Argentina – The Bus, Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Salta

Buenos Aires

I don’t know why we didn’t like Buenos Aires more?  Perhaps because of our budget, concerns over safety, or it was just too big and impersonal.  We arrived on the 7th of December from the Cruise ship and made our way to our first hotel the Sheraton Liberador.  It was a nice hotel although the elevators never seemed to work properly and getting service in the lounge was like pulling teeth.  On the plus side, we received two bottles of red wine for being platinum members.

One of the Statues in Plaza Libertad

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Uruguay – A beautiful oasis

Buenos Aires just didn’t click for us in our first few days. It was just too big a city, with lots of homeless people and police everywhere. So we took the buquebus, a high speed ferry, to Montevideo in Uruguay. This is not a cheap way to travel as it cost $688.35CAD for all of five of us. They had half of the boat dedicated to duty free sales in USD. Some good deals but none that we could partake as you had to buy 3 or 4 items to make it worthwhile. It was a great destination and lots of fun.

Flag of Uruguay

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The Repositioning Cruise – Costa Fascinosa

In all honesty, this wasn’t a cruising vacation but rather a repositioning cruise to take advantage of inexpensive transportation to South America, enjoy a bit of a rest and see some extra countries along the way.  Never say never, but we likely won’t cruise again for some time, particularly on a European cruise line with people who don’t line up, push people around and insist on wearing thongs and bathing suits that they probably shouldn’t have worn even in their prime.

Our first glimpse of the Costa Fascinosa

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Venice – the burbs, the canals and the wine

The Plan

Colleen did her homework on this one (like all of our moves) and two options for our Venice stay were in play. The first choice was an affordable VRBO right in the heart of the old city, overlooking the canals and even close to some food markets. Great location, easy access from the train station, and in the heart of Venice!

After three days of trying to book it and being told by VRBO that our multiple credit cards had been declined, we finally gave up. Our credit card was no good?! We spent a bit of time on the phone with the card company who assured everything was good on our end. Rather the IT folks at VRBO could not capture the correct information on their booking platform.  We still had money – phew!

Plan B

We ended up going with our second choice, the Four Points by Sheraton Le Mestre. It was a brand new and modern hotel that seems to cater to business people. The breakfast spread was awesome. It was a short five minute walk to the train terminal and we were enroute to the Old City (19 minute train ride to the centre). They even upgraded us to sweet suite! Walking to the train, the kids remarked how it was like our own neighbourhood in Barrhaven. Mestre like Barrhaven? Does that mean Ottawa is the Venice of Canada?  Read on to find out …

 

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Florence / Firenze

Leaving Rome was a tough choice after such a short visit but we wanted to see more of Italy. We took the high speed train in the late morning and arrived in the afternoon to a blustery day in Firenze. Our hotel, the B4 Astoria, is an eclectic and beautiful building with rooms dating back to the 15th Century. Outside our suite we had a stellar view of the Duomo. We all loved Firenze!

A room with a view!

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Ciao Roma / Hello Rome

Following an overnight flight from Bangkok we arrived in Rome first thing in the morning. The crisp air in the sunshine was a welcome relief to South-East Asia hot temperatures. We waited 30 minutes for a bus downtown which dropped us within walking distance of our hotel, Le Meridien. A great location – about 2 minute walk to the Tiber River and only 2km to the Vatican. The rooms which had breakfast included were great value.

A quick breakfast and we are ready to explore ….

Smiling because it is 17 degrees (instead of 35) in the Sun along the banks of the Tiber

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… And We are Back

After 19 days, 8 ports, 6,000 nautical miles and $975CAD in tips we are back on terra firma (thanks Estelle for the word choice!). We are currently in Buenos Aires and looking at options of where to go next.  As a side note, the water going down the drain or when you flush does go counter clockwise!

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100 Days on the Road

Everyone likes something different!

On the 13th of November we hit the milestone of 100 days travelling on the road. Aside from two of us throwing up to celebrate it was pretty non-eventful.  Both recovered fine and are back to normal but they were kind enough to pass the bug on to me.  I am slowly recovering but had to take a pass on running in Venice.

We did a poll of some of our favourite things and thought we would share as we will be off-line for about twenty days as the cruise we are going on will not have internet.  At least, we aren’t paying the extra fees for internet.

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