A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Jan 28 - SALAVERRY, PERU

sunny 86 °F
View Serenity 8 on Swenigale's travel map.

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We arrived in this dry area of Peru with our plan to drive from the port and spend a few hours in the old center of Trujillo, the country's 2nd largest city.

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It is a Saturday morning and by 9am people are waking up - and this guy needed to patch-up his bicycle seat before continuing on his way.

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Street commerce is vibrant - need a hat or an umbrella? That sun is hot!

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In other visits to this port we have toured excavations of pyramids and cities of the Mochica and Chan Chan civilizations. Today, we wanted to meet the people of the 21st century. A good place for that, the Mercado Central. Fresh chicken, anyone?

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Meat cut to order

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Grandma crochets

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Late breakfast for the florists

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As we walked along the Paseo Pizarro we saw an open-air dance studio.

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This beautiful hacienda is now home to Club Central.

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Lovely balconies

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Santa Clara Church

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Touring scouts

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Posted by Swenigale 12:15 Archived in Peru

Jan 29 - 30: LIMA/CALLAO, PERU

sunny 85 °F
View Serenity 8 on Swenigale's travel map.

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Despite the elegance of our ship, many times we dock in Industrial ports. Callao is the busy port for Lima, a 45-minute drive away.

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Our Sunday we spent some time in the San Miguel District before returning to the ship for late afternoon Sunday Service. We stopped into a “Wong” Supermarket to poke around – the Transformers are back, again!

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A moveable billboard – they run out in front of the cars stopped at traffic lights.

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Sidewalk kiddie pools

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Driving into Lima on Monday – a view of the city perched high above the sea

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That’s a lot of bull!

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We walked around in the streets of Miraflores, an upscale district. This is their Town Hall.

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We were invited to view the rotunda with its paintings of the history of the city.

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Hästa takes a break in a “living wall”.

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The local church: Parroquia Virgen Milagrosa

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Expats (hee-hee!) must frequent this sports bar!

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And we sail off into the sunset…

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Posted by Swenigale 16:45 Archived in Peru

Jan 31 - GENERAL ST. MARTÍN/PISCO, PERU

sunny 86 °F
View Serenity 8 on Swenigale's travel map.

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Come with us, as we return to the Ballestas Islands, home of 150 species of marine birds.

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We passed the beautiful, yet barren sands of the Paracas National Reserve, Serenity’s “dry” dock for the day.

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The famously mysterious Candelabra Petroglyph is visible from the sea, but you need to get air-borne to see the 2,000 year-old Nazca Lines that lie inland.

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Our high-speed boat carried us 11 miles to the islands, which at one time were a great source of wealth for Peru. The mining and exporting of the layers of bird guano are a rich source of fertilizer.

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We got close to the rocks to see the sea lions and fur seals that feed and shelter here.

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Guano-makers

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The Humboldt Penguin (named for the food-rich current that flows by this coast)

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Looks like a face-off!

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It would be worth the ride just to see these beautiful formations!

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Guano is still collected, and there is a guard stationed here. Not a pleasant assignment, I think (unless you have no sense of smell)!

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The “nursery” beach is filled with moms and babes.

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See the little ones?

Posted by Swenigale 13:25 Archived in Peru

Feb 2 - MATARANI, PERU

sunny 83 °F
View Serenity 8 on Swenigale's travel map.

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Tricky maneuvering by our Captain brought us safely to the dock today for our final port in Peru. Matarani is a small fishing village and a cooper mining terminus.

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Peru is the third largest country in South America and ecologically very diverse. Three main regions (as determined by altitude) are coast, mountains and jungle. Since we're traveling by ship - naturally, what we've seen of Peru is the coast with its 3000 kilometers of desert, wide beaches, and fertile valleys.

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Our destination today was near the beach town of Mollendo, a hair-raising 30 minute drive from the port.

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We reached our destination: The National Reserva Lagunas de Mejia.

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The lagoons, which lie parallel to the Pacific shore are a prominent sanctuary for birds of all kinds. Today, however, we mostly saw vultures!

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Although this time of year is not migration season, we did see some of the resident Peruvian birds.

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Intrepid explorers brave the heat

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All aboard at another of Serenity's enviable docking locations :) Actually, these non-cruise ship ports are all fascinating.

Posted by Swenigale 14:05 Archived in Peru

Feb 3 - IQUIQUE, CHILE

sunny 84 °F
View Serenity 8 on Swenigale's travel map.

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Our first stop in Chile is this northern section which was fought over by Chile, Bolivia and Peru in the late 1800’s because of its mineral wealth.

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The wealth created from mining is evident in the surviving buildings along Baquedano Street – not crowded this early in the morning.

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The artist Raúl Soza from Santiago has his amazing spare-part horse sculptures on display.

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Oh, Oh! Hästa got caught!

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Us, too!

