South American Explorer
Vantage Deluxe World Travel
January 26 - February 17, 2005
This travel adventure started out in a snow storm. It had snowed
for several days in Owego. I had to use the snow blower to clean
the drive way so my friend Russ could get near the house to pick
me up for my ride to the airport. There was about 12-15 inches
of the white stuff the morning of the January 26th. It was a great
day to travel to South America and warm weather.
My flight schedule took me from Binghamton to Washington first,
then a short hop to Atlanta. My flight to Buenos Aires left Atlanta at
8:40 pm. This nine hour over night flight arrived at Buenos Aires,
where it was sunny and in the mid 80's at 8:35 am. Not a bad
change in weather!
The tour Route
This is the Marriott Plaza Hotel where I stayed for the first three
nights of this trip. It was a grand old hotel located in downtown
Buenos Aires. The temperature was in the low 90's when
I arrived on the 27th.
On the afternoon of the first day, we had the traditional
city tour by bus. Buenos Aires is a beautiful clean city with
many sights to see.
The entrance to the Recoleta Cemetery. This was our first stop
on the tour. There were hundreds of mausoleums in this cemetery.
Many famous citizens were buried here.
This is the Duarte family mausoleum where Eva
Duarte de Peron is entombed. It is a very popular spot to visit
in the cemetery.
This mausoleum is a family tribute to a daughter who passed
away at a young age. There are flowers everywhere
in the cemetery.
The pink building in the rear of the photo is the Government
house or Casa Rosado, the Presidential Palace. The balcony in the
middle on the second floor is where the Peron's addressed
the people of Argentina. The movies Evita also used this building
as a set for speeches of Evita Peron (Mondona).
Looking across Plaza de Mayo at the Banco Nacion. The Piramide
De Mayo is in the front of the picture, it was the first monument
erected in the city in 1811. The plaza is the site of frequent
demonstrations by the citizens, mainly women. The afternoon
we were there our city guide moved us rapidly through our
sightseeing as there was a rumored demonstration planned for 5 pm.
The people were demonstrating for information about the
disastrous night club fire that occurred last December. There were
barricades store nearby and as we left many policeman
Colorful buildings and shops are found throughout the La Boca
district. There were many open air cafes long its busy streets.
This is a photo of one of the original harbors in Buenos Aires.
It has been replaced by several new harbors designed
for today's ocean ship traffic.
Standing in front of a La Boca district bar. It was very tempting
to go in for a quick one.
Day two of the trip begins with a bus ride to a side trip to
an estancia (ranch) in the beautiful countryside of Argentina.
We were greeted by a gaucho (cowboy). We were give a
glass of wine upon arrival had time to look around the ranch.
Some of our group opted for a wagon ride around the ranch
while others rode horseback.
This is not a gaucho! This is as close as I got to horses.
After lunch we had a musical show featuring tango dancing
and songs of Argentina.
After the show, we were treated to a demonstration of gaucho
horsemanship as they herded groups of horses. And lastly, the
gauchos performed the daring feats of horseback riding. They
would ride at full speed while spearing a ring hung from the
frame in then picture.
This trip end our day of sightseeing. We had the evening free, so I
opted for a steak dinner at the Las Nazarene restaurant in
downtown Buenos Aires. What a meal! It was one of my
best ever. I had a pound plus prime filet cooked to order.
It was so large I could not eat but half of it. The cost was
22 peso's or about $7.33. The cigar I purchased for after my
meal cost more than the food and drinks I enjoyed.
The 29th of January was a free day, so off I went to
sightsee and shop.
The Southern Big Ben Tower in Buenos Aires. Also know as
the British Tower. After Argentina's defeat at the Falkland Islands
the tower became known as the Remembrance tower by some
citizens. This tower is also known as Torre de los Ingleses; it
dominates Plaza Fuerza Aerea Argentina. The photo is taken
a little on the crooked side. It was the photographers fault.
It is still an interesting building.
The War Memorial to the soldiers who lost their lives during the
Battle of the Falkland Islands. Note the eternal flame on the wall
on the left side.
