2012 Wold Cruise


Introduction


This is our third world cruise on the ms Amsterdam of Holland America Line. While each of these cruises has been amazing, this has perhaps been the best. We had some amazing experiences, and hope that what follows will give you an idea of how great the experience was.


Embarkation

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2012 World Cruise Logo

January 6, 2012

As 4-Star Mariners (which means we cruise a lot!), we got priority boarding, which is much nicer than waiting in the long lines for regular boarding.  We flew in to Fort Lauderdale the night before we were to board and spent the night in a hotel.  In the morning we took a cab to the port.  

Boarding the ship was like old home week, starting with seeing some friends at the airport.  Many people go regularly on world cruises, so there were lots of familiar faces, among both the passengers and crew.

Our cabin was very familiar also, as it was the same one we’d had in 2010.  This time it felt a little smaller because we brought a trunk with us.  The space it took up was worth it because it was very useful for both storage and a table surface during the cruise.

The trunk stayed right where it is in this photo, and somehow we managed to not trip over it, even in the dark of night for 4 whole months.  Our wonderful cabin steward, Ben Agung, better known as Beny, came in with his assistant, Ilyas (aka All) to help us try to rearrange the furniture to fit the trunk in better, but its original location remained the best one.

One of the great things Holland America has done is make sure the cabins are ready for occupation by 11:30 AM which is when the first people board.  The wonderful thing about that is that one can drop off all one’s carry on luggage in the cabin before proceding up to the Lido for lunch.  In the past we’ve had to haul it all with us until at least 1:00 PM.

One way this cruise was different for us is that we have been on an eating plan.  We had to figure out how to eat right without knowing what ingredients went into our meals, and to work out our timing.  We had requested that Holland America get us some of the things we needed for breakfast and snacks, and we found out that there had been serious miscommunication and misunderstanding about what we needed.  Fortunately we had brought a supply of nutrition bars with us, because the ship supplied us with one each of about 3 kinds of bars.  We also got one box each of three kinds of cereal.  The protein powder had Splenda in it, which we can’t eat, so we never did eat the cereal.  The ship did find some additional bars when we were in Sydney, Australia, but again, most of them contained Splenda.  However, between the supply we brought and the ones from the ship that did work for us, we did have enough nutrition bars to get us through the trip, allowing us to eat every 2-3 hours, as specified in our eating plan, including while we were out on excursions.

As part of our eating plan we put in a request for yogurt and berries for our evening snack, to be delivered to our cabin at 10:00 PM.  This regular delivery resulted in one of the most special friendships with crew members that we’ve ever had.  It introduced us to Gede Putra (Gede is pronounced like the Australian greeting “g’day”), a young man from Bali, who was very concerned about making sure we got what we needed, and who was so punctual that one could set their watch by his arrival.  He learned what we were doing and would check the different kinds of yogurt to make sure they would work for us.  We ended up in a lot of deep conversations with him, learning about his life and the Balinese culture.  His smile brightened our evenings.  There were some evenings when someone else delivered our snack, because Gede was training in the Canaletto restaurant (a specialty restaurant in the Lido) for the cruise that would follow our disembarkation.  While the others who delivered our snack were good, we still missed Gede when he was not able to make the delivery.

We set sail at about 5:00 PM, headed for the Caribbean and our first port of call.

For this cruise we had the best cabin stewards we’ve experienced.  Our dining room stewards were great, as were the stewards in the Lido, with whom we had a lot of fun.  Our dinner table started out with six people, two of whom rarely showed up.  Ted and Helena were with us for the entire trip.  After Sydney, we invited Carol and Jane, the watercolor instructors to join us, and as a result we ended up with a very lively table.

                                                            ms Amsterdam, docked in Dominica


Roseau, Dominica


January 9, 2012

After two days at sea we docked at Roseau, Dominica, at the container dock, which is the secondary dock for the port.  Since we did not arrive until noon, the Noordam was at the passenger dock.  We tried the tai chi class in the morning, which was a bit disappointing.

The excursion we had scheduled was called ‘Dominica’s Favorites’.  We boarded our bus at the dock, and started driving through Roseau, which is the capital city.  Our first stop was at Morne Bruce, an overlook where we could get our photo taken with our ship - except the ship that was visible was the Noordam.   

