Y más or “and more …” is my review of my top favorite places to visit — as least at of today! Here is my countdown…
Number Five: Cadiz, Spain! I was so surprised at the beauty and walk-ability of Cadiz. At to that a Fortress named after my patron saint that is constructed in a star shape, beautiful beaches and great seafood — what more could I want!
Number Four: Lisbon has beautiful architecture, twisting streets, great museums, amazing music and, of course, good food and wine!
Gate to downtown Lisbon
View of the opera house and Plaza from the Santa Justa Elevator
View of the castle from the Santa Justa Elevator
View from the Castelo de Sao Jorge
Number Three: Buenos Aires with it different neighborhoods, tango all night, and friendly people — I think I lost part of my heart there!
Me at the Piazolla New Year’s Eve show
Number Two: Cuba! I am still dreaming about Cuba and all it has to offer. I love Cuba and her people. Viva Cuba!
And number one should not be a shock to anyone who has read my blog … BARCELONA! If I could, this is where I would like to live. Architecture, people, beaches, food, night life, museums, concerts — it has everything I love (and did I mention football and Camp Nou?).
Cemeteries can be interesting places to find some fascinating artwork as well as quiet places to walk in otherwise busy cities. Here are some of my favourite ones.
Père Lachaise Cemetery is Paris is well-known and has some very interesting statuary and “residents”.
La Recoleta Cemetery is the large cemetery in Buenos Aries with many famous Argentinians buried there, including Eva Perón.
I stumbled upon a massive cemetery in Sao Paolo, Brazil. I thought it had interesting art, then I came to the edge of the cemetery and saw there was so much more. This is the largest cemetery I’ve every seen.
Just like cities, there seems to be one palace that many are compared to — Versailles. It may be the sheer size of the palace, or the ornate gardens. Whatever it is, all palaces seem to be compared to Versailles for one reason or another. By why should palaces be compared to another – each one has some that makes it unique and and reflects the locale. Here are some of my favourite palaces.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
And this ends part one of my travel year in review!
… and I am trying to maintain a series of thoughts regarding finding your passion. While so far this has been a mild winter and the days are starting to get longer, there is still this natural drift that occurs where the best part of the day seems to be when you snuggle deep within the covers of your bed and sink into the warmth and comfort of your favorite blanket …
Writing is always a challenge for me, so image my delight to have this article tweeted to me this morning — a list of places to travel to for writing inspiration! And to think I just came from two of them — Buenos Aires and Valparaiso — and I have so much to write about both!
Here are just some of my favourite things in Buenos Aires– and a few tips I learned along the way
I 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 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).
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 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!
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!
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 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!