Category Archives: Logistics

Walking in the Giants’ Steps

June 7, 2017:

Another big day in our itinerary is finally here: we are bound for the Giant’s Causeway to see this incredible geological formation that left giant hexagonal basalt columns sticking up like broken teeth or stepping stones on the edge of the ocean! It’s also time for us to get our geek on; specifically, geeking out about Game of Thrones. All along our drive today, we’ll be seeing several of the sites featured in the series, which Jim and I really enjoy. It turns out Steve is a big fan, too.

We drove out of Belfast this morning to the east to drive along the coast, for another very picturesque drive called the Nine Glens of Antrim drive.  We will spend the whole day in County Antrim, but you are very clearly still in Northern Ireland, as it seems that each successive town takes turns proclaiming their allegiance to either the Republican or Loyalist forces. You can easily tell this by the prominent use of either Irish national flags or the British tricolor. So much for getting out of the corrosive partisan atmosphere of Belfast!

Nonetheless, the drive was as lovely as advertised! Our first stop was in the town of Carrickfergus, with a fort dedicated to the English invasion of William III of Orange. Plainly, this is a Loyalist town, complete with a mock redcoat statue on the ramparts of the fort.

Carrickfergus-2
Carrickfergus Harbour
Carrickfergus-3
The fort
Carrickfergus-6
Statue of William III

Carrickfergus-8

Carrickfergus-9
The Redcoat on the Ramparts
Carrickfergus-14
Hi, Lauretta!
Carrickfergus-16
Clearly, a Loyalist town

Next, we stopped in the quaint seaside town of Glencloy, which has been used to film scenes in Game of Thrones, both as the seaside port in Braavos where Arya Stark goes to learn from the Faceless Man, and the cliffside behind the town, which was featured when the Whitewalkers attack the Wilding encampment, a  If all of that means nothing to you, just know that Glencloy is the prototypical Irish seaside town and enjoy it for that!

Causeway Drive-32
Coming in to Glencloy; the wall the Whitewalkers overran above the Wildings village
Causeway Drive-35
Entrance to Glencloy Harbour

Causeway Drive-37Causeway Drive-38Causeway Drive-41Causeway Drive-44

Causeway Drive-54
Where Arya comes ashore

Causeway Drive-57

 

Beyond that, we drove through village after quaint village, with sheep and lambs grazing happily in the fields. One town in particular, Ballycastle, looked like it might be a pleasant place to stay at the seashore, but we would probably pick the westside of the Irish Republic before we would come back here.

Causeway Drive-1Causeway Drive-12

Causeway Drive-110Causeway Drive-148Causeway Drive-155

Shortly thereafter, we pulled into a carpark on the coast on the cliffs high above the sea. From here, you can see the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, which connects the mainland to a tiny island that lies just feet off the coast. From here, you can also see the much larger Raflin island, and just 11 miles away, the outline of the coast of Scotland.  While I would have liked to climb across the bridge, several in our group don’t deal well with heights, and we still needed to get to the Giant’s Causeway.

Causeway-249

Causeway Drive-115Causeway Drive-117

Causeway Drive-119
The only house served by the rope bridge?

Causeway Drive-121

Causeway-253

Causeway Drive-123

Causeway Drive-125
The island of Raflin and the coast of Scotland behind it

Causeway Drive-135

Finally, we came into the town nearest the Causeway and had lunch at a very cozy pub, called, appropriately, The Nook.  Somewhat uncharacteristically for Northern Ireland, all of the young women working in the pub were very friendly.

Causeway Drive-159

Following lunch, we hopped on the shuttle bus which takes you into the Giant’s Causeway area, and at last, we were free to explore!  First I hiked out along the seashore just past the main tourist part of the sight, which was TEEMING with visitors.  Then I walked up the trail behind the site to see the organ pipe-shaped rock formations, and then up to the top of the cliffs overlooking the site so I could get some perspective shots. Finally, I scampered down to the main site to see all I could before we left.  Sadly, I felt like I did not get nearly enough time here, and I would like to return someday, perhaps when there are fewer tourists.

