ELLA Travel trip to Mendoza, Argentina
We cannot thank enough Tourism Mendoza, Argentina, for inviting us at the 4 days spectacular yearly event of La Vendimia, to discover this amazing region and develop LGBT tourism.
Estamos enormemente agradecidas a Turismo de Mendoza, Argentina, por habernos invitado a la espectacular Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia que se celebra cada año durante 4 días, descubrir esta increíble región y desarrollar el turismo LGBT.
DAY | DÍA 1/4:
On our first day we went to discover the Enoteca, one of the heritage buildings of Argentina’s wine industry, whose mission is to promote the consumption of wine in Argentina, spreading its culture and business growth through communication strategies and actions. The installations were amazing (built in 1902!) and had this powerful tough and romantic touch of passionate wine making.
We then were driven to la Bodega “Casa el Enemigo” (House of the Enemy) for a visit of the winery, wine tasting and a delicious lunch in the company of the other international press guests. Alejandro and Adrianna, the owners of the winery, decided to make a wine together, a wine that would represent their deep respect for history and tradition, and we must say we were delighted to find out their goal has been reached beautifully.
After a short rest at the Hotel Aconcagua we enjoyed a event at the Terraza Mirador Ciudad de Mendoza:”Ciclo Música y Vino en las Alturas” that inspired us deeply, followed by a cocktail at the Municipality of Mendoza where we had the pleasure to share some time with Lic. Gabriela Testa, Presidenta del Ente Autárquico Turismo Mendoza.
En nuestro primer día fuimos a descubrir la Enoteca, uno de los edificios patrimoniales de la vitivinicultura argentina, cuya misión es promover el consumo del vino en Argentina, la difusión de su cultura y el crecimiento de la actividad, a través de estrategias y acciones de comunicación. Las instalaciones son maravillosas (¡construidas en 1902!) y tienen la fuerza y el toque romántico de la creación apasionada del vino.
Después nos llevaron a la Bodega “Casa el Enemigo” – un nombre que nos parece perfecto a nosotras, como amantes del vino que somos – para visitar las instalaciones, hacer una cata de vino y deleitarnos con una comida en compañía de otros periodistas internacionales invitados. Alejandro y Adriana, propietarios de la bodega, decidieron crear vino juntos, un vino que representa su profundo respecto por la historia y la tradición. Nosotras creemos que han conseguido alcanzar su objetivo con creces.
Tras un breve Descanso en el Hotel Aconcagua, disfrutamos de un evento en la Terraza Mirador de Ciudad de Mendoza: “Ciclo Música y Vino en las Alturas” que nos inspiró profundamente, seguido de un coctel en la Municipalidad de Mendoza en donde tuvimos el placer de compartir unas horas con la Licenciada Gabriela Testa, Presidenta del Ente Autárquico Turismo Mendoza.
DAY | DÍA 2/4
Tunuyán is a city in the west of the province of Mendoza, Argentina, located on the western shore of the Tunuyán River, 80 km (50 mi) south from the provincial capital Mendoza. Along with the Tupungato Department and the San Carlos Department it makes up the “Valle de Uco” region, which is famous in the Argentine wine industry for its important and modern vineyards and wineries.
We were amazed by the amazing nature, traditional architecture and historical monuments that make this region an absolute delight for all senses.
After a few hours enjoying the beautiful sights, we discovered a winery that is probably of of the most beautifully designed one has seen so far: Bodega O Fournier, one of the leading wineries in Ribera de Duero.
There we enjoyed a hilarious cooking class in which we both learnt delicious tips to give an Argentinian regional touch to our home cooking, followed by a splendid lunch by the waterside.
We enjoyed the lunch so much, and the company of the other international journalists, that it was hard to go back to the Hotel to get ready for the amazing Parade “Via Blanca de las Reina”, the White Avenue of the Queens.
This is a parade of brightly colored floats which pass through the main avenues in the center of the city. Each float represents a different department of the province and carries each department’s elected queen, accompanied by her entourage. The parade was filled, the public was very enthusiastic and happiness was thriving all around. One must admit that Argentinan women are very beautiful and warm, as much as their culture, but this; we already knew ;).
