Tuesday, 30 January 2024

 Flying to Argentina:
We had no luck checking in for our flights on line, and the site advised us to arrive at the airport early. It was easy, quick process, so we were at the departure gate long before departure. Grabbed some lunch and relaxed. We boarded on time, but there was some  problem that delayed our take-off by nearly an hour. Since our turn around in Detroit was short anyway, when we found ourselves directed through a  long tunnel to another  terminal, we were concerned. However, boarding was just beginning when we found our gate, so no problem. And the plane was very sparsely-populated, so the flight to Atlanta was very comfortable. We had time there for a snack and an hour or more to relax. The plane to Buenos Aires was full, but fairly comfortable. I slept very little during the 10-hour flight, but Larry got in a few hours. Through all 3 flights we encountered people heading here to board a Viking excursion cruise to Antarctica and a few for a Norwegian cruise.


Wednesday, 31 January

Buenos Aires: We arrived at the Buenos Aires airport around 9 am and joined a very long line for immigration. Got in lots of steps, but it was efficient and quick. We quickly found an authorized limo and were on our way into the city. Our driver had less English than we have Spanish, but he did his best to inform and entertain us. It was a long trip into the city and then through many neighbourhoods. Lots of boarded-up businesses and traffic that would terrify most Torontonians. 

The Bulnes Eco Suites is in a more upscale area, with many apartment balconies overlooking the streets and businesses at street level. We arrived at noon and our room was not ready until 2, so we left our luggage and went for a walk. Our first priority was to get some Argentine pesos and we did that at a nearby American Express office. Then we found a gelato place 
with outside tables and enjoyed gelato and coffee for lunch. Back at the hotel, we relaxed for a while in the comfortable lounge before being shown to our very spacious room. I simply crawled into bed and slept for a couple hours, while Larry did some organizing and repacking. When I got up to do the same, he went out for beer to stock our fridge. 
We really enjoyed our dinner at the restaurant downstairs, La Palita Espresso Bistro & Pizza, and a walk around the very lively shopping area of Bulnes.


Thursday, 1 February

Buenos Aires:  Happy Birthday Logan D and Sheila H!  We slept late, then had breakfast at the same restaurant downstairs. I’ve regretted not working on learning some Spanish, but had memorized what we wanted, from a sign I saw, and that went well. Few people here speak any English, so our Spanish skills would improve quickly if we stayed awhile. They’ve already gone from 0.01 to 0.1, I think. Prices are unbelievably low, in our terms and it’s interesting watching the different ways things happen here. Parking, for instance, seems totally random. Stop signs are just a mild suggestion, but stop lights are serious. We got what seemed like easy directions from the hotel manager, as we headed out to find the hop on hop off tour of the city. However, when streets are not straight or at 90 degrees to one another, and there are often no street name signs, easy directions can soon go awry. But no worries – we have Google Maps! It seemed we were very far in the wrong direction and it was getting very hot. But we persisted. Until we couldn’t resist the lure of a bar, where drinks were available and it was a bit cooler. At that point sanity set in and we hailed a cab. Turned out Google Maps had it entirely wrong and we’d been almost there before we turned it on. Ah well. Then another little Spanish lesson from the driver. By the time we got on the bus, we had just enough time to ride 

the whole route
before they stopped for the day, so that’s what we did. An interesting and sometimes beautiful city with a long history and a lively arts scene. Many gorgeous lush parks and other areas that are brown and dry.
Palatial, old buildings, crumbling tenements and brand-new towers. Moms cooling off with their kids in little pools out on the sidewalk. It was hard to get photos from the bus, but we did get a few. Back at our hotel, having taken a cab as our first choice, in time for a beer before supper. While we considered branching out for dinner, we were tired and hungry and had just LOVED the pizza last night, so we went back for a repeat performance, with a different dessert. They already know us and I’ll miss the restaurant staff there. Back to our room to catch up on email and an early bedtime. Then the power went off, apparently just in the hotel. Luckily, Larry had brought a little emergency light, so we proceeded with our bedtime preparations, and hoped the power would return before our room got too hot. Fortunately, it was back on in about a half hour, so we could retire comfortably.
Photos of the Day


Friday, 2 February


Embarking:  We took it easy, had breakfast at our ‘usual’ place, then relaxed in the lounge until our limo came to take us to the port. Boarding was more of an adventure then usual, because in December, a major storm destroyed much of the cruise port. Cruise ships must now dock in the cargo port, where there are not the usual amenities. As a result, we checked in at a temporary facility, and left our luggage, then took a bus to Argentine immigration and another bus to the ship. 

