May 28, 2023


For splendid leisure

Reflectons of Journey to South The us

13 min read

As a 4-decade Licensed Travel Agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, instructor, and photographer, travel, irrespective of whether for pleasure or organization functions, has always been a substantial and an integral portion of my life. Some 400 visits to each individual part of the world, by suggests of road, rail, sea, and air, entailed places both equally mundane and exotic. This article focuses on those in the South The united states.


Argentina, the very first of them, entailed entry by Buenos Aires, and its metropolis-connected attractions provided the Plaza de Mayo the Catedral Metropolitano the Casa Rosada, the mansion and workplace of the Argentinean President and the well-known balcony from which Eva Peron spoke to the masses and the pretty much obligatory tango exhibit.

A facet journey to San Carolos de Bariloche was a deposit into the German Alps, with its architecture and chocolate retailers. A 585-kilometer push of the Circuito Grande encompassed the lake- and mountain-surrounding Llao Llao Resort and Vacation resort for an exquisite afternoon tea, the Villa Traful, the Villa la Angostura, and “teleferico,” or “chairlift” ascents, up the Cerro Otto and Cerro Catedral for extraordinary sights and lunch.

Other Argentinean excursions further more north entailed entry by means of Puerto Madryn and a tour of the Punta Tombo Penguin Rookery, the world’s greatest.

The motor coach, in this case, still left the pier and crossed the bridge toward National Route 3, the most important freeway connecting Buenos Aires in the north with Ushuaia in the south, beneath powder-blue skies, traversing Chubut, one of Patagonia’s provinces, earlier the flat, dry, scrub-blanketing steppe topography characteristic of the coast. Passing through Trewel, a city settled by the Welsh exactly where common afternoon tea was still served and the 2nd largest in the location with its possess regional airport, it threaded its way by means of the lower-elevation White Hills, which appeared like the Badlands of South Dakota, and intercepted the dry, dusty, gravel floor of Provincial Route 1, passing indigenous South The us wildlife virtually camouflaged by the low scrub, this kind of as the mara and the guanaco, the South American equal of the camel. Ultimately entering the gates of a non-public sheep farm, it included the last 39 kilometers to the rookery, itself on the Atlantic, the place the hills rose from the predominately flat charges, completing its 170-kilometer push.

Punta Tombo Penguin Rookery itself presented a glimpse into the lifetime of these sea birds.

Magellanic penguins, which are diving seabirds with hydrodynamic bodies, inhabit the expenses of Argentina and Chile, feeding at sea and breeding on land. Punta Tombo, with 175,000 breeding pairs, is the world’s major breeding penguin colony. For the duration of September, males return to the location, refurbishing their past year’s nests, at which time the females are reunited with them. After courtship, the female lays two significant eggs, whose 40-working day incubation period is guarded by the male and the female on alternating times.

For a limited period of time just after start, the chicks, donning a feathery, grey coating, are not able to swim, through which time the males comply with specific paths to and from the sea in order to receive food stuff until the pores and skin mulches off. When they are previous sufficient, they are the to start with to go away the nest, adopted by the parents.

At the conclude of the breeding period, they migrate far more than 6,000 kilometers from the Patagonian coasts and the Falkland Islands to islands off of Brazil, during the April-to-September time period.

A lot of penguins have been seen through the a person-kilometer stroll, but their grey, rock-resembling skin and their semi-concealed places, in recessed filth burrows beneath the low dome vegetation, in the beginning rendered them undetectable. Crossing a wood footbridge, down below which a multitude of them poised by themselves towards the scorching sunlight, and following a winding, climbing filth path, I nearly kicked two big, gray rocks on possibly aspect. Equally, it turned out, ended up penguins, which apparently had no innate anxiety of humans.

A lava rock outcrop, at the close of the trail a several meters higher and overlooking the beach front and the Atlantic Ocean, had sprung from volcanic action 120 million yrs ago.

The grey gravel seashore, littered with countless numbers of penguins, led right into the ocean at a pretty slender angle, serving as the pathway to their sustenance. The Punta Tombo penguins swim as far as 600 kilometers from their nests to find nourishment for their chicks, while a 1-minute dive takes them 12 meters under the water’s floor.

South of Buenos Aires and served by Ushuaia, the world’s most southern metropolis, was Patagonia, with its extraordinary waterfall, forest, mountain, and glacier topography in Tierra del Fuego Nationwide Park, some of which was knowledgeable on a trip on the Train at the Finish of the World, the narrowest of the present narrow-gauge railroads.

