South America Cruise Videos
May09

South America Cruise Videos

A companion post to the two articles that I recently posted outlining our recent cruise from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile on board the Princess Cruises ship Star Princess, containg the videos that I’ve subsequently uploaded to YouTube along with some brief notes. To read a review of the cruise see: Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 1) Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 2) A quick pan around the admittedly not terribly photogenic dockside area in Buenos Aires from our mini-suite stateroom balcony. We boarded a steam train in order to get to the winery at Juanico in Uruguay. This is a few minutes of the countryside and small towns rolling past which sadly doesn’t capture many of the happy, waving, or just plain gobsmacked locals who stopped to stare at our mode of travel. A zumba session taking place out on deck. People who know me will not be surprised to learn that not only did I not partake I also didn’t even consider partaking. The Star Princess outside the influence of the River Plate and on the South Atlantic, as seen from our balcony once again. A Magellanic penguin wandering past us as we strolled through its rookery at Punta Tombo reserve in Argentina. Two dancers showing off some Argentina Tango moves in the piazza to the enjoyment of three decks of viewers. The dancers were very good but they weren’t as good as the Uruguayans who danced for us as the winery and with whom I “danced” in front of everyone. And nobody was as good as the dancers who put on the tango show in Buenos Aires. But still good, as you can see. You’re probably looking at this and thinking “nice filters” or “nice processing” or something along those lines. Well, stop that. The sunset that you see here was exactly as it appeared as the ship made its way southwards from Argentina towards the Falkland Islands. We’d been sitting down in one of the bars (shock) when we noticed the sudden colour of the sky outside so, along with a great many other passengers, headed out onto the promenade deck to stare at it and take some photos and video. A quick pan around on our Falklands War Battlefields tour that we took on the Falkland Islands. As you probably could have guessed. Fascinating tour that you can read more about on the first article I wrote about the cruise. The next three videos are from our cruising around Cape Horn. The theme of these videos is “grey”. Now for three videos shot on a catamaran trip out onto the Beagle...

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Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 2)
May08

Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 2)

This is the second part of the article outlining a holiday with Princess Cruises on the Star Princess from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of our first date and the fact we’d managed to save up long enough to afford it. The first part of this article can be found here: Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 1). The Beagle Channel One of my favourite sights on our trip was waking up to discover the cruise ship was docked in Ushuaia and surrounded on three sides by towering mountains made more ominous and oppressive by the dim pre-dawn light of day. What can I say? I like the sea and I like mountain ranges; put them together and you’ve got yourself something I like twice. Now, unlike the Falkland Islands where we’d been told it could be cold and wet but it wasn’t, in Ushuaia we’d been told it would be cold and wet and it certainly was. It was very cold. And it was very wet. Fortunately, the wet part eased off early but the cold part persisted. How cold was it? It was long-sleeved top and thick hoodie and wool hat and waterproof coat, with hoodie done up and hood raised, and coat done up and hood raised, and gloves on cold. And we’d booked an excursion on a catamaran out onto the Beagle Channel to look for wildlife so it was all that type of cold plus out on an exposed stretch of water cold. Still, only one mad, mad person decided to ignore the spray and biting wind and spend the entire catamaran venture out on the deck of the boat rather than taking in the views from inside. That was me. So, sure, I was cold. Frozen, you might say. But I knew I’d recover and I got some wonderful views and fabulous shots of mountains, birds, sea lions, and a lighthouse, as well as the fond memory that there was probably at least one person on board other than my wife thinking “What is that loony doing out there?” Cruise Tip Maybe two pairs of gloves next time I head out onto the Beagle Channel. Ushuaia Now, we’d been told on the Falkland Islands that the majority of people who were really a little bit, er, antsy where it came to that place’s sovereignty were the Argentinians in and around Ushuaia; whether this was because the harsh living and economic conditions there simply brewed anger couldn’t be said with absolute certainty but most other people in that area of the world had a more liberal live-and-let-live attitude. We’d also...

