Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.
|Tuesday, March 24, 2015 11:30:20|
ANTARCTICA & IBERIA 2015: 1 Costa Rica to Ushuaia, Argentina
Monday, March 23, 2015
This trip was organized and arranged before we went to Russia with grand daughter Marianne, all there was to do was book a hotel in Ushuaia and pay the reciprocity fee for Argentina. For those from Canada, Australia or the US fair warning - this fee of $100 per person must be paid on line before you arrive in Argentina.
Our caretaker Carlos drove us to the airport for the first of four flights, this one to Panama City, where we had a 4 ½ hour wait. We tried out the new lounge that is shared by Avianca, United and some others - it is very nice, overlooking the airport, and had good drinks and food. The flight on Avianca was great. In just over an hour they served drinks, a delicious hot meal with a selection of wines and desert.
The Panama transit area is a huge shopping mall, with not always inexpensive prices. Here Avianca shared a typical of North American Airlines lounge with Copa - large, comfortable, bar but not much food. The standard apple, banana, packaged cheese, packaged crackers and not much else.
The hour and a half flight to Bogota was on time with a very tasty hot meal and desert. A bus drove about 2 miles from the plane to get to the terminal. Avianca has its own lounge with full buffet meals and self serve booze for our 3 hour wait. Between in flight drinks and the lounges I was starting to feel pretty good.
We were done in by the time we got on the overnight flight from Bogota to Buenos Aires, so took advantage of the flat beds and slept as soon as we were airborne, skipping dinner and drinks. In BA immigration was quick, as we were at the front of the line, but photo and thumb print are required. We made the mistake of paying for an upgrade to business class on the flight to Ushuaia, thinking we would have breakfast in the lounge and then a good lunch with drinks en route. There is no business class lounge in the tiny domestic terminal, a walk of several blocks from the international terminal. The Ushuaia flight was delayed over an hour, and only a tiny coffee stand with sandwiches was available for food.
There was a bus to the plane, and a long flight of stairs to climb with our luggage to a boarding platform. Once on board we found the flight is dry - no booze, including beer - a real blow! Three and a half hours in business class with no beer! The much anticipated good lunch turned out to be a dry ham and cheese sandwich with microscopically thin ham delivered by a couple of old guys who offered a choice of sprite, coke or water - no juice. Although there were individual viewing screens in the seats, there was no program - I scrolled through all channels and there was nothing on any of them, not even music, so it didn't matter that there were no headsets. The moral of the story - avoid Aereos Argentinas if at all possible. They make North American airlines look great.
An inexpensive taxi ride got us to the centrally located Lennox Hotel, where our 3rd floor room had a great view of the Beagle Channel and harbour. It was a sunny, cloudless day, so we first eased our hunger pangs by walking to the superb Estancia BBQ restaurant, sharing a bottle of good malbec with BBQ lamb. Then we walked around the tidy, clean city which looks much like a Swiss ski resort town, making some purchases we will need for the ship. Marilynn found a good hairdresser who did repair work to her failed Costa Rican haircut. Unfortunately, today and tomorrow are holidays so many shops are closed. On the other hand it cost less!
In the evening we went out for beer with Thomas, a Swiss member of The Best Travelled who lives in the Philippines. We have corresponded many times but never met.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
After catching up with emails in the morning we checked out and set up camp in the lobby to finish and so Marilynn could Skype her mom for the last time in a while. We then walked to La Casa de los Mariscos for a good seafood lunch with a bottle of Chablis and conversation with a couple from Buenos Aires at the adjoining table. A search for an open liquor store for supplies to take with us was in vain, so after an ice cream we returned to the hotel where I will get this away. We board the ship in 45 minutes.