2019-11-30-South America aboard Azamara Pursuit

Azamara Cruise – a day in Buenos Aires

A peaceful overnight sailing from Punta Del Este brought us to the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.

We all grabbed our bags and gathered outside the terminal for a day of discovery with our local hosts Abercrombie & Kent.

Our first stop – and a colorful at that – was the Barraccas neighborhood where immigrants first settled in the 1890s to 1920s. Home to the blue and yellow Boxa Juniors soccer team. The stadium in this neighborhood is the most attended arena in the world selling out twice a week for argentine league games.

From there, we travelled back downtown for a brunch at tge legendary Four Seasons hotel. We were met by the director of sales and tge GM of the property with open arms and a healthy mimosa.

From there, we toured this stunning hotel which offers both contemporary tower rooms and 9 special palace rooms in the French inspired mansion adjacent.

A fantastic Adobo (grilled) lunch with the best dulce di leche crepes yet rounded out our short but memorable stay. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Four Seasons without a heart-warming surprise in the form of opera singer Belén Mc Kinley whom performed two favorites from the ALW musical Evita.

How to top this? Was the question floating in my mind. Fortunately, we travelled with A&K which meant our journey continued in style aboard our comfy luxury bus with extended legroom to the Palermo and Recoleta neighborhoods for some retail therapy with local leather goods. Judging by the bags that returned aboard with smiling participants, it was exactly what was needed.

Our last sightseeing stop was the cemetery where argentine legend Evita Peron’ remains are laid to rest. The above images show her crypt surrounded by her brother and sister-in-law.

To relax and refresh before our long flights home, tge 2nd Virtuoso property in town – the Park Hyatt – hosted us with refreshments and a spectacular buffet of pastries freshly prepared by the hotel’ executive pastry chef.

Not only was it a feast for the eyes, each bite was mouthwatering.

At last, every trip must come to an end. By 730pm we were all checking in for our flights home. Safe flights to all and stay tuned for my next adventure coming up after the holidays.

2019-11-30-South America aboard Azamara Pursuit

Azamara Cruise – cooking class in Punta Del Este

A short cruise overnight got us to the summer resort town of Punta Del Este with its white sandy beaches and rugged coastline.

Our group boarded a private coach for a scenic drive along the river and Atlantic Ocean tips that form the unique setting for this resort town complete with stunning homes and hotels to admire.

45 minutes later we arrived at the winery complex at Narbona where we learned to prepare the perfect embers for grilling meats and veggies. This 1920 building complex of gardens, rooms, and a hacienda-like courtyard offered our group lots of opportunities to mix and mingle and pick up valuable cooking skills.

The highlights were the queso fundido (flame grilled provolone cheese) and the chimichurri recipe – until desert arrived which blew it all out of the water.

Dulce di leche crepes with vanilla ice cream – The Nirvana of deserts!

In other words, I added a new food tourism destination to my list that I will return to.

2019-11-30-South America aboard Azamara Pursuit

Azamara Cruise – Montevideo

Our two days at sea ended with Azamara Pursuit’ pulling into the Montevideo harbor in Uruguay. The group disembarked for a bicycle trip and hosted lunch courtesy of Virtuoso.

Uruguay is the birth place of the steak house movement with a ratio of 3 heads of cattle per inhabitant and a world leading per capita consumption of 220lbs of beef consumed annually.

Tge photos above show the wood fired grill at El Palenque in the harbor market hall where we are a grill lunch.

To round out our experience in town, Azamara hosted a private evening carnival show at the Solis Theatre – South America’ oldest opera house built in 1898. It he show was fantastic and brought to life tge uniquely Uruguayan mix of Spanish and African heritage.

As we returned back on board, Cruise director and Broadway Star Amanda Paulson entertained the guests with a live solo performance of classic Italian music – What a treat!

Montevideo was definitely AzAmazing!

2019-11-30-South America aboard Azamara Pursuit

Azamara Cruise – unknown French Cars

A life-long follower of the French car maker Renault, even I was stumped by the models I encountered in Uruguay.

This ultra-compact 4-door was originally developed for the Indian market and found its way to South America, presumably for pricing reasons.

In fact, the bulk of vehicles we saw in Brazil and Uruguay so far were sub-compact Renault, Peugeot and Fist models not sold in Western Europe or the North American market.

Ever heard of a Renault Oroch? Unfortunate name aside, this was a brand new discovery for me and I learned that this is the Dacia Duster-based budget pickup trucklet for developing markets.

Want one of these “beauties” in your driveway? You’ll have to move to South America. Personally, I doubt either model is worth it though.