The penguin is an awkward bird.
At least, that's what I've always heard.
It swims and waddles, never flies,
When other birds act otherwise.
Its workday outfit seems so formal
And that, I think, is hardly normal.
It keeps its egg upon its feet
Which doesn't sound so very neat.
Still, I guess the penguin does its best
To raise a child without a nest.
It's not exactly Paradise
Living on a slab of ice.
The two-week luxury adventure aboard Crystal Cruises' Symphony begins and ends in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, whose name means city of "favorable winds," is the capital of Argentina. With broad, well planned avenues, charming sidewalk cafes, carefully tended parks, elaborate monuments, noble statues and splendid rococo buildings, it exudes an air of sophisticated elegance.
The first port of call is Ushuaia, the world's southernmost town, lies on the triangular-shaped islandof Tierra del Fuego. While Ferdinand Magellan was exploring the straits between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in 1520, he was amazed by the smoke and fires which seemed to appear at every turn. These fires, which were kept continuously alight by the Yaghan and Ona Indians, became the inspiration for the name "Tierra del Fuego," Land of Fire.
The ship leaves the South American content and enter Antarctic waters including the Drake Passage, Palmer Station, Paradise Harbor, Gerlache Strait, Elephant Island before calling at Fort Arthur on the Falkland Islands.
The Falkland Islands are situated some 350 miles east of Tierra del Fuego, 1,000 miles north of Antarctica and, as the locals claim, a mere 8,000 miles from Britain. Port Stanley is home to the majority of the island's residents -1,990 out of a total population of 2,490. These 700 islands have long been of historical importance to scientists and seamen alike. Prior to the construction of the Panama Canal, they offered safe anchorage and provisions for sailing vessels as they headed around Cape Horn. Today, maritime interests center mostly on the British Royal Navy, fishing fleets from a variety of nations and scientific expeditions to Antarctica.
Returning to Argentina, the ship visits the Patagonian city of Puerto Madryn that lies on the shores of the Golfo Nuevo, along the southern coast of Argentina.It was here that a band of Welsh settlers arrived in 1880 aboard the brigantine Mimosa. These pioneers were brought by Viscount Madryn to found a colony far away from the rigors of Britain's Industrial Revolution. Soon they established the town of Trelew and populated the green Chubut River Valley. Others later followed from Scotland and England as small farms and sheep ranches were gradually developed. Today, Argentina's finest wool originates from here. Although this region is not particularly blessed with buildings of great architectural significance or beautiful scenery, it is nonetheless recognized for its opportunities to view such wildlife as sea elephants, sea lions, penguins and birds.
The penultimate port of call is Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, South America's second-smallest country. Beyond urban limits, 90% of Uruguay's land is devoted to sheep and cattle grazing, as Montevideo is this nation's largest city. Legend tells us that its name originated from the words monte vide eu meaning "I see a mountain," exclaimed by an eager lookout when Magellan's fleet first arrived in 1520. Set in a picturesque location along the River Plate's shores, Montevideo evokes all the flavor of Spain with the massive masonry, hidden patios and palm-shaded plazas that are so reminiscent of that country. Attractions abound. Stroll wide boulevards and leafy parks, view imposing statuary or experience the thrill of an estancia visit.