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Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 1)
Apr25

Star Princess: South America Cruise (Part 1)

This March, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of our first date and to celebrate the fact we’d managed to save up long enough to afford it, my wife and I took a holiday with Princess Cruises on the Star Princess from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso. This post forms the first of two long parts documenting the holiday’s highlights as well as giving some hints and tips about cruising in general and cruising with Princess in particular. Some tips will probably update those presented when I wrote about our first Princess Cruise around Asia in 2008. The Air France Experience To say we were a little worried in the lead up to our cruise would be an understatement. Do we need visas? Have we got travel insurance? Did we arrange the parking for the right day? Are our passports valid? Did we really get travel insurance or have I mistaken that for the Iceland trip last year? And so on. One of the major concerns was that we’d arranged to fly out to Buenos Aires through Princess (there are flight protection benefits doing it that way) and this meant we had to fly Air France from Heathrow with a change at Paris Charles de Gaulle. Yes, we’d be risking the entire vacation on French air traffic controllers being at work. As it was, the air traffic control worry never materialised. Instead, after a short hop to France we settled into our seats for the 13+ hour flight to Argentina. Settled into our uncomfortable seats. If you’ve ever wondered what happened to those hard plastic chairs you used to sit on at school then I can tell you now that someone put a tea towel over them and installed them on Air France planes. Painful seats, equally painful food. I know that airplane food doesn’t have a good reputation, but French food does so we had high hopes they’d cancel out into something average. But no. It’s something when you and your wife disagree what something is before you eat it – I thought potato, my wife thought egg – then both change your minds to “Is this some genetically-engineered tasteless fish? Is this entire trip a psychological test or TV prank?” We still don’t know what we ate on Air France and were too scared to ask in case someone told us. Arrival: Buenos Aires, Argentina We picked up our luggage, got through security, spotted some Princess Cruises representatives, and were directed to the end of the airport where someone would take our luggage and put us on a coach to the ship. The representatives in the airport were having...

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Reykjavik Street Art
Nov19

Reykjavik Street Art

I recently visited Iceland for a few days and there are any number of articles I could write about the experience but thought I’d just slap up some photos I took of the various bits of street art in and around Reykjavik. Why’s that, Mark? you ask. Because I’m lazy and this is an easy way to add some content without giving it too much thought, I reply. Reykjavik is not the prettiest of cities in the world, architecturally-speaking – Iceland’s remote location probably has something to do with this, and there’s probably an element of practicality over beauty too – which might explain the abundance of colourful and intricate artwork along many of the streets we walked through. These pictures (and more) all come from my Reykjavik photo album on...

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Far East Honeymoon Videos
Aug16

Far East Honeymoon Videos

Let’s get this straight right now: these aren’t those sorts of honeymoon videos. If you’re here for those sorts of honeymoon videos you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re not here for those sorts of honeymoon videos then you’ll probably still be disappointed but for completely different reasons. Way, way back in 2008 I got married and went on a trip to the Far East with my wife, cruising around the South China seas on the Diamond Princess and taking in a number of stops too: China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand. Not long after that I wrote about our general experience of cruising, specifically as it applied to Princess Cruises in this article: Your First Princess Cruise. But what I didn’t do on this website was go into the details of the trip, share pictures, or upload video. In the lattermost case the reason for that was quite simple; I neglected to upload any videos until very, very recently. I figure seven years is a reasonable time to wait for these things. By way of getting back into the habit of occasionally updating this site and justifying its hosting costs I thought I’d take advantage of the recent video uploading spree on YouTube and share some of the filmed experiences of my honeymoon. The entire set of videos can be found in this playlist – Honeymoon, November 2008 – and it’s mostly in the right sequence except for a few at the end which had stupid dates on the files and YouTube doesn’t really make it easy to rearrange the playlist order. Some “highlights”: Short pan from on the Great Wall of China showing some of the surrounding hills and large number of tourists, mostly from China, making some form of ascent. This was part of a trip lasting just a few hours and we only had a short time on the wall itself. Bizarrely, some people who came long with us seemed more content to do some shopping at the gift shop near the base rather than engage in any climbing. Not us, though. We made the most of our time by hiking up as much as we could before needing to turn around and return to the coach. We stopped often as we ascended. It was very steep in parts. And we were very unfit. We’re still very unfit. Tiananmen Square. Very large and while we were there it filled up quite quickly with tourists, again mostly from China. Now, you would think that tourists going to Tiananmen Square might want to queue up at the mausoleum or take in the sights and, generally,...

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Lyme Regis
Nov16

Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis is a small, coastal town in Dorset, England. The town's name literally means "misspelt, small, green, citrus fruit named Regis" and it won it in a game of poker with twinned Yorkshire village Lemmin Geoff. Lyme Regis is part of the south of England's famous Jurassic Coast, an area that stretches from Exmouth to Swanage most notable for existing simultaneously in our time period and a pleasant Thursday in the early spring of 153 million years ago. Lyme Regis is popular with tourists wishing to kill dinosaurs in Earth's distant past, skin them, eat them, then sell their cleaned skeletons in the town's many fossil shops. #dorset #thecobb #sooc #justkiddingaboutitbeingsooc   Google+: View post on...

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