In The Herald - A snapshot of South America

Date Published 
Mon 19 Oct 2020

Journey to the End of the World

by Agnes Daziel

Herald Edition 07/10/2020 

In February this year, just before the current restrictions I was fortunate enough to travel to South America on holiday.

We arrived in Santiago, the capital of Chile.  There was plenty of evidence of the recent riots which had been taking place all across Chile, in fact the hotel we should have been staying in had been badly damaged and we were moved to another hotel.  However our guide assured us that there was no trouble at the moment because it was the school holidays and  it would be another 3 weeks before the riots restarted- when the schools when back.    Welcome to South America!

Santiago is a beautiful city, very Spanish in appearance. It sits in a valley surrounded by mountain ranges. There is a mixture of modern office buildings and shopping centres and ancient churches, museums.

After a couple of days exploring Santiago we joined a cruise ship.  Our journey took us down the coast of Chile, into Argentina, Uruguay, The Falklands round Cape Horn back into Argentina.

We visited towns which had been founded by Welsh settlers, and German settlements which wouldn’t have looked out of place in Bavaria!   Almost 40 years since the Falklands war, signs saying “Las Malvinas son Argentinas” abound.  Still a subject best not mentioned here.

We sailed past huge glaciers, through waters teeming with wildlife – whales, dolphins, seals, penguins, visited beaches where hundreds of penguins nested, and Ushuaia where ships depart for Antarctic exploration.

One of our last ports of call was the Falklands.  The cruise ships need to anchor some way out and passengers tender ashore.  The weather was not in our favour that day and it was a very choppy crossing, however we made it.  The Falklands is a strange experience.  More British than most places in Britain. The accents are very English and the locals are keen to ask your opinion on British politics… Brexit, Independence and whatever else they can think of.  Stanley has several extremely British looking pubs and street names like Thatcher Drive.   About a mile out of Stanley and the road turns to gravel and the landscape becomes very bleak indeed.

Our trip to see Gentoo penguins took us off road for quite some distance, and you just hope that the driver knows where he’s going since there don’t seem to be any landmarks whatsoever.   When we returned to the ship later that day (after a couple in one of the pubs of course) we discovered that ours had been the last tender to make it ashore that day because of the weather, so we really had been fortunate.

The ships final destination was Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina and home of the Tango.  We had a couple of days here, plenty of time to explore and take in a Tango show. We also had a trip to the spectacular Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian Brazilian border. The falls are massive.  Taller and wider than Niagara Falls and we spent hours walking around this national park.

This brought us to the end of our holiday, which had truly been an adventure of a lifetime.