We thought it was fascinating to be in the midst of a container operation and enjoyed watching loading, and unloading operations. Of course, there are always people looking for an excuse to whine, so we heard a lot of that. We thought they should be happy that a way was found to work around a major disaster, but apparently, they felt that having booked a luxury cruise, the weather gods should have smiled on them. The ship is beautiful and I wish I’d taken a picture of the suite when we first came in – champagne in a bucket, an orchid beside it, fruit, plenty of space, walk-in closet, bathroom with tub and separate shower, desk, vanity table, nice balcony. Very comfortable. We had lunch on deck, then unpacked and settled in.
We left port at 5 pm, and celebrated by drinking our bottle of champagne on our balcony as we watched Buenos Aires recede. We pulled out into the gigantic mouth of the Uruguay River, which is very muddy. After dinner, we enjoyed the music in one of the lounges, then the evening show in the theatre – Broadway hits. What a lot of talent!! I think we’ll enjoy the entertainment on this cruise.
Photos of the day


Saturday, 3 February

 Punta Del Este, Uruguay – We were awake in time to see the sunrise from our balcony. A quick breakfast on the top deck and preparations to go ashore. Punta Del Este is an interesting place – variously called the Palm Beach or Paris (or several other options) of South America. Our guide claimed that many of us would return here for a holiday and 20% of those would come a third time to purchase a vacation property. It’s clear that it attracts money. There are many yachts in the harbour and a huge number of lovely condo buildings, to say nothing of the hotels and streets and streets of single houses. One park we visited was formerly a tent city where people lived who could not afford anything else, although they were employed. A development of small, modest but comfortable houses has been provided to them. We did see those houses, and hope that story is true. Part of our tour was a visit to an antique car museum where everyone got nostalgic as they recognized 

cars from their past. There are many beaches, some very rocky and others very sandy. 

Emerging from one of them is 
a famous sculpture of the fingers of a hand. The water seems shallow quite far from shore and we were tendered off and onto the ship. 

Coming back, it was a bit rough, so that step aboard was fun. We sailed just before supper time and will be at sea for a couple of days. Tonight’s entertainment was the history of the tango, from its beginnings in the brothels of Buenos Aires, to the current modern version popular in Japan. A couple of amazing dancers showed us the many styles of how it’s been done. 
Photos of the day


Sunday, 4 February

 At Sea – Once we got out onto the Atlantic,

it became rougher and all night we felt the movement and heard the moans, groans, snaps and clicks of the whole ship. Luckily, neither of us has a problem with motion sickness, so we enjoyed a great breakfast delivered to our suite. There is a team of 5 Antarctica experts on board and they began their series of talks. The first related to the native animals and their use of feathers, fur, fat and friendliness to stay warm. The second was suggestions to improve our photography skills. Both interesting. In between, I played Bingo, but didn’t win anything. Later on, I joined a team for trivia and again – no joy. I also missed 1 question on the Mensa Challenge, so all ‘round – a no-luck day. The captain’s welcome reception kicked off a formal evening and we enjoyed dinner and music in the lounge. We even tried dancing, but that turned out to be tough on a rolling dance floor. So we clutched one another and laughed and lurched and shuffled around until the end of the song. Unfortunately, the guitarist in the theatre was so loud, all I could hear was distorted noise, so we left after 1 ½ numbers. Halfway back the length of the ship and up 2 levels, suddenly I could hear how good he was, but there was nowhere to stop and sit and enjoy the music, so we turned in for the night.
Photos of the day


Monday, 5 February

At Sea – The ship’s motion calmed considerably overnight, as the wind, current and swells were now coming from behind. We had fallen about 6 hours behind schedule, but are now making up some of that. There have been many birds flying around and beside the ship, and we’ve been told to keep the drapes closed at night so no light shows. We’ve also been instructed what to do if we find a bird on our balcony or one of the decks. We had more photography hints and another losing Bingo session. After lunch, there was a talk about the history of the Falkland Islands and the conflicting claims of Britain and Argentina. Then a talk about the various types of penguins we might see on the trip. The 7 Seas Society reception was lovely, with lively entertainment, a few speeches, drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Tonight, we tried the Sette Mare Italian restaurant and it was a delicious meal. The entertainment in the theatre was a solo performance by one of the ship’s entertainment crew, called Blondes Have More Fun. It was a collection of songs of many types, all originally sung by blondes apparently. The singer is very talented and it was a great show.
Photos of the day


Tuesday, 6 February

Falkland Islands

How very disappointing!  As approached Stanley, the weather forecast worsened.  Finally, it was decided that we could not go ashore because of impending high winds at noon; there would be high risk returning to the ship.  

