The Torre de los Ingleses (English Tower) is often called Big Ben. It was built in 1916 by local British residents who had made their fortunes building the nearby Retiro railroad station complex. It was constructed to commemorate the centenary of the May Revolution of 1810 (Revolución de Mayo). Spain had lost great political and military authority during the Napoleonic wars and a British ship was seen off nearby Uruguay. This led the local people of Buenos Aires to force the resignation of the Viceroy appointed by the Spanish crown. It was the first time locals held any political power in Argentina.
It was designed by Ambrose Poynter and built by Hopkins y Gardom, with materials shipped from England. The inauguration of the building took place on May 24, 1916 and was attended by President Victorino de la Plaza and local British dignitaries. The building celebrates the United Kingdom with reliefs of an English rose, Welsh dragon, Scottish thistle and Irish shamrock. It has 8 floors and the bells are imitations of the ones in Westminster Abbey, not the Houses of Parliament (Big Ben). It is open 10am-5pm Mon-Fri and admission is free.
In the Plaza San Martin I, across from Retiro Station, stands a sad monument to the hundreds of soldiers who died for the vanity of a failed dictator. This is the monument to the war dead form the short war over the Islas Malvinas or Falkland Islands (April - June 1982). In the early 1980s Argentina was still controlled by the brutal military regime headed by General Leopoldo Galtieri. His disastrous economic policies lead to the people openly questioning the junta’s authority and he hoped that the war would rebuild support for his regime and fan nationalist fervour. The Falkland Islands had been a small fishing outpost and territory of Britain for several hundred years and there had been an on again/off again war of words over ownership. Galtieri invaded the virtually undefended islands and declared victory. He sent ill-equipped and un-trained conscripts who were soundly defeated by professional soldiers and elite special forces. He even sent a WWII battleship (The Belgrano) against modern nuclear submarines and lost that with the lives of hundreds of sailors.
The defeat ultimately led to the ousting of the bloody military dictatorship and the restoration of democracy in Argentina.
The large horizontal monument has metals plaques depicting the islands, the 3 branches of the military (Army, navy and Air Force) and has an eternal flame. It is guarded by one of the armed services on 2 week rotations. It strategically faces the Torre Monumental, previously known as the British Clock Tower, which was a gift from British citizens living here (1916).
Official Name: Republic of Peru; Land Area: 496,200 square miles (1,285,000 square kilometers); Population: 29,248,943; Capital: Lima; Largest City: Lima
One of the most recognizable sites in the world is Machu Picchu, which is the highlight for most visitors who travel to Peru. Machu Picchu, Quechua for "Ancient Peak," was the only Inca city not discovered by the Spanish during their conquest of Peru. This fact has given rise to the phrase "Lost City of the Incas" to describe the site. It probably escaped detection due to its inaccessible location on a narrow ridge thousands of feet above the Urubamba River. In fact, even today it is not visible to visitors until they arrive right at the top of the mountain.
Machu Picchu sits on a narrow saddle between the peaks of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu at an elevation of 7,970 feet (2,430 meters). It is 1,480 feet (451 meters) above the Urubamba River Valley below. The river makes a loop around the peak, surrounding the site on three sides.
There has been much debate about the purpose of Machu Picchu. However, it is now generally acknowledged among archaeologists that it was proabably built as a royal residence for Inca emperor Pachacuti. The site was abandoned around 1572. Although the reasons for the city's abandonment have never been determined, it is thought that most of its inhabitants died during a smallpox epidemic. Smallpox and other diseases were introduced by the Spanish during their conquest of Peru.
Construction started around 1400 and ended around 1450. The buildings were made of the same carved stone blocks that precisely interlock and which can be seen at Inca sites throughout Peru. Because the city was never plundered by the Spanish, the buildings and other structures are relatively intact compared to other Inca sites. Notable structures at Machu Picchu include the Intihuatana Stone (probably used as an astronomical calendar), the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. There are also numerous small buildings that were the houses of the city's inhabitants. Much of the site is made up of terraced fields that were used to grow crops. There is space to grow enough food for four times as many people that ever lived at Machu Picchu.
