Thursday, January 31, 2008

Buenos Aires

Well, where do I start? Since my last post, I've been to Buenos Aires. From there I took a cruise with my son, Jon, to Antarctica, with stops in the Falkland Islands, Ushaia, Punta Arenas and Montevideo. Of course we had a great time. We met some great people. The scenery was great. We saw amazing sights, like Orca whales, sea lions, seals and penguins, penguins, penguins. The weather was great. We had full time entertainment and full time 5 course meals. Even all our travel and flights went well. Not a single delay or lost bag!!
We spent a few days on both the front and back end of the cruise in Buenos Aires, Argentina, so maybe I should start there. It is the second largest city in South America, and often called the Paris of South America. I suppose this is because there is a significant European influence in the architecture and they have wide avenues and traffic circles, lots of statues, fountains, monuments and parks. For instance, the Obelisk or the fountain in the middle of 9 de Julio street. This is a street 16 lanes wide celebrating Argentina's independence.

We visited Recoleta, a historic district which includes the cemetery where Eva Peron is buried, along with many heroes and historic figures. The cemetery is pretty amazing in itself. I've never seen such an ornate cemetery.
I saw uncountable statues and monuments.
Lots of beautiful gardens.
Fountains and cathedrals, like these on 25 de Mayo Plaza.
Or, this memorial of the Malvinas war, otherwise known as the Falklands war. But more about that in the Falklands report. The Argentines are still quite sensitive about that.
And, of course, in Buenos Aires you have to have a taste of the Tango, which was invented here!
And with that quick tour of Buenos Aires, it was off to see the rest of the southern hemisphere.

If I haven't lost you already, keep tuned for some pictures from Antarctica, one of the most scenic places I've visited.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Pedernales Falls State Park

I’ll be off to South America and Antartica on Tuesday, but I had a chance to get in a couple of days hiking in Pedernales State Park. I started at Pedernales Falls, in the north end of the park. I always find it difficult to capture the feel of water falls in pictures, but since these were the best scenery in the park, I’m including several pictures.

Afterward I hiked to Twin Falls, a small but interesting double falls on a small stream in the central part of the park.

I camped in a remote area, about 2.5 miles on the Wolf Mountain trail in the southern part of the park. I was surprised at the number of hikers and backpackers. There were at least 6 sets of backpackers camping in the area, and hundreds of hikers. The weather was beautiful for January, with highs in the 70’s, so I guess this brought out the hikers and bikers. Plus, the park is only about 40 minutes from Austin.