Onboard the Holland America Line Veendam
Smooth sailing, clear skies, a perfect week’s journey to the end of the world.
The first night we sailed to Montevideo from Buenos Aires…I didn’t like Montevideo. Maybe it’s because I chose to go on a walking tour… which unlike the amazing FREE walking tours I did in Argentina, this one was $74 and NOT ONLY did my guide know nothing about architecture (on an “Old Town & architecture” tour), but also that we seemed to walk 3 steps forward, 4 steps backwards for 3 hours and somehow ended up exactly where we started from. From my hour before and half hour after that experience though I discovered it is a city in disrepair, one in great need of TLC and some creative spirit. It’s more like a small trading town, with no purpose other than a good sea-port and transition point. There are some nice little markets and many steak houses, the clothing people wear is of great quality. If you ever go to Uruguay… the locals all tell me the cities along the borders with other countries are where the best culture, buildings, shopping and nature are.
Falkland Islands were beautiful. Solely a tourist place really. It would be nice to take a little electric boat or a helicopter around the islands, they are all very flat and I walked quite a way from Port Stanley up and down the coastline.
We’ve had some wonderful nights at sea: concerts and shows in the showroom; sipping cocktails up on the deck by the pools and Jacuzzis (I haven’t been in yet, too cold); and my favourite – in the mix bar after some pub trivia, Chris plays guitar and then David takes over on piano and can play just about anything anyone requests. Yoel, from Uruguay brought along his melodica (mini air-powered keyboard) and he plays along with Dave. It’s always a good night. I did catch a cold or flu and quarantined myself last night, no cough today, all better now.
I’m in Ushuaia right now. We came into port at around 7:30am, leaving in about 20mins (3pm). Last night we rounded Cape Horn, the most southern point of South America. The captain told us if we tried swimming East or West we’d only end up at the same point. It is also one of the 3 deadliest stretches of ocean in the world.
Honestly, it was the calmest, smoothest ocean I have ever seen. Like an inland massive lake, a few waves here and there, a few dolphins, birds and whales. The crew tell me if I want to see the other side of it to go to youtube and search for: Veendam December 2010 (this cruise 2 years ago) where everyone was confined to their cabin for a couple of days. I have a lot of photos, only I’ve been having issues with adapters and my camera battery. It’s starting to die and is only lasting a few hours at a time. I’ll try to buy a new battery when I get to Santiago. I’ll put most of the pics I have up on Facebook as soon as I have internet that costs less that $1/min. I just wanted to copy-paste this up to touch base and say hello to everyone!
Most of the beverage staff are from the Philippines, and the food-service staff are from Indonesia. There’ll all a lot of fun. I’ve been dining and dancing and singing along with some young people mainly from Uruguay and Chile. All the fun starts after the other 1,700 people on board go to sleep (at around 11-12pm).
Sam and Glenny (my room stewards) are going to teach me how to make a couple of animals out of towels this afternoon (like puppies). I guess it is table-napkin art on a bigger scale. Every evening I have a different animal waiting on my bed. Sam tells me he can make 29 different creatures. I’ll put up all the pics together at the end.
I’ll check in with you all soon. – Jodie.