Buenos Aires, Argentina

March 21 and 22, 2018

Wednesday, March 21

We checked out of our hotel, the Emporador, and had a tour of the city with Pablo. Buenos Aires has a population of 3.5 million and it is a study in contrasts.  There is a real “other side of the tracks” here.  On one side of the railway is the wide street, Ave. 9 de Julio –in places it is a total of 22 lanes wide, a world record for the widest avenue, according to Pablo.  Here there are many beautiful hotels and most exclusive shopping center in the city.  On the other side is the slums.


Traffic in the port area is awful – it can take 30 minutes to go 5 blocks, mostly because of the trucks. There is construction to build a tunnel for the trucks but who knows how long that will take. The city has 40,000 taxis and Uber is not allowed here!

The city itself is very European.  It is the capital, the second largest metropolitan area in South America and the 20th largest city in the world.  It has the best quality of life in Latin America and is often known as the “Paris of South America”.  Education and health care are free here, although people can have private insurance and go to private schools and pay for it. And retired people get 4 of their medicines free too.

Our first stop was the cemetery where Evita Peron is entombed, Recoleta Cemetery. This cemetery is really a work of art. It is 12 acres right in the middle of the city, Rich families have beautifully carved mauseleums.  Some are falling into disrepair because of the cost of upkeep.  Families can sell them, remove the remains of their relative and can get a large amount of money – the most reported is $250,000. Here are some examples of the beautiful and the deglected.

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It is really like an art museum. 

Pablo says it is impossible to talk about Argentina without talking about Evita Peron – a topic that splits families. She is apparently equally hated and loved by the Argentinians. He gave us his family’s opinion (hate side) and then grounded his comments with a well rounded history lesson. Peron’s first two wives (Evita was the second) both died of cervical cancer.  His third wife, Isabella, is still alive and living in Spain.  Here are some photos of Evita’s resting place.


Some of the other sites of the city are the opera house (one of the top 3 in the world for acoustics), the obelisk and the pink palace.  We could not get a picture of the palace because of construction – we could not get off the bus here and had to go by too quickly for pictures. The president lives outside the city and travels by helicopter to the palace.  Otherwise he would never get to work because of the traffic!


We then spent some time in La Boca on El Caminito street which is like an open air museum with brightly colored buildings, lots of street shops and artists and restaurants.  Many of the restaurants have tango dancers outside at the sidewalk tables.  It is said that the tango originated here around 1870.


Of course we had to do some fooling around pictures..


And here is the only McDonalds that is green – this was redone to honor one of the futbol (soccer) teams. Beautiful building too.


This representation of Evita is on one of the buildings in the city. She is not eating a hamburger, that is a microphone!


After our tour, we checked into our ship, the Oceania Sirena, had a good dinner and I watched the gaucho show while Norm went to sleep early.

Thursday, March 22

Today we had a trip to the Tigre Delta.  Our guide was Alicia.  We traveled through some of the lovely old neighborhoods in the suburbs of Buenos Aires and could see beautiful mansions and cobblestone streets.  We visited the San Isidro Cathedral, one of the most beautiful in Argentina and a National Historic Site.


Then we went on a river cruise in the Tigre River, which is named for the “tigres” or jaguars that once lived here. The river delta is one of the world’s largest and is laced with canals that form a network of forested islands. It is the only delta that finishes on another river instead of the ocean.  This area has many rowing clubs and each country has their own.

The cruise was interesting in that the homes that are here are a combination of weekend/vacation getaways and full time residences.  They do have electricity but no drinking water and no way to navigate except by boat.  So all services (water delivery, mail, doctor, pizza delivery, etc) are done by boat. We saw the “ice cream man” truck!

Here is the boat, some of the impressive buildings and also some of the smaller homes on the many islands.  Real estate here is all sold in American dollars because of the inflation.   Homes here range from $30,000 to $125,000.  The lower end priced places are the most inconvenient but all are on the water and it is pretty peaceful.