Pulling absent from the wooden-log, alpine Estacion del Fin del Mundo, the eight-vehicle, inexperienced-painted prepare, propelled by the very small, 1944 South African-created steam locomotive, adopted the 1-meter, slim-gauge monitor via dense, dark-inexperienced forest into a whirling snow blizzard on its 7-kilometer stretch to the Countrywide Park Station. The very low shrubs, rivers, and grazing horses wore coats of white, although the grey-granite and dim-inexperienced mountain confront rose almost vertically from the suitable coach windows.

Adhering to the slim, pretty much toy-like keep track of, which multiplied into two, the educate arced to the remaining of the two branches, which were being separated by a crude log fence, and ceased movement at Puente Quemado, its only prevent, with obtain to waterfalls.

Emitting an original, train-trailing explosion of white smoke and translating piston motion into wheel-turning energy, the educate chugged out of the Puente Quemado station as a result of the whirling, white snow blur, which obscured the mountains and lowered them to but specks of darker hues scarcely distinguishable by means of the blinding, horizontal streams of frozen flakes. Snaking rivers were being lowered to silver-grey mirrors.

Getting into Tierra del Fuego National Park, the teach moved by means of flat, barren, tree stump-ubiquitous terrain regarded as the “tree cemetery.” The sky cracked into a outstanding blue and the fleecy-white mountains yet again turned seen, reflected by the winding, silver, mirror-like river. The white-blanketed valley, a veritable winter season wonderland, stretched to the soaring peaks.

Belching streams of thick, white steam, which swept above the chain of small, narrow, environmentally friendly coaches like a draped veil and temporarily obscured visibility as a result of their windows, the miniature locomotive climbed the moderate track quality, pulling its 8, tourist-packed cars and trucks into an arcing right curve by means of a skinny, brown-barked tree forest. Following the multiplying monitor, from the solitary spur to the existing four, the motor branched to the left-most of them and diminished pace, pulling into the platform of the National Park Station at 1335 with a last chug.

As all the doors were being at the same time opened and the 100 or so passengers climbed down to the gravel, Ferrocarril N2 expelled a final, tired hiss of steam.

Right after a tour of Ensenada Bay and Tierra del Fuego National Park, a general performance of the Ballet Folklorico Cruz del Sur was capped with sweet and savory empanadas.

A subsequent journey to Stanley in the Falkland Islands bundled a motor coach travel along the harbor, passing the Jubilee Villas, the Upland Goose Lodge, and the Christ Church Cathedral. Stops were made at the Falkland Islands Museum, East Harbor, the Lady Elizabeth, a rusted, a few-masted cargo ship listing to port at Gypsy Cove, Stanley Airport, and Surf Bay Beach front. The tour ended with a peat slicing demonstration.

Cape Horn marked the southern suggestion of the South American continent.


Brazil equally accounted for several-trip travel.

Entered by using Rio de Janeiro, a seaside town, it was famous for its Copacabana and Ipanema shorelines, the 38-meter Christ the Redeemer Statue atop Mount Corcovado, which required several suspended gondolas to attain, and for Sugarloaf Mountain, its granite, cable car-accessed peak.

Petropolis, a mountain retreat, was topped by the Imperial Museum, which displayed furnishings in the former palace of the 19th-century Emperor Dom Pedro II.

A facet excursion, via Curitiba in the Brazilian condition of Parana, entailed a remain at the stylish Lodge das Cataratas and a close inspection of the water spray emitting Foz do Iguacu, or Iguacu Falls, and its countrywide park.

Boca da Valeria, Manaus, Parintins, and Santarem were being all destinations visited on the Amazon River.

The initially of these took the form of a self-guided going for walks tour of the primitive pocket of Boca da Valeria, with inter-language, Spanish and Portuguese conversation with the locals.

Sights in the extra main town of Manaus involved the Museu do Indio, the Aoologico do CIGS, and the Opera Home-Cultural Center Largo de Sao Sebastiao/Amazonas Theater.

Parantis supplied a one of a kind, tricycle tour. The 3-man or woman tricycle showcased a steel frame and wooden, box-like accommodation with a padded bench seat for two, a padded back again aid, and a cover, and was connected to a common, solitary-wheeled bicycle driving it with a bicycle seat, pedals, a sprocket, two rearview mirrors, and a one tire. A procession of some 40 of these automobiles leisurely negotiated the streets.

Sights pedaled to provided the Curral do Boi Caprichoso, which was created in 1998 and served as the place of the Caprichoso, or Blue Team’s, competition rehearsals.

Liberty Sq., manufactured in 1997 on the internet site of Parintins’ initially airport, featured sculptures which depicted the city’s historical past.

