Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Looking Back

We have been home for almost five weeks now and it is time for a look back at our recent trip to SAm.

This trip was quite different than our last one when we depended on our BMW motorcycles to carry us to Ushuaia.  Return to SAm 2012 used airplanes, boats and buses to get us where we wanted to go.  Fourteen flight segments on three different airlines (American, LAN, and Aerogal) covered most of the miles.  We lived on a large yacht for a week in the Galapagos, and took a bus across the Andes twice on our visit to Mendoza.  Two major items, the Galapagos and Easter Island, were removed from our bucket list.

I replaced my small Asus laptop on this trip with an iPad 2 and a small bluetooth keyboard.  The Blogsy app for the iPad worked very well and when I had a problem with the blog the Blogsy team was very helpful is getting things rectified.  Photos are very easy to to manipulate on the iPad and the touch screen along with the bluetooth keyboard are very complementary.  The only problem I had with the 16GB iPad was running out of memory due to the number of photos I wanted to store.  It will be replacing it with a new 64GB unit before our next trip.

Last year when we visited Buenos Aires and rented an apartment we discovered the best way to explore a large city:  rent an apartment in a good location and use it as your base for exploring the city.  You have the use of a kitchen to cut down on eating costs, a comfortable living room usually with cable TV and wi-fi, and of course, your private bathroom or two.  The cost per night is usually much cheaper than a big hotel and often is competitive with an nice hostel.  The two sites we used for this trip were www.vrbo.com and www.homeaway.com  There are many sites on the internet catering to travelers looking for lodging, but we were quite happy with these two.

We visited many interesting places during our seven weeks south of the equator, but two in particular stand out:  Easter Island and Mendoza, Argentina.  We were on Easter Island for the end of Tapati Rapa Nui which gave us a real insight into the history and people of this remote Polynesian island.  Mendoza is the wine capital of Argentina and we found it to be a very comfortable city after time in the capitals of Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.

We are in the process of planning SAm 2013 to (re)visit some places that intrigue us.  On the list:  Rio  de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Bahia Bustamante, Argentina, Chilean fjords, Valparaiso and Santiago, Chile, San Pedro de Atacama in northern Chile, and Mendonza, Argentina.  It promises to be another interesting journey.

Thanks for coming along on Return to SAm 2012; we hope you enjoyed the journey and will come along again next year.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Our last day in Santiago (March 7th) was spent tidying up the apartment and packing for the flight to Miami after another walk around the Centro and having lunch of empanadas and beer at an outdoor cafe just off the Plaza de Armas.

We were able to stay in the apartment until 1930 before getting a ride to the airport for our midnight departure.  The flight went well and we arrived in Miami on time.  It felt good to be back on "home soil" after almost two montha in SAm.  Immigration and customs went smoothly and we were soon in our rental car heading north up the Florida coast.

We drove to West Palm Beach where we went to a restaurant we had read about in USA Today, Relish; we indulged in a couple of specialty hamburgers and a delicious Key Lime Pie shake.  Afterward we walked across the street where I got a beard trim and haircut from a most entertaining barber, Cha Cha.

The next few days were spent visiting family in Fort Pierce and Bowling Green.  On the drive back to Miami for our flight to Green Bay we stopped in Sarasota to have lunch with Joanie whom we had met on the Galapagos trip.  It was fun to hash over common experiences with a new friend.

The flight to Green Bay via Chicago went off without a hitch, but American had messed up my reservation again and RA and I were not able to sit together on the last two legs of our 14 flight segment Return to SAm.

We were greeted in Green Bay with temps in the mid-70s which soon escalated to the 80s for several days before returning to more seasonal, but warmer than average spring temperatures.

The next, and last post on this blog, will be a look back at our latest overseas adventure.