For almost two years, my sister and I would talk about this trip we were planning, practically shouting South America!!! each time we said it. I mean, it’s pretty epic. 31 days, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Falkland Islands, sailing around Cape Horn, Ushuaia: the southernmost city in the world, Chile, Peru, Central America, Cabo and then LA. Wow.
This was a cruise on the Star Princess. We are barely cruisers: Warren has been on 1, 3 for me, 1 for Dennis and 2 for Melissa. People thought we were kind of crazy, but the chance to see that much of South America!!! on one trip was too great to pass up. Our cats weren’t too thrilled with us, but they both did fine with their house/cat sitters.
As with most cruises, this was a “taste” of each place. There was no time to get any in-depth look at the different places we stopped. We did have 2 days in Buenos Aires and 2 days in Lima, Peru, which was great. It was also very nice to unpack once and settle in to our cabin which was our little refuge from the world.
We did see as much as we could, but not everything we wanted. Like penguins. We thought we’d see way more penguins. But due to the excursions we planned months before, the lateness of the season (it was the end of Summer, beginning of Fall) and their migration, we saw maybe 10 at the most. Rats! We did see lots of sea lions, birds, dolphins and whales off the ship.
We did have tremendous luck with the weather. I had been watching the ship’s bridge cam for a few months before our sailing date, curious about conditions, etc. The ship had been going back and forth between Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, sailing around the Cape each time. And many of these trips had really hideous weather. Rain, wind, huge seas, missed ports. But we made every port. We were late by four hours out of Ushuaia because of high winds, but we were able to make our next port. We did have a couple of hours of rough seas, but it didn’t last long and after that you could barely tell you were on a ship! We had hardly any rain, just a few sprinkles. However, it was cold at the bottom of the world!
Even in Summer it was cold and the wind made it feel even colder. But we were bundled up and could retreat into our nice warm cabin to recover before heading back out on our balcony. And then before we knew it, we were at the Equator and it was HOT! Packing for this trip wasn’t very easy!
Melissa and I joined the Knitter/Natterer group and we would meet each morning that we were not in port, so sea days, and would spend a few hours with our new friends knitting, and yes, nattering. We would take over a part of the Crooner’s Lounge, which is the martini bar, and right in the hub of activity. We had lots of people stop by to look at us, join us, shake their heads at us… They were a great group and it was so nice getting to know them all and their backgrounds, and I miss them and our time together. All of us purchased yarn along the way, merino wool, baby alpaca being the most abundant (Falkland Islands had beautiful wool, and of course Peru was a jackpot for Alpaca) and we’d oooh and aaah over all our finds.
The food was wonderful and too much. Too. Much. Food. And when you don’t have very good self-control… well let’s just say I’m back on Weightwatchers. sigh….
31 days on a ship is a looooong time and we loved getting to know the staff who worked tirelessly, without days off, cheerful and fun and helpful. We really appreciated their dedication and we appreciated how hard it must be for them being away from their families for long periods of time.
There are a lot of memories and experiences that are slowly being separated from the jumble it all became in my brain at the end of the trip. We saw a lot. We experienced so many different ways of life, climates, food! Just relaxing and staring out at the ocean was pretty good too!
I’ve been asked by my friends what I liked the best, which place was my favourite. That is so hard because we saw so many different unique places. I must say though that a highlight for me was the day we sailed around Cape Horn (which, surprisingly to me, is an island). We had a strenuous and beautiful (and cold!) hike in Ushuaia that I loved. Valparaiso, Chile was a place like no other that I’ve seen. Sensory overload of colour, higgledy-piggledy buildings built on steep hills, stray dogs, graffiti, more hills, funiculars and pisco shots.
I’m happy to be home now. I missed my kids, my cat, my bathroom (our cabin bathroom was tiny but efficient!), different clothes, a little solitude. Both Warren and I came home with bad colds, his worse than mine. We experienced all four seasons in a 5-week period, so I guess it caught up with us, and also being in rather close quarters with everyone on the ship. It’s nice to have a little room to spread out and cough in privacy. Although I REALLY miss this view from my bed!
I’ve gone through all my photos and organized them into albums for each place we visited. These are all loaded on my Flickr site and the link is here if you’re interested in seeing them.