Author: Brenda Holland

More Patagonia, part 2

Today I embark, Cruceros Australis. Here is a huge bummer—check out at the hosteria is 10:30am. My ship paperwork says I can check in for the cruise between 12pm-4pm, so I aim for 3pm. I check-in at an office in town, they tell me to show up at the pier at for boarding 5:30 or 6:00. You can only walk the streets of Ushuaia for so long it’s just one main street, it’s really tough trying to kill 6+ hrs. I had thrown everything into my suitcase, I didn’t even have a book to read. I am starting to think that traveling solo is not all that it’s cracked up to be. My dining arrangements on ship is at a table with all French speakers. Wow, this makes dining a little stressful. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, stare at the ceiling, look around the room and chew my nails, or pretend that I am listening and just smile. They seem nice, but I can’t understand a word. This is where my husband that speaks several languages would come in handy. Then on top of that, they announce at dinner that there are 20 nationalities present on board. They name off each country and people cheer. They say” United States”—the room is silent, I wave my napkin and my table cheers for me. The host announces again...

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Arriving in Patagonia

South America March 31 Buenos Aires My first time flying with AeroMexico, I give them 2 thumbs up! Arrived Buenos Aires, the line going through customs was a mess. It took me almost 1-1/2 hrs to get out of there. I found the Manuel Tienda Leon tranportation desk, I’d pre-paid for a shuttle to their downtown terminal and planned on taking a taxi to my hotel from there. But for 15 pesos more they said they’d take me straight to the hotel. My hotel ended up being more like a B&B or a hostel. No sign out front, I’m dropped off at building in a residential neighborhood with a door buzzer. Bonito Boutique is only 5 rooms on the 3rd floor. A girl gives me a key ring with a key to the front door of the building, and a key to my room. Then the staff leaves. Neat old building, I have a window with old fashion shutters and no screen, it was great, I slept with the window open listening to the street noise. I found a nice Italian restaurant were you could see them making pasta through the window. Of, course I just pointed to things on the menu, it was OK, and it cost me a fortune. I need to remember to bring my Spanish dictionary with me next time, since I have no idea...

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Planning Patagonia part 2

I am about 6 weeks out from leaving on my trip and unfortunately I haven’t had much time to do more in-depth research on dining and things to do in each town. My travel business has been keeping me busy, and that’s a good thing. The hotels/hostels are booked and I am excited about some of the interesting accommodations I’ve found- Buenos Aires– Hotel Boutique Bonito ($60/night), this is very small (5 rooms) on the 3rd floor of an old style building. Each room is named and decorated by a different artist. The pictures on the web site look really neat and some rooms have balconies. Another thing the web-site says is each room comes with either a jacuzzi or a scotch douche? Hmmmm, I guess I will wait to be surprised. Ushuaia– Hosteria Valle Frio ($100/night), This one I chose mainly for the price and location. Hotels in this town are very expensive. This is family owned small homey looking hotel close to the main street in town. Punta Arenas, Chile– Hotel Rey Don Felipe ($117/night), Same with this one, best price for the location. I wanted to be close as possible to town. This one is probably the nicest of all the hotels on my trip. I am only here for 1/night. Punta Arenas hotels were pretty expensive. Santiago, Chile– Andes Hostel ($50/night), I’m feeling young now- this hostel has really...

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Planning Patagonia, part 1

How do I get there? The flight plan– First I bought a ticket from San Antonio to Buenos Aires (EZE), return flight Santiago to San Antonio. I purposely chose AeroMexico because I like the idea of getting out and stretching after 2 -1/2 hours flying time. That way I’d only have a 9-1/2 hours left to go. As appose to flying United, where I’d layover after 40 mins flying time to Houston, and then another 11 hours to BA. If that’s any explanation as to what goes on in my planning side of the brain.  I will arrive in BA on Easter morning 11:25 am. Easter in a South American city should be festive, can’t wait. I will spend 1 day/night there. Next morning, I fly Aerolineas Agentina. This flight leaves from a different airport (AEP) than I’d arrived, this is probably a regional type airport and it’s practically right in the city. Flight time is 3-1/2 hours non-stop and I arrive in Ushuaia at 18:00. I will stay in Ushuaia for 2-nights. April 3, I embark the Stella Australis ship mid-afternoon and we depart at 20:00 hrs. 100 cabins, 210 passenger capacity, this is a new ship built in 2010. Stella Australis- Day 1: Cape Horn and Wulaia Bay, Day 2: Piloto And Nena Glaciers, Day 3: Magdalena Island then disembark in Punta Arenas, Chile 11:30 am. I will stay 1-night in...

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What was I thinking…Patagonia

Well this all started about 6 mos ago when I started to plan my 50th birthday. I had narrowed my list to Israel, Morocco, and Dubai. Then I was at a travel show and Cruceros Australis cruise line was there. This is an expedition, only 64 cabins, type cruise; and they have travel agent rates. I was intrigued and started reading up on this. I was wide awake at 5 am one morning thinking how does one even get there?  I got up and furiously started planning, my adrenalin was pumping, and by 0615 my route was planned. My fascination with this area is that I can get as far away from civilization as possible. I love that it’s referred to as the End of the Earth, or Land’s End. What would it be like to be in such a pure environment, absence of noise pollution? I’m always wondering where can you go anymore where there are no planes in the sky, and no buzzing electric lines. What does silence sound like? I like to day dream that I’ll be on that boat and all you can hear is the wind, waves, and ice chunks clanking on the sides. I hope they turn the boat off so I can listen. Another thought that crossed my mind was that if you have a medical emergency and it’s your time to die, you die. No...

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