Back to the ship for dinner and the show, and I am sure we will meet the crew.  We already saw one of our favorite waiters from the world cruise, Spike, and there are lots of passengers we know as well.  Should be a very fun 33 days!

Posted in Excursions, March, South America | 2 Comments

A couple more from Iguazu and tango show

My readers know I love photographing children from their native countries. With permission of course. Here’s a little cutie at the Falls in a raincoat that was much too big!

The butterflies were all over the place and beautiful.

Our dinner and tango show was wonderful, a real taste of Buenos Aires. The history of the tango dates back to the late 19th century where the tango expressed the apprehensions and anxieties of the local people about a disappearing way of life. The melancholy songs and the music of the gaucho symbolized their lives. Pablo said that when we go to Uruguay that they will claim ownership of the tango but that we should strenuously object – it is originally Argentinian.

It was a fun night with wonderful dancing, music and fun with new friends. There were 25 of us on this pre cruise adventure. We were not allowed to take pictures during the show but here is the theater and one of the dancers with a guest after the show.

Posted in March, South America | 2 Comments

Iguazu Falls

March 19 and 20

After a nice dinner and walk in Buenos Aires on Sunday after our arrival, we got up early yesterday for the flight to Iguazu Falls. Just under 2 hour flight, and we didn’t even go to our hotel first. Our guide for the whole time here in Argentina is Pablo and at the Falls, we were joined by Rodrigo, one of the National Park guides.

What an adventure! First, lunch at the restaurant at we park, then on to our Great Adventure experience. We went on a safari truck through the subtropical forest and heard about the many bird, animal and reptile species that live here. The park itself is huge and resembles a cross between a rainforest and a jungle. There are endangered jaguar here but it was hot in the afternoon and we didn’t see any. We did see amazing spiderweb that go all across the roads and according to our guide they are the strongest webs in the world. Too fast to get some shots of the web and spiders. We did see the Argentine raccoon – the coati.

The Falls are at the intersection of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

After the truck tour, we went on a large zodiac boat/raft to see the Tres Mosqueteros Fall, the Gargantua del Diablo and the San Martin Fall, we went directly under that one…twice!. We were soaked to the skin. Amazing! We saw this sign, wonder what it meant! Scary enough to have brown pants?

1.5 million liters per second goes over the Garganta. There are 275 different waterfalls here and all are spectacular. You might ask (and we did) if these are the biggest because they were named one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. But it is a complicated answer. Niagara has the highest volume of water, Iguazu is the largest and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is the highest. Guess which we haven’t yet visited?. Niagara. So we want to go in the fall.

After our boat adventure we were soaked but it didn’t matter much as we now walked on the lower trail to view the Falls and it poured rain the rest of the day!

Hope this video works, shows the Falls in slow motion and also the rain with some of our fellow travelers.

After a fabulous and wet day, we went to our hotel right in the jungle- the Loi Suites. A simply gorgeous place that was designed to fit right into nature. These photos are from this morning since it was too dark to take them when we arrived.

Lovely dinner and today we did the two other trails after taking the eco train which travels on a 1000 meter footbridge to the Garganta del Diablo. We walked on the catwalks above the Falls. Simply spectacular and pictures cannot do it justice. Again, lots of rain and we broke down and bought ponchos.

We had a box lunch on the bus on the way to the airport, a steak on a huge roll with a brownie and some type of ham pastry.

Flight back was smooth.

Will post about the tango show when we get on the ship. Tomorrow!

Posted in March, South America | 7 Comments

Flights and arrival in Buenos Aires

We traveled on Latam Airlines from Miami to Buenos Aires via Sao Paulo. Normally I wouldn’t write about flights but this was unusual. We never heard of an airline letting you bid on upgrades, but we got an email about a week ago letting us know about it. So we put bids in for bombardments, more for the first since it was an 8 hour flight – the second one was only 3 hours.