Bumbodromo was the dividing level between the city’s Red and Blue Workforce sectors. The Bumbodromo, constructed in 1988, was the place of the once-a-year folkloric pageant, its stylized ox head configuration giving seating for the authorities in its face, the entrance by way of its horns, and the head its most important arena with bleacher seating. The stadium alternatively served as a university, a well being middle, and a sports arena all through the remainder of the year.

Last but not least, Our Woman of Carmel Cathedral, started on May 31, 1962 and made of brick with tiles, was positioned in the coronary heart of the city and was the major Catholic Church in the state of Amazonas with a 40-meter-high tower.

Santarem sightseeing involved the Centro Cultural Joao Fona, the Museu de Santarem, and a common manioc farm, consisting of thatched-roof, open huts with Amazon-indigenous fruits, and demonstrations of medicinal plant utilization, rubber tree extraction, and manioc flour processing.


Like Argentina and Brazil, Chile was toured on numerous, several-mode excursions.

Sights frequented on the very first of them, from Santiago, bundled day trips to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, the latter a seaside vacation resort.

This was adopted by a flight to Puerto Mont, a port town in Chile’s Lake District and gateway to the Andes Mountains. A 577-kilometer road coverage, from a base lodge in Puerto Varas entailed Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales, Petrohue, in the shadow of snow-included peaks, and the Osorno Volcano. The automobile climbed the winding, cloud- and mist-shrouded highway towards it, transitioning from pavement to gravel, as it handed the smooth, black, treeless hills at its summit. Its 1,200-meter-higher alpine middle showcased a cafeteria, a present shop, ski lifts, and views of Lake Llanquihue under and the snow-lined volcano itself previously mentioned.

La Serena, accessed through Puerto Coquimbo, afforded sightseeing chances of its lighthouse, the Iglesia Santo Domingo, the Plaza de Armas, the Museo de Historia Regional, the Catedral de la Serena, the Iglesia San Agustin, the La Recova Industry, and La Herradura Bay.

Punta Arenas, a metropolis in close proximity to the suggestion of Chile’s southernmost Patagonian location, was found on the Strait of Magellan, which itself linked the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and was often utilized as a base for excursions to the surrounding wilderness and the continent of Antarctica.

Cerro la Cruz supplied sights of the city’s multi-colored, very low structures, the darkish, blue-velvet Strait of Magellan, and the silhouettes of the mountains on the Argentine aspect of Tierra del Fuego. Principle sights here integrated the Cementario Municipal, the Braun Menendez Residence, La Plaza Munoz Gamero, and the Cathedral.

Lunch, in El Galpon (the drop), a reconstructed, relocated wooden ranch household with tree-trunk support beams, wagon wheel chandeliers, an open up-pit fire, an A-body ceiling, and contemporary, practically-Scandinavian wooden block dining tables, involved pisco sours cheese empanadas open hearth pit-roasted lamb and chicken, rice salad scalloped potatoes sliced tomatoes corn and onions a carrot, nut, and raisin salad rolls and butter Chilean crimson wine strawberry cheese cake mocha ice cream rolls trifles and coffee.

A subsequent farmland going for walks tour amid sheep, llamas, and horses was capped with a sheep-shearing demonstration.


Cartagena was the key place throughout a excursion to Colombia. Found on its Caribbean coastline, its walled Aged Town, started in the 16th century, was characterised by squares, cobblestone streets, and colourful colonial properties.

The theory sights here provided the Fortress of San Felipe de Barajas, the Craft Market, the Plaza de Santo Domingo, the Iglesia de Santo Domingo, the Palace of the Inquisition, San Pedro Claver Church, and the Naval Museum of the Caribbean.


Ecuador, another numerous-excursion and -mode South American region, presented a especially different vacation working experience.

Guayaquil, the very hot, humid town on the coast, served as the gateway to a cruise of the Galapagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago some 1,000 kilometers distant in the Pacific Ocean and regarded a person of the world’s foremost wildlife-viewing locations. Its shielded standing and isolated terrain sheltered a range of plant and animal species, which have remained unchanged all over. Charles Darwin’s have check out in 1835 and his observation of the two the islands” flora and fauna motivated his principle of evolution.

A five-working day, 298-nautical mile cruise aboard the 48-passenger, 878-ton Corinthian entailed two each day expeditions of the islands of San Cristobal, Tower, Bartolome, and Santiago, generally necessitating bare foot submerges into the drinking water and a quick trek to shore.

Quito, Ecuador’s capital, sat in the Andean foothills at an altitude of 2,850 meters. Created on the basis of an historic Incan metropolis, it was identified for its nicely-preserved colonial heart, which alone was abundant with 16th- and 17th-century churches and other structures mixing European, Moorish, and indigenous types.

