Here we are, the exact same picture from the time I took Christa and Caleb cruising - except I'm in it, and Christa and Caleb are replaced by their parents Trevor and Beth, and the officer on the left is a different guy. Oh yeah, and it's a different ship. So actually, the only thing that is the exact same is Gulleik.

On the bridge of Crystal Symphony.

In respect to our bridge visit, we totally lucked out I think. We arrived just as the ship was maneuvering through the narrowest pass we would face in the Chilean fjords. Most unusually the pilot, Captain, Deputy Captain and Vice Captain were all present.

We got to visit, ask questions and basically hang around while they did their work. Also the views are the best from up there - clear, good angles, and wind and weather free.

The bridge, for me, is the most entertaining place on the ship even when nothing is happening, even at night when nothing is happening And you can't see a thing out the window. You can feel the mass of the ship from up there and the power as you are silently moving with this hulk of machinery, slicing through the seemingly endless sea.

I have always enjoyed time on the bridge more than any other time on a cruise, and I've been cruising now for Twenty-Five Years (Oh My!).


Trevor and Beth joined in Buenos Aires so by the time I came on board in Punta Arenas they had spent 8 nights already and with only two ports. I think they took good advantage of what the ship had to offer for at-sea activities. They went to exercise classes, did an extended power-walk around the deck every day, ate in the various venues, made friends, saw the shows, etc. etc. and also were regulars at the watercolor class.

When I first opened the door to my stateroom these gorgeous flowers filled the space with an amazingly lively and fragrant welcome. This is my contribution to watercolor class.

The weather was nasty and we did not get to see the fjords as they were intended to be seen.

Our table. By the time I arrived I was the anxiously awaited 'Aunt Penny'. Every single one of these table mates came up to me separately, and more than once, to whisper in hushed and eager tones 'what an utterly delightful niece and nephew you have. How sweet and bright and companionable.' I of course could only nod in agreement.

The weather was nasty pretty much all day every day.

Trevor thought it would be kinda' fun if the ship didn't pull up alongside at least once, so they could experience a tender ride and that's what we had/got to do at my one port along the way - Puerto Montt.

The kids allowed as they usually had a nice nap on the bus during their other shore excursions...

I sat in front with the guide which was good fun, giving that almost private-excursion kind of feeling.

I mentioned in the Patagonia section about how Chile was settled predominantly by Europeans. Here is called The Lake District and we have Germans of both the Catholic and Lutheran faiths. In the mid 1800s the government of Chile actively recruited Germans to come here and settle. They offered free land, help with construction supplies, stock and crops etc. Based on the look of the buildings and the countryside you could as easily be in Europe as in South America.

A significant number of native people, the Mapuche, still live here and now 'earn a precarious livelihood from agriculture and handicrafts'.

The guides and the travel books are quite effusive in describing how lovely it is here but unfortunately, the rain rain did not go away! This is a huge lake around which are many small resort towns.

No photoshopping here. It looks like a watercolor because of all the water on the window of the bus.

The obligatory shopping stop.

Shall they buy this classic hand knit sweater for Lona?

It stopped raining for maybe 20 minutes, enough time to grab a load of these shots at a restored German farming estate. The main house, kitchen, gardens, tenant's quarters etc. were all done up with artifacts from the time and with some explanatory signs.

The waterwheel.


All the buildings were clad in this type of wood shingle.

The guide and the escort.

At the end of this pier is the restaurant Jens took us for lunch, with the ship in the distance.

A view from the pier in the above picture.

Trevor thought this picture was just the thing. Just the thing for what was less than clear and common sense prevailed. They didn't have to lug this picture of fishing in the frozen south off to their home in tropical Hawaii.

Jens! What a guy!! Jens is not 'a paragraph or two' person. Jens is a novel, or at the very least an extended essay for The New Yorker.

This couple from our table was celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. They were as delightful and lively as they look. On the last night they arranged a private party, inviting all of us and a few of their other friends, to celebrate their anniversary. They provided champagne, white and red wine and festive decorations.