Across from my hotel was the Plaza San Martin. It was a small but
busy plaza. It was a favorite spot on their lunch hours. Above is
the General Jose de San Martin monument located in the plaza.
There were many pieces of art that blended in with the 300 different
trees of species planted in the plaza. Above is the sculpture
"The Doubt" by French sculptor Louis Cordier.
After our free day, we had a side trip to a Tango Show including
tango lessons and dinner. It was a great evening and the photo
above shows a very talented couple doing their tango steps.
Downtown Buenos Aires, looking toward Calla Florida (street).
The street is a pedestrian thoroughfare with many shops and
eating places. It was fun to walk up and down Florida Street.
It is Sunday morning, January 30th, and we are leaving our hotel to
board the Norwegian Crown. Due to the fact we cannot board until
after 3:00 pm, I have elected to take a side trip on the Tigre Delta.
We traveled for an hour to a restaurant for lunch in a boat like the
one in the foreground. This is the delta of the Parana River which
flows into the Rio de la Plata.
This is a museum that has covered a typical River Delta House
or Camp to preserve it for future generations.
The restaurant we dined at we had a very good meal.
The water was cocoa brown all the time. As we sailed up the delta we passed swimmers in the River. I could not understanding swimming in the muddy water.
After our delta tour, we ventured to the Norwegian Crown at the port of Buenos Aires.
We sailed away in the early evening for Montevideo, Uruguay. The distance between ports was 126 nautical miles. Over night the weather turned to rain and high winds. My morning trip was a city tour and we did not venture off the bus because of the wind and rain. Below is a picture of the Parliament Building. It was the only shot I took all morning. On the way back to the ship, I visited an internet station on the docks. It gave me a chance to catch up of my messages. I also was able to up date my family on how the trip was going. The afternoon was spent watching the weather and reading.
We were to sail away from Montevideo at 4:00 pm. Our next port of call was to be Puerto Madryn, Argentina. The trip was 705 nautical miles in length. About 6 pm the ship's captain came on the PA system to announce that due to high winds the harbor at Montevideo had been closed until 6 am the next morning. So we celebrated our second night on board while docked in the harbor. We were uncertain as to how the weather would affect the schedule for the rest of the trip.
This shot is taken out of my state room portal window. I am in
quarantine in my cabin because of gastrointestinal "bug".
I called it food poisoning. I was fed via room service and was
assured that the "bug" would last only 24 hours. Luckily we
were at sea so I did not miss much.
I have been declared by the ship's doctor from South Africa, as
cured and can run about the ship. I feel very tired and sleep
most of the day. But as luck would have it the "Bug" hits me
during the early evening of the 2nd. As you can guess I am
back in my cabin for another day of "bug" treatment. By now
the whole deal is getting old! The fifth day of cruising is a port
of call at Puerto Madryn, Argentina. I am not allowed off the
ship. Hence no photos.
This is what one does at sea when the sun is high in the sky. There
were even swimmers in the pool.
The 4th of February, I am declared cured one more time and can join
the un-ill passengers. As you probably guessed the "bug" was not
through with me. I became ill around midnight and had to call the
Medical Center on ship for more medicine. The next morning I told
the ships doctor either cure me or I am flying home! This is when
he finally gave me some antibiotics and I started to feel better. We
were at sea for the 4th and headed for the Falkland Islands for a
port call one day later than originally planned due to sailing delays.
I was in my last day of "bug" quarantining, so I missed my
visit to the Islands.
Here is a photo of the Falkland's. It is a bleak island with little to see.
Port Stanley is around the bend and I could not see it for a photo. I do
not why any two countries would go to war over this section of the
On February 6th, I awoke feeling much better. We were at sea for
the day as we headed for Cape Horn. Cape Horn represents the
southern most point of exposed land in South America. Cape
Horn is 1080 miles north of the Antarctic Circle. It has turned cold
and windy. Everyone who is interested has bundled up and are
on deck to photograph the cape.