Our next stop was at the Botanical Garden.  The garden is small, but pleasant.  The most memorable thing in the garden is a baobob tree that fell on a (fortunately empty) school bus, crushing it during Hurricane David, August 29, 1979.  The garden has a Parrot and Conservation Research Center, where they participate in a breeding program for the two endangered species of parrots that live on the island.  The garden includes interesting specimens such as the huge banyan tree in this photo (compare with the people pictured with it!), the national flower known as Carib Wood, and the Cannonball tree, named for its fruit.

From the Botanical Garden we drove to Trafalagar Falls, where we had a beautiful walk through the rain forest on a path with many shallow steps, up to the point where we could view the two falls.  The falls are located near the western edge of Morne Trois Pitons National Park.  The upper falls stem from a lake, while the lower falls flow from the Trois Pitons River.  There is a covered viewing platform at the end of the trail. 

From Trafalgar Falls we drove to a place where we could have refreshments, watch some native dancers, and do a little souvenir shopping - or bird watching.  This bullfinch made himself right at home in the snack bar.

The final stop on our tour was another part of Morne Trois Pitons National Park, where we again walked through the rainforest to see the Emerald Pool.  The size of some of the plants was amazing.

Driving on the roads of Dominica, especially in something as large as a tour bus, was quite an experience.  They are mountain roads which are sort of two lane, but there are lots of large potholes and some areas of road construction.  They drive on the left, but they are used to that so that aspect of driving did not add to the chaotic driving experience.  Fortunately we had an experienced driver, so there were no mishaps.

Dominica is a beautiful island of volcanic origin, and therefore very mountainous.  They get 360 inches of rain per year, and have 365 rivers.  Geologically, it is the newest island of the group it is in.  It is well worth a visit, especially if you like to do outdoor things such as hiking.  There is far more to the island than we were able to see on this visit.  You can check out additional photos in this album.


                                                                      Roseau, Dominica

Bridgetown, Barbados


January 10, 2012

Barbados is an independent country which is part of the British Empire.  It is a coral island.  The terrain is mostly flat, but with some hills.  You can see the coral base everywhere, including where the roads are carved into the coral.  The island is very dry compared to Dominica:  rainfall is ‘only’ 60 inches per year.  The legal population of the island is 270,000, with another 30,000 illegals, who are mostly from South America.  Their number one industry is tourism, followed by manufacturing and sugar.   

Although the ship docked at about 8:00 AM, our excursion wasn’t until the afternoon.  The excursion we chose was called ‘Green Monkey Eco Discovery’.  We were almost late for the excursion because we did not realize we were to meet out by the bus, and it was a long hike out to the bus, along the dock through the terminal building.  The tour started with a bus ride through Bridgetown.  The downtown area of the city looks much like any town in the United States.

Our first stop was for photos at the beach in a town called Bathsheba, which had some interesting coral formations in the water.

We continued from Bathsheba into a countryside with rolling hills, headed for the Barbados Wildlife Reserve.  The main attraction here was the green monkeys, which are actually free to come and go as they please.  However, the monkeys are fed at the reserve, and we were fortunate enough to see them.  Although the monkeys are a great attraction on the island, they are actually not native to it.  They are related to the vervet monkeys of Africa.  In addition to the monkeys, we also saw red deer, many red-footed tortoises, and a rabbit-like rodent called a Mara.  There are supposed to be a lot of birds in an aviary, as well as otters and wallabies, but we did not see any of those.  We were offered a drink as part of the tour, and the rum punch was quite nice.

On the way back to the ship we drove along the west coast of the island, through Speightstown, the second largest town on Barbados, in an area referred to as the Gold Coast, as it is home to many rich and famous residents as well as the island’s best hotels and restaurants.

This was a pleasant trip, but not spectacular.  There are other things to do on the island, such as snorkeling or SCUBA diving, and cave exploration.  Although we enjoyed our day, there is nothing about Barbados that calls to us.

The most spectacular part of the day occurred when we were watching the sunset and witnessed the green flash phenomenon as the sun was disappearing over the horizon.  

There are more photos in the album.         


Coral Formations at Bathsheba


Belém, Brazil

                                                                        Going Ashore in Belém

January 13, 2012

Our third port of call was Belém, Brazil.  Our stop here was our first visit to Brazil.  Belém is located in the northern part of Brazil, on the Pará River, which is part of the Amazon River system, about 60 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean.   We were docked in the bay of Maranjó, so we took shuttles into shore.  The area we were in did not have docks built that would accommodate a ship the size of the Amsterdam.  Belém is the eleventh largest city in Brazil, with a population of about 1.2 million people, and it is the capital of Pará state.