The ship was almost back out to the ocean, when a medical emergency occurred and we had to return to the anchor point in the harbour to arrange transport of a passenger to the local hospital. 

We certainly had wonderful views of both sides of the long passage into Stanley, first under bright sunny skies, then under increasing cloud.  During the original trip into harbour, we’d been enjoying the view out our window as we ate breakfast, all dressed and ready for our shore excursion. 
When we realized that all we’d get of the Falklands was the view from here, we moved out onto our balcony.  It’s a rugged place for sure.

We enjoyed a delicious meal in the Chartreuse restaurant, sharing a table with a very interesting couple from Oklahoma. The evening entertainment was the Pampas Devils, whom we’d seen tangoing a few nights earlier. This show was based on Argentinian gaucho moves and a lot of fun.

Memory of the War


Wednesday, 7 February

 At Sea – Overnight the motion of the ship increased significantly, along with all the associated noises. Heavy fog also moved in, and the ship’s foghorn sounded regularly. The informative talks continued, first with a discussion of birds we might see – mainly various types of albatrosses – then with the political history of Antarctica. And it was my lucky day – I won a game of bingo!! Enough to cover more than half of what I’ve spent on bingo so far this trip. Larry heard about all the kinds of ice that exist, while I collected my daily prize for the Mensa quiz and played trivia with a new team. They were excited that I recognized a Fibonacci sequence (none of them had ever heard of it) and knew how many time zones Canada has, but we still didn’t win. The last talk of the day was information on preserving the environment in Antarctica, and how to dress for the weather. Sadly, we didn’t pack too well for the latter, but we’re good with the former. Really, we should have cold-weather clothing; what were we thinking when we packed? I think we’ll be watching from inside for the most part. The show tonight was the guitarist again, so I chose not to go.

The Single Photo of the day


Thursday, 8 February

Cruising Antarctica, South Shetland Islands – We woke up around 6:30 to find that the fog was much lighter, there were icebergs in sight and we were passing an island. Soon we saw dolphins leaping through the waves, but had no hope of a photo. Later we found out that they were likely porpoising penguins, so learned a little something there. We could see whales spouting in the distance and a seal swam by right beside the ship. While we were enjoying breakfast by a window in the dining room, we entered Admiralty Bay on King George Island, where there are several research stations. Back on our balcony, wearing several layers and wrapped in blankets, we enjoyed all the sights around the bay, including more whales, much closer, 

and seals and likely penguins. The research stations have interesting histories and carry out great scientific work, and represent many different nations. Although there were low-hanging clouds, we were told that this is, in fact, a good-weather day for this area. Lots still to see – spectacular scenery, porpoising penguins, the occasional iceberg…for much of this afternoon we enjoyed the comfort of our suite, playing cards and admiring passing icebergs large and small and distant mountains. At one point the PA system came on to announce nearby whales, which we saw well from our balcony. Late in the afternoon, the bridge received word of a giant tabular iceberg and we diverted course to do a trip around it. It’s estimated to weight ~51 million tons!!Quite the sight! Then on to Deception Island, with a harbour that is the caldera of an active volcano and an inviting entry channel that hides a blockade in the form of a submerged rock. Several research stations and a whaling camp have been there, but most were destroyed by volcanic eruptions over the years. The island also has the largest colony of chinstrap penguins and a population of seals or sea lions. The individuals were barely visible with the binoculars, but we could see the crowds  . Great dinner followed by terrific singers in the lounge. Wonderful day! (Including, btw, another Mensa win and a prize for 3
rd in trivia.)
Pictures of the day


Friday, 9 February

 Cruising Antarctica, Antarctic Peninsula – Wilhelmina Bay was our first morning destination. Lots of whales and seals, floating ice and magnificent scenery. An excursion boat was sending people off in a zodiac, apparently for a scuba expedition.

There was also a sailboat in one of the coves. Astonishingly, we saw an Emperor penguin on a small ice floe, with a much smaller Gentoo penguin. Emperors are very rarely seen in this area at this time of year, so we were delighted. 

Later, we saw a Crab-eater seal on another floe. 

