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Like many of you, I’d like to step back in time on occasions — at least as much as a particular spot will allow me to.
A visit to Farmacia de la Estrella on Defensa Street in Buenos Aires, near the Basilica de San Francisco, will take you back to the 19th century. Built in 1835, the pharmacy is still actively functioning and a busy place dispensing homeopathic remedies to those in need. It is said to be the oldest pharmacy in Buenos Aires.
The woodwork is original mahogany, and the murals are lovely. You’ll see lots of old jars from a time when medicine didn’t come in blisterpacks or disposable bottles. The pharmacy hasn’t changed much over the past two centuries and …
Situated on Buenos Aires’ busy Avenida de Mayo is a charming cafe that’s worth looking up. Cafe Tortoni was founded in 1856 by a French immigrant who fashioned it after Paris’ cafes of that era. To say he did a great job is an understatement. Walking in from the busy avenue does indeed seem like stepping into Van Gogh’s Paris.
Cafe Tortoni moved to its current location in 1880. It has remained largely unchanged since then.
We visited for coffee and a pastry with some friends during our stroll down Avenida de Mayo. Both the company and refreshment were excellent! And the ambience was most memorable.
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I have to admit that before my trip to Patagonia I didn’t know the waters of the southern Pacific were home to king crab, much like you find off the coast of Alaska. While walking around the streets of Ushuaia, we found a number of restaurants that specialized in the cooking and serving of these large crustaceans. These places seemed busy and very popular with tourists, especially the Japanese groups, so my wife and I decided to splurge and share one of these monsters for our last dinner in southern Argentina.
The beasts are sold by the kilogram (sorry, can’t remember the price, but it wasn’t cheap). The crab is cooked and served to you intact on a large platter, as …
As I’ve previously discussed, Buenos Aires has a vibrant street art scene. In this post I’ll share some of the art we encountered in the San Telmo neighborhood. San Telmo is a popular place to go shopping and dining. While it was at its prime in the late 19th century, San Telmo is now in a state of “elegant decay”. The street art provides some relief from this.
Here is some works of street art we saw as we walked these worn lanes:
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)
Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world. It lies on the tip of Tierra del Fuego, off the Beagle Channel, and is surrounded by the Martial Mounts. This excellent location allows you to enjoy dramatic scenes of the sea, mountains and forests of southern Patagonia.
We spent a few days in Ushuaia after completing a memorable cruise through the Patagonian fjords. The weather was quite changeable and scenes of the city were often dramatic, especially when viewed from the hill where our hotel was located.
Ushuaia has a modern international airport and is the closest deep-water port to Antarctica. The last photos below are some of my favorites, with “Godbeams” of light penetrating the heavy cloud of a clearing storm.
(Click on …
Floralis Genérica is one of the best known and most impressive monuments in Buenos Aires. It’s a sculpture of a massive flower (18 tons, 23 meters high) made of stainless steel, aluminum and concrete. Floralis Genérica is located in a beautiful 4 acre park at the Plaza of the United Nations in Recoleta. The park has walking paths that allow you to view the sculpture from different angles.
This impressive artwork was donated to the city in 2002 by architect Eduardo Catalano. It has a mechanism (which may or may not be working) that opens and closes the flower’s six gigantic petals, depending on the time of day. When all is in working order the flower closes …
Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park is a UNESCO World Biosphere Preserve and is home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. The area has had several significant wildfires in the past few decades, the largest in late 2011 which burned into 2012 and destroyed 16,000 hectares (about 40,000 acres) . All of these wildfires were caused by careless human behavior. While it is somewhat shaky, this short videoclip shows the magnitude of these fires and just how scary they are when you’re in the midst of it all.
The area doesn’t have the dense forests or taller trees one sees in coastal Patagonia, but the scrubby dead bush that remains is definitely a reminder of these fires. I …
I’ve been a lover of mountains for as long as I can remember. I grew up on the painfully flat plains of Manitoba (and I mean f-l-a-t, like a pancake), and still vividly recall seeing my first mountains when I was a toddler of about 2 or 3 years old. These were the amazing Alberta Rocky Mountains visited on one of many family vacations to Banff. I was fascinated by mountains then and remain so to this day.
I have seen many beautiful and interesting mountains in my life and have a list of favorites — the Matterhorn, Kilimanjaro, Ama Dablam, Mt. Assiniboine, Cascade mountain, Mauna Kea, and so on. But there is no mountain formation I find more interesting than …