Excursions to Cotopaxi National Park entailed lunch in a hacienda and a subsequent horseback experience, and to La Mitad del Mundo, or equator, where by visitors could unfold their legs, positioning just one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern one particular.

Another expedition, accessed by the port town of Manta, entailed a tour of Machalilla Countrywide Park. Situated in Puerto Lopez, in the southwestern corner of the condition of Manabi, the 136,850-acre park was designed in 1979 to protect Ecuador’s tropical scrub desert and dry forest. Of its lowland and rain forest fauna, the white-tailed dove, howler monkey, anteater, and agouti were being its principle ones, together with some 200 species of birds, whilst its flora provided the mesquite tree, the kapok, the guayacan, the guaruma, the barbasco, the prickly pear, and the balsa tree.

Distinct attractions involved the Agua Blanca Museum, the archaeological web page and burial urns, Sabastian, the Craft Market, and Playa las Frailes, a seaside bookended by lush, green hills with crashing surf. A tour-bundled box lunch each symbolically and almost highlighted tuna, caught from the extremely ocean that lay only yards away. It was adopted by a nature wander across the now-dry Rio Buenavista and by way of the Bosque Humedo de Sabastian.

French Guiana:

Located on the northern coastline of South The usa in between Suriname and Brazil, French Guiana, which was settled by the French for the duration of the 17th century, was both equally an Overseas Department and an Abroad Region, and constituted the major part of the European Union outside the house of the European continent alone.

The Iles du Salut, or Salvation Islands, lay eight miles northeast of Kourou in the mid-Atlantic and comprised Ile Royale, Ile St. Joseph, and Ile du Diable, the latter Devil’s Island itself.

Settled by French colonists seeking to escape the condition-ridden jungle of the very low lands on the continent in 1760, they subsequently served as outposts for ships far too large to dock in Cayenne, and ended up at first recognized as “Iles du Diable” or “Devil’s Islands.”

A stroll to the path’s summit was fulfilled with a treed, green grass expanse of the island and a number of penal colony-remnant buildings, such as the two-tale, balconied “Gendarmerie Poste des Iles” or “island law enforcement station,” and the brick and block “Eglise Classee,” or church, which was manufactured in 1854. Its


Lima, he money of Peru, was positioned on the Pacific coastline, and its preserved colonial centre afforded sightseeing of its Plaza Mayor, the Catholic Archbishop’s Palace, the Government Palace, the Cathedral, Town Hall, the San Francisco Monastery, San Marcos University, and the Parque del Amor.

Tacna, positioned in Northern Peru and a limited length from the Chilean border, afforded sightseeing alternatives to the Museo Ferroviario the Catedral de la Ciudad de Tacna, a neo-Renaissance church positioned on the central Paseo Civico the Plaza de Armas the Fuente Ornamental the Arco Parabolico, committed to the soldiers of the War of the Pacific and the Casa de Jorge Basadre, attained soon after a one-vehicle practice ride throughout the Atacama Desert from Arica.


Uruguay, created throughout much of the 20th century, was one particular of Latin America’s a lot more progressive nations around the world, noteworthy for its political steadiness, highly developed social legislation, and a reasonably large middle course. Montevideo was the most important port of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata and afforded sightseeing chances of its Plaza Constitucion, the Plaza Independencia, the Parliament, and the Plaza de la Armada.


Venezuela, accessed by its cash, Caracas, accounted for four excursions. Its sights, centering on Simon Bolivar, the country’s liberator, included the Centro Simon Bolívar, la Plaza Bolivar, la Casa Natal, El Capitolo, and la Catedral.

A “teleférico,” or cable car or truck, ascent up Mount Avila, in the Maripez District, supplied superb sights and possibilities for lunch.

Outlying attractions involved Los Tecques Glass Factory and Colonia Tovar. The latter, established on April 8, 1843 by a group of 390 immigrants from the then-impartial state of the Grand Duchy of Baden, bore the cultural imprint of their origin with peaked, A-framed constructions reminiscent of a German village. Handmade ceramics ended up manufactured and purchasable, and lunch in la Selva Negra, or “The Black Forest,” Cafe featured standard German fare, such as sauerbraten, dumplings, schnitzel, wurst (sausages), and sauerkraut.

Margarita Island, only 40 kilometers north of Caracas in the Caribbean Sea, made available sunbathing and seashore options at Playa El Agua and Isla del Cabo, achieved soon after a small boat cruise, as effectively as cultural kinds in Laguna de la Restinga Nationwide Park.

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