We saw a huge colony of Gentoo penguins, though they were far enough away that individuals could not be picked out in the crowd, even with binoculars. Later in the morning, we sailed through a bleaker area, with nearly no wildlife except a few birds, and glassily-calm water. By lunchtime, it was becoming hazy, and then snow began to fall.

We waited near the entrance to Errera Channel for visibility to improve, because it is tricky for ships this size, then entered. Once again, we saw whales in the distance. They were hunted nearly to extinction at one time, but have made a remarkable come-back. 

From our balcony, we could see the mainland of Antarctica; and on the other side (port) are islands that are Gentoo penguin breeding grounds. We could see and smell them and saw very many of them in the water. Next was a quick passage to and through the area we were to have visited tomorrow, because bad weather is moving into the area, and the Captain wants to clear the Drake Passage before that makes it too difficult. We missed all of that while we were at dinner, and came out on deck to find that we were headed straight out to sea.
Pictures of the day

Saturday, 10 February

At sea - Drake Passage.   By the time we went to bed last night, we could feel the significant swell of the ocean. By morning, it had increased to the point that the TV screen was swinging to and fro, squeaking and thudding against the wall. Larry tucked his travel pillow into the back to stabilize it a bit. And the fog had returned. This morning’s talk was about heroic journeys in Antarctica, featuring Scott, Amundsen and Shackleton. Then, amazingly, I had another bingo win, putting me close to even in bingo expenditures and wins! With bad weather moving in, it looks like we’ll be missing at least one more port, Puerto Arenas, and possibly also Ushuaia, where I’ve been really hoping to visit Terra del Fuego National Park. Fingers crossed we still can, but the crew have been battening everything down, so it seems serious. We had some snow flurries, that really excited a lot of the staff, for whom it was a first experience of snow. In the afternoon, there was a showing of the Disney Nature film “Oceans” – amazing underwater photography! My luck didn’t carry through to Mensa or trivia, unfortunately, but I enjoyed the fun conversation with the trivia team. In the evening, the team of Antarctic experts reviewed their favourite parts of our visit there, and shared stories and photos about their earlier experiences in the Antarctic. We were then treated to a harrowing film from 1929 of a trip through the Drake Passage in a huge sailing ship that encountered 3 major storms during the passage. Our own ship rocked more and more as the afternoon and evening progressed.
Pictures of the day

Sunday, 11 February

At sea – It seemed fairly calm when we awoke and enjoyed breakfast in our suite.

The morning talk concerned scientific information that was suppressed in the Victorian age, about the sex life of penguins (specifically gay behaviour). More recent research had rediscovered similar results, and the researchers were surprised when the old research surfaced, quite by serendipity. Later in the morning we heard about work being done to ensure that wildlife tourism, such as whale watching, is done in such a way as to avoid disturbing and stressing the wildlife. Much of it has to do with setting tourists’ expectations and letting the wildlife set proximity etc. When we went to lunch the pool water was fairly still and visibility good. When we finished, the pool water was sloshing far up over the sides, we couldn’t see anything outside the windows and the fog horn was blaring. The afternoon entertainment was a screening of March of the Penguins, which certainly added to our understanding of Antarctica and the amazing Emperor penguins. No joy at Mensa or trivia, though we did dispute a couple of answers. By late afternoon, the ocean was really stirred up – lots of whitecaps and blowing spray. It was quite dramatic to watch, but the ship felt steadier than it had the last day or so.
Larry went to the theatre to enjoy the Super Bowl party, while I joined a craft session, met some new ladies and learned a new skill.


Monday, 12 February

Ushuaia, Argentina – When we got up to enjoy a quick breakfast in the café, we were well into the long passage into this most southern city in the world.

It’s a beautiful place. We joined a tour that took us to several places within the Tierra del Fuego National Park, and it’s really quite the place. I’ve been fascinated by this area ever since I heard about it in Grade 4 or 5 Social Studies and it lived up to my expectations, with beautiful vistas

 and the very strange Post Office at the End of the World. Horses, both domestic and feral, and apparently cattle too. Stories about the destruction created by beavers imported from Canada to start a fur industry. The history of forest-clearing by prisoners. A campground that was closed when the trees started to fall over.  
Back in town, we walked around and visited a couple of shops. Good news—I finally have a watch! I won’t be late any more on this trip. Back on board, we relaxed and enjoyed the scenery from our balcony and the 11th deck dining room. Aced Mensa once again, but still no trivia joy.