As we approached the dock we noticed that there were a lot of large black birds on the shore.  They turned out to be black vultures, and we have never seen so many at one time anywhere else.  Over the course of the day it became obvious that the birds live on leftovers from the fishing industry.

The village where we came ashore is called Icoaraci.  From there we had a 30-minute bus ride into Belém.  The tour we chose was called Belém Highlights.  Our first stop was the Ver-O-Peso market, a huge outdoor market that sells just about everything you might want:  clothing, cookware, fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, and herbal medicines.  Our guide, Barros, introduced us to the Açai berry which is famous for its antioxidant properties and which is actually the fruit of a palm tree.  He taught us about the difference between manioc (yellow, poisonous) and cassava (white, edible, the source of farina - a cereal food - and tapioca).  We also got to watch the preparation of Brazil nuts.  Apparently they are varieties of the same plant, and even the most toxic variety, properly prepared, is edible.  Ver-O-Peso is the largest market we have ever seen.  It is worth going to visit when you have enough time to study it thoroughly, because it is a really amazing place.  The market’s name means ‘check the weight’ - what customs did to determine tariffs due on goods.

Once we left the market we walked over to the Forte do Castelo, a fortress built by the Portuguese in the 17th century.  On the walk we passed some fishermen preparing their fish for sale, assisted by black vultures.  It has occurred to us that given the amount of fishing and fish sales in the area, the birds are the only reason the whole area does not stink of rotting fish.  The fort did not hold much interest for us.

Our next stop was at the Basilica of Our Lady of Nazareth, which is modeled on St. Paul’s Basilica in Rome, a church we have both visited in prior years.  The church is very beautiful, as you can see from the photos.  The church does not have the courtyards that St. Paul’s does, but is otherwise similar.  There is also a very old statue of Mary with her Baby, which is quite special to the people of Belém.

However, perhaps even better than the church was the natural phenomenon we observed outside the church: a full solar halo.

Our final stop on this tour was the Emilio Goeldi Zoo and Botanical Garden.  The most interesting animals were the spotted jaguars (as opposed to black ones).  

One fun thing that happened here is that while we were on the bus our guide talked to us about snakes of the area, making sure we would know the difference between the boa constrictor (that lives in trees) and the anaconda (that lives in the water).  As we were walking past the water lily garden, he mentioned that we needed to beware of boa constrictors and anacondas dropping out of the trees onto us.  Some people actually panicked over that.  Clearly they had not been listening!  We just got a good laugh out of it.

Even after we got back to the dock and onto a shuttle boat to return to the Amsterdam, the adventure was not over.  When we approached the Amsterdam the shuttle pilot looked in vain for a platform to dock at.  The ship was closed up tight!  The shuttle pilot kept sounding his horn to attract the ship’s attention.  Finally, one of the ship’s officers, who happened to be on the shuttle, was able to rouse the ship via walkie-talkie.  We had to wait for a few minutes for the door to be opened on the ship.  The ship had turned while we were gone, so the shuttle could dock on the leeward side, and the crew had not yet had time to reopen the door.  It gave us a moment of concern until we figured out what had happened.

Even though there is a lot of poverty in the city of Belém, there are also quite a few well-to-do people, judging by the cars we saw.  All the cars seemed to be shiny and new; we just didn’t see any older cars.  Apparently three of our tour buses got caught in traffic jams, so we were late leaving the port.

We enjoyed our visit to Belém, and there are other excursions here that would be fun to do.  Many people were put off by the poverty of the city, but it was still a pleasant enough place to visit, and a nice introduction to Brazil.  The visit was made nicer by an excellent tour guide who not only spoke good, comprehensible English, but was also amenable to help with the language.  He wanted to make sure that we learned a lot about his country and culture, so it was an educational experience.

There are additional photos in the album.


Recife, Brazil


January 16, 2012

Recife (pronounced Ray-SEE-fay) is located on the coast at the furthest east point of Brazil, and is the first place settled by the Portuguese.  The location allowed us to dock.   Recife is the capital of the state of Pernambuco.  The original capital, Olinda, which is nearby, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Recife is a thriving city that looks to the future, and shows little of the poverty of Belém.  At the time of our visit, they were in the process of building a new commercial port 45 kilometers south of the current port.  The current port will be available to cruise ships and the buildings will be converted into a shopping mall.  The city is located at the confluence of two major rivers, the Beberibe River (named for the sloth) and the Capibaribe River (named for the capybara, a very large rodent).  The rivers, with all their bridges, have caused people to call the city the Brazilian Venice.

