Thursday, October 13, 2011

16. My Visit to South America, March 23 To April 8, 1995 (17 days)



South America -- Tour 17 days from March 23, 1995 to April 8, 1995. Escorted Tour conducted by GLOBUS.

March 23, 1995: Leaving Orlando via American Airlines -- Arriving Miami. Leaving Miami via Varig Airlines and arriving at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

BRAZIL: Republic in eastern South America and the largest Latin American country occupying nearly half of the South American continent. The country was ruled by the Portugal from 1500 until 1822. It became republic (1889) when Emperor Petro II was forced to abdicated. The Capital is BRASILIA.

RIO DE JANEIRO:- chief sea-port and former capital of Brazil, on Guanabara Nay in the southern part of the country, it is backed by towering mountains, the most spectacular of which Sugar Loaf and Corvocada which is surmounted by a colossal statue of Christ. A tourist center, the city has magnificent beaches including the famous Copacabana. It is also a cultural, financial, commercial, manufacturing and transportation center. 

March 23, 1995: Arrived Rio de Janeiro Airport. The Tour Director greeted us and we were transferred to Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Rio (4 day stay). There were 40 members in our group including the Tour Director. Morning relax. Afternoon drive by renowned beaches- Leblon, Ipanerma and Copacabana-- led to the base of famous 1300 feet Sugar Loaf Mountain cable car excursion. Ascending via cable car to the summit we enjoyed the spectacular vistas of the city. Later a Welcome Dinner Party at a sea-beach Hotel.

From Thatha Tours
March 25, 1995. Morning visit to world famous H. Sterns Jewelry Factory where we saw diamond cutting, goldsmith's workmanship and the show room. Noon departed for the historic city of Petropolis, a mountain resort and site of the former Summer Palace of Emperor Dom Pedro II. This was a beautiful scenic tour through the rain forest one hour journey from Rio. Visited the Palace and one lovely Church. Returned to the Hotel and took rest. After dinner at the hotel we were taken to the SAMBA show at Plataforma where the color, animation and the sheer vitality of this city came to life in a highly entertaining extravaganza and we experienced the magic of carnival.

March 26, 1995: Departed for Rio's landmark, the Statue of Christ, crowns the mountain of Corcovado, the jagged peak rising 2400 feet from the thronging city below. Enjoyed the train ride to majestic Christ, the Redeemer Statue, and panoramic view of the city. Later City Tour.

March 27, 1995: Complete leisure. Solo tour along the main boulevards, browsed in the stored and also visited the Hippie Market.

March 28, 1995: one day stay in Inguassu Falls. Leaving Rio via Varig Airlines and Arriving at Inguassau Falls.

Arrived at the Gotel das Cataraces which is situated in front of the Water Falls. We took a breathtaking walk to the Falls. There are 2 main sections composed of hundreds of waterfalls, the highest of which is 64 meters (210 feet). The spectacle of 2.5 miles of torrential down pour with some cataracts thundering down 210 feet to the basin is nothing short of hypnotic. The clouds of spray, the incessant roar and the surrounding luxuriant tropical growth contributes to make this a true natural wonder. This Inguacu River provides a natural boundary between Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay.

For the afternoon the adventurous Macho Safari (jeep and exciting boat ride to the falls) took place. Riding the boat into the falls was thrilling and exciting.

March 29, 1995: Three days in Argentina.  Leaving Inguassu Falls via Varig Airlines and arriving at Buenos Aires

After arrival transferred to the Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel with the balance of the day at leisure, we took a walking tour to acquaint ourselves with the city.

ARGENTINA: Country of South America. It was a Spanish colony from 1620 until independence was proclaimed in 1866. Since 1929 the military have intervened in the government, a move that paved the way for the rest of Col. Juan Peron (President 1945-55 and 1973-74).  Argentina is among the most developed Latin American countries. The fertile pampas and sheep ranches of Patagonia provided most of the exports.

BUENOS AIRES: Capital of Argentina. Buenos Aires means the "Silvery Land" with reference to its rivers and lakes. Chief Port and the largest city of Argentina at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata. Situated at the edge of the pampas, an intensely cultivated region. It is one of the world's busiest ports. It is also one of the most heavily industrialized cities in South America. It was founded in 1536 by Spanish colonists and has been capital since 1862.

Departed for city tour. The local guide focused on the city's landmarks including the Plaze de Mayo, where the President's Pink House is located and the Metropolitan Mausoleum, historic Santelme, the oldest neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, the Ornate Colon Opera House and the elegant district of Recoleta including Eva Peron. Dinner was followed by a night club revue, featuring Latin America's sensuous Tango, a thrilling performance by native Gauchos in Casablanca Theatre.

March 31, 1995: An excursion to the pampas ( a nearly treeless grassland area of South America chiefly in east-central Argentina and Uruguay). Fiesta Gaucho Tour: It was an opportunity to experience the atmosphere of Argentina country life with a drive out into the Pampas. At the resort we were received by Gauachos. There we enjoyed the folklore music and dance entertainment by Gaucho ranch hands and witnessed the horse parades and gamed. I went horseback-riding around the property for half an hour and then returned to the hotel.

April 01, 1995: Four days in Chile. Leaving Buenos Aires via Chile Airlines and arriving at Santiago.

CHILE: A long narrow country on the western seaboard of South America. The Spaniards colonized it from 1541 and the country declared its independence in 1818. Chile has large energy resources; oil & gas. The fertile central valley is its economic heartland.

