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Top 10 Travel Destinations Retiro

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  • Day20

    Day 18 - Penguins in Profusion

    January 15, 2019 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    The Eclipse docked in Puerto Madryn about 7:00 with bright sunshine and warm temps - forecast high of 89, today. We disembarked after breakfast and walked the long pier (half a mile) over the shallow harbor. Found our tour and boarded a 20-passenger bus for our excursion. We had a guide who explained things through an interpreter.

    Puerto Madryn was settled by Welsch immigrants in the 1850s. They were fleeing religious persecution and the Argentine government offered free land to Baron Madryn and his followers.

    We headed out of the city south on a freeway through gently rolling scrub plains. No trees, only low desert scrub - a lot like the desert southwest in Arizona. Stopped at a pull off next to the giant herbivorous dinosaur model. The bones of it were discovered about ten years ago a few miles inland. It is considered the largest dinosaur known. Stopped at a modern rest stop/gas station for relief then on through Trelew, a fairly large town on the Chubut River where there were actually trees!

    As we drove south, our guide offered us a sample of mate, a traditional Argentine infusion, in a mate cup. The cup is made from a hollowed out gourd decorated with local designs and chased in silver with a silver straw. Mate is a strong, bitter herb tea that locals drink all through the day. The sky had become a bit overcast with a mild breeze with temps in the high 70s.

    We turned off the (now two-lane) highway into the Protected Area of Punto Tombo. Our destination was the Magellanic Penguin rookery in the preserve, about five miles down a good gravel road. We parked at the visitor's center and walked along the marked paths and boardwalks among the penguins. This rookery is home to some 700,000 penguins! They were everywhere, basking in the sun, sheltering in their burrows, and walking to and from the Atlantic. Scattered among the penguins were small groups of guanacos, a llama-like browser found across the Argentine pampas. We took pics of the penguins and their three to six-month old chicks. Spent an hour and a half exploring and dodging the other 1,000 passengers from the Eclipse who had chosen this excursion. Back on the bus, the tour offered a box lunch before we headed back to the dock, about 115 miles away.

    One of the drawbacks of cruising is that the ship dumps 2,000+ people into sometimes small cities. Although there area usually several different excursions,
    there are always hundreds of people jostling to see the same sights. It can be frustrating. Occassionally another cruise ship is in port at the same time, compounding the problem.

    Back on the Eclipse, we relaxed a bit and watched the ship pull out of port. The evening show was a Russian violinist who gave a rousing performance mixing jazzed up classics with gypsy and modern tunes, a bit like the Celtic women concerts. Had dinner with our German table mates and chatted.

    Tomorrow another sea day.
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  • Day24

    Day 21 - Montevideo

    January 19, 2019 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We docked as schedule in Montevideo. Today dawned grey and rainy as we looked on the port area.

    We met our tour at the port entrance and went for a city highlights tour on a 45-passenger bus. We drove out of the port along the "Ramblas," the coast highway along the Rio de la Plata. The river is over 140 miles wide at its mouth, the widest river in the world. The Ramblas is lined with beaches most of its 400-mile length to Brazil. The tour stopped briefly at several pull offs.

    Uruguay has the highest standard of living in South America and is also the safest country so it attracts many American retirees. Our tour wound through several upscale neighborhoods with homes from $700,000 and up. Our guide mentioned that all large purchases (homes, cars, major electronics and appliances) are made in US$.

    The name of the city comes from the Latin, "monte vid eo" - "I see land," which is what the first Spanish explorers said when they arrived. In addition to the Spanish, many migrants came here from Italy, as well as sizable Jewish population, during WW1 and again in WW2. Home to almost half the country's population, it was established in 1724.

    Our tour continued past the soccer stadium, which hosted the first FIFA World Cup in 1930 (in which Uruguay defeated Argentina for the Cup). We stopped at the carters monument, a nod to the toils of the first settlers. We stopped at the old executive palace and at Independence Plaza. This Plaza has the statue of the country's liberation leader, Jose Artigas, and has the new presidential building (with a glass facade) alongside the old one (in yellow stucco). Underneath the Artigas statue (below ground) is his tomb, which is open for visitation.

    Our tour took us back to the dock. We got out and walked through the Mercado Puerto (Port Market), a bustling place with many parillada restaurants. Parillada is the open grill, all meat barbeque for which Uruguay and Argentina are noted. We had a chorizo sausage and fries with a beer as we watched the griller cut and throw large chunks of meat onto the wood-fired grill. A little shopping and we walked across the street to the dock and boarded the Eclipse. The weather had cleared up and the sun was out. We soon sailed out of the harbor, heading to Buenos Aires.

