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Florida to Florida Via the Antarctic and Amazon

Author: william r reynolds
Date of Trip: January 2012

zodiac antarcticaA Grand Voyage on Holland America's Prinsendam began in Ft. Lauderdale in Jan. 2012. After visiting sites in Eastern Panama we sailed through the Panama Canal and down the West Coast of South America. We visited ports in Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. The highlight of this part of the cruise was an overflight of the Nazca lines in Peru. Those are the mysterious, magnificent drawings in Peru's desert. They are so vast that they can only be appreciated from the air.

Amazingly, only primitive techniques were used to create the drawings. To this day no one really knows how these vast drawings kept lines arrow straight,circles perfect, and the coiled spirals exactly proportioned. With no wheels or beasts of burden, the builders had to carry everything they consumed to the desert sites. Walking miles carrying food, water, and tools to the most arid spots on earth, they created drawings that survive undamaged to this day.

photographer mountainsLeaving South America we entered into Antarctic waters. No pictures can prepare one for the immensity of the landscape. Glaciers half a mile high, snow packs that never melt, sapphire ocean waters, are some of the jewels that sparkle in this uninhabited wonderland.

After visiting the Falkland Island, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil we entered the Amazon River for a 900 mile one-way cruise. Imagine a 1200 person cruise ship on one of our rivers! Our turn around point was Manaus, a city of one and a quarter people. It cannot be reached by road or rail! Fantastic sights including pink fresh water dolphins, friendly people in riverside settlements, school children eager to shake your hand, preferably a hand holding a dollar bill.

schoolchildren brazilThis was a trip for the adventurous who like to travel in comfort. We lucky few enjoyed delicious meals, fine service, comfortable cabins, informative lectures, excellent entertainment, and exciting casinos.

At the end of this 68 day cruise, arriving back in Ft. Lauderdale was bitter sweet. It was sweet to be home, but the ship tugged at our hearts as we bid it "Hasta la Vista."

william reynolds

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