Causeway Drive-176Causeway Drive-177Causeway Drive-178Causeway Drive-182Causeway Drive-185Causeway Drive-187

Causeway Drive-190Causeway Drive-191Causeway Drive-193Causeway Drive-197Causeway Drive-198Causeway Drive-199Causeway Drive-200Causeway Drive-202Causeway Drive-205-2Causeway Drive-205Causeway Drive-207

Causeway Drive-209Causeway Drive-210Causeway Drive-211Causeway Drive-212

Causeway-261Causeway Drive-219

Then it was back in the bus to continue our tour of Game of Thrones sites.  As we drove south from the north coast of Northern Ireland, we headed for the location of the  “Dark Hedges”; more properly known as Kingsroad in the series. This location is a country road lined with twisted, gnarly beech trees, and was used a few times, including in the scene where Arya Stark dresses up like a boy to escape from King’s Landing, but is captured instead, and dragged off to the Brothers without Banners hideout (which was filmed in another part of Northern Ireland — Pollnagollum Cave, in County Fermanagh).  The actual road is Bregagh Road, outside of Stranocum, in the Ballymoney district in County Antrim.  Obviously, this is not a well-kept secret, as tour busses jockeyed for position, and it was a challenge to get a photo without other tourists in it. Some people went to elaborate lengths to strike poses from the GOT scenes.

Dark Hedges from Game of Thrones-1Dark Hedges from Game of Thrones-4Dark Hedges from Game of Thrones-5Dark Hedges from Game of Thrones-7Dark Hedges from Game of Thrones-9

Finally, it was back to Belfast.  We enjoyed a super good meal at the restaurant James  Street South. Tomorrow dawns with the last day of our tour, so we all hurried back to pack and go to bed.

 

 

Sail Away Saturday

April 8, 2017:

This morning we arose to another beautiful day in Casco Viejo, and made our way over to the “Super Gourmet (or “Super G”, to the locals) for a killer breakfast. Super G was one of the first outposts of civilization returning to Casco Viejo a few years ago. It was started by a guy from Tennessee named Blake, and it’s really good.

Then we packed up and were picked up from La Isabela by Rafael (also from Easy Travel Panama) who had the task of taking us to the new Visitors’ Center at the expansion of the Panamá Canal at the Gatún Locks, before driving us over to the cruise port terminal in Colón, where we will board the Windstar Star Breeze, for our tour through Colombia and the ABC Netherlands Antilles islands (Aruba, Bonaire & Curaçao).

Once again, we scored as we approached the locks because we were able to watch one of the newport-Panamax cargo ships going through the locks. This was a feat that would not have been possible before the opening of the new, wider third lane of the Panamá Canal last year.  2 years ago, we were able to go to this same spot on the Pacific side of the Canal to see construction nearing an end.  Notably, at that time, the contractors had just installed the cool new hydraulic locks and were testing them.

Panama City-69

Panama City-74

This time, we were able to see the locks operating, and the ship being very carefully guided into the entrance of the locks by four separate 60,000 horsepower tugboats.  There was a stiff cross breeze blowing, so the tugs really had their work cut out for them!  I know this is two posts in a row about the amazing engineering marvels of this Canal, and its locks, so maybe JIm is rubbing off too much on me and I’m geeking out a bit too much. But, … it really is cool!

Panama City-71

Panama City-76

Panama City-79

Panama City-81

Panama City-85

Panama City-86

Panama City-88

Finally, it was time to drive over to the Cristobal port and board our home for the next 8 nights.  As you can see, Shawn made even the muster cluster safety drill fun!  Stay tuned, because after about an arduous 1 hour sail tonight, tomorrow we explore Portobelo.

Panama City-89

Panama City-91

Panama City-92

Making Tracks for Montenegro

Sept. 26, 2015: This morning went got aboard our bus, and headed off to the south of Dubrovnik into the country of Montenegro.  I’ve already told you a little about the siege of Dubrovnik, but we need to do a little history lesson before we go much further.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but the early 1990s are somewhat of a blur to me, possibly because we were totally consumed with child-rearing in those years. As a result, I can remember almost nothing about the Geo-politics affecting the former republic of Yugoslavia, whose breakup resulted in the countries of Croatia, Bosnia-Herzogovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia being formed following the death of Josip Broz “Tito” in 1980.  For a while, the republic carried on with a rotating presidency among its 6 constituent republics.

However, we’ve had to do a deep dive on the history of this region in order to have any clue about what we’re seeing and what its historical significance might be, so we thought it might also be of assistance to you.   In any event, here’s your minimal refresher so you can somewhat keep the next few posts straight.

