A Travellerspoint blog

Buenos Aires, Argentina

sunny 95 °F

January 23 & 24, 2009, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Also a beautiful city, much larger than Montevideo. Sailing into the port was interesting. BA is not a deep water port; our ship was the largest ever to dock there. There is only one small narrow channel which could handle our ship, and our captain announced that often there was no more than 3 feet of water between the haul and the bottom. Ships not a large as us are also forced to use this channel, and its not wide enough for two to pass. So, many ships were stacked up and we waited our turn. We were a couple of hours late getting there. The first day we toured the city in the daytime and we went to a Tango/dinner show in the evening. The city tour took us to an old cathedral, historic places and parks, lunch at a coffee house in the city, and to an arts and crafts section of town, where we could buy souvenirs. We saw much of Buenos Aires and learned much about the culture and history from our guide. The Tango/dinner show at night was tremendous. The venue was the one of the oldest theaters in the city; the food was wonderful (Letty and I had steaks), and the tango show had us mesmerized. Day 1 was a long day, we got back to the ship after midnight, having to get up early for an all day tour the next day. Day 2 was a trip to a working ranch (complete with cowboys - in Argentina called gauchos) about two hours drive from the city. This was a private trip arranged by one of our group. Enroute we stopped in an old historic village to walk around a bit and site see. The ranch was also a bread and breakfast for Argentinians. There were 22 in our group. On arrival, we were greeted with beverages and an appetizer that is best described as a meat pie turnover (and absolutely delicious). Many of us then were taken horseback riding. I did this; Letty opted to take a carriage ride with some others. Our ride took us through cattle grazing territory and lasted about an hour. The cowboys then put on a show, showing off their trained horses and performing horseriding skills events, including some races. Most impressive was a cowboy who had a horse lay on its side,then roll onto its back, having him sit on its stomach, then roll over with the cowboy remaining on the horse, ending up in the correct position. We were then served a meal outdoors in a beautiful setting. It was the best beef we had yet on this trip. With the meal, there was a singer and guitarist entertaining us. We left the ranch, returning to the ship by 5:30 p.m. for sailing away from Buenos Aires. By now, we are tired, and are looking forward to the next several days at sea to relax. Our next port is Ushuaia, Argentina, which is the world's most southerly city, and we'll be there on Thursday the 26th. Before getting there, on the 25th, we will sail around Cape Horn.

Posted by Len Reeser 11:47 Archived in Argentina Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Montevideo

sunny 85 °F

January 22, 2009, Montevideo, Uruguay. Beautiful city and country. Except for signs being in Spanish, driving around the country seemed like home in the USA. The best and most wonderful experience was the private tour by Heine Prato, father of Paola Prato, who is the fiance' of our son Scott. His meeting us at the dock will not be forgotten and the remaining of the day was very special indeed. It quickly felt like we were old friends. From the dock, we drove along the coast out into the country enroute to Punta del Este, a resort town along the coast rivaling the best that California can offer. There, we visited the home and museum of a famous Uruguayan (sp?) artist, Carlos Paez Vilaro. His art resembles Picasso; his home built in a style unlike anything I'd seen before; all very beautiful. We had lunch in a local restaurant in Punta del Este, having steak with a fine red wine from Uruguay (called Tannat). Upon arriving back in Montevideo, we drove through the city, looking at historical and significant sites, then parked in the main square of the city to shop for souvenirs. Letty got a handmade shawl. Unlike Rio, the prices of things in Uruguay were very reasonable, much less than we expected. We then arrived back at the ship on the dock, and we sadly said our goodbyes. Next stop tomorrow, Buenos Aires, Argentina, where we will stay for two days. Len.

Posted by Len Reeser 02:22 Archived in Uruguay Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Rio de Janeiro

sunny

January 18 & 19 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Wonderful - nearly 500 pictures taken, and being digital, can pick out the best and toss the rest. The sail into the city is extremely picturesque and the weather stayed in our favor. Rio's two most popular landmarks, "Sugarloaf Mountain" and "Christ the Redeemer" statue, were visible from quite a distance from shore. We arrived the first day at 3 p.m. and we spent it absorbing the culture and people of Rio. Eight of us rented a van and guide for the remaining part of the afternoon and early evening. Our touring included the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. We didn't go swimming, but we did lots of walking, looking for the "Girl from Ipanema"; many qualified as the scenery was quite nice. We also went to the "hippie market", a huge outdoor flea market catering to both locals and tourists. Everything from arts and crafts, clothing, and foodstuffs are found there. A great place for buying gifts to take home. Day 2 in Rio was going on an 8 hour tour put on by the cruiseline. The 2 main attractions were Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue. Sugarloaf mountain is at the entrance to the bay in which Rio sits. The attraction is riding cable cars to the top for an incredible view of the city. Christ the Redeemer statue is accessed by riding a train through tropical jungle going up the highest mountain of the area, to arrive at the statue, which sits at the top. Sets of elevators, escalators and stairs are at the top connecting the train depot to the status itself. The statue is a huge structure measuring 30 meters high and 18 meters wide. I have lots of pictures from here, as the statue itself and the view are spectacular. We also visited a cathedral, very unique in architecture, essentially a huge inverted cone having stained glass windows on four sides from floor to top, and large enough to seat 10,000 people. One of the expected highlights of the trip was Rio, and we weren't disappointed. Next sop - Montevideo, Uruguay. Len

Posted by Len Reeser 09:37 Archived in Brazil Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Salvador de Bahia, Brazil

sunny

We made it to South America. We docked in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, at 9 a.m.on Friday, and Letty and I took a bus and walking tour of the city, with friends of ours, Bill and Mariana. It's an old city with cobblestone narrow streets and alleys in the older part of town. I took over 100 pictures, many of them of local people. Because their Carnaval festival is coming up, there was much work underway building bleachers for parades, and other structures for vendors. The temperature was hot and the humidity very high. The city is built on two levels, the older on top of a cliff, while the newer sections occupy reclaimed land by the shore. A set of elevators (for a Brazilian nickel - 2 ½ cents US) takes people about 10 floors between the two sections. Due to the constant high humidity, most buildings had lots of mold on them, particularly in the old city where the construction was mostly masonry based.

Mariana and Letty returned to the ship earlier than Bill and I. We spent the next available few hours doing more walking and taking of pictures, and finding a local café playing live samba music and where we tried a local brew named "Antarctica". With about ½ hour to spare, we returned to the ship, exhausted and in need of showers. Next stop in two days - Rio de Janeiro.

Len

Posted by Len Reeser 09:47 Archived in Brazil Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

The cruise (5 days at sea)

We've been at sea since we left Barbados. I thought we wouldn't have anything to do - how wrong we were. We're kept sooo busy, I don't think I have any time to think. We had a wonderful dinner at Portofino's (the Italian specialty restaurant onboard) and it was wonderful. Yesterday at 3:30 ship's time we crossed the equator. There was a huge cermony on deck and Len got to have whale snot (actually shaving cream) rubbed all over his hair, kiss a dead fish and get tossed in the pool, fully clothed. I was on the wrong side of the pool and didn't get any pictures but some of our friends said they have some treat pictures. This ship is beautiful and I am sooooo happy it will be based in Los Angeles. I can't wait to go on her again, again and again. The CD Abe Hughes is really cute and one of the best CD's we've ever had and Captain Johnny is always out and about on the ship, even riding his little motor scooter on the Promenade. Well I'm off for today - take care all..next stop Salvador de Bahia, Brazil on Friday. Letty

Posted by Len Reeser 11:45 Comments (3)

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