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The Regional Museum, filled with history and artifacts

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Discovery of evidence of Chinchorro People dates to 7000 BC. Mummies have been found from 5000 BC. The distinctive skull shape was made by binding foreheads from birth (creating the original “cone heads”!).

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Shore birds aplenty as we walked the Paseo Costanero

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As well as the oh, so present red-headed vultures

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Posted by Swenigale 09:25 Archived in Chile

Feb 4 - ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE

sunny 80 °F
View Serenity 8 on Swenigale's travel map.

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The city of 400,000 rises behind us, backed by the desert mountains as the Captain backs us into our allotted space. And so we continue south on our tour of deserts and the cities that mining built.

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Sodium Nitrate, or “white gold”, was mined here. Buildings in the Barrio Historico testify to the wealth that was created.

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The Cathedral San Jose

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A Big Ben replica, celebrating the 100th anniversary of independence.

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Hästa and Capitán Pinto

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We spent our final hour of walking in the Muella Salitero, The Historic Pier.

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The city receives almost no rain and the Alacama Desert plateau is considered the most arid non-polar region in the world. Oh, and right now the city is the one place in the world with the highest amount of radiation!

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Can’t get much fresher than this!

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Posted by Swenigale 09:35 Archived in Chile

Feb 6 - COQUIMBO, CHILE

sunny 70 °F
View Serenity 8 on Swenigale's travel map.

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Congratulations, New England Patriots! We watched you perform the impossible into the wee hours of the night (Chile's time is two hours later than Eastern Standard Time). WOW!

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This morning the Serenity is docked in this natural harbor of calm water. Hard to image the destructive Tsunami that struck just a few years ago.

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We drove from the port city to La Serena, founded in 1543.

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This unique organ is in the La Serena Cathedral.

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The church of St Augustine - one of the dozens of Roman Catholic churches in the area.

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La Recova is the Municipal Market.

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The city is now a popular resort town nestled along 35 miles of beautiful beaches.

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Coquimbo's hilltop is crowned by the Cross of the Third Millennium.

Posted by Swenigale 11:35 Archived in Chile

Feb 7 - VALPARAÍSO, CHILE (Day 1)

sunny 70 °F
View Serenity 8 on Swenigale's travel map.

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As dawn breaks over the 45 hills of Valparaíso we find that we are docked in – a container port. The houses on the hillsides and even the containers are pretty in the morning light.

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Since we are here in port for two days we decided to go to the nearby resort town Vina del Mar, a busy place right now since it is summer vacation in Chile. We planned to stay in Valparaiso tomorrow.

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After a long walk through neighborhoods we checked out the artisans that are set up in Parque Quinta Vergara.

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Back near the bay around noon, we heard that last week there was a storm surge and the waves closed this road and benches were ripped up and ended up across the street!

As we traveled back to the port we got the news that port workers just went on strike and were not allowing anyone to enter or exit the port. Can you imagine the impact in a port where many guests are leaving and many are boarding - travel arrangements in doubt, flights and luggage, etc.

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In true Crystal style, buses of guests and crew who were stranded in the terminal at the start of the strike were taken to area restaurants! We had a wonderful meal here!

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By 6pm we were back on the ship, the riot police were in place and apparently, the strike was settled. A local troupe provided colorful evening entertainment onboard.

Posted by Swenigale 09:05 Archived in Chile

Feb 8 - VALPARAÍSO, CHILE (Day 2)

sunny 70 °F

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The exciting third segment begins: “ANTARTIC ADVENTURE”!

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Originally, we had planned to take this port, train just as an adventure, but after yesterday’s port closure, we decided to be cautious and only leave the ship for a few hours.

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One of the city’s many Ascensors – at least 16 are still in operation – but not this one!

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Street art, Valparaíso’s celebrated art form

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After everyone had used all the corrugated metal they needed for their rooftops, they found it useful for siding, as well! And, here is a cruise update- Serenity was able to sail on her way Sunday night with only a short delay.

Posted by Swenigale 10:35 Archived in Chile

Feb 10 - PUERTO MONTT, CHILE

sunny 70 °F
View Serenity 8 on Swenigale's travel map.

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We are sailing south and are now in the northern part of Chilean Patagonia. In the early morning the full moon was magnificent.

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Driving inland from the port on the Pan American Highway we entered Chile's beautiful Lake District. Lake Llanquihue spread before us as we approached the town of Frutillar.

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German colonists settled here in the middle 1800's.

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Today was crystal clear, with sparkling pure water, and towering volcanoes capturing our attention.

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The German heritage is quite evident in the buildings but also in their love and appreciation of music. The beautiful Teatro del Lago (Theatre of the Lake), opened in 2010, and hosts international performances.

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In my eyes, it's all about the mountains!

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Iglesia Luterana - yay, Lutherans!