Bring on the Cape! That's the cape in the far background.
After sailing past Cape Horn and turning around we sailed back
by the cape. The ship's Captain and First Officer conducted a
ceremony on the poop deck to commemorate the sailing by Cape
Horn. Here they are pouring warm ocean water over the heads
of the passengers who wanted such a designation. Don't ask,
I am not that gullible! We all got the Norwegian crown certificate
noting this sailing event.
It is Sunday, February 6th and its time to watch the Super Bowl.
It was interesting to note that whenever a commercial break
occurred the broadcast went silent, so we were spared all
the hot shot commercials that go with the game.
Our next port of call was Ushuaia, Argentina. This was our last
Argentinean port. Ushuaia is squeezed between the dramatic
mountain peaks and the blue waters of the Beagle Channel.
It is on the island of Tierra del Fuego. This photo has the port and
mountains in the background. A beautiful sunny day
awaits our visit.
I did not have much time to explore Ushuaia as I had signed up for
a morning tour to ride on the Train to the End of the World. Above
is the narrow gauge locomotive that pulled the train coaches along
it route. Ushuaia was the location of the infamous Argentinean prison
and the railroad was built by convicts. We ended our hour long ride
at Tierra del Fuego national park. The park was created in 1960. It is
located in Southwestern Tierra del Fuego province up against the
border with neighboring Chile.
Looking back at the Beagle Channel from the National Park shoreline.
We sailed away from Ushuaia at 12:30 pm so we would have the
afternoon to sail north on the Beagle Channel. While this made for
a short port of call. the afternoon sail provided beautiful sights.
The Francia Glacier. Just stunning.
The Almenia Glacier. The mountain and glacier scenery was so
spectacular that discovered at the end of the afternoon
I had taken over 100 photos.
The Espana Glacier. There was a huge stream of water coming
out of the glacier on the left side. During our afternoon sail
we saw a total of 6 beautiful glaciers.
Sunset at the end of a perfect of sailing along the Beagle Channel.
February 8th, we are visiting Punta Arenas, Chile. We docked early
at 7 am. Punta Arenas is many times called "the end of the city at the
end of the world', it is a city of 100,000 people and the hub of the
Interestingly Punta Arenas never experiences the extremes of cold
found in the remote places of the Northern Hemisphere. As in the
case of all ports of call for our sailing group we are cautioned
about eating local foods and in particular local seafood.
After my bug experience I only ate on shipboard.
I signed up for a morning city tour of Punta Arenas. Our first stop
was at an open air exhibit at Patagonia Institute, research
center of the University of Magallanes. Musen Del Recuerdo
(Museum of Memories) was very interesting. It was fun to walk
around and check out the various steam driven
machines on display.
As part of our city tour we next stopped at the Museo Regional
Maggiorino Borgatello Salesian Museum. This museum is run by the
Salesian Friars and contains remnants of the Indian cultures that
once thrived in the area. The displays were very interesting.
After the museum stop we headed for another mausoleum filled
cemetery near downtown Punta Arenas. This one was different
from the one in Buenos Aires as it was not as crowded. Above is
a monument dedicated to seafarers.
This is a memorial statue to an Indian man who supposedly helped
a lady with health problems and after she died she had set aside
money for this memorial. All the little plaques on the walls are thank
you from people who had their prayer answered after
visiting the memorial.
A statue to the explorer Magellan located in the Plaza de Armas in
the heart of town.
Docked at Punta Arenas when we were there was the MS Laurence M.
Gould. It is a specialized vessel used by the United States Antarctic
The Norwegian Crown waiting to set sail at 6:30 pm for Puerto
Montt some 1070 nautical miles away. Tomorrow, February 9th,
we will be sailing through the Straits of Magellan and then into the
spectacular Chilean Fjords.
Another beautiful South American sunset end a great day of
sightseeing and sailing.
It is around four o'clock in the afternoon and we are sailing in the
Strait of Magellan for most of the day. As you can see we are
approaching a glacier that is calving small ice bergs.
