Tag Archives: Argentina

A to Z Challenge: U = Ushuaia

U = Ushuaia, Argentina

UI could write about how beautiful Ushuaia, Argentina is. Or, I could write about the wildlife or the beauty of Tierra del Fuego. But I already wrote about my experiences here.  So I am going to just share the pictures again and remember the time I was at the end of the world. I hope you enjoy my memories of Ushuaia as much as I enjoyed making them.

Ushuaia sign

Ushuaia
Final destination: downtown Ushuaia!
Islands of Birds
Islands of Birds
Sea Lions
Sea Lions
Sea Elephant
Sea Elephant
Sea Wolf Island
Sea Wolf Island
Sea birds taking off
Sea birds taking off
Lighthouse at the end of the world
Lighthouse at the end of the world
Tierra del Fuego
Coastline of Tierra del Fuego National Park
Tierra del Fuego National Park
I call this one Freedom — the clouds reminded me of a woman flying and made me feel very free!
Tierra del Fuego National Park
The shoreline of the Tierra del Fuego Park
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Lake in Tierra del Fuego National Park
Fin del Mondo
The post office at the end of the world where you can get a postmark from “Fin del Mundo”

 

Review of my 2012 travel memories Part 1

I had a remarkable travel year in 2012.  Here is a list of the of some of the highlights of my travel adventures.

Buenos Aires: I rang in 2012 at a special tango show and fell in love with Argentina. I stayed at  Maggie’s B&B — great location just off Avenue de Mayo and Maggie was very friendly and helpful.

New Year's in Buenos Aires 2012
New Year’s in Buenos Aires 2012
Large tree in Buenos Aires
Great place to eat Fredo ice cream!
Gaucho booth at San Telmo Market
Gaucho booth at San Telmo Market
San Telmo
San Telmo on a Sunday

Punto del Estes, Uruguay: While it was very cold in Toronto, on January 3, 2012, I was basking in the sun on a beautiful beach watching a lab puppy take its first steps into the ocean.

Beach at Punta del Estes
Beach at Punta del Estes
Puppy at the beach
Puppy’s first trip to the beach in Punta del Estes

Montevideo, Uruguay: I had no set plans for wandering around Montevideo, however as soon as I walked off the ship, I was met by a very friendly tour guide who arranged a small tour for 5 of us in a van.  It was a great way to see the city. At the end, we were dropped off in the city centre where we wandered through the streets before returning to the ship.

Settler's statue in Montevideo
Settler’s statue in Montevideo

Puerto Madryn, Argentina: Who would have thought that Welsh was spoken here — brought from Welsh immigrants who settled in this part of Patagonia. Desolute, yet beautiful, I had a proper Welsh tea, complete with scones and clotted cream in Gaimen and saw some of the local wildlife — in the form of sea lions. A couple of them even tried to board a ship!

Patagonia near Gaimen, Argentina
Patagonia near Gaimen, Argentina

 

Patagonia
Patagonia
Sea lion catching some waves
Sea lion catching some waves

Cape Horn, Chile: I’ve already talked about this in an earlier post. It is still one of my highlights of my travel adventures — to “round the Cape” while schooners of old.

Cape Horn
Cape Horn

Ushuaia, Argentina: This is another place I cannot talk enough about — from the beauty of the mountains and Tierra Del Fuego National Park, to the quaintness of the city, to more wildlife, more isolation, and the gateway to Antarctica.  Yes, I will want to come back here and spend more time. It is stunningly beautiful!

Ushuaia sign

Lighthouse at the end of the world
Lighthouse at the end of the world
Sea birds taking off
Sea birds taking off

Sailing through the Beagle Channel:  How could I forget standing on the deck of the ship in a formal dress and taking pictures of the massive glaciers that line the sides of this waterway.  I am still surprised I got any pictures, as I was shivering! But every time I thought I was head back inside to the warmth, I would caught a glimpse of a new wonder — and would  stay outside, mesmerized by the beauty.

Glaciers along the Beagle Channel
Glaciers along the Beagle Channel
Glaciers along the Beagle Channel
Glaciers along the Beagle Channel
Glaciers along the Beagle Channel
Glaciers along the Beagle Channel
Glaciers along the Beagle Channel
Glaciers along the Beagle Channel
Glaciers along the Beagle Channel
Glaciers along the Beagle Channel

Punta Arenas, Chile: Not only a nice place place to stop for handicrafts, but also a great place to see wildlife.  I went to Ottway Sound to see a colony of Magellanic penguins — penguins are just too cute! Then is was a chance to visit the market in the centre of town.