    The show was fantastic! The performance troupe put on a spectacular song and dance story with full staging and props. It used a reinterpretation of pop songs. The production was of Kennedy Center or Broadway quality. Throughout the cruise, the quality and variety of the live music entertainment has been superb, I can't say enough to praise it.

    At dinner we learned that one of our table mates, Silvia, had come down with the flu and was quarantined- a major bummer.

    Tomorrow Buenos Aires!
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  • Day28

    Day 26 - Tigre and the Delta

    January 23, 2019 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    After waiting until the shops opened to change money, we taxied to the train station and caught a commuter train to Tigre. The train is modern, air conditioned, and efficient. On the way out and back, street (train?) musicians played for tips and individual vendors sold a variety of small things. (Remember that everyone is squeezed by the tight economy.) The hour train ride took us through numerous suburbs, some looking upscale with good-sized, single-family dwellings and shabby apartment buildings.

    Tigre (tiger) is a river port some 20 miles northeast of BA. From the description of it as the jump off place for the people that live in and ply the Parana River delta, we expected a rustic, rural town. It was anything but! We found a high-rise suburb with bustling traffic and many tourists (including from Brazil). Tigre is a weekend getaway for Portenos (as BA residents are known). The Parana River drains large parts of Brazil, Paraguay, and Uraguay and turns into the Rio de la Plata here. The delta is a 14,000 square-mile expanse of canals, tributaries, and river that the guidebook compares to the Mekong Delta. It is populated by people making a living from it and with weekend and summer cabin Portenos. The city is packed with rowing and regatta clubs along the banks and boasts one of the largest amusement parks in Latin America.

    We took an hour and a half catamaran cruise up one of the slow moving rivers. The tourist catamaran provided a recorded narrative of what we passed in Spanish, English, and Portuguese (remember the observation from Chile that Brazilians make up the second largest tourist group). The river carries a heavy sediment load that turns the water brown (and nourishes the delta). The banks of the channels are lined with small (sometimes not so small) cabins and houses, many built on stilts to avoid high water. The locals get around by boat and there are personal motorboats, water taxis, and water buses (long, agile 50-passenger launches that stop when people hail them). Each house has a dock with its river number (like a street number but everything moves by the channels since there are no roads). There are campgrounds and cabin rentals to be had. Many of the places are well-manicured with beautiful lawns and gardens; some are run-down or abandoned. There's a market boat that brings a supermarket to the waterways and people tie up to it, shop, and motor home. There are several smaller grocery stores where people shop right from their boats. The locals use row boats, motorboats, or swim to get around. There are some exclusive resorts hidden among the maze of waterways and you can make a vacation of it. The city hosts a naval museum, a fine arts museum (in a spectacular, ornate building on the water), and the Mate Museum. Mate, I told you, is the ubiquitous national herb drink. Unfortunately, the Mate Museum only functions on weekends.

    Back in the Tigre, we ate at the former Italian Yacht Club and walked around before catching the train back. It was an unexpectedly delightful change from the big-city feel of BA.
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  • Day215

    Buenos Aires

    December 7, 2017 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Because we’d used miles to pay for one ticket out of Delhi, we ended up on different flights to London. Christy flew Delhi-Helsinki-London (on FinnAir – “the official airline of Santa”) and John flew Delhi-London. We met in London for a few hours’ wait then took a long flight to Argentina. John bought a very small camera in DutyFree as we’ll be sending his HUGE camera home after Antarctica as it’s just too heavy/big for how we will now travel.
    A very nice lady from our Antarctica travel company met us at the airport and then drove us to our Airbnb apartment in central BA. The apartment was in a great location with easy access to all the sights we wanted to see. Generally, we’ve headed off early in the morning to different parts of the city, walked around, drunk some coffee and taken a siesta. We also went to Boca (famous for the soccer team and colorful homes), the waterfront and famous women’s bridge, the cemetery where Eva Peron and many other famous Argentinians are buried, and we saw an Opera at the Teatro Colon - considered to have some of the best acoustics in the world.
    Like India, the cow is worshipped here in Argentina but in a totally different and obvious way. When people find out that we don't eat a lot of red meat, there is genuine concern that we will starve to death. Also, nothing really gets started here until late at night, which is another adjustment to our normal m.o. Like many other travelers have noted, BA is like a combination of NYC and Paris with more empanadas. The architecture is amazing and the people have all been wonderfully friendly, even though we are struggling with our Spanish. The plan is to travel for a few more months and head back here for 3-4 weeks to take Spanish lessons and enjoy this beautiful city.
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  • Day3