Here’s the outcome- we got upgrades for both. And access to the VIP lounge before takeoff! Nice sleeping in those first class seats that go flat.

Second flight seats. They gave us comfy comforters and pillows too.

When we got to Buenos Aires, we had to wait in lines for 2 hours for immigration then customs. It was apparently because of bad storms with lightning that came through before we arrived which held up taking baggage off many planes.

Here is a view of the crowds.

Tomorrow we fly to Iguazu Falls!

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Heading out to South America tomorrow!

We will be traveling from Miami to Buenos Aires and will spend two days at Iguazu Falls before we embark on the Oceania Sirena on March 21.  I will be blogging about our adventures in South America. Once we are on the ship, there are two segments to the 33 day cruise.  The first map is the first segment itinerary from Buenos Aires to Rio.

From Rio we will go to Fortaleza and then into the Amazon River.  The great thing about this size ship (650 passengers) is that we can go into the Amazon.  It will be new for us – we have never been to Brazil before. 

So, stay tuned..  Adventures await!

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

It’s the end of the world (cruise that is)

July 6, 2017

We had a lot of fun in the last 2 days of the cruise! After we left Charleston, we had a sailaway party on the deck and a July 4 barbecue.  Good music, good friends and a surprise ritual that Ray initiated last cruise (and I didn’t know about) that at the end of the world cruise the “worldies” as he calls them, jump into the pool with their clothes on. Ray went first, and of course I had to do it.  Not Norm, though, he took the pictures. I am in the back in the red shirt! This didn’t happen on the last trip, I guess because we didn’t have Ray as our cruise director.  Or maybe because we returned in January that time!

We had the usual July 4th food, corn on the cob, burgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, potato salad, etc.  Delicious.  And the pastry chefs made a flag cake too!

Later that night we had a party after the show.  More fun, but some tears too as we all realized this special trip was coming to an end.

Our last sea day, July 5, we had a mimosa party and there were hugs and tears as Ray read some memories some of us submitted and we got to see the video that fellow passenger Rob Fromm created for us.  Will share that with everyone when we get home. Here are some photos of our celebrations.

And, the last casino night!

As the sun set on our 180th night, we remembered how lucky we are to have experienced our second trip around the world.  The learning, friendships, culture, fun, food and so much more has enriched us beyond measure.  We can hardly wait to do it again.

Thank you, Insignia.  We will never forget our adventures.

Posted in Food, July, North America, Trip 2 | 10 Comments

Charleston, SC, USA

July 3 & 4, 2017

Last night we had a dinner with most of the group that contributed to the quilt project.  We had a fun time. Lima was at our table, she had bid to be cruise director for the day! You can see her showing off her name badge. I won’t mention what magician Steve was doing under that napkin!

After the show (great group called December 63) there waa a party for the around the world guests and the crew in Horizons.  We even got to meet the laundry staff who we never see and so appreciate.

I bought drinks for the group of waiters who were there and our stateroom attendants Surfi and Harry. The crew  other than the officers and production team doesn’t usually get to dance and party with us.  I stayed till they closed. Fun.

We arrived on Charleston at 6 pm on July 3. Our plans for the evening were with Alan, Beverly, Rhoda and Norman.  We had fabulous peach Bellinis at Blossom and dinner at Magnolias.  Fabulous but more food than and human could eat.  Are all Southern meals this way?? Is macaroni and cheese a vegetable?

Here’s what it all looked like:

The fried green tomatoes were wonderful and we had homemade potato chips with blue cheese and scallions that were so good they disappeared before I could get a picture!

We saw fireworks from our balcony.

July 4

Only 2 more days.  This orchid  plant in our room was beautiful for the entire 6 months…

We went out walking among the beautiful homes and gardens and to the market today.  Hot but lovely. We haven’t been here for several years and we love it here.

We went to a small park where we encountered a night heron rookery. There were several nests with young birds and the adults nearby. Hard to see the nest in the picture though.

