Sorry, this is out of sync somehow my original post didn’t save.
February 23, 2015
Today we drove from Franz Josef to Christchurch for one night we fly out in the morning to go back home. We checked into our hotel The George which was really nice they give you a cute teddy bear at night as a gift. We ended up taking a walk and found a cool Irish bar called The Bog and we decided to have a drink and go back to the hotel for dinner and rest since we had a long travel day tomorrow.
Our tour began with a drive through the city heading towards the Tigre river which is named for the “tigres” or jaguars that once roamed there. Along the way, we saw this big metal lotus flower. The petals close at night and reopen in the morning.
Upon arriving at the boat dock, we boarded a boat that was to take us on a tour around the island. The river delta is one of the world’s largest and is laced with canals that form a network of forested islands. As you cruise through the green waterway our tour guide pointed out that many of the riverside homes have a British flair. There are mock Tudors, Victorian mansions and even British-style gardens that reflect England’s influence and ties with Buenos Aires. The Tigre River Delta is still a popular weekend getaway for affluent locals. There is a garbage barge and a supermarket barge that comes around for the people who live on the island.
Driving back to the pier we stopped and visited the San Isidro Cathedral. Our guide pointed out the cathedral’s distinct neo-Gothic architecture, most notably its clock tower, which rises more than 225 feet into the air. This cathedral is considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Argentina, it has been declared a National Historic Site.
Tonight we had tickets to a Nighttime Tango show with dinner included. This was an amazing show. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures or video. We saw a tango show in Uruguay and one in Argentina and John and I both agree that the one in Argentina was the best one.
We went to Montevideo for two days flooding kept us from Punta Del Este. Before we arrived in Montevideo Terry Bishop the lecturer on the ship told us all about the saga of the famous WWII German warship, Graf Spee, whose sunken remains rest on the floor of the ocean a short distance outside the harbour. John and I decided to walk to the pier and get a cab to drive us around. We were lucky to meet this guy named Jaime he was such an excellent guide he was very knowledgeable and spoke perfect English. The first stop on our tour with Jaime was Battle Park named for Jose Battle y Ordonez, Uruguay’s president from 1911-1915. We also saw the monument dedicated to the Fallen Soldiers of the Navy.
We visited the nicest hotel in Carrasco called Hotel Sofitel Casino Carrasco, an imposing building which overlooks the coast and is full of Uruguayan tradition and history.
Jaime also took us to this neat building which was the Gaucho Museum. The inside of this house was fabulous. To end a great day we had lunch at the famous meat market. It’s this big building full of different restaurants that all have tons of meat being cooked on spinning grills.
December 21, 2016 – Second time to Montevideo (back to back cruise)
Today we drove north to the Carrau Winery, a major exporter of Uruguayan wines located in the Colon residential area. Situated in a park-like setting, this winery was constructed in 1894 and is the site of an ancient granite cave. We were treated to a tasting of fine Uruguayan wine and champagne, accompanied by a light snack of cheese and ham. The only problem we had with the winery was the room was too big, and it was full of people, and you couldn’t hear the sommelier explaining the wine even though he had a microphone.
After the wine tour, we took a steam train ride and took some photos of the landscaping of Uruguay.
Our tour ended with a visit to Casona Mauá for a Tango Show. Casona Mauá was built in the 1870s and has an outstanding architectural and heritage significance. The venue belonged to Baron and Viscount Mauá, an influential businessman, visionary, and entrepreneur who founded among other things, Mauá Bank, the first bank in Uruguay which opened its doors in 1857 and the first one to print currency within the country. Nowadays and after an excellent restoration process, Casona Mauá maintains its original beveled glass, Carrara marble, floors, ceilings, skylight, and moldings, making it a bastion of Montevideo’s historic Old Town.
John and I had such great lunch the last time we were in Montevideo at the meat market that we chose to grab a bite to eat there again today and once again it was great.
Today we arrived in Sao Paolo, and we didn’t have any tours set up we decided to take a cab to the local mall and walk around and do some shopping. We spent about two hours walking around the mall and on the way back to the ship we shared a cab with the Food & Beverage Director’s wife Samantha. Today was a relaxing day nothing scheduled and no time restraint.
Today we took a ride on a schooner boat to the Blue Lagoon which is an isolated beach on the north side of the island. The ride was about an hour long, and we saw lovely views of the lush forest and shoreline. The entire island is protected environmentally, so nature reigns supreme. We had a chance to snorkel which I didn’t participate in, but John did he said it was nice but once you’ve seen the Great Barrier Reef it’s hard to beat.
Today we had a really cool tour a schooner boat picked us up right from our ship and took us around the different islands to take pictures and they dropped anchor and John and some other people jumped in the water and had a nice time. Some of the islands we visited were Ilha Comprida, Praia Vermelha, and Ilha do Mantimento.
Today we sailed to Buzios we had another city tour but unfortunately, the weather was cloudy and the island is so small that other than the beach views from the cliff above there really isn’t anything else to really see.
Once a small fishing village, Buzios gained instant international fame after Brigitte Bardot vacationed there in the 1960s. Her visit was so influential that the townspeople erected a statue of the French actress sitting on a suitcase gazing out to sea. Thanks to Bardot, Buzios soon became known as the St.-Tropez of Brazil, an appropriate nickname because of the wonderful beaches.
Today we started our journey to Rio de Janeiro. The flight leaving Florida was delayed by four hours so John acted quickly and booked a different flight to Atlanta so that we didn’t miss our connecting flight. Everything was smooth from then on we caught our connecting flight and after a 10-hour flight, we finally landed in Rio de Janeiro. Since we were in Rio overnight we decided to take it easy the first day and relax and get ready for the next day.
December 8, 2016
Today we got up early in the morning and had breakfast in our room to get ready for our first tour of Rio de Janeiro. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and nice although the tour was very long we saw a lot of cool sights. We saw Christ the Redeemer on sugar loaf and a city tour of Rio. After our visit to sugar loaf, we had a traditional Brazilian Churrascaria lunch at a local restaurant.