Oceania Mystical Fjords Cruise, Iguazu Falls, Argentina Buenos Aires, Argentina, Montevideo, Uruguay, Punta Del Este, Uruguay
OCEANIA MYSTICAL FJORDS FEB
There were to be 10 ports we would stop at. I would spend hours researching excursions and reading on what is best to do in each port. I would join 2 ports where 4 British people were looking for 2 to join their private excursion for 6 people. I love to do small groups. I Rarely do Cruise ship tours anymore. I have found the smaller tours are better and you end up seeing more than on a ship excursion. Plus a lot cheaper. Cruise Critic also is a valuable resource as well as trip advisor. The internet has so much information. I also read lots of other trip blogs or reports to get ideas. I had two ports I could not find what I wanted and Jim helped me and chose a bike and hiking tour.
I have always wanted to do a trip around Cape Horn. We chose the Oceana Cruise line because we liked the itinerary. Little did we know this trip would have many twists and turns. It would end up having 8 more sea days and a transient through the Panama Canal. I had no idea we would see the beauty that we would encounter on this trip.
We had a trip planned and our daughter in law Staci said if we were going to Buenos Aires we had to make a stop at Iguazu falls. I started researching and decided it looked like we should add it on to the beginning of the trip. The first obstacle was finding a place for 26 days to park the car. I finally found Baymont in Glenview a little further out from the airport to fly and stay. We will spend the night when we get back. Our flight comes in at Midnight.
The driver was new from the hotel and told us this was his second time to O Hare. He was searching for his directions, this should have been our first warning that this drive was going to be interesting. It was 11 miles from the airport and he had no idea how to get there. Jim had to give him directions. He scared the bejeegeezes out of us because he would change lanes without signaling. We left at 5 pm to Dallas. Ate sandwiches at the airport. Left Dallas airport at 9:30 pm for a 10 1/2 hour flight. We arrived at 0930am. It took an hour to get through customs. We had to collect our luggage and go through security for our third flight to falls. It was sunny and warm so we walked outside to kill some time. The flight was not until 5 pm. We could not check checked-in baggage until 2 pm. We had to pay $20 for each checked bag. Jim and I shared a sandwich at the Hardrock Hotel. It was really good. We arrived at Iguazu airport at 6:00 pm. Our driver, from the hotel, was waiting for us at the airport. The charge was $15. As we entered the park, he stopped to buy our admission tickets to the park.
The hotel Grand Meis Iguazu is inside the park.
We were greeted with a welcome drink. The view of the falls from the lobby was amazing. They told us there was a Tango show in the dining room at 7 pm. We dropped our bags in our room and went down to the Tango show in the dining room. Tonight was a buffet with many Argentine types of meat
We were exhausted from traveling and went to bed at 0930.
We ate at the breakfast buffet at 0630 so we could be on the trail at 0800.
We went to get a ticket for the jungle and fall ride to the left of the hotel then went to the upper trail. Staying at the hotel you get to enter one hour before everyone else so there was no one on the trail.
The line was already getting long but we got in the second Jungle cruiser. Really not much to see in jungle Huge spiders and birds.
There is usually one female in the center of the web and three male spiders on outer edges. We arrived and had lots of steps down to the boat. The ride was exhilarating. We went under the falls twice. they gave you a large dry bag. I recommend just being in a bathing suit and take shoes off. My pants got soaked but dried out quickly. It was a fun ride. What comes down must go up we had several steps to get back up to Jungle cruiser. This took a couple of hours and we went back to spend some time at the hotel infinity pool.
It was a beautiful and sunny day. We stayed till 1 pm then headed to do the lower trail. This trail had so many steps. I had my right knee replaced in May but now my left knee was talking to me. This trail had become very crowded and we just took our time. The lower trail was even more breathtaking than the upper trail.
We then took the 4 pm train to devils throat you start your journey via the Jungle Train to the Devil’s Throat Station From there, on foot, you’ll take a footbridge of 3,600 feet that leads to the immense waterfalls. It’s a safe, quiet, level bridge that’s wheelchair accessible. The platform at the end offers incredible views of the fall
Back to the hotel and had a drink up in the upstairs lounge with a view of the falls
supper was in the hotel restaurant from the menu tonight.
Yesterday we saw a way to eliminate all the steps. We decided to do the lower falls again. We did the lower trail from the park where you just went to all the falls. Only people there for over an hour. This alone made staying at a hotel worth the extra money.
WE went back and had a breakfast buffet that was included.
Jim got a late check out at 1 pm. A driver took us to the airport for $15. The airport is very small and when we landed got luggage. They had a booth inside to get taxis for 30$ to the hotel a half-hour away. When we went to get in a cab, a luggage handler grabbed my luggage for two feet then demanded a tip. He grabbed it out of my hand. Jim gave him a buck.
We took 5 pm flight back to Buenos aires. Arrived took a taxi to the hotel Charles. When we arrived she could not find our reservation and said it had been canceled. She was very nice and took copies of our documents. I went up and called the international credit card number to see if they had a record of the encounter. They said they did but it was canceled and credited back to us in Jan. We were gone to St John and Jim did not notice on our credit bill. Luckily she had a room and honored our price. The lesson learned to verify the hotel before traveling! She gave us directions to the restaurant a few blocks away.
