Monday, November 2, 2015

Patagonia, Tierra Del Fuego, & The Chilean Fjords

I just came back from an once in a lifetime experience of an OAT tour to Patagonia and Cape Horn. (Oct 16 - 31, 2015).  What an engaging experience, not only due to the awesome scenery, but also due to the passionate program director and friendly fellow travelers.

The program director Laura:

The entire group in front of the Pia Glacier:
The entire tour included a land portion and a cruise portion (operated by Australis).  The land portion started from Buenos Aires, flied to El Calafete, through Perito Morenno Glacier, Torres del Paine NP, then to Punta Arenas for boarding the ship. The cruise started from Puntas Arenas, through part of the Magellan Strait, the Beagle Canel and Cape Horn, and ended up in Ushaia.  From Ushaia, we flied back to Buenos, then back to US.
Buenos Aires:
We flied in and out of this capital of Argentina for the trip.  The pick palace is where Evita once addressed her people, and also the residence of the current president Christina.

 The pink lights lit up at night:
Evita is still in the mind and hearts of many Argentinians.  Some people still remember that it was Evita who gave their grandma the first sewing machine.  A picture of smiling Evita is facing the areas where poor people live, and an angry Evita is facing the direction of government buildings :

We had pizza in a popular pizza place, where I found this cute girl sitting behind me. And we had a "conversation" with my limited Spanish.  We then took a subway to visit the street flea market.

Some shots of the water front, the colorful La Boca (Buenos Aires's first merchant and fishing port), the park with roses, the gigantic "Flower" sculpture, etc.

Argentinians are colorful and passionate people.  They love dessert.  This pair of shoes are indeed quite colorful, an the desserts look delicious :

e saw a tango show the night before e left Buenos Aires.  That was indeed all about passion and fancy foot works!

The Perito Moreno Glacier:
We had snow flakes on this day, but still we were impressed by the grand view of the Moreno Glacier:
The small iceburg I was holding is 500 years old:
The floating ice burgs were beautiful:
Caught a bit of calving:
The Torres del Paine National Park:
The views were simply spectacular!  We did a few hikes on both the east and west sides of the ranges:


 The Gauchers:

The Patagonia adventure
 on Stella Australis:
Leaving Punta Arenas:

Some scenery along the way:

 The Pia Glacier:  We landed on rubber boats, and did a hike there.

Cape Horn:
This is certainly the highlight of the entire trip.  We were lucky that the weather allowed us to land on rubber boats.  A 140 steps climb led us to the top of the rock to visit the sculpture and the light house.

Ushuaia - The end of the world
Argentinians consider this town the final frontier of their world.  This is also Laura's home.  We had a nice visit in her friend's (Gabby the hostess) house.  She fixed lentil soup, spinach biscuits and desserts for us.

Our host family and Laura:
A view from the second floor of our host family's home:
On their second floor:
Eat, drink and be merry!
When on board, there is an open bar and we all enjoyed it, especially the ladies:

Of course we saw sun rise, sun set, moon set, wild lives, etc.  We also did horse back riding, shopping,.......What a trip!!!!

This photo of me taken by Patti at Cape Horn said it all of how much an engaging experience and how happy I was on this journey.

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