Photos of the day


Tuesday, 13 February

At Sea – we sailed north-west through the Magellan Strait, between islands, with a view of mountains from our window. It was occasionally a bit rough but generally smooth sailing and there was some sunshine. We spent some time viewing a glacier in one bay.

The morning talk was about climate change and its effects. Interestingly, the northern hemisphere is more affected by what happens in Antarctica and the southern hemisphere by what happens in Greenland. We watched a small boat moving into a large bay, being tossed about by waves that we could hardly notice. Very little sign of human occupation in this coastal area –
besides the one fishing boat, we saw a large building that might be a house or perhaps a scientific or technical station, and a few little lighthouses and channel buoys. It was also a mystery where there might be fresh water, since we didn’t see streams coming down to the ocean. Got the Mensa but once again fell short on Trivia. The upside was that no one laughed nearly as much as our team. They’re a bunch of good sports. By the time we headed to dinner,
a jazz quartet was celebrating Mardi Gras and everyone was in a party mood. We laughed again, non-stop, during the evening show. Comedian Darrell Joyce is one of the funniest I’ve ever heard, and it’s not smutty or gross humour. 
[Today the stop in Punta Arenas was cancelled due to weather.  See photos below of what we missed]
Photos of the Day


Wednesday, 14 February

Happy Valentine’s Day!! – The ship really tossed about overnight, with all the usual creaks, snaps and groans, but by morning we were back in calm seas. However, rain and fog obscured our views. The morning talk, about glaciers, provided much insight into their importance and behaviour. That was followed by a fascinating and emotional tracing of Darwin’s life, his journey on the Beagle, the development of his ideas and their significance today. As we sailed up the Amalia Fjord toward the Amalia (or Skua) Glacier, through the fog, 

the water became increasingly full of ice chunks. Snow and rain fell together. As we approached, we had a few moments when the lower part of the glacier was visible, before the fog closed in again.
[this is what it is supposed to look like on a clear day -taken from the daily bulletin (but wait until tomorrow)] We’re told this is typical Patagonian weather. We skipped lunch in favour of the Valentine’s Day afternoon tea. Good choice – lots of pretty and yummy stuff. Let’s not even mention Mensa and Trivia – it’d just be embarrassing. As we were enjoying the evening show with the Voyager singers and dancers, there were several sudden bumps and lurches of the ship, along with some banging. The dancers didn’t miss a step. When we returned to our suite, and checked the navigation screen, we found that we’d emerged from the protection of the coastal islands, back into the ocean. Nothing to worry about, but a dramatic shift.
Photos of the day


Thursday, 15 February

Chilean Fjords – Just as we finished our early breakfast in the café, the captain announced that we were approaching a glacier.

We rushed to our suite for cameras and spent the next hour or so on various decks and our  balcony, enjoying its splendour, while the ship did a 540 degree turn. Perfect views of an amazing place.

Almost as soon as we left the fjord, we were wrapped in thick fog once again. At the end of this morning’s very illustrative talk, involving ice cubes, hot chocolate mix, soil and stones, along with a couple of very large trays and various kitchen utensils, we were told that we’d essentially received enough info for an undergrad degree in glaciology. Bingo was a free fun game, played for Regent baseball caps. I didn’t get one. Meanwhile we continued to cruise through the beautiful fjords.
By early afternoon we were back in open water and we enjoyed another Antarctic movie in the theatre (Antarctica – Tales from the End of the World.) Both Mensa and Trivia netted Regent Rewards, so that felt good. We shared a dinner table at Chartreuse with an interesting group of people, then enjoyed a most impressive musician playing many kinds of flutes and pipes with the Voyager orchestra.
Photos of the Day


Friday, 16 February

Puerto Chacabuco, Chile – We were ashore very early and heading through the town to the surrounding wilderness. Our first stop was in the forest, where we trekked about a kilometre to a truly magnificent waterfall.

