Wednesday March 6, 2013

We’re sitting in Buenos Aires domestic airport, drinking awful coffee, eating a dry chocolate brownie, waiting for our flight to Iguazu Falls, and reflecting on everything that’s happened since we last talked to you.

OH BOY! Where do we start?

Falkland Islands was where we left you, and that was followed by two days at sea – a pretty grumbling Atlantic and pretty rock’n’rolly sailing. One night (can’t remember which) we enjoyed a Midlife Madness Cocktail Party in the Crow’s Nest (very top deck) … followed (after dinner) by a Chocolate Extravaganza up on the Lido Deck.

Our final night onboard featured an international dinner in the Rotterdam restaurant. And the menu (for those of you who’ve been worrying about us going hungry and losing weight) read like this:

Appetisers & Soups:

  • Latin-American-Style Gravlax
  • Guiso
  • Vietnamese Spring Roll with Chicken
  • Shiitake Salad with Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette
  • Mediterranean Mezze Plate
  • Scandinavian-Style Seafood & Potato Chowder
  • Brie in Crispy Phyllo with Apple-Cranberry Chutney
  • Chilled Pumpkin Soup


  • Bourbon-Glazed Beef with Grilled Portabella Mushrooms
  • Lebanese Lamb Shank
  • Poblano Stuffer ‘Pechuga De Pollo’
  • Wattleseed Roasted Duck with Apricots
  • Tofu & Vegetable Korma
  • Lebanese Lamb Shank
  • Asparagus & Fontina Cheese Rosotto with Sauteed Cod
  • Sauteed Shrimp Provencal
  • Orecchiette with Italian Sausage & Escarole


  • The ‘Big Apple’ Cheesecake
  • Kiwi & Passionfruit Pavlova
  • Mohr Im Hemd – Chocolate Nut Sponge
  • Baked Alaska

Not much to choose from, eh? This cruising, as you can see, is so difficult – decisions, decisions, decisions!

We docked in Montevideo early Monday morning, having sailed a total of 3747 nautical miles – during which the Veendam (and its passengers and crew) consumed 10,000 meals per day … 72 tons of diesel per day … and 500 tons of drinkable water per day. Phew!

The friendly capital of Uruguay (pop 1.3 million) honours long lunches, siestas and high teas. But we didn’t have time for that sort of nonsense – instead, we drove for two hours alongside the vast, muddy La Plata River: scene of the Battle of the River Plate (the first major naval battle of World War II, which resulted in the eventual sinking of the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee).

Our destination was a recently-declared UNESCO World Heritage Site: Colonia del Sacramento. Founded by the Portuguese in 1680, this stunning old colonial town is a photographer’s dream – featuring narrow cobblestoned roads with old retro cars, colourful crumbling houses with charming little doorways, and cats sitting in windows surveying the tourists who are surveying them!

We woke up on Tuesday (yesterday) in Buenos Aires, knowing that our lovely 5-star cruise was, sadly, over … and the time had come to say “Adios!” (goodbye) to our floating hotel.

We then headed out for an introduction to this vibrant, colourful, Argentinian city – covering Plaza de Mayo (the historical heart) … La Boca (one of the oldest districts, its cobblestone streets crowded with pavement artists and rambling colourful houses) where, over lunch, we had our first taste of the Tango … Plaza San Martin & Retiro (tracing the city’s passage from the Old South to the European influence in the 19th century) … and Recoleta (the sophisticated French zone, noted for its architecture, barrios and world-famous cemetery, where Evita Peron, First Lady of Argentina until her death in 1952, lies buried).

Then, last night, wearing our smartest bib-&-tucker, we hit the town for a posh Dinner & Tango Show.

PEOPLE NEWS: There’s plenty of time still for more yellow lucky duckies to be won, and two well-deserving candidates received theirs this morning:

  • Clare walked away with the ‘Knit-One-Pearl-One-Cast-Off Award’ – for knitting her way through the entire cruise. Whether sitting on the ship, on a plane, on a coach, or in Dave’s loving (hairy) arms, kindly Clare just keeps churning out these lovely little garments for needy kids.
  • Bev won the ‘Tangled Tango Award’ – for braving public scrutiny and relaxing (well, maybe not quite) up on stage in the hot embrace of a young Tango toy-boy (see photo).

LATER TODAY: The thundering Iguazu Falls can be seen from two countries, and this afternoon we see the panoramic Brazilian side. So hang around – and you might get wet!

Yours bloggedly – JOHN & WAYNE

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