The Atlas

South America

23 Sep

A Restaurant That Is Also An Inn

Francis Mallmann’s Restaurant Garzon is arguably Uruguay’s best restaurant and one of the finest in all of South America.  But what is less well known is that it is also one of the world’s most charming inns – an eatery (albeit a fine one) with a few rooms attached.  5 to be exact, each of which makes you want to settle in...

21 Sep

Meditations #77

A child’s travels begin in the imagination, down the rabbit hole, in Mr. McGregor’s garden, under the floorboards, across a treasure island. We never forget our first destinations, the stories that have often taken us there and the frissons of emotion – fear, wonder, surprise, warmth – that subtly color every place we go thereafter.

25 May

Meditations #74

Tenderness lives where the touch is lightest and the heart lingers. Souls speaking to each other in the quiet. It is a sharing, not a possessing, between two beings. Photographer:  Asuncion Pineyrua Ballylinch Stud , Ireland

2 Dec

Garzon Update

It’s a quiet time of year here in Garzon.  Summer officially begins just after Christmas and “the season” – which extends for about 6 weeks – welcomes to the coast a flood of Brazilian and Argentine revelers and, to the pueblo here, the few foreigners who have fallen in love with its simplicity and calm.  I come before the season begins...

16 Oct

New Friend in Garzon

13 Oct

Punta del Este Food & Wine Festival

Where else in the world would you find the bottom of your road blocked off by spreadeagled carcasses?  At the Punta del Este Food & Wine Festival, set up in the Garzon villa square yesterday morning for the final event of the two-day event.  By far the most successful venue of the weekend, the plaza never looked as wonderful, with long communal...

13 Oct

Home Again in Garzon

5 Apr


It took a birthday, a friend, and three sisters to lead me to UnderOurSky, a delicious (and dangerously desirous) website of beautiful objects. My birthday occurred in March when I was in Buenos Aires; my friend, Maita, in her inimitable generous fashion, dropped a present off at the hotel; the three sisters are Maita’s beautiful daughters and...

26 Mar

Meditations #54

This is a place where land floats on water; where caimans soak in the shallows, and capybaras graze on flowers; where marsh deer nestle in tall grasses, and otters weave through the lagoons. This watery paradise of islands, lakes and marshes, planted with lilies and willows, ceibas and palms, is a Mecca for birds. And on the shore dart foxes, wildcats...

16 Mar

Estancia Santa Cecilia

An hour and a half from Puerto Valle, In the Province of Misiones, is the authentic, family owned and run, Estancia Santa Cecilia. Occupied by the current family since 1950 – the house was constructed in 1908 – it’s principal industry is the raising of cattle and the growing of pine tree plantations. Eight years ago the mistress of...

16 Mar

A Day at Puerto Valle

This is another Argentina, a place remote and untrod, where water meets sky along a flat horizon, where land is not land as we know it, firm and hard, but rather a matrix of root and soil, supportive yet flexible, as bamboo is to pine. A place of capybaras, those strange yet strangely lovable giant rodents, and black caimans whose pert, upturned snouts...

14 Mar

Puerto Valle – Hotel de Esteros

Located 1.5 hours by flight north of Buenos Aires, in the Mesopotamia region of Argentina, is a remarkably rich and beautiful area called Esteros del Ibera.  Still one of Argentina’s secret natural wonders, the Esteros del Iberá is a vast nature reserve of lagoons and marshes and home to an astonishing array of bird and animal life. The area...

9 Mar

Pueblo Garzon Neighbor

Just a long weekend in Pueblo Garzon that was full of La Huella for Sunday lunch, of course, checking out Alium’s new look on the Garzon square (fabulous), a site inspection of the Vik’s new Bahia Vik and lunch at La Susana, their new beachside restaurant with Betancourt’s yummy food.  But it is my furry friends that make...

8 Dec

Details of a Life in Pueblo Garzon

There is much about Pueblo Garzon that is magical.  It speaks to us in many different tongues, but for me, in the still of the night when the noise in the mind settles, it is the details of my life in the village,  that come floating by. And then, of course, there are the smells and the sounds..Oh, those birds just before dawn, the bleating sheep...

25 Jun

Meditations #47

The Maasai say: You know where you are coming from but not where you are going. Mysteries in the well of the past. The strivings and yearnings, the trials and errors – we have a beautiful planet strewn with Mementos of other times. They fire the imagination and move the human core. They help us understand the past and offer us a roadmap to the...

9 Jun

Garzon in Winter

pergola in winter- Garzon.   A short weekend in Pueblo Garzon. We spend four nights in Uruguay and make the most of it and love it.  The weather is glorious – 60’s cloudless –  and our friends, dear, sweet friends, are here living the real life, reminding us of what is important. One task at hand…this is the time to transplant,...

14 Feb

In The Hills of Garzon

A drive up into the hills around Garzon to see the vineyards of Colinas de Garzon brought me face to face with him. And after I scratched his nose and he did his share of licking, I left him just as miserable as he was when I encountered him.

27 Dec

At The Sea in Jose Ignacio

There is something healthy and invigorating about the Atlantic Coast.  The ocean has character and mood.  It is chock full of marine life whose remains wash up amidst the flotsam and jetsam in great long trails of beach combing heaven.  Mussel shells,  bleached vertebrae, beach glass, starfish arms lure me down the miles of beach and over tide...

25 Dec

Fishing in JI

One of my son’s passions is fishing.  Bone fishing in Harbor Island, surf casting for stripers in Long Island, trolling for Nile Perch on Lake Victoria, rod and reel and line are the stuff of his dreams.  So, on arrival at our house in Uruguay yesterday, we headed off to Tienda Ingles, the big shopping mall in Punta del Este, for fishing gear....

16 Jul

Garzon in Winter

Perhaps the true test of any kind of love is that it endures in all seasons.

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Latest instagram posts

Kusama’s piano
Rabbits (huge  French rabbits), squirrels, hedgehogs and beavers all together in this animal cafe
Wonderful Art Deco house built for Prince Asaka’s family in 1933. After the war the Asaka family was demoted to commoner status and the house became a State guest house and now a museum. The demotion of Asaka and other princely families is part of a current discussion regarding the current Imperial succession line which is tenuous. One solution would be to allow females to succeed. Another is to reinstate some princely families to strengthen the succession options
And, finally, the sword guard which a metalworker might spend a year making. Each depicts miniature worlds reflecting the artist’s soul
Next is the hilt, made from a core of magnolia wood, wrapped in the skin of Asian stingray, and then bound with threads, generally In a diamond pattern to provide a firm grip.
I ended my very warm day (94F feels like 104F) in the sleek, cool, new Japanese Sword Museum. Who would have thought it would be so pleasing to the senses?  Here are the sword story pieces In separate postings as the photos look better singly. The katana, with blade curved upward (first photo) was carried by Samurai on horseback. The Tachi, blade curved downward, was carried by Samurai on foot and usually had a groove carved into the blade to lessen the weight.  They are forged, tang and blade, in one piece. These are prize winners from “jewel” steel and signed by Masters.  It is the tip, I am told, that is the most challenging part of the blade to make.