Tag Archives: Valparaiso

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!

Trying to write …

… 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!

Valparaiso and Santiago Chile Day 17

Valparaiso and Santiago Chile Day 17
As with all days when you leave a ship – they start EARLY! The ship arrived in Santiago ay 3 AM – I know because that’s when I felt the moving stop. That also means we were 2 hours early. I had a tour scheduled from the ship to Santiago – it was a better value than a transfer from the port of Valparaiso which is ~ 90 minutes from the Santiago Airport. So, after a quick breakfast, it was on to meet the tour. After leaving the ship, we had to take a shuttle bus to the terminal, where we had to go through the Chilean Agriculture check – something we did at each stop in Chile (a beautiful golden lab had to sniff all my bags). This time, however, we turned in our forms. Then, it was onto the tour buses. We got a tour first of Valparaiso. It is built on seven hills that have several funiculars that can get you to the top within 3 minutes. There are also stairs – 365 stairs. Most locals will take the funicular up and walk down to save money. There are also a number of buildings that were damaged in many of the earthquakes that happen in this area. The facades of some of the buildings are protected by UNESCO as Heritage buildings – so to “repair” the building, they will build a brand new building behind the façade. There is also a lot of graffiti and stray dogs. In front of a museum is a statue from Easter Island – this area of Chile also controls the Island.
Our next stop was Vina del Mar and its famous flower clock. Some of the streets were blocked off for a marathon, se we did not get a lot of time to stop, but we also got to go to another beach community for a walk, coffee, etc. The drive reminded me of a portion of California Highway 1 near Malibu (where the restaurants are). On this trip, I walked on beaches on the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean – cool, eh? Today, I got to see surfers catch some pretty nice waves.
Next, we headed to Casablanca Valley – which is the Napa Valley of Chile and trust me, if you have never been to Napa and you come here – it is very similar. Out next stop was to the Estancia El Cuandro – a winery and special event centre. If you ever want to get married in Chile, this would be a beautiful spot. We had a traditional barbecue (the meat was AMAZING) and a large selection of fresh salads and dressings. We also had a choice of red or white wine – of course. I had the Pinot Noir and all I can say is WOW. The winery’s logo is also interesting – a dancing Pan carrying glasses of wine. There is also a very large, carved wooden statue of Pan in the entrance to the restaurant.
We then headed to Santiago and drove through the central area of downtown. A couple stops had to be cancelled because of special events – including the end of Chile’s version of the tour de France. But we did get to stop at Plaza de Armas where there are a number of beautiful buildings including the City Hall, Natural History Museum and the Post Office – which was built by one of the founders of Santiago for his lover. Overlooking all of this is the Metropolitan Cathedral. We then headed through the Bellas Artes neighbourhood on our way to San Cristobel Hill. There is a funicular that can take you all the way to the top – but the wait is very long. We drove up part way to a place where we could see the Andes Mountains. This road reminded me of a road in the Oakland Hills. I guess this part of Chile is a lot like California.
Then it was to the airport, where our luggage – and most people’s flights – awaited. I just needed to pick up my luggage, exchange some money and grab a cab to my hotel. There was one baggage assistant who really wanted to help me and nothing I said would get him to stop helping me. However I have to say he got me a nice cab driver who stopped at an ATM – which happened to be a Scotia Bank ATM (there seem to be as many Scotia Banks in Santiago as there are TDs in Toronto), and then he helped me find my hotel (which I may not have found without him). I guess sometimes I just need to trust (for some reason, I feel very “edgy” in Santiago as opposed to being adventurous in Buenos Aires). My hotel is one of the many apart-hotels in the Los Condes area of Santiago. When you walk into the main lobby, you get instructions to go to an apartment on the second floor. That is the office that manages the hotel apartments in the building. And what an apartment it is! I’m on the 17th floor overlooking one of the main boulevards in Santiago. There is a full living room and kitchen, a king-size bed and a nice bathroom. There is also a balcony that runs the full length of the apartment. Since I’d already had a full day, I opted for some down time at the roof-top pool and sun deck.
Now, I need to figure out how to repack things for the trip home – I need clothes for touring Santiago in 28 C. heat and I need to be able to find my cold weather clothes for when I land in Toronto. I know … life could have tougher choices.