Pronto por la mañana, después de una corta noche pero reparadora, seguimos con el programa de camino a Tunuyán.
La ciudad de Tunuyán se encuentra a 83 km al sur de la ciudad de Mendoza, y a una altura de 874 msnm. Famoso por su importancia en la producción de Vinos Argentinos, el Departamento de Tunuyán es uno de los tres del Valle de Uco, junto con Tupungato y San Carlos.
La zona se caracteriza por el cultivo de manzanas y viñas.
Nos quedamos impresionadas por la abundante naturaleza, la arquitectura tradicional y monumentos históricos que hacen de esta región una auténtica delicia para todos los sentidos.
Después de unas horas disfrutando de las hermosas vistas, descubrimos una bodega que es, probablemente, de la de los más bonitas en termino de diseño que hemos visto hasta ahora: Bodega O Fournier, una de las punteras dentro de la D.O. Ribera del Duero.
Allí disfrutamos de una clase de cocina hilarante en el que ambas aprendimos deliciosos consejos para dar un toque regional argentino a nuestra cocina casera, seguida de un espléndido almuerzo junto a la orilla del agua.
Nos gusto tanto la comida y la compañia de los otros periodistas internacional, que resultó difícil volver al Hotel para prepararse para la Vía Blanca de las Reinas.
Se trata de un desfile de carros de colores brillantes que pasan a través de las principales avenidas del centro de la ciudad. Cada flotador representa otro departamento de la provincia y lleva reina elegido de cada departamento, acompañada por su séquito.
El desfilé estuvo espectacular, con mucho público, muy entusiasta, y se podía sentir la felicidad de la gente por cada rincón. Hay que decir que las mujeres argentinas son muy atractivas y cálidas, tanto como su cultura; pero esto, ya lo sabíamos 😉
DAY | DÍA 3 + 4/4
Saturday was marked by the visit at another wonderful winery, Trivento, specialised in the production of Malbec wines, and in which we also enjoyed a succulent lunch. We really have seen some of the best of Argentina during this stay!
However, the cherry on the cake has been the amazing National Party of La Vendimia in the Greek Theater Frank Romero Day, in which we have enjoyed amazing shows and entertainment!
Songs, dances, lights… an event of massive magnitude!
On next day, we finished this stunning press trip with a visit to the Bodega Nieto Senetiner, that elaborates one of the best Argentinian wines since 1888.
El sábado estuvo marcado por la visita a otra maravillosa bodega, Trivento, especializada en la producción de vinos Malbec, y en donde también disfrutamos de una deliciosa comida. ¡Realmente hemos visto lo mejor de Argentina durante esta estancia!
¡De todas formas, la guinda del pastel fue la increíble Fiesta Nacional de La Vendimia en el Teatro Griego Frank Romero Day, en donde nos hemos divertido con los maravillosos shows y espectáculos!
Canciones, bailes, luces… ¡Un evento a lo grande!
Al siguiente día, pusimos fin a este espectacular press trip con una visita a la Bodega Nieto Senetiner, que elabora algunos de los mejores vinos argentinos desde 1888.
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ELLA Talks with Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir & Jónína Leósdóttir
Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir & Jónína Leósdóttir have a relationship for the history books. Former Prime Minister of Iceland, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, was the first openly lesbian woman to head a government in modern history. Her marriage to Jónína Leósdóttir in 2010 was one of the first same-sex weddings in Iceland. We had the opportunity to speak with them both before they head to Mallorca for Ella Talks.
Why did you choose a career in politics?
“I had been active in the trade-union movement for a long time, besides growing up in a very strong social-democratic family environment. My grandmother was a trade-union leader for decades and my father was an MP for the Social Democratic Party. So I wanted to fight against injustice and for human rights and equality of all kinds – gender equality, economic equality etc.”
Was it a good decision? How was your experience in politics?