Marshall Tito, former president of Yugoslavia, died in 1980.  He was probably best-known (and most charitably remembered) for his ability to keep several distinctly different cultural and religious groups united into a cohesive republic for over 40 years.  However, upon his death, there was a power vacuum, and the constituent groups started to break apart.  The war criminal former leader of Serbia, Slobodan Milošević, planting the seeds of suspicion that a plot was afoot in Kosovo to oust or suppress the Serbian citizens of Kosovo. Using that as a pretext, Serbia annexed Kosovo.  With some concern for the fate of their own republics, Slovenia and Croatia decided to secede. The first to go was Slovenia, which declared its independence in 1991. It was followed shortly thereafter by Croatia.  Slovenia and Croatia are predominantly Roman Catholic. Montenegro and Serbia are predominantly Eastern Orthodox. However, Bosnia-Herzogovina is a melting pot, which while predominantly Muslim, also has Bosnian Serbs (E. Orthodox) and Croats.  While Slovenia wasn’t strategically important, Croatia had both its lengthy sea coast, agricultural and manufacturing strongholds and strategic military posts.  As a result, the remaining people of the Yugoslav Republic (largely egged on by the Serbians under Slobodan Milošević),  labelled the Croatians traitors, and Montenegro led the attacks against them, supplied by forces of the Yugoslav People’s Army as directed by the government in Belgrade, Serbia.

Fast forward to today: As we drove though the southern part of Croatia, specifically the valley of Cilippi, which had been the Croatian manufacturing center, you can still see mile after mile of cratered manufacturing sites. Unlike the aid Dubrovnik enjoyed, the rest of southern Croatia still has numerous unrepaired areas. In fact, the whole area is now only good for agricultural use.  Moreover, the entire valley still has active land mines which claim a life on a fairly regular basis. Needless to say, this is a pretty brutal wake up call for us.

Montenegro is just about 40 kilometers to the south of Dubrovnik. Our agenda today was to the visit the World Heritage-recognized Bay of Kotor.  Here is a link so you can see the immensity of this bay:

https://www.google.ba/maps/place/Bay+of+Kotor/@42.4420709,18.6454101,12z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x134c24ea7304ad47:0x179c23bc9eff7238?hl=en

The Bay of Kotor is basically the southern-most fjord in Europe and enjoys the deepest shipping bay in Europe.

We stopped in the town of Perast, along the Bay of Kotor, to board a boat which would take us first to the Church/shrine at Our Lady of the Rocks about five minutes’ cruise off the shore of Perast. Local legend has it that the island was formed by local fishermen dropping rocks on a reef to form the island after two of them saw an icon to the Virgin Mary cast up upon the reef. To this day, every summer, the villagers of Perast take to their boats to make a pilgrimage out to the island to drop more stones.  This church has become a shrine to fishermen who believe that the Lady of the Rocks protects them and the church contains numerous offerings from fisherman who believe She has saved them.

Our Lady of the Rocks
Our Lady of the Rocks

Our Lady of the Rocks Our Lady of the Rocks

Our Lady of the Rocks

Our Lady of the Rocks

Our journey continues along the Bay to the actual town of Kotor, past numerous small villages that all sort of look like they are sitting on a lake in the Alps. For such an heavily fished a trafficked bay, the water is amazingly clear, and we really enjoy our cruise on the calm waters.

Montenegro 6

Montenegro 7

Montenegro 8

Montenegro 9

Montenegro 10

Upon arriving in the town of Kotor, which is a well-preserved medieval town that managed to escape conquest by the Ottoman Empire, we are dumbfounded to see an absolutely immense cruise ship docked at the pier which utterly dwarfs the adjacent town.  I guess they weren’t kidding when they told us how deep the bay is!

Montenegro 12

Montenegro 11

After enjoying a tour of the town and an alfresco lunch, we boarded the bus for the ride back to Dubrovnik.

Montenegro 21

Montenegro 20

Montenegro 19

Montenegro 18

Montenegro 17 Montenegro 16

Montenegro 15

Montenegro 14

Montenegro 13

Rather than driving back around the bay, the bus took a ferry that was smaller than the one we had used to get to Hvar to get us back on the road to Dubrovnik. It was quite the logistical achievement!

