiness
But neither one knew how.
We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to time
Reliving in our eloquence
Another ‘auld lang syne’…
The beer was empty and our
tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away.
Just for a moment I was
back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make
my way back home
The snow turned into rain —

The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sYu12PdqVI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

What do you think? What is your favorite wistful song about old times? How do you celebrate the new year?

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Margarita is always on point, but no more so than today, so I had to share. And she is right – elections matter, but so does the day after. Get involved, stay involved and take your responsibility to engage in the political process seriously. Vamenos!

Inner Whispers

The election is over.  What now?

Now the relationship begins.  The communication.  The e-mails.  The phone calls. The snail mail.  The Tweets and FB updates.

“We The People” means just that:  it is the people of this country who have the power, the duty, the priviledge to guide those whom they elect to bring about a nation that embraces and reflects the diversity of its population.  That guidance cannot take place just once every two, four, or six years behind the privacy screens of the voting booths.  That guidance must be ongoing and can take place from the privacy and comfort of your own home.  Here’s what we can all do, everyone who lives in this great nation, regardless of nationality, citizenship, voter registration status.  You live in this country, you have “skin in the game,” in the well-being and success of how this country is governed.  It’s as simple…

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Photo Friday: Berlin

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Border between East and West Berlin, where the Berlin Wall used to stand. Most of it is torn down now.

After leaving the quaint, but bustling Amsterdam, we took an overnight train to Berlin. We stayed in East Berlin, just down the street from Alexanderplatz, which was really the heart of East Berlin.

After all of the beauty of France, Spain and Holland, East Berlin was striking for its lack of decoration. It was a fascinating place to visit for its history, but the sadness and anger were palpable.

From what we observed, the division between East and West Berlin still exists to this day. We spent the vast majority of our time in East Berlin, going to what we were told was the trendiest neighborhood for dinner and visiting the historic sites.

But it is striking to stand where the wall used to stand and to look to the East and to the West. The East is full of cranes and development, but I couldn’t help feeling that the West kept moving forward while the East was stuck in time.

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Construction in East Berlin

East Berlin feels like a savagely damaged city, just now showing signs of rebirth. The evidence is everywhere, showing a city devastated by war, and then severely restricted and terrorized during the Communist occupation. It is simply tragic.

There is a solemn beauty to the city, however, even in the midst of the melancholy. I share some of my favorite photos here.

For those who would like to read more of the history of Berlin, this 1963 speech by President John F. Kennedy is a powerful denunciation of the communist occupation. When you visit Berlin, you understand this speech much more.

What do you think? Have you been to Berlin? What was your impression? Do you think that East and West Berlin will ever truly integrate? What kind of impact do you think a history like this would have on a culture?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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This has to be one of my favorite photos from the whole trip! I snapped this shot at a metro stop.

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A watchtower over Checkpoint Charlie

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The view from our hotel. You can see the Soviet TV Tower in East Berlin and the tall hotel in West Berlin. The hotel staff told us this was done intentionally by West Berlin to show their strength and contrast.

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An old car in East Berlin

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A powerful holocaust memorial

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A pretzel seller

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Berlin Cathedral

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Chairs in an historic East Berlin Cafe

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You can see the bullet holes in the old buildings

 

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Checkpoint Charlie now

 

 

 

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Filed under Culture, Economy, History, International, Photography, Photos, Politcs, Privatization, Role of Government, social pressures, Stereotypes, Terrorism, travel, Uncategorized, violence, War

A fantastic and thoughtful post to begin the week. I couldn’t help but share.

Gen Y Girl

My senior year of high school, I had the genius idea of taking AP Physics, AP Calculus, and AP Statistics, all at the same time.

I pushed myself so hard that year all because I wanted to earn college credits and therefore graduate from college in less than four years.

I did that.

I started working a full-time job at the age of 19 and earned my bachelor’s degree in two and a half years.

I figured that if I got my degree early and had some experience under my belt, I’d be ahead of the game career-wise and would be taking steps towards my journey up the quote-on-quote career ladder. If I did this, I would be a few steps closer to becoming the VP of some great company where my work would consume all of my energy every day.

That’s what success looked like most of my life.

I was…

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Tunes Tuesday and Canon in the National Parks: Kodachrome

A fellow student
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I wrote a few weeks ago about the Canon in the National Parks free classes. I went to one of the classes yesterday and am still glowing from the experience. I learned enough to take my camera off the automatic mode and that is saying a lot!

I learned how to focus on an object and blur the background and how to capture things in motion or to show the motion and how to adjust the exposure of a picture.

Background not blurred
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Background blurred – you have no idea how exciting this is for a newby photographer!
Copyright JC Politi Photography

I should mention that I invested in a new camera, which I could not be more excited about. It is a new technology called mirrorless SLR and it has all the functionality of a digital SLR, but for a fraction of the weight. I got a Sony nex7, but most of the major camera manufacturers make these cameras now. I understand Canon is coming out with one in the Fall.

