25-day cruise from Buenos Aires to Barcelona
Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
431Trip End Dec 31, 2014
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Where I stayed
Oceania Cruise Lines, Insignia
The itinerary followed the following route: Buenos Aires, Montevideo (Uruguay), Rio Grande Do Sul, Itajai, Santos (for Sao Paulo), Parati, Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Grande (Cape Verde Island), Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands), and Barcelona.
The map of our route:
Summary of destinations from Oceania Cruises' "Port Information Sheets," and some personal comments:
Is Uruguay's capital with nearly half of the country's population residing here. Spain founded Montevideo as a fortress against the Portuguese as well as the British, French, and Danish privateers.
Comment: In all of my travels around the world, this is the first time I was robbed by a young boy who approached me from behind, broke the strap on my camera bag, and ran off with my camera. Although I reported this theft to the local police, nothing came of it. I have not let this incident stop me from exploring places by myself that I visit around the world. Maybe with a bit more awareness about my surroundings, and my wallet in my front pocket when in big cities.
Unfortunately, the loss of my camera meant no pictures of this journey.
RIO GRANDE (Brazil):
Rio Grande is a sandy peninsula at the entrance of a large fresh-water lagoon of the Rio Grande. The town was founded in 1737 by the Portuguese. The first German immigrant families arrived in Rio Grande in 1824, and an estimated quarter of a million Germans settled in the country.
Rio Grande also claims the longest uninterrupted beaches in the world at 125 miles.
The port of Itajai was founded in 1824, and many German and Italian settlers found their home in the valley. After the Germans, Italians, Czechs, Russians, Austrians, Poles, and Ukrainians contributed to the European mosaic of this region.
The island of Sao Vicente, Santos, was founded in 1535, and is now the largest and busiest port in Latin America.
SAO PAULO was founded in 1554 when a group of Jesuit priests arrived at the Piratininga plateau. Sao Paulo was also once an Indian slave-trading headquarters.
Sao Paulo is also home to the largest concentration of Japanese outside of Japan.
Since I had a desire to visit Sao Paulo to visit their Japanese town, I walked into the port terminal to seek anybody planning a trip to that city. I saw a man on a cellphone, so after he finished talking, I asked if he was going to Sao Paulo. He asked if I was "Jewish," so I held my hands up to my chin and said, "can't you tell?" He said, "you're in!" He had a small group already with a rented van, so they welcomed me to join them.
RIO de JANEIRO:
The Island of ILHA GRANDE (Brazil):
Discovered in 1502 by the navigator Andre Gonsalves who thought he was in a cove of the continent, but discovered that it was an island. Ilha grande means "big island." There are 102 beaches, and considered the most beautiful in Brazil.
First records date from 1591 about it's colonization by English marine Anthony Knivet.
Got its independence from Portugal in 1975. Visiting this island country felt like visiting any of the Caribbean islands. All I remember about Cape Verde is the short walk we had in town, and going into a bar for a beer.
SANTA CRUZ de TENERIFE (Spain):
Is off the west coast of Africa, and is the largest of the seven Canary Islands. From my somewhat vague recollection of the place, I really enjoyed my visit here. I remember being high on a mountain looking down at clouds, and a visit to a archaeological site.
One of my favorite cities of Spain, Barcelona has the cosmopolitan feel and ambiance that seems to attract people from all around the globe. I've never felt out of place when walking into a bar or restaurant for food or drink, and loved that fact that what surrounds you in Barcelona are the museums, Gaudi-works, the waterfront, Picasso and Miro museums, and Ramblas.