The tour we chose was called ‘Recife and Historic Olinda’.  Our first stop was at the beach, which seemed very nice until you read the sign that says “Danger of Shark Attack”

There are plenty of large hotels across the street from the beach, and it is apparently a popular place, despite the fact that it isn’t safe to go swimming.  From the beach we drove to see the Ø Kilometer Mark, the point from which the entire settlement has radiated.  

It is from this point that one can observe what is affectionately known as the city’s ‘monument to Viagra’, a sculpture designed by Recife native Francisco Brennand.

Our next stop was the Jewish Quarter, where we saw the outside of the first synagogue built in the Americas, along with an archeological site related to Jewish life.  

We also crossed the bridge located on the site of the first bridge built in the Americas on our way to the Casa da Cultura, a craft market located in an old prison building.  Each of the former cells is now a shop for a crafter.  The design of the building is wonderful, so it is nice that they were able to repurpose it in such a creative way.

Our tour took us next to Olinda.  On the way we passed the Governor’s Palace, a very beautiful building.  If you notice the sidewalks, the designs and construction are very much like what we saw in Lisbon, Portugal.  Apparently the stones used for paving the walkways were originally used for ballast for ships, then recycled as paving stones.  The paving stones are a feature we saw in each of the Brazilian cities we visited.  They are a clear tie to Brazil’s origins in Portugal.

Olinda is a beautiful town, with well maintained buildings of the original style of the area.  The brightly colored buildings were the first thing we saw as we drove into town.  Olinda’s streets cannot accommodate large tour buses, so for this part of the tour we transferred to minivans.  They were comfortable, but one we were in had tinted windows that made good photography impossible.

The main places we saw in Olinda were the churches.  The first one we visited, Mosteiro de São Bento (Monastery of St. Benedict), which is very ornate inside.  The date 1671 carved onto the façade indicates the last time the building was refurbished.

The second church we visited, Igreja do Carmo (Church of Carmo), was plain in comparison.

However, the view of the harbor from in front of the church was unmatched anywhere:

From Igreja do Carmo we walked to the point where we would meet up with our vans, transfer back to our buses, and drive back to the harbor.

Once back on board the Amsterdam, we went up onto the aft Lido deck to take photos of the harbor and surroundings.  From the ship we were able to get a view of Olinda, so we could see where we had just been.

Recife and Olinda are both interesting places to visit.  It would be nice to be able to visit again and see some of the other things the city has to offer.

There are a lot of additional photos in this album.

                                                                Recife, from the beach

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Day 1

                                                           Sugarloaf Mountain & Red Beach

January 19, 2012

Rio de Janeiro, the home of the famous Carnaval, the largest such celebration in the world, and the home of Sugarloaf Mountain, is a legendary city that is a must-visit if you are in Brazil.  We were not awake for the sail-in, but judging by the sail-away, it was spectacular, and worth being up for.  On the way in or out you pass all the famous landmarks:  Sugarloaf Mountain, Corcovado with the statue of Christ the Redeemer, and the Two Brothers Mountains, as well as a wonderful old fort.  The original name of the city was São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, named for the patron saint of a Portuguese ruler.  The city has a population of 6.25 million.

On Day 1 we had an American Express tour, which was both excellent and unusual.  The first place we went was a Samba School, Unidos da Tijuca, which had won the parade competition in 2010, and since the time of our visit has also won the 2012 competition.  The first Samba Schools were formed in the 1920s; the one we visited was founded in 1931.  The schools usually have two locations:  a samba hall which functions as a dance club for people of all ages, and the production unit, where the floats and costumes are produced.  We visited Tijuca’s production unit 33 days before the official competition and saw the partially constructed floats and costumes.  Since the competition has passed, it should be okay to post the photos we took.  For our special tour we were allowed to go into areas of the building where the public is generally not allowed.  We counted seven floats under construction.  Great attention was paid to detail, including covering boxes with fabric, applying strings of sequins to statues and hand painting statues.  The costume production area was amazing, too.  They make an individually fitted costume for each participant, which involves a lot of detail work, and they were expecting something like 4,000 participants this year.  There was still a lot of work to be done to get ready for the parade competition.  At the end of our tour we had a samba demonstration by two beautiful young ladies, who were amazing dancers, and a small percussion band (the traditional accompaniment to the samba).  The dancers drew many of us onto the floor to try out dancing, which was a lot of fun for those of us who participated.  We did not know what to expect from a samba school, but were very impressed by the time we finished our tour.  The school recycles everything they can from the floats and costumes, and the school has a special room where they keep all the buttons, sequins, ribbons, etc.

