Monkeys of Gibraltar – 2017

We had a fabulous time watching the antics of the monkeys on the Rock of Gibraltar.  These macaques are hilarious to watch.  One mother macaque would place herself on the rail within one centimetre of where the tram

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Macaque waiting for the tram full of tourists to arrive – Gibraltar

would pass and casually look over her shoulder as it narrowly missed her.  Then she would race to the other side and place herself so that everybody would see her first as they unloaded.  Later she stretched herself backwards over the rail and hung by her toes.

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Monkey getting ready to hang by her toes from the rail – Gibraltar

This monkey had a baby who was playing on the stairs with another monkey’s baby. The two would roll down the stairs, sideways, forwards, backwards, and sometimes throw in a few handstands on the way down.  Then they would chase each other all around the rails and nearby trees.

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Baby monkeys rolling down the stairs – Gibraltar

Meanwhile, in another section of the park, monkeys would sit on a rail and wait for a tourist mini-van to go by on its way to the top of the rock. The monkeys would jump on top of the van as it went by, ride for a hundred metres or so and then jump back down to the rail.  Then they would race back down the rail and wait for another van to catch a ride on.

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Monkey catching a ride on a van-Gibraltar

We noticed that most of the monkeys hung out wherever a lot of tourists congregated. I felt like we were animals in a zoo and the monkeys were bringing their children to observe us.  They would take their families from one attraction to another.  It definitely gave me a “Planet of the Apes” kind of feeling, but we thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

 

*Note:  This is my final post.  It’s been five years and I think the blog has served its purpose of being a bit of a diary during a time when I was traveling for about six months each year.  I haven’t put in all my travels as I got lazier as time went by, especially this past six months during which I’ve posted very little of my almost four months of travel.  

I wish happy travels to everybody out there on the road. Keep safe and thanks to those who have stopped by to read my blog.

Bye, Adios, Ciao, Au revoir, Zai jian, mama yanawa, ma al salemah, sayonara

 

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Lyon, France – 2017

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Lyon is a picturesque city, located at the junction of the Rhone and Saone rivers in the Auvergne-Rhone -Alps region of France. Fourviere Hill, which provides sweeping views of Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon), is the site of the old Roman city ruins.  Basilica Notre Dame de Fourviere, one of the two major cathedrals is also located on Fourviere Hill.  Although there are about two million people in the Greater Lyon area, the city itself only has about half a million inhabitants.  The city centre is quite compact, making it easy to walk to mostP1010063 attractions.  Many people use a combination of electric scooters and the metro to get around quickly.  I spent a couple of weeks here in May and spent a lot of time wandering through the streets of Vieux Lyon and walking along the rivers.  As the city offers museums, good restaurants and many cultural activities, two weeks was only enough time to scratch the surface here.  P1010044

Argentine Rodeo, San Carlos, Argentina – 2017

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With many miles of pampas to the north, west and south of Buenos Aires and with areas of ranch land extending from the northern border with Bolivia to the south of Patagonia, horses and the gaucho culture remain an inherent part of Argentina.  Rodeos of various sizes and importance regularly take place throughout the country.  The rodeo shown here is the Cuyano Rodeo in San Carlos, Mendoza which took place at the beginning of February and was a one day affair.

The gauchos wear either a beret or a wide-brimmed hat, boots or a soft-soled, slipper type shoe and loose pants. As at any other Argentine occasion, plenty of mate is consumed.

For the bronco riding, the horses were tied to a pole while the rider mounted, rather than having the rider mount in a chute as is done in North America.

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Cuyano Rodeo, San Carlos, Mendoza, Argentina

While we have calf-roping in North America, here two riders worked together to trap a calf against the side of the corral.

Probably the majority of participants in this rodeo, keep horses or cattle as a hobby, rather than as a livelihood so rodeos are the venue for showing off skills they have been working on.  It also provides an opportunity to meet friends or others who share their interests.

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Gaucho, Cuyano Rodeo, San Carlos, Mendoza

 

Penguins of Isla Magdalena, Chile – 2017

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Penguins, Isla Magdalena, Chile

Magdalena Island is a two hour boat ride from Punta Arenas in Chilean Patagonia.  The entire island is a nesting colony for Magellanic penguins.  Upon arrival to the island, visitors must stick to a circular walking path through the colony so as not to disturb the penguins.  The island is quite large so shy penguins have lots of territory where they can fish and carry out their lives far from the tourists.  However, many penguins don’t mind the regular visitors and build their nest holes at the very edge of the path.  I think they find the constant parade of people entertaining, almost like watching television.  Maybe the parents feel the tourists will keep their babies amused while they go fishing.

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Magellanic Penguins, Isla Magdalena, Chilean Patagonia

The penguins that nest above the path need to cross the path going to the ocean to fish and again coming back.  They stop at the edge of the trail and wait for the tourists to clear a space for them and then they cross over just as if they were on a crosswalk.

One penguin just enjoyed checking out the tourists. He walked right out onto the path into the crowd of people. When people stopped for him, he began to check out everybody’s pants.  He would take a few pecks at one person’s pants and then move on to the next. He pecked my pants as well so I was glad I was wearing double layers for the cold.  He loved one girl’s flowered pants so much, he gave her a pretty hard peck.

These penguins have so much character, I could have stayed there all day watching them! If you get a chance to go to Patagonia, I would definitely recommend this tour.  The cruise ships come into Punta Arenas so this is a possibility for people coming through on a cruise as well.

Ushuaia, Southern Patagonia, Argentina-2017

Ushuaia, also referred to as Fin del Mundo (End of the World), is located in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, and is the southernmost city in the world outside of Antarctica.  Port William, Chile is a little farther south, but it is a very small town in comparison.  Surprisingly, there are mountains, lakes and plenty of trees in the Ushuaia area.  Both the ocean and the forest abounds with wildlife.

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Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

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During the summer, brilliantly coloured lupins adorn the town of Ushuaia.

 Cruise ships frequent the port here during the summer months. Some of the activities popular with the cruise ship crowd are the Beagle Channel Tour, visiting nearby lakes or riding the End of the World Train.  For people who are staying for a few days, there are some great hikes, as well as picturesque walks through the town. Eating king crab is very popular in the local restaurants. These impressive looking crabs with their long bumpy legs need a large platter to hold them.  In spite of this, we saw one dining party order one for each person.  I don’t know how they ever managed to eat so much!

Travel Alert For El Calafate, Patagonia, Argentina-2017

This post is a cautionary note for people traveling to El Calafate, Patagonia.  El Calafate is a beautiful town, but be very careful with your money.  In Patagonia, almost every place, hostels included, want cash in Argentine pesos or dollars.  Try to pick up all the cash you need before you get to El Calafate because there seems to be a problem with the banks there.  We witnessed one person get their bank card eaten by the machine. A few days later, a member of our party had her card eaten by a bank machine. Another member of our party discovered that her credit card had been compromised at the bank and 700 dollars of fraudulent charges had been put on. My credit card was also compromised in El Calafate and had a fraudulent charge put on it showing as a bank withdrawal from a bank machine in Honduras. I had not used my card anywhere except to withdraw cash from the Bank of Patagonia on two occasions.  After the machine ate my friend’s card, I decided to only exchange dollars for pesos with Argentine friends.