Monday, February 25, 2008

More travels with Pam

AND, here we are back again with an update and where and what! So, we left at traveling to the port of Ushuaia. Our sea travel has been (Harry is so disappointed) very smooth so far. He wanted some BIG waves and rough weather! Well, these far away towns are just fascinating. Names are interesting too. We have been going through a lot of fiords, seeing glaciers (that have been retreating over the years), and some sea life, although the Sea of Cortez seems to have a lot more activity! Some ports we tie up to a dock, and others we have tenders from the boat to the dock on land. These are really just the lifeboats that are used for this purpose. Lifeboats on this ship are NOT the lifeboats on the Titanic. These carry about 90 people in fairly comfortable and dry surroundings. I think one could survive almost anything in them.

Anyway, when we landed in Ushuaia, we took a tour that was wonderful. Almost all of us went, and we caught a bus to a little train station that takes you up to the mountains of Tierra del Fuego.

It was like a trip back in time, on a play train. The cars were tiny, two to a seat, and about 12 people per car. The country side was green and lovely, lots of wild horses (which were easy to see when you are only going 15 mph), lakes, flowers, all kinds of trees, and we even saw a busy beaver building his dam!

When we got to the end of the line, our bus met us and we proceeded on to see a couple of lakes, and learned about the history of the entire region. It was really a prison that started the town, and the prisoners were the ones who had to go into the mountains and harvest the trees to build their own prison and any shelter they needed. I’m sure lots of them froze to death, although we had a glorious day. Our guide was a little hard to understand, but really nice,like all of them have been, and gave us a grand tour.

Considering how far down we are in South America, the towns/cities, have been very up to date. This was a full day and as always, we spend the evenings at shipboard entertainment, which has been good and every night a different kind of act, big and small. We have been such a fun group together and everyone is enjoying each other. This was a special evening, as after dinner all of our friends joined us to send “mom and dad” on a trip that they always wanted to take. We said a hearty farewell, and tossed some ashes over the side! The moon was full and the ocean calm. Patty has a great picture of them floating away in the wake in the moonlight! It was perfect. The traveling is done a lot at night, and the ship must have really great radar, because we travel through fog and clouds a lot, on the ocean! The next day we “rounded the cape” and have a certificate to say so! The trip before us ran into huge seas, and we were treated to calm, albeit VERY unusual, seas. It was COLD, and I can see how the weather can change fast from one day to the next, or even from hour to hour. There is a VERY lonely outpost here, I guess just to monitor things. And, a beautiful monument with the albatross, to all the sailors who have passed by. After sailing around the Cape, we headed on the Falkland Islands! You all know those from the famous war that wasn’t, between Argentina and Britain where Argentina did many things wrong,including not dressing their troops correctly for the inclement weather! 10 weeks and that was it!

So, we arrived in Port Stanley and the ship anchored out and we were tendered in to the pier. Again, more penguin viewing. It was a beautiful, beautiful day, one of the 6 sunny, warm days they get all year! And that it the TRUTH! Ask any Falklander! We were driven out to the walking area, $10 round trip, and about a 2 mile walk along the cliff, with lots of penguins below, young and old, mostly molting, which means they can’t go into the sea. There was one just 5 feet off the path, so we have lots of photos to share! Then we went to a Pub and had fish and chips and finished the day off by shopping, as usual! I have to get all of my purchases from this trip together and see what I have. I just keep stuffing things in a drawer and I know there will be complaints if all the kids have different amounts of gifts, and that means the adults too! We all got on board the ms Rotterdam and about 4 pm started the long sail to Buenas Aires. I think it will be two days sailing. There is really a lot of ocean in this world! We have met lots of really nice people and such an international group. Last night we were entertained by a terrific singer, and a group of the crew(Phillipinos) who did songs and dances from their country. We’ve had ventrolquists, comedians, groups of dancers and singers, pianists, guitarists, just all kinds of talented entertainers. Today, the 25th, we had lunch with the captain (about 700 of us!) and saw a demo of flower arranging for the ships bouquets, then 4 of us attended our 2nd cooking class, and Harry gave $30 to the Blackjack table! Lots of people are playing bingo, scrabble, cards, pingpong, learning to line dance, the possibilities are endless! Some of us even take walks (3 ½ laps around the deck = 1 mile), and truly just enjoy the fresh ocean air. That’s about it and that’s enough for you to read anyway! Take care and we certainly would love to hear from any of you! Besos y abrazos, Pam and Harry please note that we are having problems with Holland Americas version of internet we are not able to post photos but can post stories....enjoy


irishappraisal said...

Hey guys....sounds like your having a blast...I AM SO JEALOUS!!!I'm glad that you'll all be coming home safe and sound soon...Tell dad and Sue I said hi!! Love Danielle Menold...PS Keep blogging and I'll keep readin' My love to you and Harry of course too!!

kathew said...

We are all home safe and sound now-glad you enjoyed reading along as we traveled along-check out the blog now-it's complete with phhotos! yay!
Kathe W.