Wow!  Once you finish a tour of a samba school, what do you do for an encore?  Well, the first thing we did was to drive by the Sambádromo or parade ground, a stadium that is one block long with permanent viewing stands on both sides of the street (just a street, not what we usually think of as a stadium.  

The complete entry from each school, including all the floats and other participants must all be able to fit onto this block at the same time for the competition.

From the parade ground we drove through the city, experiencing their constant traffic jams, to the Cathedral of St. Sebastian, also known as the Metropolitan Cathedral.

We next headed over to Botofogo Bay and Red Beach, where we could photograph Sugar Loaf Mountain.  The mountain now has a cable car that goes to the top.  There was even a bathing suit vendor working the beach area.

The last part of the tour took us down to the area of the famous beaches, Copacabana and Ipanema (photo below), which may be very famous and popular, but they just looked like regular beaches full of beach chairs and umbrellas.  

We drove past the beaches, and through other areas of the city on our way back to the ship.  This was a really nice tour, made special by the visit to the samba school.

A post-script to this entry:  Unidos da Tijuca is again grand champion in this year’s Carnaval competition.  Here is a link to a slide show of photos from the competition: http://www.flickr.com/photos/riotur/sets/72157629414082997/show/.  Even better:  here is a link to an article about Unidos da Tijuca which includes some videos from the competition.  Scroll down to find the videos, and make sure you check out the photo gallery for its slide show.  The competition is even more incredible than seeing the construction of floats and costumes.  http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pt&u=http://g1.globo.com/rio-de-janeiro/carnaval/2012/noticia/2012/02/unidos-da-tijuca-e-campea-do-carnaval-carioca-2012.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dunidas%2Bda%2Btijuca%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26prmd%3Dimvns&sa=X&ei=JoHwT4GCK8Pp6wGp0Z2wBg&ved=0CGsQ7gEwBA   Enjoy!!

Plus there are more photos in the album.

                                                                  Ipanema Beach

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Day 2


January 20, 2012

For day 2 in Rio we ended up walking for 2-1/2 hours, going from the ship along Avendia Rio Branco as far as the obelisk.  Our round trip was probably in the neighborhood of five miles.  There are a lot of beautiful, classically styled buildings in the city, so there was much to look at.  Avenida Rio Branco is in the business district, but today it was quiet because most businesses were closed for a holiday.

The photos of Rio show the city far better than words could.  The mountain Harry is photographing is Sugar Loaf.

In the three Brazilian cities we visited there were a couple of themes we noted that were constants.  The first is the beautiful paving-stone sidewalks, which are like the ones you see in Lisbon, Portugal and which are built from the same stone.  That is a nice unifying feature.  The other constant was the graffiti.  Brazilians have raised graffiti to the level of fine art.  In Rio it certainly makes sitting in traffic less boring.

Sail-away was absolutely spectacular.  There is a section of sail-away photos in the album, along with other photos for this post.

Farewell, Rio!



Buenos Aires, Argentina

001L Estancia Santa Susana - Carriage Ride.jpg

                                                                      Estancia Santa Susana Wagon Ride

January 23 to 24, 2012

This was our second visit to Buenos Aires.  The weather was much better this time, which made the visit nicer.  Buenos Aires, the capital, is the largest city in Argentina.   It has a population of 3 million, with a total of 14 million when you include the outlying areas.  It is a cosmopolitan city with a large and very busy port, located on the Rio de la Plata.

On our last visit we had wanted to do the excursion called ‘Gaucho Life On The Pampas’; this time we got to do it, and it turned out to be a lot of fun.  Estancia Santa Susana is located to the north and west of the city, a bus ride of at least an hour.  We were greeted with empanadas and a drink.  The first event was a horse demonstration.  The horses of Argentina are Creole (a mix of Spanish and Arabian), and from a young age are trained to stay in a group led by a ‘godmother’ horse, who wears a bell and is on a leash.  Wherever the godmother is led, her group follows.

