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 good rating and is very popular with the backpacker crowd. I’ve booked a private room with a shared bathroom. I like the idea of a hostel because they have common areas were everyone can mingle, and usually lots of other solo travelers. I’ve stayed at hostels several times in the past and it’s always been a good experience. I am here for 2 nights and on my third day my flight doesn’t depart until almost midnight. I decide to book a dorm room for that day @ $18/night so I at least have a place to plomp and store my luggage until leaving.
Yes, I will be a solo traveler for this trip. I have the best husband in the world for agreeing to this. He wasn’t crazy about visiting Patagonia anyway and I asked if I could go alone because I really want my own adventure. When I travel with him he makes it too easy for me. He can always speak the language, deals with the money, and I just follow along behind. I want to be on the frontline and do it myself, It keeps me sharp. The other reason I love traveling alone (and I used to do it a lot) it heightens your senses and you have to stay alert. I see and hear things that I wouldn’t normally observe when chatting with a partner. And for plain ole selfish reasons, I want to go/do/eat, whatever I want, whenever I want.

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 PA. April 7, I have an early flight 06:30 (ick) LAN Airlines. There looked to be only 2 flights a day leaving Punta Arenas to Santiago, very early or late afternoon. Flight is about 3-1/2 hours and non-stop.

I will spend 2 nights in Santiago, almost 3 nights, since my flight doesn’t leave until 23:45 on the 3rd day, April 9th. Again, I change planes in Mexico City and arrive back in San Antonio 1:05 pm April 10 (notice, now I return to using the American time when I arrive back in the US:)
Next blog I will color in more details of hotels/hostels and what I plan to do. And the big question– Is she going solo? and why?  Stay tuned!

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 intervention, no ambulance to save you. That is a little scary.
Patagonia to be continued…

A very merry Palm Springs

Dec 25-Chrismas Day. Minor delays flying from San Antonio to Palm Springs. Used FF miles to get 1st class seats. PS is cold in Dec, low 60’s. We found a Carls Jr open for a quick lunch. Staying at the Palm Mountain Resort for 2 night and then moving to the Westin Desert Willow for 4-nights. Palm Mountain is not as nice as I hoped. It is definitely a 3-star, clean and friendly, just a little worn. Although, you can’t beat the location. Right in the heart of Palm Springs. We walked to dinner, restaurant called TRIO, it was very good. Calamari was excellent, soy ceviche with tofu, edamame beans, and avocado.
Dec 26
Dropped Dan off at Indian Wells Country Club. This place is immaculate, wow! I went to the Desert Memorial Park-AKA cemetery. I found Frank Sinatra and Sonny Bono. This was a surprise, a very small cemetery with the small simple in-ground head stones. The celebrity stones were exactly the same as the other folks.  Someone had put a York Peppermint Patty on each of their graves.
Palm Springs is more old school, old hotels, the area outside of the main tours drag is pretty poor and dilapidated. As you drive down Palm Canyon Rd through Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Desert Palm it gets nicer and more modern shopping centers, chain restaurants, resorts, and country clubs.
Lunch- Billy Reed’s. This was an old folks restaurant for sure. I had some strawberry-rubarb pie.
I also drove by Elvis and Pricilla’s honeymoon house. A house in a cul-de-sac neighborhood.
Dinner – We went back to TRIO for happy hour, calamari and fried artichoke hearts. Then we when next door to Thai Smile, which was also very good.
Dec 27
Dropped Dan off at Mission Hill Country Club this morning. I went back to the hotel and took a long walk through the neighborhoods. I dilly dallied and had lunch at Old Spaghetti Factory. Picked up Dan and we checked into our new hotel. Westin Desert Willow Villas. These are really nice! 1 bedroom, kitchen, living room, washer/dryer. I am going to like this place. Dinner- we found a little Persian restaurant “Francesco’s”  in a shopping center that was very good. I had caprese pizza, Dan had lamb Kabobs,
Dec 28
Today was a “10”, I was driving down I-10 thinking how I need to take more vacations. I appreciate my time off so much, I suck the life out of every day.
Dan- dropped off again for golf day #3 Rancho Las Palmas Country Club. I drove to Desert Hot Springs in search of hot springs pools and a massage. Desert Hot Springs is a pretty worn out town. There are a bunch of these resorts in a cluster that sit on the Miracle Hill Hot Water Aquifer. For dinner we ate the early bird special at Acqua Pazza.
Dec 29
I’m about vacationed out; laid around the pool in 2 sweat shirts and jeans while others were swimming, walked around El Paseo killing time before picking Dan up from golf day #4 Pete Dye course at Westin Mission Hills. Dinner- Shermans Deli, NY jewish food. Excellent corn beef on rye, Dan had cabbage rolls. This place was packed even at 5pm.
Dec. 30
Hiking along the foothills. Asian Buffet for lunch, they had gigantic sushi rolls as big as the palm of my hand, and jumbo sized oysters? a little weird.
Merry Christmas to us!