We returned to Dubrovnik in time for one more spectacular sunset, and enjoyed dinner at a great restaurant called Komine.

 

 

From the Shores of Lake Titicaca

Today (May 3rd), we departed early for our drive to the town of Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca.  Although it’s only about 100 miles from La Paz to Copacabana, it takes about four hours to get there, including a short ferry crossing.

But first, we had to navigate through the the rapidly expanding twin city to La Paz, Los Altos.  Sitting atop the flatlands (altiplano) above La Paz, Los Altos was recently recognized as the most rapidly expanding city in the world. It certainly seems to be true, as everywhere you look, building is going on. Unfortunately, the traffic problems have been commensurate with the building boom, and we had to inch along through Los Altos even at 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning of a holiday weekend.

Los Altos
Los Altos
Building Boom
Building Boom

Once out of Los Altos, we drove through the very high plains watching the local farmers harvesting their crops (mostly quinoa, fava beans, oats and potatoes), while others herded their sheep, cows and the occasional llama.

Titicaca Day 1 3

About two hours out of town, we drove through a local community holding a parade to celebrate the religious holiday. Everyone was dressed in their Sunday best, and dancing /marching as they progressed to the community church. It was quite the sight!

Titicaca Day 1 5

Titicaca Day 1 6

Titicaca Day 1 7Titicaca Day 1 8

Titicaca Day 1 9Titicaca Day 1 10Titicaca Day 1 11Titicaca Day 1 12Titicaca Day 1 13

Our next stop was on the shores of Lake Titicaca for us to meet the master reed boat maker, who became Thor Heyerdahl ‘s friend, and oversaw the building of several of his expeditionary reed boats.  He and his daughters showed us how the boats are made, and shared amazing photographs from all the expeditions he has been part of, and the honors bestowed on him by his own and other governments.

First sight of Lake Titicaca
First sight of Lake Titicaca

Titicaca Day 1 14

Balsa Wood Boats made of Totora reeds
Balsa Wood Boats made of Totora reeds

Titicaca Day 1 16Titicaca Day 1 17

Paulino Esteban
Paulino Esteban

Titicaca Day 1 19

As we drove onward towards the ferry, we crossed over a pass at 14,100 feet, and we about 5 miles from the Peruvian border. Perú also shares the shore of Lake Titicaca, which, at over 3800 square miles, is easy to understand.  We boarded a tiny ferry in the little town of Taquina, while our bus went by separate ferry.  Thankfully, we weren’t headed in the opposite direction, because the line of holiday traffic heading back to La Paz stretched nearly a mile!

Taquina Strait
Taquina Strait

Titicaca Day 1 21Titicaca Day 1 23

Shortly thereafter, we arrived in the town of Copacabana.  This was apparently the first town in Latin America to bear this name, with even the iconic beach in Rio having copied the name.  Our hotel, the Rosario del Lago is absolutely charming, and all the rooms look out on the bay on the lake. This holiday weekend, the shoreline is packed with holiday revelers, with many of them doing various sports out on the lake, despite the fact that it is a glacial lake at about 13,500 feet elevation!

Hotel Rosario del Lago
Hotel Rosario del Lago

After lunch, we walked into town. Everywhere we went, we could hear the sounds of various bands, many aided by copious amounts of cerveza. Our destination was the Basilica of Our Lady Copacabana. I have to confess, dear readers, that after four months in heavily Catholic countries, my capacity to fully appreciate another church was probably at an all-time low. Nonetheless, as we approached the Basilica, there was something new.  Outside the church was a whole line of stands set up to bless cars. This consisted of decorating the vehicles with flowers and other decorations, and anointing the cars and trucks with beer and champagne while they were blessed by the resident priest. Even I had to admit it was pretty cool!

Titicaca Day 1 25

The Blessing of the Cars
The Blessing of the Cars
Basilica of Copacabana
Basilica of Copacabana

Titicaca Day 1 28

The Aymara native who carved the Madonna of Candelaria
The Aymara native who carved the Madonna of Candelaria

As we went Inside the church, though, I was pleased to see a somewhat austere sanctuary (relative to most of the other South American churches we have seen).

However, the coolest part of the Basilica was its separate chapel for the Madonna of Candelaria completely devoted to various famous Madonnas (patronas) and generally, to the power and importance of women. Churches from all over the world have sent representative replicas of their iconic Madonnas, and there is a general acceptance that the chapel honors not only the Catholic worship of the Madonna, but also the indigenous worship of the Earth Mother (Pachamama).