This new type of camera has gotten some great write-ups in photography magazines and blogs and it is really worth checking out if you are in the market for a new camera.

But back to the class. We met at the visitor’s center outside Rocky Mountain National Park so we didn’t even have to pay an entry fee to the park. People borrowed Canon equipment, although I was too excited about my new camera to use their equipment. They divided us into beginners and intermediate/advanced.

I took the beginner class, but think I will try to get back next weekend for the intermediate course.

What a wonderful opportunity for people just getting into photography or even for those who have a better grasp of the technological aspects of the art.

I really encourage anyone who can make it to one of these sessions, to do so. It is a priceless two hours and is absolutely free.

This leads me to a Tunes Tuesday pick that always has me singing along. Today’s Tunes Tuesday pick is Kodachrome by Paul Simon.

My favorite photo of the day
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What do you think? Are there any things that you would like to take a class to learn? Do you know of any affordable options for people to expand their skills in a particular area? If you are a photographer, do you have an opinion on mirrorless cameras versus DSLRs? And do you have any other ideas for affordable ways to build photography skills?

Kodachrome    

When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It’s a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn’t hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall

Kodachrome
You give us those nice bright colors
You give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, oh yeah!
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away

If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together for one night
I know they’d never match
My sweet imagination
And everything looks worse in black and white

Kodachrome
You give us those nice bright colors
You give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, oh yeah!
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away

Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away
Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away
Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away
Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome
Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome
Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome (away)
Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome
Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome
Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome (away)
Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome
(Leave your boy so far from home)
Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome (away)

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks so much for reading!

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Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela!

Happy Birthday to one of my heroes! I loved this post in commemoration!

Life With The Top Down

Happy 94th Birthday Nelson Mandela!

I decided to share some of the wishes he has received in honor of this milestone, we should all be so fortunate to be viewed in such a positive light. Just look at that smile! 

The Obamas: “On a personal note, our family has been inspired by Madiba’s example, and has deeply appreciated the time we have spent with him, and his wisdom, grace and generosity of spirit.”

Peter Hain: Nelson Mandela seems to encompass all that is best about us on our best day. He represents democracy, tolerance, humanity, courage, leadership. We would all like to live up to those standards in our everyday life. Very few of us manage to.”

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu: The greatest gift the nation could give Mandela on Wednesday would be “to emulate his magnanimity and grace.” “Mr. Mandela taught us to love ourselves, to love one another and…

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Tunes Tuesday: We Didn’t Start the Fire

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I received a lot of encouragement and support from last week’s Tunes Tuesday, so I think we will keep the series going. Again, this series will be exploring lyrics that tell a story as well as any poetry ever could.

This week, I have chosen the song “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, by Billy Joel. Each Billy Joel song tells a different story, so I am sure this will not be my last Billy Joel song.

But the lyrics to this particular song have always made me think the man is an absolute genius with words – the song provides a complete history lesson in under five minutes!

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What do you think? Did Bill Joel miss any important events or people during the time-span covered by this song?

Your challenge this week, should you choose to participate, is to come up with a few lines to update the song, since it stops in the year 1989. Don’t worry if it doesn’t rhyme, unless, of course you want it to! Just think about what you would include in a two minute song to encapsulate the past 20 years.

My best attempt at a start:

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter feed
Home foreclosures, Corporate greed…

We Didn’t Start the Fire
Billy Joel

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray,
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television,
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenberg, H-Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye,

Eisenhower, Vaccine, England’s got a new queen,
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiov,
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron,
Dien Bien Phu Falls, Rock Around the Clock

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team,
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev,
Princess Grace, Peyton Place, Trouble in the Suez

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac,
Sputnik, Zhou Enlai, Bridge On The River Kwai

Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball,
Starkweather Homicide, Children of Thalidomide

Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia,
Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy,
Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Hemingway, Eichmann, Stranger in a Strange Land,
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatle mania,
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician sex,
J.F.K. blown away, what else do I have to say

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again,
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock

Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline,
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal suicide,
Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz

Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law,
Rock and Roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning.
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
It will still burn on, and on, and on, and on…

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire…

This is a great video that shows the song with the year identified – again, a great history lesson:

Thanks so much for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts.

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For those of you who are not following Truth and Cake, you really should. She has only been blogging for three months and has already been Freshly Pressed twice! Her posts are insightful, humerous and highly entertaining. I hope you will check her out. She was recently Freshly Pressed for the second time and developed this blog post in response, which I think is a brilliant idea, so I thought I would pass it along so others can participate. I hope you will join in! I probably should have posted this: http://newsofthetimes.org/2012/06/23/does-anyone-care-about-the-lack-of-women-in-leadership-positions/ or this: http://newsofthetimes.org/2012/06/21/romance-in-paris-why-do-french-bookstores-continue-to-thrive/ or this: http://newsofthetimes.org/2012/07/05/740/ or this: http://newsofthetimes.org/2012/07/11/tuesday-tunes-i-want-to-write-like-bob-dylan/ but I got so excited that I just posted the first one that came to mind. I hope you will join in!