The ship did the excellent job we have come to expect with the food, a cake, singers and musicians. It was great for all their guests and, I hope, a memorable event for them.

Star gazing from the balcony.

Dawn on board, from the Palm Court.

Logo a'glowglow.

Another in a long series of 'why is she doing this?' self portraits.


The pilot boat, coming in from Valparaiso.

Gulleik, on the bridge wing watching as the pilot boards.

I have one of these from every cruise too.

We just Loved our stewardess. Every morning I got a pot of coffee and a pot of hot milk making the perfect breakfast beverage which I would enjoy at my leisure, in my jammies, just like I've planned for my old age.

The waiting area pierside, to catch the bus to take us out of this terminal and into another terminal where the tours kick off.

The port city of Valparaiso. In this part of Chile the coast pushes right up against the mountains with no more than a few blocks of flat land. Consequently the adaptive architecture is quite interesting including the landmark funiculars, ascensors in Spanish, which remain an important way to move around the city.

The city has been hard hit by earthquakes throughout its life but always old buildings were restored and new buildings constructed. Valparaiso was the essential port city on the Pacific side of South America until the Panama Canal came into service. Since then the city is still working but not the heart of commerce it once was.


Here we are, doing the bus tour thing.

This is La Sebastiana, one of Pablo Neruda's houses now restored for the tourists. They say he was not here often but always came at New Year's for the fireworks.

The view from out his front room window, Cyrstal Symphony in the distance.


Awww. Here kitty kitty.

We rode on the ascensors during our tour. At one time there were some huge number of these but now they are down to only 15 left.

The guide pointed out that the people never refurbish the backs of their property.


What an interesting docking arrangement!

The climate is basically Mediterranean and hence I could recognize most of the flowers, bushes and trees.

Check out the tin siding that goes with the tin roofs. Why? I can't say. We got a different story from every person we asked!

Getting around.

He's calling his dog.

Tour group on break - an excellent opportunity for a Pisco Sour, delivered on trays from the cafe near by.

The Chilean navy was everywhere in Valparaiso - training, administration, ships and crew bases. This brings to mind the story of the Chilean equivalent of Congress. Pinochet, intending to have his way, simply sent Congress out of Santiago to settle in Valparaiso. Out of sight out of mind. There is some noise about going back to the capital but apparently the buildings used previously are now being used for another purpose and there isn't any place to put all those congressmen. Thatís the tour guide's story anyway.

In town.

We hopped a transfer bus that was taking everyone for Shopping at the mall in Vina del Mar (the chic-chic town up the road) and instead we got off early to see the beach and have a walk.

This was a stand on a pier selling a local specialty drink that included a sweetened fruit liquid and some barley like grain which you ate with a spoon. Trevor and Beth allowed as it was quite delicious.


Cool colors. The bathroom on the pier.

The site of the above beach pictures.

There was a row of craft stands there by the beach. Did I mention it was twelve billion degrees? I went back to the ship first to cool off while T&B strolled the mall.

The Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary party. Congratulations Dolly and Nick! And the crowd chanted KissKissKiss.


This is our last day and we've got a car and driver to tour us around until it was time to fly away. We did the whole Valparaiso thing again and then went on to Vina del Mar (again). Sea lions!


Where we had lunch, looking out to the sea lions. We decided to order a large platter of various shell fish reported by the waiter to be the house speciality and because hey, we're here, why not.

So the platter turns out to be full, Full of various creatures in various degrees of scrapped-from-the-bottom-of-the-sea (or scrapped-from-the-bottom-of-the-boat). We admired each other for tasting every single one of those guys.

La quenta.

Now we're in the main square of Santiago. Touristas!


The Cathedral.


Adios Trevor and Beth! It's been Fan-TAS-tic!!

Chapter 3: Now I'm off to fly to Lima, arrive around midnight, hang out at the airport all night with the backpackers and then at 6am fly to Cusco and begin my adventure in Peru.

You can go directly to: Patagonia, the Chilean Fjords, Cusco and Machu Picchu, and the Amazon Rain Forest.


© 2012 •