Because it was a saint’s day today, everyone in town was dressed in their Sunday best, and their were dancing bands all over town.  We also saw the entrance to the 14 stages of the cross which go up the local hill behind town. Then we walked along the shore of the lake and enjoyed the setting sun.

Titicaca Day 1 30Titicaca Day 1 32Titicaca Day 1 34

Sunset at Lake Titicaca
Sunset at Lake Titicaca
Sunset at Lake Titicaca
Sunset at Lake Titicaca

Gnarly Genovesa 

Our story resumes at sea some six hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador , in the Galápagos Islands, moored off Isla de Genovesa on this, the first day of April, in the year 2015.  Yesterday, we flew from Guayaquil to San Cristobál Island, where we boarded our small expeditionary yacht, the Isabela II.  Our cabins are very comfortable, if small, and there are only 22 cabins. We spent the afternoon and evening being briefed on safety and ecological protocols, which are very strict here. Here is the map of where we will go.

map_eg2011

Generally, we landed on San Cristobal island, and in this order, will visit Geneovesa, Santiago, Isabella and Fernandina and back to Isabella, Rabida, and end on Santa Cruz Island.

Arriving in the Galapagosos Islands
Arriving in the Galapagosos Islands

The day began with a panga (which is what the locals call the small Zodiaks we use) tour along the cliffs of Genovesa Island, to our landing spot at Prince Phillip steps. We climbed up some challenging stone steps about 150 yards to get to the lava fields on the top of the island which are nesting grounds for the frigate birds and the Nazca boobies and red-footed boobies, among tons of other bird life.

Genovesa-morning 2

Genovesa-morning 3

Right away, we saw the frigate birds who were at the height of their mating season.  How do we know this, dear readers?! Because the males have a huge red air sac under their necks which they inflate into giant bulbous balloons as they are hunting for female frigates with whom to mate.  Some of them stay in this condition for very long periods of time, which led to many funny Viagra jokes amongst our fellow travelers. We also saw a bunch of fur seals right on the rocks next to the stairs, resting after a big morning swim.

Genovesa-morning 7

As soon as we got to the top of the stairs, we were virtually surrounded by horny frigate birds, in the sky, on the ground, and in the bushes. In many cases, even when you couldn’t see the frigates, you could see these giant red balloons sticking out of the bushes.

Baby fur seal resting after breakfast

Genovesa-morning 6

We also saw the Nazca and red-footed boobies nesting in the bushes and on the ground. While some were building nests or sitting on their nests, we also got to see baby boobies being fed. It was pretty cool.  However, the height of the morning for me was that as we hiked across the lava fields, we found an owl hiding in the lava crevices hunting for its prey.  We stalked it long enough, we even got to see it leave its hiding place to attempt an attack.

Genovesa-morning 9

Genovesa-morning 10

Red-footed booby
Red-footed booby

Genovesa-morning 14

Genovesa-morning 15

Baby Red-footed Booby
Baby Red-footed Booby

Genovesa-morning 18

Genovesa-morning 8

Short-eared owl
Short-eared owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl

Genovesa-morning 23

Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl hunting
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Male frigate bird on Viagra
Male frigate bird on Viagra

Genovesa-morning 34

Genovesa-morning 36

Mommy Red-footed Booby feedings its chick
Mommy Red-footed Booby feedings its chick
Nazca Booby
Nazca Booby

Genovesa-morning 40

Genovesa-morning 41

Genovesa-morning 42

Genovesa-morning 43

Genovesa-morning 45

Our ship, the Isabela II
Our ship, the Isabela II

Genovesa-morning 47

Then we returned to the ship to do some some snorkeling off the pangas. The snorkeling was pretty awesome, and the water was about 78 degrees. Jim got to see a manta ray, but I was elsewhere. I had fun helping one of our tour members overcome her apprehension, so we could expose her to the wonders of the undersea world.  Some of the seal lions came very close to us and played around where we were snorkeling. How cool!