We walked a couple of blocks to the restaurant recommended
We had ham and cheese empanadas, Flank steak and salmon and side of fries with q bottle of Chilian wine.
Sunday we had a complimentary breakfast at the hotel, We walked a couple of blocks to catch our tour by Viator to the Tigress river, It was a half-day tour, We were only Americans. the guide spoke Spanish. English and Portegues. We took a small bus to the Market and then did the river cruise on Tigres river.
We then had an hour river cruise.
At the end of the tour dropped us at Puerto Nervo at a restaurant where our late lunch was included.
I ordered a Stella beer and they brought me a liter bottle. No problem Jim helped me. Lunch was really good and all we had to pay was for beverages. Portions were so big we took half back to the hotel for later.
We took our first Uber ride back to the hotel.
We got back to the hotel and Jim went out to explore while I rested my knee. We were going to a local La Milonga later, a tango for locals. Jim came back all excited. He found a Basilica that had an evening mass at 730. He does so much for me I thought this is the least I can do for him. We walked to Mass at 730 and then walked through the park of a square that was close.Even though Mass was in Spanish it was a great way to end a Sunday night.
We ate breakfast at the hotel
We had time to kill and went walking, saw a pop-up tango on the street, Sorry can not get the video to play on here.
Took taxi 7$ to port. Coronavirus had started in China. they checked our passports to see if we had been to China in 30 days. Took our temperature and we were on at 1230, Went to the library to get books and to reservation for specialty restaurants. There are 4 specialty restaurants that are included in price. We checked to see if they had any openings and were able to get a joined table at 630.
Our room is large. they did not need all the WC rooms so Michele snagged it for us. Our room is 7085 We each had a desk which was nice for all the electronics.
We went up to eat in wave restaurant the pool dining. You order and they bring it to your table. I had steak and lobster sandwich without the bread so good
We went to walk around the ship. We had a dinner shared a table at Red Ginger. This would end up being our favorite specialty restaurant.
Lobster pad thai
We ate with two widows that were traveling together.
Tuesday, Feb 25th Montevideo Uruguay
It is a major city along Montevideo Bay. Montevideo exudes European charm and elegance. It revolves around the Plaza de la Independencia, once home to a Spanish citadel. This plaza leads to Ciudad Vieja (the old town), with art deco buildings, colonial homes and landmarks including the towering Palacio Salvo and neoclassical performance hall Solís Theatre. Mercado del Puerto is an old port market filled with many steakhouses.
San Felipe Santiago de Montevideo overlooks the north shore of the Rio de la Plata where the waters of the mighty river meet the Atlantic Ocean.
Most of the countryside is a farm or ranchland. The life of the cowboy or gaucho is part of the local lore. Our guide said at this time the city was doing well and wealth could be judged by how many cows one had. Right now cow rich.
We had a tour with 4 brits, Helen and Jim. Carol and Eric,
Private guide Laura with tours by locals.
We went to city squares a port market Parlement, river drive, The river is the widest in the world here on the northeastern bank of the Río de la Plata. the Río de la Plata may be considered a river, an estuary, a gulf or a marginal sea. It is the widest river in the world, with a maximum width of (140 mi). , central parks, Uruguayans call good time in-country fat cow. We stopped at a market close to the ship and had a beer and flatbread ,a thin chickpea flatbread called fainá. Its earthy flavor and crispy crust add an unexpected taste and texture, not to mention more carbs. We also went to a lookout and 360 degrees of the city,
pulling in port
Square Mata drink is a traditional drink in South America. It is made of an infusion of dried leaves of yerba mate.
360 degree views of the city
we went to supper with Eric and Carol from the UK.They had an opening in Polo so the four of us ate there.
Wednesday Punte de Este Uruguay
We Had to take a tender, so went down to get tickets and Jim called me in the room that they were boarding. He had picked a bike ride for our excursion today, We med our bike guide, Alicia,
There were 12 bikers today. We got fitted with bikes and helmets and vests. We started down the coast.
Fashionable Punta Del Este is one of the world's most appealing seaside resorts. Its white-sand beaches and artsy vibe. The rich and famous flock here.
Went to lighthouse and church
The sculpture of hand on the beach symbolizes humanity coming to life.
We Went back to the ship and did two loads of laundry. Beautiful sunset.
Thursday was a sea day
I went to Marina showroom for a lecture on animals. Tried a scarf tying class and Jim went to a lecture by Verne Lianquists sportscaster. Went up to Horizen to dance and for captain's cocktail. We went down to Polo specialty dining for a shared table. a great group Met Roy and Joyce that we would share supper with later on. I had lobster.
Friday another Sea Day getting cooler outside
Jim had a spin class and I had a cooking class in Red Ginger, my partner was Marylin. What an experience We cooked spring roll, watermelon and duck salad, lobster pad thai and dessert.
Part 2 link