“Yes, it was a good decision, as throughout my career I have been able to fight for what I believe in … and make some progress in many areas. So now, after 35 years in politics, I look back with certain satisfaction, although I would, naturally, have been able to do much more.
But the experience of being a woman in politics was not always easy, especially in the early years. When I was first elected, I was one of only three female MPs in a Parliament of 63 members. And for many years I was the only woman in Government.”
Tell us how it felt to become the first woman at the head of Iceland’s government.
“I became Prime Minister at the beginning of 2009, when Iceland had been hit by the hardest economic crisis our nation has ever experienced. So I had huge problems to deal with and was under enormous pressure. But, of course, I was proud of becoming the first Icelandic female Prime Minister and of being trusted with this difficult task.
During my term in office, I tried to make all decisions with equality in mind. For example: I appointed an equal number of men and women in my Government, I introduced gender budgeting and we also passed a law to make it mandatory for both public and private companies to have gender equality on their boards … no less than 40% of men or women.”
How do you view women in politics?
“I think that an increased participation of women in politics is the prerequisite of creating better and fairer societies.
Generally, women tread more carefully than men in matters of finance. They show more responsibility and prudence and are less inclined to risk-taking.”
What do you think about inequalities that exist in politics?
“Gender inequality in politics is completely intolerable and it’s important to find ways to end it.
Some of the Icelandic political parties have tried to do this by using a gender quota system when they pick parliamentary candidates. And a women’s equality party was established in Iceland in the eighties in order for more women’s voices to be heard in Parliament.
This is something I will discuss further in my address at the ELLA festival.”
How do you think it would be possible to reduce inequalities?
“This is also something I intend to discuss at the ELLA talk in September. But one way of battling gender inequality in the work-market, which has proven efficient in Iceland, is to change maternity-leave to parental-leave. In other words, to encourage fathers to take leave after the birth of their children.”
What do you think about LGBT rights in society?
JÓHANNA and JÓNÍNA:
“We rejoice every time we hear of progress regarding LGBT rights in some corner of the world. And we admire all the people who are working towards increasing rights.
But we would like to see organizations that fight for human rights on a global level put more money and manpower into securing basic rights for LGBT people, no matter where they live in the world.”
Do you think LGBT people are represented enough?
JÓHANNA and JÓNÍNA:
Things are progressing, slowly but surely. Naturally, we are impatient and think this is happening too slowly. But LGBT people are gradually becoming more prominent and being shown more respect, for example in the media. And there are continually more openly LGBT individuals at the top of their respective fields.
Positive role models are vitally important, not just in public life and politics, but everywhere in society.”
What do you think should be done to improve the current situation?
“It is imperative to uproot prejudice about LGBT issues by giving people access to balanced information. This is especially important in countries where LGBT individuals still have neither legal rights nor protection and can be punished for their feelings. But I appreciate that in many areas it is hard to get such information across and educate people, due to all kinds of complex reasons.”
When did you announce to your family and friends that you were a lesbian?
JÓHANNA and JÓNÍNA:
“First we had to realize this ourselves – and that didn’t happen until we met and fell in love in the mid-eighties. At that time Jóhanna var over forty years old and Jónína around thirty.
And that was only the beginning of a long story, which later involved our family and friends gradually finding out about our relationship, at different times and in different ways.
In fact, this was such a long and complicated story that we needed a whole book to tell it properly. Jónína wrote that book, Jóhanna and I, in 2012 when we had been together for almost three decades.”
Did you have any problem in your personal life or career because of your sexual orientation?
JÓHANNA and JÓNÍNA:
“The answer to this question is also very complex and linked to many other factors, like the ruthless world of politics and societal attitudes to LGBT issues in Iceland, which changed radically in the nineties.
The short answer would be: Yes, the fact that ours was a same-sex relationship definitely caused problems in our personal lives. And these problems were very much related to Jóhanna’s career in politics.
But we will go into all this in much more detail in our talk at the ELLA festival on September 2nd.”
Would you have any recommendations for LGBT people that are afraid to normalize their sexual orientation in their lives?
