Happy Thanksgiving!

Buenos Aires-Where I live, in northern California, it’s almost winter. The trees are ablaze with fall colors, and there’s a cool snap in the air. But here in B.A, of course, it’s almost summer, and amid all the green, the jacaranda trees color both the branches and ground below them with bright purple blossoms. The mediodia temperatures are in the 80s. Walking the streets, we feel the occasional drop of water on our head and shoulders. That’s …

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Aboard the ms Veendam: Montevideo by Geezer Bus

ABOARD THE ms VEENDAM–Yesterday, Sunday, was a sea day, always a experience in individual self-discovery. Everyone made themselves busy with ship activities or their own projects as we sailed from Puerto Madryn toward Montevideo, Uruguay. I for one discovered that I was not in good enough physical condition for the shore excursion I had booked for today: “Montevideo Architecture & Old Town” had a graphic symbol with three hikers alongside the description – triple difficulty – yikes, …

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Aboard the ms Veendam: Puerto Madryn, my hero

I have to admit that I never heard of Puerto Madryn before this cruise. But it will be forever remembered now as the place where I got my smile back. Harking back to the day we were traversing the Chilean fjords, you may recall that a large cap on my front tooth suddenly decided dislodge itself in my stateroom when I was doing nothing more vigorous than typing on my laptop. For one reason or another, I …

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Aboard the ms Veendam: Ushuaia and Cape Horn

ABOARD THE MS VEENDAM– Okay, I have to admit it. I missed Cape Horn, both visibly and audibly this morning. I was tired from yesterday’s excursion at Ushuaia, and still sound asleep at around 7 a.m. when they tell me captain blew the ship’s horn when we were at Cape Horn. This also marked the southernmost point on the cruise. (So I am including here a photo of Cape Horn which I took a few years ago …

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Aboard the ms Veendam: Pinnipeds and pinnacles

ABOARD THE MS VEENDAM-“I simply can’t believe where we are!” a woman said. Many of our group of about 100 felt the same way. We cruisers had deserted the Veendam to board a local ferry. It resembled more a World War II vehicle beach assault boat. In this craft we would invade an island penguin colony two and one-half hours away from Punta Arenas in the Strait of Magellan. Luckily the weather was just about perfect for …

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Aboard the MS Veendam: Strait talk about ice and soup

Aboard the MS Veendam–  I’ll always remember yesterday, November 11, because it’s the day I lost a front tooth aboard ship – or rather a very large crown, anyway. It doesn’t hurt much, but it’s pretty awful to look at. Actually I recovered the thing, but there was no way to re-install it on board. I went to the medical office down on “A” Deck, but the nurse there said quite definitely: “We don’t do dental work.” …

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Aboard the ms Veendam: Chacabuco

Aboard the ms Veendam-“Hi, how are ya? Where ya from?” I thought the accent was unmistakably Bostonian or “Back Bay.” I heard it while walking up the wild-flower covered hill and into the tiny village of Puerto Chacabuco. The welcoming stranger turned out to be one Paul Dion of Falmouth, Mass., the only English speaker resident in a town of about 2000 residents. He recently celebrated his 70th birthday. “I don’t speak much Spanish,” said Paul, going …

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Aboard the ms Veendam: The end and the beginning

ABOARD THE ms VEENDAM –  Our first port call on this fortnight journey was Puerto Montt, named for an early governor of the province. And it is quite literally at the end of the road. The road meaning the Pan American Highway, a noble concept whose opposite extreme is far, far away in Alaska. Pulling up to a small dock was not a practical option for the 55,000-ton, Veendam, so passengers boarded the ship’s tenders which ferried …

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Aboard the ms Veendam: A dodgy day at sea

ABOARD THE ms VEENDAM — Lots of veteran cruisers say that they absolutely just love a day at sea. Ah, yes, we can relax, can’t we? Get things done without any hectic shore excursions to prepare for. But then today day is our first day out of Valparaiso and we haven’t had any shore excursions yet. We don’t have any laundry to do either. Still, it seems too soon to open a book, doesn’t it? In contrast …

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We arrive in Valparaiso and board Holland America’s Veendam

VALPARAISO, Chile –This historic coastal town is about an hour’s bus ride from the capital of Santiago, and you know you’re there when you begin seeing houses fastened cheek-by-jowl on the sides of some steep hills. Ancient funicular railroads still operate in some neighborhoods. The city was often called “Little San Francisco” when it was a major port of call for ships headed for the gold country of California. Valparaiso prospered until 1914, the opening date of …

Read moreWe arrive in Valparaiso and board Holland America’s Veendam

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