Sorry this has taken me so long to post — I returned last week, but was promptly felled by an after-vacation cold, and then Flickr behaved very oddly the first, oh, five or six times I tried to upload photos. But they’re uploaded now (mostly — I’m at the monthly limit) and the post can begin!
Our trip began in Chile — in Santiago, to be exact. Santiago is a very walkable city, with lots of parks, plazas and fountains.
And it turns out Santiago has a huge Goth scene, with monthly festivals. I saw plenty of people in full gear walking around — this was also true in Buenos Aires, but much more so in Santiago.
We got out of Santiago to visit Chilean wine country:
And see the amazing mountain scenery in the area:
We spent a day in Vina Del Mar, where we enjoyed the gorgeous coast:
And got our first glimpse of sea lions:
They also have an actual Moai (statue) from Easter Island in Vina Del Mar; this is one of only about one or two genuine ones that have ever been removed from Rapa Nui itself.
After our first couple of days, we went down to Puerto Varas to visit Chile’s “Lakes and Volcanoes Region,” which I personally think is a great name for a region. Even the airplane ride offered spectacular scenery — I got one good shot midflight.
This was the view from our hotel-room window:
We traveled out to the island of Chiloe, which is incredibly beautiful and scenic in its own right —
— but is also an amazing place to see wildlife. Like, for instance — more sea lions!
I swear that last one is a sea lion — they were playing around our boat quite a bit, but this was the only time I was fast enough to catch one with my camera.
The same disclaimer goes for my only action shot of a sea otter:
The penguins proved to be far more willing models.
Our surroundings only became more beautiful as we headed out to see the famous Saltos de Petrohue falls.
And then became more beautiful AGAIN as we took a cruise on a glacier lake:
After all this beautiful, pristine wilderness, we were thrust right into the metropolis of Buenos Aires, which reminded me so much of New York, if only we had palm trees here!
Well, and a really kick-ass obelisk that we didn’t keep almost hidden in Central Park.
And — well, and the Casa Rosada, including this view of Evita’s famous balcony.
And also the incredibly mesmerizing Recoleta cemetery.
And this awesome steel flower sculpture that opens in the sunlight and closes at night.
OK, Buenos Aires isn’t actually that much like New York, except that both cities are cosmopolitan and glamorous. I really, really loved it, especially the bookstores. I’ve never seen a city with so many bookstores! There would be three or four per block. Amazing. And the most gorgeous bookstore in Buenos Aires might be the most gorgeous bookstore anywhere — take a look.
Isn’t that amazing? It used to be a theater. I thought of El Ateneo as a kind of temple of the book.
I’ll post more info about the tour and a Halloween contest tomorrow and/or Friday. But I wanted to go ahead and give you guys the full vacation-photo scoop!