Market in centre of town
Market in centre of town
Statue of Magellian
Statue of Magellian
Statue of Magellian
Statue of Magellian

Puerto Montt: While the town is not really much to see, once we were outside, there were volcanoes, waterfalls, and lakes! Plus an amazing lunch of local fish and pisco sours!

Osomo Volcano
Osorno Volcano
Petrohue Falls
Petrohue Falls
Trinkets
Trinkets

Valpairso, Chile: The sad part is leaving the ship — it was the best cruise I’d ever taken — but Valpairso is very interesting and close to nice beaches and a wine country that reminded me of Napa Valley.

Vina del Mar
Vina del Mar

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El Cuadro winery
El Cuadro winery

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Santiago, Chile: I think by now on my journey, I was getting tired and it was really hot — not a good combination for me. But I did see some interesting things and got a great sunset picture!

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And this ends part one of my travel year in review!

Gaimen Argentina

In the heart of the Argentinian Patagonia is an area settled by Welsh immigrants in the 1800s. Gaimen is a town of 6,000 where Welsh is still taught in school and all things Welsh are celebrated. It is also a very nice place for a cup of tea — and very close to a large sea lion colony.

Cat Starr in Gaimen Argentina
Cat Starr in Gaimen Argentina

 

Sea Lion Colony
Sea Lion Colony
Tea in Gaimen
Tea in Gaimen

 

Sea Lions
Sea Lions
Sea Lions Boarding a Ship
Sea Lion Boarding a Ship

 

Seals playing on a dock
Seals playing on a dock

Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego
Coastline of Tierra del Fuego National Park
Tierra del Fuego National Park
I call this one Freedom — the clouds reminded me of a woman flying and made me feel very free!
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Mountain with patch of ice in the shape of a C — as if I drew my own initial on it!
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Glacial Runes — markings of the Gods
Tierra del Fuego National Park
The shoreline of the Tierra del Fuego Park
Tierra del Fuego National Park
More of the Tierra del Fuego National Park
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Lake in Tierra del Fuego National Park
Fin del Mondo
The post office at the end of the world where you can get a postmark from “Fin del Mundo”
Ushuaia
Final destination: downtown Ushuaia!

Ushuaia — Journey to the of the world!

I did not know what I would expect when I sailed to Ushuaia, Argentina. Officially, this is the southern-most city in the world.

Ushuaia signThis became one of my favorite places I visited during my last trip.  Here are some highlights of what I saw here.

Getting on a catamaran, I was able to see lots of birds, sea lions, and a sea elephant, a lighthouse, and beautiful scenery. You can easily arrange a catamaran tour at the port of Ushuaia.  There are several companies that arrange these.  The trips tend to take you out into the Beagle Channel to go by several islands that are homes to sea birds and sea lions.

Islands of Birds
Islands of Birds
Sea Lions
Sea Lions
Sea Elephant
Sea Elephant
Sea Wolf Island
Sea Wolf Island

This island was called Sea Wolf Island.  Not really sure why — but it had the largest colony of sea lions in this area of the Beagle Channel.  It was also home to several large colonies of different species of sea birds.  I got several pictures of interactions between the sea lions and the birds.  This one is one of my favorite pictures although I also have one the looks like a bird and a sea lion are actually kissing!

Sea birds taking off
Sea birds taking off
Lighthouse at the end of the world
Lighthouse at the end of the world

Finally, we sailed past the “Lighthouse at the end of the World.”  There are actually 3 that have this title in the area between Cape Horn and Ushuaia.  This particular one is the largest of the three.

Ushuaia is amazing!  More photos and stories to come as I write about sailing to Tierra del Fuego National Park and the Fin del Mundo Post Office.

My favourite things in Buenos Aires– and a few tips I learned along the way

Here are just some of my favourite things in Buenos Aires– and a few tips I learned along the way

View from my roomI loved staying at Maggie’s B&B.  Several friends suggested that I stay in the Palermo area which is very nice, but I did not find the Subte (Metro) connections very good there and that is one thing I always look for when I travel – how close am I to city transportation hubs.  Maggie’s B&B is just a block and a half from Ave. de Mayo with easy access to walk most places – or take the Subte (more below). Maggie’s apartment is in an older building with a century-old elevator that reminded me of the one in the movie Thoroughly Modern Millie (although I do not think I would tap dance in it).  The rooms were clean, bright and comfortable. Maggie is also very generous with information about Buenos Aires and helped me to acclimate to the city and how to get around it.  Breakfasts were simple but good – I loved the homemade marmalade! Using skeleton keys was an interesting experience but I also like how it just added to the charm.  Above all, Maggie is very warm and charming and I hope to stay there again on future visits to Buenos Aires – I do not think once is enough, especially since I planned my trip during a holiday weekend.  What was I thinking!