JÓHANNA and JÓNÍNA:
“It is extremely difficult to advice LGBT people as a whole, as our circumstances can be so totally different, depending on which country we live in.
Of course, we would like to be able to say: Don’t let anyone oppress you; it is your right as a human being to be able to be open about who you are and live your life accordingly.
But even in societies where LGBT human rights are recognized, it can be hard for some individuals to come to terms with their sexuality and be open about it. Not to mention the millions of LGBT individuals who live in countries where people risk being disowned by their families and losing everything – even their freedom or sometimes their lives – if they come out.
It is agonizing to know that a huge number of LGBT people live in those circumstances and don’t have much opportunity to change them. That is why the global community and international bodies must do something to help.”
Jolien van Middelaar, 28, Amersfoort, The Netherlands
The first time I came out was to a friend of mine at school. I had been feeling off for a while and she noticed. She asked me to talk about it. Before I knew it I said that I liked girls. I didn’t know that I was going to come out, I don’t think I was completely aware of my true feelings at all. But here I was coming out, so much weight fell off my shoulders, I wasn’t even aware that I was carrying it around.
I felt so relieved I told a couple more friends the same day. As happy and relieved as I felt the day before, as sad and betrayed did I feel the next day. Everyone was staring at me. It was the first time I had the feeling that ‘lesbian’ was written on my forehead. Soon I found out that the entire school knew about it. Even people I didn’t know were staring at me. One friend had talked about it out loud in the class. I was the first openly gay person at school.
The second time I came out was to my family. Although my family wasn’t especially surprised, it seemed that my mom had a bit harder time than my siblings and my dad. I knew that my grandparents had divorced because my grandfather was gay. But I figured that made it easier for my mom, but I guess I shouldn’t have assumed. But over time my mom started to become more comfortable. She always accepted it, but there is a difference between accepting and being comfortable. Years later I finally felt like my mom was comfortable with my sexuality.
My girlfriend at the time and I had walked hand in hand through Paris, while my mom and her friend were walking behind us. Her friend later had asked if she didn’t find it strange that we had walked hand in hand. My mom said that she didn’t even noticed. When my mom told me about her conversation with her friend I started to cry. I finally felt like I could be me around my family.
Being a lesbian means having to come out with every new person you meet. The first two experiences with coming out weren’t ideal for me. So every time I changed schools or work, I dove back into the closet. I didn’t want to be stared at again. I didn’t want someone I cared about being uncomfortable with me. I guess I also didn’t feel completely comfortable being myself. I didn’t have a lot of relationships.
But things changed when I went to the university. It took me a while to come out, but I never went back into the closet. My new friends were great, very accepting. But I never wanted to go back into the closet when I got a girlfriend. Why hide something that just makes you so happy? When we started dating, I decided to tell the last people in my life who mattered to me but didn’t know yet. Although that relationship ended, I think I got something really great out of it; feeling comfortable with my sexual orientation.
Furthermore, I realize how lucky I am being born in The Netherlands. My ex-girlfriend is from the USA, a country where marriage isn’t open to all couples yet. Where the LGBT community is fighting really hard for their rights. Especially when we were dating a couple years ago. Also her family is not as accepting as mine is. It really put everything in perspective, and made
me realize how great my entire family is. My mom feeling uncomfortable just meant she needed some time. She never told me I made the “wrong choice”, or anything of that kind. I guess I got lucky with my family and friends.
Coming out might be hard in the beginning, but it feels so great to just be you, without any restrictions. When I think about coming out, I always think about that quote by Harvey Milk: “Every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and all. And once you do, you will feel so much better” And that is something I truly believe in, but I understand it’s hard. Don’t give up. If it’s difficult, you can always reach out to other people in the LGBT community who understand your struggle. I know you can always reach out to me.
What tv show did you look to for comfort and inspiration when you were feeling alone or that no one understood you? When I first came out I was really into ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ I also felt a great sense of comfort watching ‘Fucking Amal (Show me love)’. It was hard finding lesbians on TV. Glad that has changed. Yay, progress!