I think this will go. Try the link.
Puerto Madryn, Argentina,was our first stop in the Patagonia region of Argentina. As you can see, it’s desert. We went sea lion watching. On the way we saw Guanocos, a type of llama. We also saw reas, ostrich-like animals. I know, it’s far away. They look like moving bushes. We went out on a RIB. On the way to sea lions, we saw a couple of penguins, some fossils, cormorants, and just beautiful country.
Going around Cape Horn was a real thrill. A family of five people live on the island inthe lighthouse.
Ushuaia is the southernmost city in SA. We took the Beagle Channel to get there. From there we went on a Catamaran to see penguins. We even saw a whale (probably a humpback according to the nature guy). It was too quick for pictures but we saw whale tail and it blew for us! There were imperial cormorants, albatrosses, swimming sea lions. Most of the penguins were Magellanic penguins but we did see a King penguin. That brown fuzz ball at his feet is his chick.
To get to Punta Arenas, Chile, we went through the Magellan Straights. We took tenders into the port to catch another boat for our excursion. Going to Magdalena Island to see penguins and walk among them was an experience. We’d went there on a bouncy RIB. There we climbed a hill to the lighthouse and down, all the while observing penguins and their burrows, gulls and their chicks, and skuas trying to eat them. Penguins were molting. Nature at its finest.
Glaciers in the fjords of Chile were amazing. First was Amalia followed by Pio XI. Amalia was thicker but Pio XI was larger.
Puerto Montt was a disappointment. It was a tender port but the swell and winds were too high for a tender operation so we missed the place altogether. It happens.
The weather in the south has been challenging. It’s been in the 50s (Remember, it’s summer down here), rainy, and windy with some very choppy water. One night I was dining when we hit a deep trough and I watched my coffee leave the cup and drop back in again. We will be back in summer soon.
Salvador, Brazil, is quite a poor city. It is the most African city in Brazil with 80% of the citizens descended from African slaves. We went to the beach. No culture for us! It was hot, the waves were big and the water was warm. A nice day.
Rio de Janeiro was our last Brazilian stop. Our first day we just did our own thing. We went to Ipanema Beach so I could walk around singing the “Girl from Ipanema”. We did not go to Corcovado to see Christ the Redeemer statue but we could see it from our balcony. Sugar Loaf Mountain is also a must see which we skipped but here is a great picture of it during cruise in. Day two found us taking a 4 x4 ride into the Tijuca Rainforest which is in Rio. First we stopped at the Chinese Pagoda for a scenic overlook of the city. Yes, that’s a cloud. But, we did get to see monkeys 🐒! We then went to Cascatinha waterfall which was beautiful and peaceful. Our final activity was a hike through the rainforest.
It was a completely amazing to me to be in Uruguay, a place I never even thought about. Uruguay has 98% literacy among adults. They also have a large middle class. Most SA countries we’ve been to have high poverty. We shared a cab into Montevideo and walked back to the ship. It’s a wonderful city.
Buenos Aires, Argentina was a nice stop. We spent part of the first day on our own. The later part of the day was spent at La Rural, a large exhibition center for a ship party for those of us on the full trip. We had great entertainment with gauchos doing cowboy stuff. Inside we went back in time to the era of the invention of the tango. We had tapas courses and an amazing show with music, singing, and dancing. The next day we went to an Argentine wine tasting. It was fun and informative. You can’t be here and not run into Evita. This is the balcony of the president’s house where she would speak to the people.
Our next phase will be more about nature as we approach Patagonia and the “end of the world.”
We are currently on Queen Victoria working our way around The continent. We boarded and set off on Jan. 21 from Fort Lauderdale. Getting to that point was pretty fun, except for driving through Atlanta at 5:00 on a Friday afternoon. Don’t ever do that. It took us an hour to go seven miles.
We stayed with our friends Jim and Keith in Port Saint Lucie, Florida and had a fabulous time at their beautiful home. Then we drove to Boca Raton an stayed with Theresa and Fred at their awesome home. These people know how to retire! The weather was perfect.
On board QV, we met up with two couples who we got to know on our world voyage two years ago. It’s so great to see them again. They are all more seasoned travelers than we are, so we learn a lot from them. Getting familiar with a new ship is interesting. We are also running into other people we met on our previous trip. It’s like old home week.
In Old San Juan, We set off on foot and saw a repurposed old prison that still had some cells and original features. Next there was this beautiful Fuente Raices, La Princess Fountain. When we got up to the castle, we’d been moseying our way up hill for three hours. So we proceeded to go up hill some more (!) until we got to the right street. At this point We could see the other castle. Then we headed down hill which took us 10 minutes! We found a local cafe and had a wonderful meal of mofungo. After that we sort of limped our way to the ship. It was a wonderful and tiring day. It was beautiful!
