Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Further south in Argentina -- with Penguins

Calm crossing, Cape Horn (Camp 2009)
One of the lasting memories of our trip around the Horn on the Norwegian Sun, was a stop at Punto Tombo, a small peninsula very nearly at the tip of Argentina, where a large colony of Magellanic Penguins make their home.

We took a day trip to Punto Tombo with strict admonitions to stay on the path. To our delight, the birds paid no attention to the signs! 

Stay on the Path! (Camp 2009)
These beautiful penguins burrowed in the dirt and near scrub brush to protect themselves from the incessant wind.

Is this my best side? (Camp 2009)

Momma Penguin with lighter chick (Camp 2009)

At home near the ocean (Camp 2009)

Que vista, baby! (Camp 2009)
What a treat to see them in their natural habitat -- during molting season. The wind was fierce; some of the birds stood, their wings oustretched so that the wind would blow away the feathers. Close to the ocean, these penguins dive right in for their supper -- fish!

Moulting in the wind (Camp 2009)
According to Wikipedia, the birds come here by the thousands in the spring to nest on this rocky beach.

Ponto Tombo (Camp 2009)

When we visited, the birds were calm, seemingly oblivious to the tourists passing by. What do you think?

At the end of the day, we returned to our ship, full of amazement we had been able to see with our own eyes this penguin colony.

Click on any image to see a larger version.
More about Punto Tombo on Wikipedia HERE.
More about Magellanic Penguins HERE.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

About Argentina . . .

Today's the playoff for the World Cup. Football (or soccer). Take your pick. Germany or Argentina.

Since we traveled with two couples for several weeks in Buenos Aires in 2009, how could I root for anyone but the "white and sky blue"? 

So today's post is a celebration of Buenos and Argentina, that land of tango and sharp, pungent coffee. 

Our apartment was in busy but elegant Recoleta, around the corner from a patisserie . . . each morning, someone would dash downstairs to buy the fresh fruits, the pastries and crema, while someone else would struggle with the coffee machine. Ah, perfection to begin the morning this way.

Each day began differently, Sunday strolls to San Telmo, that funky neighborhood filled with artists, dancers, street musicians, and tango everywhere. 

Every once in a while just turning a corner, we'd be surprised by the sight of Portuguese tiles, the azuela, brilliant blue affirming the history of those intrepid Portuguese explorers, more common in Brazil, but still, here in Argentina as well.

And the surprise of vibrant street art splashed across the walls and buildings also everywhere, transforming narrow streets or tunnels or walkways into another world.

How could we not celebrate the beautiful flowers of the very tall Silk Floss Tree as we passed by? Planted along the streets, these trees, which can grow as high as 80 feet high, gave a sense of respite and shade. The sweet-smelling and sticky flowers attract Monarch butterflies by the hundreds in the spring.

Or the many-footed Ombú  tree that can be 40-50 feet wide and 50-60 feet tall. They say if you visit this tree, memories of your childhood will return to you. This Ombú was immense, so large we could not spread our arms around it, not even if we held hands.

Today's nostalgic photo visit ends at San Martin Plaza, where just in March and April (when we visited), the UNICEF bears representing some 140 countries were on display. 

Perhaps today, they cheer for Argentina!