Truth and Cake

Why, hello! I see a lot of pretty new faces out there. Thanks for checking out my post about social media and signing up to follow Truth and Cake. Welcome to my party for you. Getting Freshly Pressed is a lot of fun because it introduces me to so many amazing new people. I’ve been lucky enough to have it happen twice since I started this little old blog just over three months ago, and I want to share some of that love with you.
 
One of the unfortunate things about blogging is that a lot of really talented people pour their heart and souls into creative, well-written posts on a regular basis, only to hit publish and then…..crickets. Nada. Without an audience, some really great posts go virtually unnoticed. While the cream eventually rises to the top, it can take a very long time for people to…

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Sermons We See

Loved this one and wanted to pass it on.

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Informative post from a fellow blogger that I thought I would pass along. Thanks for the information Ecopolitical Economics!

Ecopolitical Economics

In 2011, the top five oil companies (BP, Chevron, Conoco, Shell, Exxon Mobil) posted a combined profit of $137 billion. In the first quarter of 2012, these companies earned a combined $33.5 billion.

These windfall profits were enough to put Exxon and Chevron in the first and second spots, respectively, of the Fortune 500 most profitable list.

Last year, fossil fuel companies got $11 billion in government subsidies.

How can we justify giving these companies our tax dollars when budget cuts have forced the de-funding of social programs and the layoffs of over 100,000 teachers nationwide?

Last week, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) announced they will introduce the End Polluter Welfare Act to Congress.

“People are sick and tired,” said Sanders, “of seeing the same folks who want to cut nutrition programs for hungry children fight tooth and nail to preserve federal tax breaks that go…

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Human-Created or Not, Why Not Try to Stop the Warming?

The New York Times op-ed by James Hansen, who is the Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies should give anyone pause about the future of our planet.

It never fails to amaze me when I hear people question whether human activity is impacting global warming. There is no question among scientists that the planet is warming – the scientific evidence is conclusive on this. And even if, for the sake of argument, human activity is not causing global warming, why would we not want to take action to slow the warming trend?

It seems that attention to this issue has lessened in recent years and I am not sure why. In the meantime, we have seen a devastating proliferation of hurricanes and tornadoes and heat waves and wildfires. I am no scientist, but I put a lot of faith in the knowledge and understanding of experts.

Given the persistent outcry from the scientific community about the perils of inaction, why don’t more policymakers stand up and take action on this issue? Is it because the corporations who are funding political campaigns are afraid that caring for the environment will negatively impact their bottom line?

It reminds me of the smoke-free movement in some ways. Bars, restaurants and casinos consistently proclaimed that they would have to close their doors if a state passed a smoke-free law. We all know that that is not what actually happened once laws were enacted.

The science was clear regarding the harms of tobacco, much like the science is clear about climate change. But the arguments for smoke-free laws were related to harming to people’s health; stopping climate change is just about protecting mother earth.

Perhaps environmentalists could link their arguments more to the impacts of climate change on people’s health. I know that some groups have made this connection, but it seems to get drowned out by the ongoing debate about the science and whether or not global warming is actually occurring.

Sometimes it seems that the environmental messages are too varied, maybe because the implications of inaction are so broad. If there was a way to focus the message on the impact climate change will have on people, the arguments might get more traction with the public.

I am just thinking out loud here and know that there are a lot of people with much more knowledge about the politics and science of this issue than me. I would love to hear your thoughts!

What do you think? And thank you for reading!

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Filed under Environment, Health, Policy, Politcs, Role of Government, Uncategorized

36 Hours in Mendoza, Argentina

It will be no surprise to those of you who know me well to see that I chose to highlight the article in the travel section of today’s New York Times exploring Mendoza, Argentina. You can find the article here: http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/travel/36-hours-in-mendoza-argentina.html?src=me&ref=travel. Just reading the article made me crave a glass of Malbec and a lomito (a traditional beef tenderloin sandwich on a crusty roll with a slice of tomato – super delicious!). I have not had the pleasure of traveling to Mendoza yet, although I have spent quite a bit of time travelling throughout Argentina, as my husband is originally from Buenos Aires. Mendoza is absolutely on the top of my list based on its reputation for great wine and spectacular mountain scenery.

Have any of you been to Mendoza? Do you have any must-see’s or must-do’s for me or for others who might be travelling there in the future? Any travel trips or books to read before you go? Do you have a favorite wine that you discovered in Mendoza? Personally, I am crazy about Terrazas Malbec, which you can find in most stores in the United States. In fact, I think I will go pour myself a glass right now!

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