The day after San Juan was Robert Burns day on the ship. After dinner we had this little program. All of the readers were Scottish so we didn’t understand any of it 😂. But it was fun and there was lots of toasting, with scotch of course.
Barbados was our next stop. We took a trip to a sugar cane plantation and rum distillery. They claim it is the birthplace of rum. Our trip involved a train ride on a small train that used to circle the island. This is the only bit left. The engine had to be turned on a turntable and Mike volunteered to help. For that, we got to ride back on the engine! Yay Mike! We toured St Nicholas Abbey and the grounds and had rum punch. Barbados is a beautiful island with mansions standing next to shacks. Unfortunately, we discovered on our return that Bridgetown is “closed” on Sunday. We found a restaurant and then walked back to the ship. the heat and humidity just about did us in, but our day was interesting, informative, and fun..
We sailed up the Amazon River for two days to Manaus which is this huge city in the rainforest. It’s somewhere between 900 and 1000 miles from the Atlantic. About two million people live there. We took a riverboat ride further up the Amazon and had a walk into the rainforest on this rickety bridge. We saw no monkeys because it was too hot for them. Who is the smarter species? We saw termite nests and giant Victoria water lilies, lots of egrets, and a kapok tree that is about 300 years old. Part of our excursion was by motorized canoe. It’s a very green place! People along the river live in houses on stilts or houses that float. Flooding can be quite high.
On another trip we saw a sloth and more Amazon scenes.We have now moved on to other parts of Brazil. Another blog will follow if I can find internet strong enough to write and send it! It’s not so easy on the ocean. Hot and humid is our weather every day with some rain showers thrown in. It’s lovely !
Glasgow was a fun place. We got in late on a Saturday night and went out to find dinner. Everything was full but we finally found a place that had seats for 2 of us at another table already occupied. Then we discovered they served only drinks! We had a great time having drinks with Iain and Margaret who were out on the town for the night. We have met the NICEST people on this trip! The waiter even rounded up some snacks for us.
Sunday was Remembrance Day and we attended a really neat service while trying to find a bus.
After the service we found a nice shopping area instead. While in Glasgow we went to the Cathedral and the Necropolis behind it. Both really neat places. We also went to the Kelvingrove museum where we stumbled upon an organ recital on their pipe organ. We also saw Dali’s Christ on St. John’s Cross. Pretty amazing. We found lots of great places to eat and drink and tried some Highland whiskey as well.
Bath is an easy place to visit. Everything is in walking distance (unless you are dragging a suitcase). The Roman Baths were really amazing considering they are almost 2000 years old. I loved the visit.
The Jane Austen Centre is a great place to visit as well. We also saw the Crescent which is stunning,
Visiting the Abbey was a bit of a let down since it was under construction, as was almost every old church we saw. Lots to work on with these old buildings to preserve and revive.
Shopping and eating in the City Centre was great.And this completes our trip. We are back to London tomorrow and onto the ship in a couple of days. I’ll be back on in January as we circumnavigate South America.
We started the rail portion of our journey by traveling to Newcastle Upon Tyne where we visited some friends we met on our previous travels. We had a wonderful time driving around and seeing lots of old castles and small, quaint villages. Above is Bamburgh Castle. We then went to Alnwick which is really off the beaten path. There we stayed at the White Swan, a hotel in a 300 year old building. In it is the Olympic dining room which was taken from the ship the Olympic, duplicate sister ship of the Titanic. The room was built just to fit the wood panels from the the ship. It’s gorgeous. Alnwick is also famous for it’s castle which was Hogworts in the early Harry Potter films. It also was in the last few episodes of Downtown Abbey. It is closed for the winter because the Duke likes to have hunting parties there. These are part of the grounds. This treehouse is currently the largest in the world since the one in California burned. We had lunch there.
After Alnwick we went to Edinburgh which is a great city to visit. We used the hop-on hop-off bus to circle the city a couple of times. We walked up to Edinburgh Castle and did the whole tour there. We saw some great views of Edinburgh while at the castle. While in Inverness we went on a long tour to the Isle of Skye. I have never seen such breathtaking views. This is the Highlands of Scotland.We had perfect weather for the trip. We are now in Glasgow where we are having a super time.
Our first whole day in London we ventured out to buy an Oyster card so we could tube our way around the city. Things started out great. We went to Notting hill to the Portobello Market wich was quite fun. We scouted around a little and went to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
While there we met a wonderful woman who told us what not to miss at the museum. Later she talked to us again before we left. We have met the very nicest, friendliest people!