Along the way, we saw an endangered insect that was rather frightening-looking. We saw a second one on the path on the way back out. Next stop was a building on a beautiful site, overlooking a lake. We were offered food and drink and entertained by local, traditional dancers and an accordion player.
Apparently, the dancers have won national competitions, and they were really something to watch. Back through the town, admiring parks and playgrounds that are in sharp contrast to the rather battered looking homes, and onto the ship. This area seems just about as rugged as what we’ve been seeing, but has roads – very rough, twisting roads -- and a harbour, so people can live here.
Our guide told us that employment opportunities are very limited, so young people leave, just as they do in so many parts of the world. The ship’s crew provided lively entertainment for the Captain’s farewell party before dinner. The evening entertainment was the Voyager Production Company’s Hollywood Musical show. It was spectacular.
Photos of the day


Saturday, 17 February

Puerto Montt, Chile – We boarded the tender at a very civilized late morning time and proceeded to the bus. Having experienced the poor audio quality on these excursions for the last couple of weeks, we sprinted to grab a front seat. That worked well and our guide was interesting and very well-informed, with excellent English skills. We left Puerto Montt and took a divided, very smooth toll highway to the lovely town of Frutillar (a word meaning “strawberry”).

It’s a peaceful, pretty place on the shore of Lago Llanquihue, with views of volcanoes on the other side. Its original European settlers were German, which shows in the style of the buildings. It actually resembles a Swiss town.

There’s a lovely outdoor museum with amazing gardens. 

The Theatre of the Lake is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. We moved on to the larger, livelier city of Puerto Varas, on the same lake. Our mission was to buy some aspirin, which was only mildly challenging since the needed Spanish words closely resemble their English equivalents. Then lunch at a local restaurant, where we scoured the menu for words we were confident about and had a very pleasant lunch.
Back in Puerto Montt, we wandered around the port area and checked out some small, local souvenir shops. I arrived late for Trivia, but my team had saved 2 questions for me, that I fortunately could answer and we came second, our best result yet. After a very enjoyable Prime 7 dinner, we laughed ourselves silly at Darrell Joyce’s comedy show. He’s priceless.
Photos of the day


Sunday, 18 February

At Sea – It’s packing-up day already! This cruise has gone by very quickly. When we came back from breakfast, our suitcases were laid out on the bed, ready for us. I didn’t think we’d acquired much, but it’s still challenging getting everything organized and in. Larry retrieved our passports while I did a quick craft class to make an origami penguin. He also redeemed our rewards points for a straw sun hat and a tee shirt. We have to put out our checked and carry-on luggage tonight and hold onto a daypack for our Santiago tour tomorrow. The ocean is a bit rough again, but certainly manageable and it’ll rock us to sleep one last time. The captain, however, is ill. Not sea-sick, we assume. The afternoon movie was an old one – Happy Feet. I had a quick farewell with the trivia group, then Larry and I enjoyed an early show with the flute-playing woman from a few nights ago. Dinner was leisurely and enjoyable, with farewells to the Compass Rose staff. Then it was final packing and bags out before a movie in our suite and lights out.


Monday, 19 February

Disembarkation and Santiago – We were out of our suite in plenty of time to enjoy a last breakfast in the dining room. Then we found a comfortable place to sit until our tour was announced. As we were leaving the ship, Larry was called back because we’d left our binoculars in one of the cabinets in our suite. We still were not last to board the bus, so no worries. It was a large, comfortable bus, with a great audio system, so we had no trouble hearing and understanding our guide’s excellent English. The drive from San Antonio, where we docked, to Santiago was about an hour, through agricultural country, including many vineyards. 
It’s great wine country.

First stop was the magnificent cathedral, on the main street of the downtown. It was rebuilt in 1910, after being destroyed a few times by earthquakes and fires. We walked around the main square, with its impressive buildings, and statues of several former presidents. 

The president’s palace is there, too, and heavily guarded. Our lunch stop was at a really-i nteresting modern complex containing several restaurants. At one of them a young man with impeccable English arranged a garlic- and onion-free hamburger for me.

Then we moved into a really cute little ice cream parlor for dessert.

The last stop of the day was a lovely little enclave of artisans’ and artists’ shops on the site of a monastery. We were at the airport 2 hours early for our cleck-in, so found seats (having to shoo a sleeper’s feet off one of them) and waited. Eventually, we checked in and cleared security, only to find that our gate had not been announced and there were no seats available in the central part of the terminal. We wandered along one very long corridor until we found a place to sit. An hour or so later, our gate was announced, ‘way down a different corridor. Lots of walking and lots of waiting. Strangely, as we boarded the plane, our carry-ons were opened and searched on the ramp [drug smuggling check]. The overnight flight went, as they always do, slowly. We took off at about 11pm and they served us dinner at either 11:30 pm or 1:30 am, depending on whether we’d reset our watches. It was quite horrible, except for the little chocolate bars.

Tuesday, 30 January 2024

  Flying to Argentina: We had no luck checking in for our flights on line, and the site advised us to arrive at the airport early. It was ea...