Pantagonia, Puenta Arenas, Chile
Trip Start Feb 14, 2012
15Trip End Mar 04, 2012
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Punta Arenas is considered the largest southernmost city (population-131,000) on the South American mainland. It is located in one of the most remote regions on the earth, at the point where the Andes curve eastward and sink into the sea. Prior to the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, it was one of the busiest ports in the world. It was the principal coaling and supply station for ships rounding the horn. Following the discovery of oil in the 1940's. the infrastructure was improved, and the city is now an important commercial center and popular tourist destination for those wishing to explore the "Uttermost Realm."
In 1520, Magellan and his crew were the first Europeans to see the area
We spent several hours around exploring the area around The Plaza de Arms, the site of a huge bronze statue of Magellan. Today was the end of the cruise ship season and the plaza was filled with vendors selling alpaca and woolen sweaters, hats and scarfs, lapis jewelry, and statues of both penguins and whales. We passed up these "bargains" and ventured into a jewelry store where we bought a lapis ring and a copper and lapis necklace with matching earrings. Chile is reputed to be a major center for both materials.
We tendered back to the ship in time for a late lunch and treated ourselves to massages. Fantastic!
We dined early so we could see the Crew Talent Show. However, there was no room, even to stand so we wandered to other events. One of the things we disliked about the ship was that the auditorium seating was almost always inadequate, and we could not fill our time with Casino activities because even the craps table was located in the center of the smoking side.