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Published: March 2nd 2010
Buenos Aires and Montevideo
The Falkland Islands waters were rather choppy and the weather damp and rainy, so we decided to stay aboard because Bruce is starting to get a cold. A wise choice since there is nothing to do in Stanley except eat fish and chips and quaff a pint or so. We did SLD’s instead - got hair cuts, did laundry, and rested. The last tender from shore was almost 45 minutes late because the waves made getting the tender to the ship’s platform difficult. Finally, we sailed for Buenos Aires, a two day trip.
We played bridge and heard a great panel of speakers who summarized our voyage to Antarctica - the Captain, the Ice Pilot, and the geologist. It was a question and answer period for the most part. When the Captain was asked about what would happen if we hit an iceberg, he replied, “I don’t put the ship in dangerous positions because I don’t like paperwork.” Our route went from plan A to B to C and finally plan D before we were able to work our way out of the sea ice and into safer waters.
Before arriving at Buenos Aires,
we entered the River Plata, which is an estuary between Argentina and Uruguay. It is a fresh water river and is 130 some miles across at its widest part, according to our guide, and the widest river in the world. The port of Buenos Aires is a huge working port. There were three cruise ships in port the day we arrived, and many, many cargo ships. We had to take a bus from the ship to the terminal because it is too dangerous to walk. From the terminal the tours left and H. Stern, a jewelry shop operating al over South America and the U.S. provides a shuttle to their store which is in the Marriott Hotel and at the beginning of Calle Florida, the pedestrian street.
We took the shuttle in to town to meet Kathy and Mike who were staying at the Marriott and joining us for the rest of the cruise down the Amazon and back to Ft. Lauderdale. We met for coffee first in their hotel and then went to the Plaza Bar for old times sake and had a bloody mary and some tapas as we had done before with Pat and Ralph, our Arizona friends. We then headed out for a stroll down Calle Florida for some window shopping. When we arrived at Galleria Mall, we entered to learn that this used to be a railroad station years ago. The marble is beautiful and there is plenty of it all over the floors and walls and the ceilings are filled with art. Shops now line the three stories and down on the lower level we found a huge food court. We chose a place near the central fountain where we had a nice lunch along with some local beer. As we headed for the door to continue our walk, we saw that it was a real downpour outside. Although we had umbrellas, it was very crowded and the water was accumulating in big puddles. So, we continued to look more intently at the shops inside. After another half hour, we looked again. It seemed to be not quite as heavy, but still raining, and we decided to go for it.
The walk to the hotel and the shuttle was about three or four blocks. Our clothes darkened the wetter we got, and by the time we arrived at our destination, we were quite soaked. My umbrella kept turning inside out, and Bruce just put up the hood on his jacket, and I didn’t even look at Mike and Kathy until we stopped under an awning to regroup a bit. We laughed and kept going until we saw the shuttle that actually had room for us. We said a hurried good bye and hopped in. The ride back to the ship was cold as the air conditioning in the van pumped cold air on us all the way. I took a wonderful warm shower as soon as we returned and it felt so good to put on dry clothes and shoes.
The next day Bruce and I took a morning tour which turned out to be absolutely delightful. The weather cleared after the rain and the air was sunny, dry, and cool as we headed north to the suburbs and “the Isles” where people own vacation homes. There are no bridges so the only means of transportation is by boat. We cruised up and down the river and canals looking at the cottages - some grand, others not. It was a very relaxing ride and we had a cup of coffee and some famous Argentine cookies that turned out to be very sweet.
On returning to the ship we headed to the Lido for a bite to eat and who should be sitting there but K and M. Their room wasn’t ready yet, so we took them on a quick tour of the ship before leaving them at their room. They came up about 5 for our welcome party of champagne and peanuts. We were surprised with some nice tapas, too. The balcony got a workout that day. That night the ship threw a barbecue on the Lido deck and we chose to go there instead of the dining room.
After our sail away we headed for Montevideo, Uruguay which is just across the estuary from B.A. We arrived the next day and had a tour scheduled. We had a brief tour of the city before heading into the country a short drive to a beautiful winery. Here we had a tour where we saw men dumping grapes into a machine that separated the grape from the vine and then continued on a belt to be washed. We saw the oak barrels and a wine cellar where some of the wine was being kept at a constant temperature. Then we went to the tasting area where we would also have lunch. The tables were set with three wine glasses, one white and two red, and we started with the white chardonnay that was nice. Then we sampled a blend of Brazilian grapes that we liked best, and finally a merlot, also quite nice. We bought one of each red to take back to the ship. We can bring on wine, but not other alcoholic beverages. The “lunch” turned out to be a full course dinner with all kinds of delicious things starting with sausages, potatoes, empanadas, a wonderful salad then roasted vegetables, chicken, lamb, and beef from the grill. We all left very happy, and slept the whole way back to the ship having spent a lovely day in Uruguay.
We have two sea days before Rio and we will need them to rest up for the big city.
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