We have sailed up to the Amalia glacier. This is a gift of the Crown's
Captain Emil Sivert Holthe who decided to take an extra trip not on the
itinerary! What a beautiful sight.
A full view of the Amalia glacier in the fjord of Chile.
We closed out the day with more beautiful scenes of the
Fjords of Chile.
The morning of the 10th brought more sunshine and fabulous scenes
to enjoy as we continued to sail northward. Were at sea part of the
day and then sailed into the Patagonia Channel.
Can you find the whale that just blew the water out his breathing
hole? As we sailed along the bridge kept telling us of whale
sightings. I was fortunate enough to catch this shot at the right time.
Beautiful mountain scenes as we sail along.
On ship board today was the Chocoholic Buffet served between
3 and 4 pm. I did not attend because it would require leaving the
outside deck and missing the beautiful scenery. I also liked to
believe I have finally matured when it comes to eating chocolate.
Another beautiful sunset! Our days on board are rapidly drawing
to an end. We disembark on the 13th at mid morning. Our next port
of call is Puerto Montt, Chile.
For my visit to Puerto Montt, I elected to take a day long tour to
Petrohue Falls and the Village Frutillar. Above is a picture of the
very wild falls in this park. On the upper reaches of this River
there are very challenging rapids for rafters to try.
Volcan Orsorno viewed from the Saltas de Petrohue.
Another view from Petrohue Falls.
After a nice lunch at a restaurant in Frutillar, we visited this local
museum which had a water wheel driven grist mill. Then to the ship,
where we were over an hour late. I'll bet the Captain was steamed.
As we sailed away we saw hundreds of Puerto Montt citizens on
the nearby shore line enjoying the warm day. There were little
Beautiful sunset reflection of the clouds as Friday, February
Saturday, February was a day at sea with little photo
It is early Sunday morning and we are preparing to disembark at the
port of Valparaiso, Chile. The Crown docked at 6 am and we were
the last group of passengers of the ship at 9:45 am. It was great to
not have to rush off the ship. We were treated to a city tour
of Valparaiso before bussing to Santiago.
The bus tour of Valparaiso was non stop, so photo opportunities
were very limited. We did stop at this beach area for a chance to
take some photos. From here, we bussed on to Santiago with a
lunch stop at a small village. After leaving the village, the bus
climbed over a high mountain pass in the coastal mountain
range of Chile.
The Santiago Marriott. Neat hotel!
Santiago is located in a valley, the surrounding mountains make
the setting very beautiful.
On the second morning in Santiago, we had our usual city tour.
It is a beautiful city with many interesting buildings. We arrived
in the main plaza in time to see the changing of the guard. It was
impressive with their military band and two
companies of soldiers.
Santiago's Cathedral located downtown near the
After the city tour we had a free afternoon. I decided to some
shopping at a very large shopping center near the hotel. This
is a large sculpture outside of the shopping center.
The next day we headed for the Andes Mountains and a visit to
the famous Portillo ski resort. This day long trip took us
through the Chacabuco Mountains en route to the Aconcagua
Valley. The valley is a major growing area for peaches and grapes.
It was a very scenic ride.
Along the road were found many memorials to accident victims.
These were placed here by family and friends.
Some homes were reached only by footbridge across this mountain stream.
After several hours of travel we reached a point where the bus had
to climb over a mountain pass to reach the ski center. As you can
see we climbed up many feet. There were a total of 28 switch back
curves to negotiate in this climb. There were many trucks
using this route over the Andes Mountains.
Skiing begins in June and lasts until September. This place gets
buried in feet not inches of snow. The altitude is about 12,000
feet and very thin air. If you look hard you can se a ski lift in
this photo. The surrounding peaks reach a height of 20,000 feet.
Standing in front of the lake at Portillo ski center. It is green
because of the copper in the water.
A last look at the Andes!
After our day long tour to the Portillo Ski Center, we had a
day of leisure before departing Santiago for home.
Sunset as viewed from the airport window.
Thus ended a great 23 day trip around South America!