After demonstrating to us how this training works, the gauchos moved on to “racing”.  Here a gaucho rides his horse at top speed, standing in the stirrups, toward a line of hanging small rings, which he tries to catch on a stick.  When he catches a ring he brings it to his favorite woman in the audience and gives it to her.  Tradition dictates that the recipient must kiss the gaucho.  It is amazing to watch their skill at this difficult pastime.  A number of the women were recipients of the rings.  Susan was the second one chosen to receive a ring, and dutifully kissed the gaucho (fun).  

After the show we had an opportunity to explore the ranch house, which is now a museum, ride the horses, and take a wagon ride (see photo above), all of which we did and enjoyed.  We also had time to shop for souvenirs.

At an appointed time we gathered for lunch in a large building designed to accommodate large groups.  The lunch included two kinds of wine, a vegetable course, a couple of kinds of sausage, plus steak and/or chicken, and dessert, all served by the gauchos.  As we finished eating we were treated to a show that included tango dancers, a female singer, and a man who demonstrated bolas (the throwing weapon made of balls on either end of a cord).

After the show it was time to re-board our buses and head back to the city.  We were sorry to have to say adios.  The Estancia was a a wonderful experience.  They are normally closed on Mondays, but opened to accommodate two groups of tourists.  The portion of the Estancia we visited consists of 500 hectares (more than 1,200 acres); the whole place is 1200 hectares (2965 acres), and is used for agricultural purposes as well as tourism.  It is owned by an Irish family.

On our second day in Buenos Aires we had no formal excursion.  Instead a group of us got taxies and went out yarn shopping.  That was an interesting experience, because when we were done at the shop we had chosen to visit, the people at the shop took some of our group over to a bead store, and not only called a cab for the rest us, but negotiated price for us.  

Buenos Aires is an interesting city.   We look forward to being able to return for another visit.

Don’t forget to check out the photos in the album.

                                                                      River Plate Stadium (Soccer)

Montevideo, Uruguay

                                                                           Parliament House

January 25, 2012

This stop in Montevideo was also a second visit for us, and felt rather like coming home.  The city is well-kept and has many interesting things to see.  The tour we chose this time was called ‘Connoisseur’s Guide to the Wines of Uruguay’.  The tour included a bus ride through the city, with several photo stops, prior to visiting the three wineries scheduled.  

The photo ops included General Artigas’ statue (a national hero), the parliament house (above), and one of the incredible life-size sculptures by Jose Belloni.

Then it was on to the wineries.  The first winery we visited was Bouza, a premium boutique winery with a beautiful landscape and a wonderful collection of antique cars and motorcycles.  We were taught about the wine-making process, and visited a field of Tannat grapes (the national grape of Uruguay), before going in to the tasting room to try their wines.  The wines were served with appetizers, such as bread, cheese, meats, nuts, etc.  The Albariño, a white wine was quite nice; the reds were also very good.  In all we tasted five wines.

The second winery was Juanicó, the country’s largest wine producer.   This was the most amazing wine-tasting experience we’ve had, not just because of the high quality of the wines, but because of the foods they served with the wines.  Each of the four items you see on the plate was designed to go with a specific wine.  We tasted one white and three reds, (as well as the olive oil they make), but they saved the best for last:  Licor de Tannat, a port-type wine, 2003 vintage, straight from the barrel.  The Licor was so good that we bought two bottles of it, and one of the Oenologist’s Selection, a wonderful red blend.

By now we were feeling all the wine we had consumed, but there was still one more winery to visit: Santa Rosa.  We started our visit with a brief tour of the winery, followed by a tasting which included a champagne, and three reds, including the obligatory Tannat.  The food served with the wine was very similar to what we had at Bouza.  The wines here were also very good.

This visit was a bit rushed because even though our tour had started late, we had a set time by which we needed to be back at the ship.

The tour proved something to us that we had suspected ever since we visited the H. Stagnari Winery in 2010:  Uruguay makes truly great wines.  We do have one piece of advice for any who would like to tour wineries in Uruguay:  three wineries in one day is too many.  Uruguay may not be a big name in wine production as are Argentina and Chile, but their wines are definitely worth trying if you happen to find them.  They make very high quality wines.

Don’t forget all the photos in the album.

                                                         Tannat Grapes on the Vine


© Susan L. Stone 2015                   rovingstones@me.com