We got up early Sunday for our first coach trip to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Oxford only to find out that we were too late and the coach left already. I had gotten the times of our two trips mixed up. Fortunately, again a very nice woman from the tour company just transferred us to a tour the next day. It was beautiful out so we made our way to Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Park.
Of course we were late to see the changing of the guard. Theme of the day: late. We found a great place for a pub kind of lunch and over a couple of beers we relaxed and just enjoyed.
Our trip to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford was great. The Queen was at Windsor but she didn’t come down to the State Rooms to greet us. She’s the only one who’s been a bit standoffish. The castle was great. We lacked the time to see St. George’s chapel where Harry and Megan were married. It looked beautiful. Our second stop of the day was Stonehenge. We had no rain but it was pretty cold in the wind. The big stones are pretty cool. It was getting dark by the time we hit Oxford. Daylight savings time ended here on Sunday. The colleges making up Oxford University are in old lovely buildings. Bodleian library impressed me the most. Christopher Wren, don’t you know. We did not go inside any of the buildings but seeing all the colleges but Magdalen was awesome.
Our next coach tour was to Leeds Castle, The white cliffs of Dover, and Canterbury Cathedral. Leeds Castle is a medieval castle which King Edward IV gave to one of his loyal subjects. The white cliffs of Dover are very pretty and we had a great sunny day for it. They shine in the light. Lucky me, I found some beach glass on the shore of the English Channel. Canterbury Cathedral is surrounded by scaffolding. Hearing the story of St. Thomas Beckett and seeing the exact place he was murdered was pretty cool.The trip on the tube from the coach station to our hotel was a real experience. A train had broken down and the platform was totally full of people. A train finally came after about 15 minutes and it was totally full. Sardines packed into a can. And we got on.
Our next adventure was to the Tower of London. We spent the whole day there. It was amazing. The Crown Jewels are worth a look and the white tower is pretty impressive. The Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters) give a short tour and ours was hilarious! We also looked around at a bunch of other stuff and had audio guides. We went home for a short rest and then out to see Phantom of the Opera. That was a lot of fun! The best Phantom yet.
We also went to the British Library and saw the Magna Carta along with other beautiful and noted works. Westminster Abbey was really wonderful and full of history and art. Both places did not allow photos. Here’s Westminster from the outside.
We are off on another excursion. This time we are on our own. Scary thought.
But what would a trip be complete without a crossing on the Queen Mary 2? As I type this I am sitting in the grand lobby killing a little time while our room is being cleaned.
We have had a great crossing with very calm seas this time. As before, we have enjoyed the speakers and activities on board. We attended three cocktail parties and one champagne tea.
We dined in four different venues and really ran out of time to do all we wanted. We also ran into a few of the crew we knew from before who remembered us. That was a treat!
The water and sky are so beautiful on the ocean.
After disembarking in Southampton, we took a bus to London’s St. Pancras train station. That took forever. Then getting a cab and getting to our hotel took another hour. During all this we discovered that our cell service was not working. After spending and hour and a half on that we were a bit down trodden. But after getting all that done we went to eat “lunner” (lunch and dinner) and enjoyed that very much after a nice family left us a half a bottle of wine! Life got better.
It makes me sad. What a great trip this has been.
After going through the Suez Canal, we stopped in Limassol, Cyprus and went to a small town, Lofou. There we had a meal called a taste of Cyprus. Oh, my but it was good. Unfortunately, I have no pictures to share. Operator error this time.
Italy was next. We were supposed to go to Naples but they hadn’t dredged our berth. The Mary has a deep draft and the harbor was too shallow. Instead of Naples we went to Sorrento. It’s a beautiful little city of 17,000 people. We just wandered around and had fun.
The port of Rome is Civitavecchia which is about an hour and a half from Rome so we took a tour. Our first stop was the forum.
Next we hit the Colosseum, but only from the outside.
Following the Colosseum we went to The Vatican which is actually another country. We waited an hour and a half in the rain to enter St. Peter’s Basilica and it was worth the wait.
After Rome we went to Barcelona and took a tour of all things Gaudi. His most famous work is Basilica de la Sagrada Familia which has been under construction since the 1880’s. It’s gorgeous.Our last stop before Southampton was Cadiz. We took a tour of the cathedral which was pretty interesting.Then we spent a little time walking around the city.Thanks for sharing our world tour with us. It’s been a truly great experience.
Paradise describes this land perfectly. The scenery is stunning wherever you look. It’s an expensive place to live, though. Taxes are high, real estate was over half a million every place we stopped and some ran into the six million dollar range.
Our first stop was in Dunedin. There actually wasn’t a lot here but they do have a Cadbury factory. Here is their railway station which I’m sure you will all recognize is done in Flemish Renaissance design