SANTIAGO: Capital of Chile and of Santiago province. It is on the Mapocho River and was founded by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Vildivia in 1541. Greater Santiago contains nearly a third of Chile's population and provides half of the nation's total industrial outputs. It is situated in the center of the country and perched between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes. It is no wonder that Santiago has evolved as the country's political, commercial and cultural capital.

Transferred from the Airport to Sheraton Hotel & Towers. After leisure in the afternoon, we went out to the Chilean Folklore Dinner Show. With dinner we enjoyed a Pisco Sour & the famous wines of Chile and the show. The show featured the regional music and dance of country and the Easter Islands.

April 02, 1995: Departed for Santiago City Tour. During the tour we visited La Moneda, the official Government Palace the beautiful Club Hipico Racetrack, O'Higgin's Park, commemorating the country's first president; San Critobal Hill with its landmark statue of the Virgin Mart-- a gift from France to Chile and the main square-- Plaze de Armas and the relic filled Cathedral. We witnessed Change of Guards between 11:00 am to 12 noon in front on the President's Palace.

April 03, 1995: Today chic resorts and historical ports. Visited Vina del Mar and Valparaiso-- a beautiful scenic drive through vineyards and Chile's finest coastal areas. The chic resort with its a spectacular coastal line palm tree-lined avenues and unique homes truly deserves its name " the Pearl of the Pacific". Tonight the Tour Director hosted a fabulous Farewell Dinner Party to those visitors returning to Miami from Chile, not taking part to the Peru Extension. We cheered the "CIAO".

April 04, 1995: Four days stay in Peru. Leaving Santiago via Aero Peru Airlines and arriving at Lima.

PERU: Republic of western South America. It rises from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes. Conquered by the Spanish (1533) who destroyed its Inca civilization. It regained its independence in 1824. It has considerable mineral resources.

LIMA: Capital of Peru, founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizario. It is now an industrial center and the site of oil-refining and diversified manufacturing industries; Its port is Callao.

Transferred to the Sheraton Hotel & Casino. At this time our group has been dwindled to 18 including the Tour Director.

After a little time to relax we went off to explorung Lima on the city tour. A gudied tour showcased the capital's colonial heritage. Visited the 11th century San Francisco Monastery with its unique cloisters. The Government Palace (only outside) and the Cathedral both in the Plaza de Amas.  A shorrt drive of the city to view the residential areas of San Isidro and Miraflores.

April 05, 1995 - 1 day visit to Cuzco. Leaving Lima via Aero Peru Airlines and arriving at Cuzco.

A scenic morning flight to Cuzco, the fascinating Andean City, once the center of the mighty INCA Empire was very much enjoyable. On arrival to Hotel Libertador, we took rest. Rest in the words SLEPT & DRANK Cocoa Tea throughout the day to help us adjust to the 11,000 feet altitude. We departed for the sight-seeing of Cuzco and its numerous ruins.

Visited the imposing Cathedral, the Santo Domingo Monastery. The near by Inca Baths of Tambomachay and the semi circular Keno Amphitheater with its stone alters and labyrinth of passages, the ancient site of Puca Pucara and the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, perched on a hillside overlooking Cuzco. It still remains unfathomable how and when this fortress of gigantic stones with some blocks measuring more than 350 tons was ever built. Dinner with entertainment in the hotel banquet hall.

06 April, 1995: The Magical Machu Pichu Tour. After breakfast departed for the first part of our journey to Magical Machu Pichu by bus to the Train Station at Holland where we boarded the train for the final scenic ride to Mystical Machu Pichu.

MACHU PICHU is a fortress citadel created by the strategist of the Incas. It formed part of a defence system. The buildings were constructed on the craggy slopes extending to the base of Machu Pichu mountain. There are different levels of construction. The buildings, as if by magic, rest upon a small surface area of the terraces. In the mystery of its architecture, MachuPichu is a perfect expression of Andean man who conceived it.

Train Journey: The train zigzags its way through the lush Urubamba Valley. Then by coach we travelled for the last ascent to this sacred refuge. perched high above steep valley coated in thick tropical jungle. The guide recounted many accomplishements of this once eminent people as we toured the Ruils of Towers: SUN TOWER-noteworthy for its mystery-temples, a mausoleum, a prison and ceremonial baths.

About Incas: The Incas made no use of the wheel for transportation and they had no writng. But relay runners carrying messages in the form of knotted cords could reach anywhere in the empire within a week. The peasants were drafted in their thousands to terrace the steep hillsides and to work on roads, irrigation schemes and temples. But the huge empire fell to the Spanish in 1530 after the conquistador, Francisco Pizarro kidnapped and killed the last Inca ATAHULPA. There ends the chapter of the Inca's empire. But the ruins still remain there to trumpet their glorious period to the world. We discovered the treasures of legendary Machu Pichu, "The Lost City of Incas".

After lunch at Machu Pichu Inn Hotel we took the bus back down the hill to the train and returned to the hotel.

April 07, 1995: Back to Lima from Cuzco. Leaving Cuzco via Aero Peru Airlines and arrived at Lima.

This day was free. Once again a solo tour for me to view the city. At night I gambled in the Casino in the hotel. Final Farewell Party was hosted by the Tour Director at the most beautiful and attractive seaside restaurant - La Rosa Nautica Restaurant in Lima.

April 08, 1995: Leaving Lima via Aero Peru Airlines and Arriving at Miami. Leaving Miami via American Airlines and arriving at Orlando. Reached home safely.



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