We returned to the ship for lunch, and the Captain moved the ship to another part of the island, where we went to see more boobies and frigates, and to see if we could spot some fur seals. Score on all three counts!  We had a wet landing this time on a small secluded beach where we were the only people. right away, we saw some nesting red-footed boobies. This part of the island has completely different terrain than our landing site this morning, with lots of tide pools, low mangrove trees, sandy beaches, and lots of cactus.  In some of the larger tide pools, we could see small sting rays flitting around, and as we looked over, there was a baby fur seal playing in a rock crevice!

Genovesa-afternoon 1

short tailed gull
short tailed gull

Genovesa-afternoon 3

Genovesa-afternoon 5

Genovesa-afternoon 7

Genovesa-afternoon 8

Genovesa-afternoon 9

baby fur seal
baby fur seal
Small sting ray in a tide pool
Small sting ray in a tide pool

Genovesa-afternoon 18

Genovesa-afternoon 19

We walked along the beach and saw hundreds of frigate birds, all puffed up and looking for their mates.  There were also jillions of Sally Lightfoot crabs, which are so attractive with their bright orange and blue coloring.  Finally, we took advantage of the lovely secluded beach, and took a plunge while we were waiting for the pangas to come to take us back our floating home. tomorrow promises to be another great day!

Genovesa-afternoon 21

Genovesa-afternoon 23

Genovesa-afternoon 25

Genovesa-afternoon 26

Genovesa-afternoon 27

Genovesa-afternoon 31

Genovesa-afternoon 29

Genovesa-afternoon 30

Genovesa-afternoon 33

Genovesa-afternoon 35

Genovesa-afternoon 36Genovesa-afternoon 37

Paying the “Drake Tax”

Monday, February 2, 2015

There’s a saying about the Drake Passage: there are three ways to make the crossing: you can sail on the Drake Lake; you can be thrown around in the Drake Shake; or you can pay the Drake Tax! After it looked like we were in for a shaking, given the weather report the first night, although there was some rocking and rolling the first night, we awoke to somewhat calmer waters than we expected. Still, despite anti-sea sick pills and sea sick patches, a large number of our fellow passengers were down for the count.

However, thanks to taking our Bonine (we love you for the recommendation, John Rudek), we awoke fully functional, and ready to face the day. Our cabin is on the third deck, and before we set off last night, the cabin steward moved all our deck furniture into our cabin. We went down to breakfast on Deck 2, and occasionally waves would completely cover the windows while we were eating.

On this first full day at sea we had a number of compulsory briefings. We had the life boat drill, the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators briefing (i.e. How to behave in the Antarctic) and the how to get in and out of the zodiac briefing. The later was especially important as the only way we get on and off of our ship during the cruise is by inflatable zodiac boats.

We also had voluntary briefings by our 11 person naturalist staff. They ranged from biologists to geophysical scientists to botanists. We had a very well qualified group to lead us. Today we had a lecture on penguins.

The Drake passage crossing usually takes a full two days. We battened down the hatches and got ready for a rough ride.

Ferry to Montevideo

Today we said farewell to our Tauck Patagonia friends and headed off for Uruguay. After a nice lazy morning, we checked out at noon and got a ride to the Buquebus terminal. Buquebus is the ferry service from BA to Montevideo. We bought business class tickets and the service was very nice. They had quite the duty-free shop on the boat, and the seats were big and leather upholstered.

Upon arriving at Montevideo we cleared customs (immigration was done back at BA on departure), collected our luggage and caught a taxi. All was fine until the taxi blew a stop sign and was hit by a bus. Our taxi was totaled. Fortunately, Stacy saw it coming and braced for impact. I, however, was bent over trying to figure out how many Uruguayan pesos the taxi ride was going to cost, so instead of bracing for the impact, my head impacted the glass separating us from the driver. I was a bit stunned. The whole thing was a mess. To our driver’s credit, he immediately got us in another cab, and we were on our way before we might have been detained with a lot of questions. Miraculously, no one was hurt. And we arrived at our lodgings, Casa Sarandi, minutes later.

At Casa Sarandi, we were met by our landlady, Karen. Karen is a delighftul woman originally from the UK who, with her Uruguayan husband, Sergio, manage some rental properties in Montevideo. She is a great hostess, and totally briefed us on all the ins and outs of Montevideo, especially the old part of the city where we were located.

Montevideo

She gave us a wonderful dinner suggestion for a restaurant called Dueto, which we took her up on and had a fabulous meal served by the couple that own and run the restaurant.