    Buenos Aires, Argentina

    January 26, 2020 in Argentina ⋅ 🌙 79 °F

    We spent a fabulous day with tour guide Brenda Diaz who we found on the “Tours by Locals” website. She was extremely enthusiastic about her city and shared a unique viewpoint from an artists perspective when she learned of our interest in the arts.
    We saw many parts of the city, each with it’s own personality. The vibrant colors and richness of textures seemed to stand out to us.
    Also, the varied historical events and political upheavals lend much interest to the city.
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  • Day22

    Du tango, du tango, du tango

    January 26, 2020 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Après un après-midi de repos à la piscine (eau de mer, 30°), nous avons pris la route du cabaret Tango, le Tango Porteno, un établissement « historique ». En fait, une grande salle genre Lido, salle et scène immenses. Repas standard. A noter toutefois la viande qui nous a été servie, un morceau d'environ 350 Gr. On est pas en Argentine pour rien.
    Le spectacle quant à lui était superbe avec une vingtaine de personnes, musiciens, danseurs et chanteur. La photo à 20€ avec une danseuse et un danseur...on leur a laissée.

    Ce matin, visite complète de la ville. En fait, trois quartiers: le centre ville où l'on retrouve les bâtiments officiels, la cathédrale, le palais du gouverneur (tout rose). Là, on se croirait parfois sur les grands boulevards à Paris, tant les bâtiments ressemblent aux immeubles Hausmann. Ce n'est pas une coïncidence, c'est un disciple du Baron qui a sévit ici.

    Puis direction du quatier de la Boca. Une sorte de Greenwich Village avec toutes ses vieilles maisons peintes de toutes les couleurs. Une débauche de bleu, de jaune, de rouge,... De la musique, des restaurants, des danseurs de tango et des gauchos qui tentent d'attirer les clients. Et des clients potentiels, il n'en manque pas. C'est une suite quasi inintérompue de cars qui se vident de leurs touristes. C'est Montmartres, Venise ou la Rambla de Barcelone. Il faut venir un jour où il n'y a pas de bateau dans le port.

    Enfin, le nouveau port, à l'est. C'est un quartier complètement réhabilité. On y trouve d'immenses promenades le long du canal, de beaux immeubles flambant neufs, des hôtels, des restaurants, des touristes...

    Et le quatrième tiers était consacré à la visite du cimetière. Oui, celà peut paraître lugubre, mais ce ne sont que des caveaux extraordinaires, tant pas leur taille que par leur style. Même le Père Lachaise ne joue pas dans la même cour. Ca sent l'ISF dans ces allées. Même le caveau d'Evita Peron.

    Tout à l'heure, on appareille pour Montevideo. Attention l'Uruguay, on arrive.
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  • Day4

    Buenos Aires (Argentinien)

    October 28, 2019 in Argentina ⋅ 🌧 20 °C

    Nach 9 Monaten hat mich Lateinamerika endlich wieder und ich fühle mich ab Sekunde eins wieder wohl in der freundlichen und doch geschäftigen Mentalität mit all dem guten Essen und einer Mentalität, die es versteht das Leben zu genießen.

    Argentinien steckt leider merklich in einer Krise - die Präsidentschaftswahl am Sonntag hat die Währung ins Schwanken gebracht. Buenos Aires ist nichts desto trotz mein bisheriger Favorit an lateinamerikanischen Hauptstädten mit einer wunderschönen Architektur und unglaublich viel Vielfalt der Stadtteile. Es gibt den Finanzdistrikt, das Barviertel, Graffitistadtteile, Slums, ein französisches Viertel und so vieles mehr.

    3.5 Mio.Menschen und verschiedenste Nationen und Einwanderer haben Buenos Aires zu einem Ort für Jedermann entwickelt. Die Tage hier waren großartig und auch wenn wir jeden Tag ordentlich Kilometer gemacht haben, sieht man wohl nie alles hier.

