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Patagonia and the Falkland Islands

In March, right at the tail end of winter, my little family and I went on one of the wildest/fantastic/marvelous/extraordinary/ remarkable/unparalleled/wondrous vacations ever.  All truths, because really to describe Patagonia you’d need all of the positive synonyms in its description.  I’ve wanted to go to Patagonia for awhile, and almost as much as there, I’ve wanted to visit the Falkland Islands.  So when I stumbled on a vacation that would take us to all of these places(!) I just knew that we had to take advantage of this and go.  We flew to Santiago, Chile, saw the sights, and then trekked over to Valparaiso, Chile where we boarded a cruise ship for 14 days.

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***Cruising is not my favorite way of travel, I’m a road trip girl through and through, but I will say that we love cruising.  It adds a luxuriously stress free feel to your somewhat fast paced vacation, and for us that’s golden.  Our family feuds are usually over what to eat on the road, but not when cruising, because there is one thousand options within walking distance, so after a long day of tours and the what not, all five people were satisfied with the dinner choice.  Crisis avoided.  And whilst I’m here in the “*paragraph about cruising,” I will mention we took this Norwegian Cruise (NOT THAT PRICE!) and it was wonderful.  As for Norwegian, the crew was so personable, and the accommodations were great.  But what really got us was how classy Norwegian was when they had to handle a little crisis that one of our tours had.  We had taken a ferry to an island inhabited solely be Magellanic Penguins, and the ferry docked too high up on shore, we were stranded, 10 hours total, plus two hours each way to and from the ship. Since the excursion was booked through them the ship waited for us, and then just accommodated us with little perks for the rest of our stay onboard.

Now, I will admit that even though we took a tour in every port and saw wonders that made us all giddy, we really didn’t even touch on Patagonia, the furthest from the water we ever drove was two hours inland, so there is still a vastness of beauty we didn’t get to see.  We have large, large dreams of camper van-ing around Chile and Argentina in a few years. After we perfect our Spanish.  I could go on and on about everything we did, but I’m just going to stick to what we studied to correlate with our travels, as always.

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Our first port Valparaiso, is just a few hours east of two tiny islands, one of them is the place where Alexander Selkirk was marooned for nearly five years, thus inspiring the fictional story of Robinson Crusoe.  The Islands are trickier to get to, and we weren’t able to get to them during this trip, which made Liam incredibly bummed, but before we left for Chile we read Marooned and for our bedtime reading on the cruise ship we read an abridged version of Robinson Crusoe.  I meant for the original writings of Defoe to be what we read aloud, but my mistake of purchasing the abridged version wasn’t noted until we were packing for our trip. We made do and read it to pick up the general plot line so we could compare fiction from reality.  If you wish to locate these two islands on a map, just locate Valparaiso, Chile and draw your finger straight west from there, the island that Selkirk inhabited is now called Robinson Crusoe, and the island next to it is called Alexander Selkirk.  We found it so odd that they’d formally name a place after a fictitious character, rather than the name of the man who miraculously survived on his own and yet give him the title to another island he’d never set foot on.  But I suppose that goes to teach us that, often, the credit isn’t always given to the one who is deserving of it.

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Our trip was filled with penguins, Gentoo, Magellanic, King and Rockhopper.  Quick reads on penguins like this and this were really interesting to the boys.

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We did a lot of school on the boat, and walking along the deck while we were cruising the Strait of Magellan with our books on him in our hands was really dreamy.  Is that too much?  I mean, it just felt otherworldly at the lower part of our earth, and imagining this life that Magellan had lived exploring and then my boys are running around pretending they’re explorers from Spain, while looking at the same mountains that rise out of the ocean, while traveling the same passageway!  It just makes me geek out completely.

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The Patagonian desert is a prime spot for finding dinosaur fossils, in fact some of Earth’s largest dinosaurs have been found in Argentina! We visited the Museum of Paleontology  and the boys immediately said it was their favorite excursion we went on.  It could have something to do with the actual room of Paleontologists that you can watch work while they brush at fossils and clean off bones, but I’m not totally sure, because  they do really love a place with a nice gift shop ;).

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There were lots of other lessons learned while we traveled that didn’t come from the books we brought with us, and that’s why sometimes it’s important to put the books down and go learn in the tremendous/magnificent/mighty/immense/extensive/planetary World School.  I just wanted to go out the same way I came in. Thanks for reading, friends! Now, I’ve got more pictures than words so. scroll. on. down……

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Our very favorite ports were the Falkland Islands, Ushuaia, the southern most town in the world, Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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We stayed at a B&B for the days leading up to the Cruise |

Books on Alexander Selkirk | Marooned: The Strange but True Adventures of Alexander Selkirk, the Real Robinson CrusoeRobinson Crusoe

Books on Penguins | Penguins! | Penguins: Amazing Pictures & Fun Facts on Animals in Nature (Our Amazing World Series)

Books on Magellan |Ferdinand Magellan: Circumnavigating the World  | Magellan: Ferdinand Magellan and the First Trip Around the World (Exploring the World)

Books on Dinosaurs | Dinosaurs! | Dinosaur Discoveries |Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur?: All About Dinosaurs  |The Wonderful Egg

Spanish | As soon as we came back from our trip the boys started a Spanish class once a week, and we will begin in the fall with an at home tutor.  We also utilize |Little Pim Fun with Languages: Spanish Vol. II | and the app Duolingo

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