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My tribute to Dale Gonyea :). Dale is a pianist, singer, songwriter, and comedian.

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Dairy farms are plentiful

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Returning to port we drove through Puerto Varas, the City of Roses.

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Back in Puerto Montt, the tide has risen and we had a level, sheltered walk to the ship's tender.

Posted by Swenigale 13:25 Archived in Chile

Feb 11 - CASTRO (CHILOÉ ISLAND), CHILE

overcast 68 °F
View Serenity 8 on Swenigale's travel map.

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We’ve entered the Chiloé Archipelago – obviously arriving at low tide!

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The Feria Artesanal Lillio – the island’s largest market place

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Many potato varieties

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Happy to make a sale! No English, but US dollars accepted!

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Iglesia de San Francisco, a fascinating blend of European and Chilean style. We were blessed with some early sunshine before rain clouds moved in.

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Working pay phones – getting scarce

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Because of the extreme tidal levels the traditional houses, or “Palafitos”, were built on stilts on the water’s edge.

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Here they line the Gamboa River.

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I spy a little kitty.

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Gotchya!

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After leaving the deserts and mines of Peru and Chile it is a treat to be in rose-growing climes.

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Don’t let the corrugated metal fool you – the interior of the church is all beautifully made of wood. The island rainforests provided all the timber needed for construction of the many churches scattered in the islands. Sixteen of the timber churches are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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For the past week we have been enjoying temperate weather, but we are ready to break out our hats and mittens as we continue south.

Posted by Swenigale 13:25 Archived in Chile

Feb 12 - PUERTO CHACABUCO, CHILE

sunny 70 °F
View Serenity 8 on Swenigale's travel map.

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The early bird catches the moon!

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The sun rose over the Andes as we sailed into the Aysen Fjord.

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At anchor near Chacabuco, population 1,234

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A long ride into the countryside brought us to.

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.Bahia Acantilada, the beach at the head of the Fjord.

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Luckily it was low tide, so we could walk on the beach in this pristine wilderness.

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No crowds - just puppies.

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.and boys, mud, and Tonka trucks.

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.and birds.

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The winding dirt road in the shadow of a mountain

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I'm in love with Chile!

We then returned to Serenity for the 5:15 pm Protestant Service - our Sunday worship time when in port.

Posted by Swenigale 08:55 Archived in Chile

Feb 13-14 - CRUISING CHILEAN FJORDS & STRAIT OF MAGELLAN

overcast 50 °F

VALENTINE'S DAY

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Happy Valentine's Day, friends and family!

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Great day for a party!

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We are enjoying two days at sea as we make our way to Punta Areas, Chile. In addition to enjoying the magnificent scenery, we had the opportunity to attend talks by some of the guest lecturers. We also held a rehearsal for the Crystal Chorus, which Ed is directing this year!

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On the 13th we sailed in the Inside Passage, but we have also been out in the open sea much of the time, with more "motion on the ocean" than we've seen since we set sail from Miami!

Posted by Swenigale 10:35 Archived in Chile

Feb 15 - PUNTA ARENAS, CHILE (Day 1)

overcast 54 °F
View Serenity 8 on Swenigale's travel map.

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Our last stop in Chile is in the only city on the 300 mile Strait of Magellan. Tug boats are waiting to help us dock, but luckily there are no winds today. Sunrise today was at 6:43AM and sunset is at 9:22PM.

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We drove up to the near-by Club Andino, passing these sculptures on the way. What are they? I have no idea.

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The small ski slope operates the chair lift in summer (that's now here) so visitors can get a ride and enjoy the view.

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Passing over Patagonian trees and horses!

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Below us stretch Punta Arenas and the Strait of Magellan with islands and Tierra del Fuego beyond.

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The lift ascends nearly 5000 feet.

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Patagonian blossoms

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Going down

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The cozy Andean Club

Posted by Swenigale 11:05 Archived in Chile

Feb 16 - PUNTA ARENAS, CHILE (Day 2)

semi-overcast 52 °F

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What’s this, you ask? Answer to come.

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Local knitters and crafters display their handiwork near Plaza Munos Gamero. Punta Arenas is the center of one of the world’s largest sheep farming areas.

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Summer flowers

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The Hill of the Cross

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The view was worth the climb.

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The impressive buildings around the main square are reminders of wealthy days before the Panama Canal was built when this was a busy coaling station for ships.

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Casa de Sara Braun

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Punta Arenas Cathedral

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The rest of the story – the police horses had those buckled hoof protectors in our first picture.

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Hola?

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Casa de Braun Menéndez, now the excellent Museo Regional de Magallanes

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Elegant

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The Condor is a monument erected in 1910, celebrating Chile’s 100th Anniversary of Independence. Punta Arenas, however, was only founded in 1848. It is Chile’s southernmost city.

Posted by Swenigale 10:05 Archived in Chile

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