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There’s a fascinating leg of our Patagonian journey which I haven’t shared with you yet. We took a 4 day cruise into the Fjordlands at the southern end of South America, mostly coastal Chile and a bit of Argentina. This journey into Tierra del Fuego was a truly memorable adventure!
The cruise began at the Port in the frontier town of Puenta Arenas, Chile. Here we boarded the Chilean-owned adventure ship, Australis, which was to take us to the “uttermost end of the earth”. Australis is an expedition cruise company specializing in exploring the waterways of Tierra del Fuego, including the Strait of Magellan and Beagle Channel. The Australis is relatively small, carrying only about 200 passengers, which is very much to your advantage …
You’ll find historic La Biela Café in the upscale neighborhood of Recoleta. La Biela is thought to be the oldest café in Buenos Aires, dating to the mid-19th century when the area was mostly farm fields. The café started serving refreshments to wealthy citizens from San Telmo who were traveling by horse and buggy to their vacation homes further north. La Biela is very close to the Recoleta cemetery and the Church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar.
The place is very popular with locals and tourists. In the past seventy years it has taken on a car-racing theme because it was a meeting place for motoring enthusiasts in the early days of car travel, and later …
There are many old and interesting buildings in Buenos Aires, but none caught our attention quite like the Palacio Barolo (Barolo Palace), situated on famous Avenida de Mayo.
The Barolo Palace was designed by Italian architect, Mario Palanti. He was given this commission by the original building owner, entrepreneur Luis Barolo, an Italian immigrant who made his fortune in wool and cotton textiles. When the Barolo Palace was finished in 1923 it was the tallest building in South America. It is 100 meters (330 ft) tall; subsequently a taller but similar appearing sibling was constructed, the Palacio Salvo, built by the same architect in Montevideo, Uruguay. And, of course, today’s Buenos Aires skyline contains many taller structures.
The Palacio Barolo’s design was …
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:
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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.
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