    Ich freue mich aber auch schon auf die Natur in Mendoza, die ab morgen auf uns wartet. Endlich zurück in den Anden mit meinen Wanderschuhen und Ruhe genießen...
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  • Day21

    Ici Buenos Aires, la cité du tango

    January 25, 2020 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Le sectacle d'hier au soir: une revue sur le thème de Las Végas, avec plumes et strings d'un côté, et torses musclés et dévêtus de l'autre.
    Nous étions déjà très proches de Buenos Aires quand a commencé le « récital » des passagers. Les chansons se sont succédées, de bonnes et de moins bonnes, voire très moins bonne qualité. Personnellement, ça a été, si ce n'est que nous ne ressentons aucune vraie amphatie de la part des animateurs (c'est pas Claudine!) et un public tellement disparate que la communication n'est pas simple. Plus de la moitié de la salle ne comprend pas un mot des chansons en français. Résultat des courses: comme chez Jacques Martin, tout le monde a gagné.

    Peut avant, nous avions doublé la ville de Punta del Este avant de rentrer dans le rio de la Plata, un immense estuaire qui sépare l'Uruguay de l'Argentine. C'est comme l'estuaire de l'Authie, avec Berck d'un côté et Fort Mahon de l'autre. Ici, c'est Montevideo et Buenos Aires... Sauf qu'entre les deux il y a près de 200 Km.

    Ce matin, réveil et petit déjeuner matinaux. Buenos Aires, nous voilà. Muni de notre pifomètre complété heureusement d'un plan récupéré à la dernière minute, nous avons errer plusieurs heures dans les rues les plus attractives (pensez, y-a des magnets..!) pour arriver sur l'avenue du 9 juillet (les Champs Elysées) et sur la place du palais du gouverneur. C'est là que les « grand-mères tournent chaque semaine autour d'un monument pour manifester contre le silence assourdissant des autorités sur le sort de nombreux prisonniers.

    Sous un cagnard d'enfer, retour au bateau pour un déjeuner tardif.
    En fin d'après-midi, nous partons en car pour un dîner en ville dans une boîte à tango.
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  • Day8

    Erste Busfahrt

    January 15, 2020 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    Nach unserer ersten Woche in Buenos Aires warten wir in der Lobby unseres Hotels auf unsere 17 stündige (!) Busfahrt in Richtung Norden. Es ist uns ein Anliegen auf unserer Reise möglichst die Fernverkehrsbusse als Transportmittel zu benutzen anstelle Flugmeilen zu sammeln.

    Mit Spielen und Lesestoff überbrücken wir die Zeit zwischen dem Check-Out und der Abfahrt unseres Busses. Am Busterminal müssen wir uns zwischen den 90 Plattformen zuerst zurechtfinden. Endlich beim richtigen Bus angekommen, stehen wir an, um unsere grossen Rucksäcke in den Busfrachtraum zu verstauen. Nach einem Blick des Chauffeurs in unser Schweizer Pass, meint er, wir haben sehr südamerikanisch klingende Namen. Danke, wir sind demfall am richtigen Ort :)

    Die Sitze unseres Busses kann man mit denen eines First-Class-Flug-Sitzes vergleichen: Die Sitze sind sehr angenehm gepolstert, die Rückenlehne kann man runterklappen und im Fussbereich ist eine aufklappbare Ablage für die Beine. Dazu gibt’s eine Decke und ein Kopfkissen für zum Schlafen. Fast wie Zuhause auf der Couch.

    Natürlich haben wir die Luxus-Variante gebucht, da wir noch nicht genau wissen wie wir uns in dieser 17 stündigen Fahrt schlagen werden. Es gibt aber auch andere Busklassen, wo normale Sitze und kein WC für die lange Fahrt angeboten werden.

    Und los geht die Fahrt!
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  • Day3

    Sonntags in Buenos Aires

    March 12, 2017 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Nachdem wir gestern nachmittag noch zum Hafen und durch die historische Altstadt gelaufen sind, versuchen wir uns heute mal mit Bus und Bahn. 14 Stunden Schlaf haben unsere Akkus wieder gefüllt, die Sonne scheint wie gewohnt und wir treffen uns gleich mit zwei Weltreisenden Bekannten von Lena, die zufällig auch gestern hier gelandet sind. Und später kommt auch noch Maximiliano dazu, ein waschechter Einheimischer. Bin gespannt :) ps: Bin froh, dass Googles spanisch wahrscheinlich genauso gut ist wie unseres. Das beruhigt.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Retiro, レティーロ, Retiras, Ретиро, Ретіро, 雷蒂罗