I had planned to write a few more posts about the Valparaiso-Buenos Aires cruise, but I changed my mind. Instead, I'll do one quick photo recap. Then, assuming I get home safely, I'll tell the real story of this trip. Stay tuned.
Rounding Cape Horn
Probably every cruise that rounds the cape offers a similar memento:
Awakened by the ship’s PA system shortly after 6am, we were about to round the cape. We saw another ship that was taking passengers up to the Albatross Monument at the top of the spit of land. It’s a large sculpture by Chilean sculptor José Balcells that shows the silhouette of an albatross. Erected in 1992, the monument honors the many sailors who died attempting to “round the horn.”
Punta Arenas, Chile
Our cruise did offer shore excursions for the southernmost cities in Chile and Argentina. For Chile, it’s Punta Arenas. This was one of my favorite shore excursions. Guess why? Yep, I did it on my own.
Punta Arenas was originally established by the Chilean government in 1848 as a tiny penal colony and to assert sovereignty over the Strait. During the remainder of the 1800s, Punta Arenas grew in size and importance due to the increasing maritime traffic and trade to the west coasts of South and North America. The gold rush and increasing interest in sheep farming brought waves of immigrants to the area.
But I enjoyed my next stop. I took a taxi to the town square which provided a glimpse into the lives of wealthy residents before the Panama Canal was built. The square is surrounded by many of their well-preserved mansions. One of these has been turned into a museum with original furnishings, ceiling frescoes, and Italian marble floors.
In the center of the square stands a statute of Ferdinand Magellan. Legend has it that if you kiss the toe of the Indian on the statue, you will be successful in business and as a result be able to return to Patagonia. I didn’t bother -- both for hygienic reasons and a lack of interest in returning.
Ushuaia is the terminus of the Pan American highway and claims to be the world's southernmost city. While there, we visited the world's "southernmost post office."
Like Punta Arenas, Ushuaia began as a penal colony. Today, it's the largest city in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego. popular as a jumping-off point for tours to Antarctica. This section of the southern Andes features forests, rivers, lakes, and peat bogs, which we saw on our tour.
It is also home to lots of birds. We took a boat out to this island, tightly packed with cormorants:
Though the cruise stopped mostly in Chile and Argentina, we got two "bonus countries."
The Falkland Islands
Punta del Este, Uruguay
Thus ended the final tour of the cruise.
Next, my REAL story of this adventure.