Back from nearly three weeks in South America. . .Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. We'd considered a cruise but the itineraries were far too thin with regard to the interesting and important places we wanted to see. Terry had been to BA, but only on business; I'd never been south of Caracas in South America, so we wanted something more thorough than a cruise could deliver.
We had a similar situation when we went to Egypt and Jordan a few years ago. We'd actually booked a cruise, but then got looking at itineraries and maps and realized that oceangoing ships were a very poor way to see the area in any significant way. So we cancelled the cruise and did a land tour instead, which included six nights on Nile riverboats.
The South America trip was a rousing success. Had lots of fun in the Chilean wine country and its small, welcoming towns. Back in Santiago, we celebrated my cousin's 50th wedding anniversary (they traveled with us) at the city's finest restaurant. We loved Brazil and Argentina's Iguassu Falls, which make Niagara look like a trickle. We relaxed in BA where we got to spend four nights in this cosmopolitan capital with its fine food and fascinating history. In Montevideo we were surprised by the beauty of the city and the seemingly never-ending beach that rings it. And Rio brought back the haunting melodies of Joabim, Goetz and Gilberto on Ipanema and Corcovado beaches, up at the Christ statue on the hill, and on Sugarloaf as well.
We had one cloudy day in the nearly three weeks we were there; otherwise sunny, warm and friendly.
All in all, it involved 7 airplanes, 8 hotels 5 cable cars and cog railways, 1 high speed ferry and nearly 15,000 miles of flying. There were moments when we thought of the cruise brochures that say "only unpack once." But we divide our outings into "vacations" and "travel" and we understand the difference. Each is rewarding in its own way, and this particular travel adventure was exceptional.