The "metro" in Buenos AiresThe Subte: The A Line runs underneath Ave. de Mayo and is an experience all to itself! It still has the old, wooden cars that first ran along this line in 1913 – making it the oldest subway inLatin America. One thing to remember – the British built this line, so the trains’ direction is opposite the way traffic runs.  I made this mistake, and had to get off, cross the street, and head in the “right” direction! Fortunately, the ticket takers helped me and I did not have to pay a second time (although the cost is $0.70 a ticket).

Me at the Piazolla New Year's Eve show
Me at the Piazolla New Year’s Eve show

Tango Shows: There are different forms of tango – the type performed at a tango show and the types performed in the milongas.  Tango shows are really for tourists, however they are fun and I think a “must see” especially if you only have a few days to spare.  I went to Piazzolla Tango. The space is beautiful – an old-style theatre with balcony box seats above the main floor.  I was seated in the box seats with a couple fromSao Paulo,Brazil. This was my New Year’s Eve treat, so the show was a bit more expensive than it usually is. The food was ok – I have to say the steak I got was one of the largest pieces of meat I’ve ever seen on a plate! We also had a bottle of red wine on our table – and could have requested more.  The desserts were great!  We got one with dinner, and then there was a dessert table setup for the New Year’s party after the show. The show was wonderful – good performances from the dancers, the band and the singers.  Personally, I want the dresses worn by the female singer – they would fit me perfectly!  I also liked how she danced a bit, showing that sometimes the simplest tango is just as passionate as the “fancy” lifts.

The Hop-on Hop-off bus: This can be a good option to get around Buenos Aires, especially to visit some areas that are not connected via the Subte and you are not up to figuring out the strange bus routes.  That said, there are some things to help you make this a viable option. Buy your ticket online!  You get a discount, you do not have to stand in line, and, if they are “full”, you are still guaranteed a spot.  Some additional “tricks” if you have not bought a ticket online, go to the main stop (stop 0: at Diagonal Norte and Florida) to get a ticket – and if it is a weekend, go around 8:30.  The service starts at 9 – and this should give you a good chance of getting on the bus and giving you a full day to “hop off” and see things. Or give you time to take the 3 hour tour then take a nice nap during the real heat of the day! The lines were very long and they were turning people away that first two days I was in Buenos Aires.  The last day, I got up early and got on the second bus that starts at 9:30 – and by the time we go to the 6th stop at Caminito, they were turning people away who did not already have a ticket – even though there were spaces on the bus!  I did enjoy the tour and I was able to see a few places that my walking just did not get me to!

Cafe TortoniCafe Tortoni is consider by many to be a must see place – however because of this, it can be hard to get into because of the long line of tourists waiting to get in to see the beautiful tiffany lamps, etc.  However, go, it you do get a chance! It is a nice way to start the day and an easy walk down Ave. de Mayo to Casa Rosada (the Pink House) and the Plaza de Mayo.  In fact, it is an easy walk from the Plaza de Mayo to the Plaza del Congresso – and there are a number of wonderful places to see along the way!

Another view from my room Palacio Barolo Building – near the Saenz Pena Subte stop, Line A (or halfway between Plaza de Mayo and Plaza del Congresso) – is an amazing building but I found it difficult to take really good pictures of it from the from side.  Fortunately for me, my room at Maggie’s gave me the best view and I have great pictures of the back!

 

 

 

 

Recoleta Cemetary
Recoleta Cemetary

Want some peace and quiet in the midst of a busy city?  Head to Plaza Francia and its neighbouring attraction, the Recoleta Cemetery.  I love my stroll through this space – then again I also loved strolling through Père Lachaise Cemetery inParis! Maybe I just have a thing for cemeteries with unique architecture!  Regardless – this is a great place to see and the opportunities for great pictures are phenomenal!

San TelmoSan Telmo and the Sunday Antiques Fair is a must-see!  Expect crowds of people – but also expect the unexpected – music, tango dancing, gauchos, art – just get lost in the magic!

More to come on my favourite things in Buenos Aires!