“I’ll be out of town for the next few weeks”
“Oh, where are you going?”
“Antarctica.”
“Wait what Antactica?!”
Not many hear this response when asking about travel. Yes, Antarctica is a popular destination for those that are very well-traveled. It’s one of those places where people have done so much traveling, they want to go somewhere different. Every year around February, our agency puts together a group and heads down to Antarctica to see glaciers, penguins, with tours starting from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The excitement holds for this 18-day cruise.

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After settling down our group at the hotel, they had the option of shopping or just taking it easy. We had set up a Tango Dinner Show which is very popular in Argentina. The origin of tango is not clear. There is an accepted theory that it originally in the mid 1800s by the African slaves that had influenced the local culture. The word “tango” means “closed space,” like the picture above. To me, tango is a sexy dance with sharp turns and motions, that says a lot from the couple performing.

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Our first port of call is Ushuaia, Argentina. We stop at the Tierra Del Fuego and visited the southernmost post office in the world. Tierra del Fuego is a national park near Ushuaia in Argentina. It was closed that day, but we heard you can get your passport stamped here with the end of the world sign with cute penguins on it. Darn!~

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Took a panoramic of Tierra Del Fuego national park along with the southernmost post office in the world.

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I WOKE UP TO THIS!
(…burr)
This was taken while cruising through Paradise Bay, Antarctica. I didn’t have any luck seeing cute penguins waddling on icebergs, but I did catch them swimming along with the ship. Almost seemed like they were catching up with us. It was the cutest thing.

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Seeing glaciers left and right, surrounding our cruise ship was surreal. The whiteness and crisp air was not something you get to see everyday and feel. Most of the passengers on the cruise got up way early to wait at the head of the ship indoors away from the cold to enjoy this beautiful scenery. Great idea I must say!

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There were a lot of these icebergs. Icebergs are pieces of ice that are formed on land and float in an ocean. They come in all difference shapes and sizes, ranging from ice cube size to the size of a small island country. The official term for iceberg measures larger than 5 meters long. The picture above were just chucks of ice berg blocks floating at sea.

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On this day, we arrived in Falkland Island. Falkland Island is located southwest of Buenos Aires, and north of Antarctica. The exciting part of this island was so close yet so far. We reserved 10 jeeps for our group and rode for about 50 miles towards Volunteer Point, one of the most popular and important tourist destinations on this island. Volunteer Beach is a 2 mile long white sandy beach where the King, Gentoo and Magellanic penguin live as their habitat.

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These penguins was something you see in postcards. They were so beautiful with their black and orange heads, and grey and white body. King penguins have bred here since man first visited this islands. As you can see, all the penguins you see in the picture are nursing their nestlings, that’s why the bulky tummy in each and every one of them. A surprising fact is that the King penguin fathers nurse their baby instead of the mother. They are the ones responsible for taking care of the baby while the mothers go out and hunt.  They can get protective of their baby from other penguins and predators that are near by.

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This was the other species of penguins on the same island, the Gentoo penguin. They are characterized by a white patch behind the eye and an orange jawbone. They are also about half the size of the King penguins. We were allowed to stand really close and follow them around as they were a lot less aggressive than the King penguins.

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Can you guess what I really wanted to do?

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After visiting Antarctica and Port Stanley in Falkland Islands, we are now back on South America soil in the city of Puerto Madryn, Argentina. These are the Magellanic penguins, gathering here from the fall months to early spring to nest, mate, incubate their eggs and feed their offspring. There is quite some bad news for these penguins because they are now considered as “threatened species” as population among these penguins are declining due climate change.

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The weather was a bit chilly with some nice sun. It was pretty fun to watch the penguins lay out in the sun and go for a swim.

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Today we disembarked the ship and enjoyed another city tour around Buenos Aires, Argentine. This is La Boca, where many visitors come to see two attractions: the football stadium ‘La Bombonera’ and Caminito, the street that has many colors on its building. It is named La Boca because it is located near the mouth of the river that flows along the capital federal’s southern border.  Here you can find a handful of good restaurants, and souvenir shops.

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I was very excited to see Eva Peron’s famous grave. Also known as Evita, she was the second wife of Argentine President Juan Domingo Peron and the First Lady of Argentine from 1946 until her death in 1952. La Recoleta cemetery is known for graves of notable people, including Nobel Prize winners and the granddaughter of Napoleon. It is also considered to be one of the world’s best cemeteries and the most beautiful cemeteries in the world.

k~

January 2017