Robin's Adventures

Antarctic Expedition
A Party with Penguins

Our Antarctic Adventure Begins

Antarctica is the coldest, driest, and windiest place on earth. Less than 1% of the continent is permanently ice-free and the ice covering the continent averages about a mile thick.

Why would anyone want to vacation there? Not only is the scenery incredible, but also the region is home to about 12 million penguins, seven different types of seals, and a multitude of migratory whale species. Besides that, since we have already visited the Arctic, this was our opportunity to become "bipolar".

Our journey began with a flight from Los Angeles to Buenos Aries with a brief stopover in Miami. We spent two nights in Buenos Aries before catching a flight to Ushuaia. After lunch and a hike through Alarken Nature Reserve, we boarded the ship that was to take us on our Antarctic adventure.

About Town in Buenos Aries

Buenos Aires, which means "fair winds," has a delightful mixture of old Spanish and European style buildings and modern new glass and steel structures. Examples are the Mirador Massue building in Lavalle Square and the Palace of Supreme Justice, built in 1910.

As we wandered about town, we saw a 75-foot tall steel and aluminum flower that electronically closes up each night, a tall obelisk built in 1936 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the city, and a 15 ton, 100-foot tall sculpture of Eva Peron on the side of the Ministry of Social Justice Building.

While visiting Buenos Aires, we stayed in the Park Hyatt Hotel.

The Malba Museum

We spent a delightful afternoon wandering through the Malba Museum enjoying the exhibits which were designed to showcase Latin American art.

Colon Theater

The Colon Theater, which is ranked by National Geographic as the third best opera house in the world and is considered to be in the top five acoustically, first opened its doors in 1908. The house has seating for 2,487 and standing room for an additional 1,000 patrons.

Recoleta Buenos Aires Church

This Catholic Church, which was built in 1732, is one of the oldest churches in the city. The exterior of the church is painted white and the inside contains many interesting religious artifacts. The church is next door to the Recoleta Cemetery.

Recoleta Cemetery

The Recoleta Cemetery, which was named one of the ten most beautiful cemeteries in the world by CNN, consists of 4,691 above ground vaults spread out over 14 acres. 94 of the vaults have been declared historic monuments and are protected by the state.

Notable "residents" include Eva Peron, Napoleon's granddaughter, Nobel Prize winners, and former Argentine presidents.

More Recoleta Cemetery

The cemetery is set up in sections with walkways lined with mausoleums that are reminiscent of houses lining city streets. The land was once an orchard that belonged to the church, but became a cemetery in 1822.

La Boca Neighborhood

The La Boca Neighborhood, which has a strong Italian influence, is most noted for its colorful buildings that line several pedestrian streets. There are many tango clubs and Italian taverns as well as places to shop and dine in sidewalk cafes.

La Boca, which means "the mouth," is located at the mouth of the Riachuelo River and the area used to have a large shipyard. Many of the buildings here are constructed of leftover materials from the shipyard, such as corrugated iron and wooden planks. This gives the area a unique appearance and a flavor all its own.

Arriving in Ushuaia

Ushuaia, which is the southernmost city in the world, is located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago at the southernmost tip of South America. Snowcapped mountains and a large ocean channel surround the city, so the view is spectacular in every direction.

We had lunch in the Alarkin Resort and then hiked through the Alarkin Nature Reserve before heading down to the harbor to board our ship.

Alarken Nature Reserve

Our afternoon was spent wandering delightful trails, which wound through forests of Southern Beech trees and along the edges of old peat bogs covered in sphagnum moss. The view from the mountaintop was amazing.