A couple of other sights including a mural on the side of a building.  Don’t know what a bear is doing here!

Later we will have ” the end of the world”  (hope they mean world cruise!!!) sailaway party on the open deck followed by a July 4 barbecue on deck.  Will post pictures of that tomorrow. And we will have the last production show with the farewell from the staff.  There is a farewell at the end of each segment but this is REALLY our farewell.  I am sure there will be tears.  Tomorrow we will be at sea and have our last mimosa party with our fellow ATW guests and the staff. We will always remember our time and have made some lifelong friends.

Almost packed…

Posted in Food, July, North America, Trip 2 | 2 Comments

St. George’s, Bermuda

June 30 and July 1, 2017

First of all, last night’s event and sunset.

The QUILT raffle was held last night, and over $6000 was raised for the crew welfare fund! I didn’t win the quilt.. But am happy to be part of it.  There will be a book about the project and I will purchase that.  There was also a live auction of several other quilts, ships flag, navigation charts, the ability to be cruise director for a day, etc.

Arrival in Bermuda was beautiful.  I forgot how crystal clear and blue the water is. There are some huge yachts here, apparently some of the America’s Cup  visitors are still here.

St. George’s is a UNESCO world heritage site   and the oldest surviving English New World town.  It is just 21 square miles (20 miles by 2 miles) and has a population of just 60,000. It is very British and it is usual to see men in jackets and ties with Bermuda shorts and knee socks.

We took a long walk through town and went to Tobacco Bay and Fort St. Catherine. The fort is known as “the jewel of the East”. It was constructed beginning in 1614! The views were terrific too.

Tobacco Bay:

We also visited the unfinished church and St. Peter’s church.

Some town sights.  The buildings are beautifully painted with white roofs.  Norm got his dog fix !

We went to Hamilton with Alan and Beverly for dinner at Ascot.  Cabs are not so easy to get but we made it. Absolutely wonderful dinner in a beautiful place.

Fish chowder was amazing.

Saturday we had a mission- sea glass.  Took a long walk and encountered several bad direction givers on our way to Buildings Bay.  Finally one nice guy gave us a ride.  Tiny secluded beach but what a treasure trove of glass! And sea creatures on the rocks.  Had a nice swim before walking back.

After a shower we went back out for lunch to The Wharf and ate overlooking the water.

At sea tomorrow before our last port of call, Charleston!

Posted in Food, July, June, North America, Trip 2 | 5 Comments

New York, NY, USA

June 27 and 28, 2017

When we left Boston, we. sailed through the Cape Cod canal.  Very fun to see all of the people watching and waving from the shore.  Apparently not a lot of cruise ships sail through here. In fact one (not Oceania) scraped the bottom of the railroad bridge during a passage.  According to the captain we had about 3 feet clearance after they lowered the mast.

It was fun to be back in NY.  What did we do?. Lots of walking- more than 7 miles each day.  We loved the sail in.

We visited St Patrick’s Cathedral, (lit a candle for Mom), Rockefeller center and had a special treat to be able to spend some time with my cousin Abbe who was here for a conference.

Some sights in NY:

We had a great dinner at Trattoria Dell arte and then went to see the show Hamilton.  Fabulous.

We returned to the ship late and then headed out early to meet friends Tom and Alice for brunch at Barney Greengrass. But first a stop at Zabars.

After brunch we headed for a walk through Central Park, then a surprise.  Carriage ride led by Jimmy the horse.  He loved his carrots! 

The weather was perfect both days and we had a great time.

We left at 4 and had a fun sail away.

Later we had Part 2 of the Montréal/ NY bagel competition.  Here are the results:

A good  time was had by all!

Next stop: Bermuda!

Posted in Food, June, North America, Trip 2 | 3 Comments

Sailing out of Boston

June 26, 2017

Lobsters on the deck.  Need I say more??? 

Well, there’s always the beautiful sea and sky.  

Posted in At Sea, Food, June, North America | 3 Comments