The ruins were rediscovered by American archaeologist, Hiram Bingham, in 1911. At that time, the buildings were covered with a thick mass of jungle vegetation. The site was excavated, making it accessible to visitors. Nowadays, Machu Picchu is the most visited attraction in Peru. No matter how many times people have seen Machu Picchu in pictures or in film, it cannot prepare them for the spectacular location and beauty of the ruins.
Official Name: Republic of Ecuador; Land Area: 109,483 square miles (283,560 square kilometers); Population: 15,007,343; Capital: Quito; Largest City: Guayaquil
Plaza de la Indepencia, also known as Plaza Grande, is the heart of colonial Old Town Quito. When the Spanish colonial city was built on the ruins of the former Inca city in 1535, the plaza was designed to be the hub from which the new city was to spread. Most of the most important buildings of the Spanish colonial period surround the plaza, including the Government Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito, the municipal buildings, the Arobispal Palace, and the Casa de Alcade. The large monument in the center of the plaza honors those heroes who fought for Ecuador's independence from Spain.
Nowadays, Plaza de la Indepencia is the lively focal point of Old Town Quito, with Sunday strollers, street vendors, and tourists. And any demonstrations, marches, or protests either occur here, or end up here.
Official Name: Republic of Colombia; Land Area: 439,735 square miles (1,138,910 square kilometers); Population: 44,725,543; Capital: Bogota; Largest City: Bogota
The area that would eventually become Bogota was first settled by the local Muiscas Indians, and their settlement, called Bacatá, was the center of their civilization.
The Spanish, lured by gold, arrived in South America in the 1500s to establish colonies. In 1538, a Spanish settlement was founded by Gonzálo Jiménez de Quesada on the site of the former Muiscas settlement. The new Spanish settlement was called Santa Fé de Bacatá. (Santa Fé was the town in Spain that Jiménez was from). Eventually, Bacatá was corrupted to Bogota, and its official name became Santa Fé de Bogota.
Bogota was elevated to the capital of the New Kingdom of Granada, which was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru at the time. Later it became the capital of the Viceroyalty of New Grenada. The city became one of the most important centers of power in Spain's South American colonies.
From 1810 to 1811, the inhabitants revolted against Spanish rule, declared their independence, and set up their own government. However, internal turmoil and revolts led to the Spanish re-conquest in 1816. The country remained under Spanish rule until Simón Bolívar defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Boyacá in 1819.
After the Spanish were permanently expelled, Bogota became the capital of the Republic of Gran Colombia, which included the present-day countries of Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. Eventually, the Republic of Gran Colombia was broken up, and Bogota became the capital of the new nation of Colombia.
Since Bogota was the most important city in Colombia politically, economically, and culturally, it quickly grew, sprawling over most of the Bogota Savanna, which is a highland plateau on which the city sits. In 1956, Bogota and most of its suburbs became a "Special District." In 1991, it was changed to a "Capital District." In 2000, the official name was changed from Santa Fé de Bogota to just Bogota.
Nowadays, Bogota is a sprawling city with about 8,250,000 inhabitants in its metropolitan area. At an elevation of 8,661 feet (2,640 meters), it is the third-highest capital city in the world, after La Paz, Bolivia and Quito, Ecuador.
Official Name: Federative Republic of Brazil; Land Area: 3,286,478 square miles (8,512,000 square kilometers); Population: 203,429,773; Capital: Brasilia; Largest City: Sao Paulo
Rio de Janeiro's most prominent landmark is Christ the Redeemer statue, which is situated at the summit of 2,340-foot (713-meter) Corcovado Peak. In fact, the statue has become an iconic symbol of not only Rio de Janeiro, but of Brazil as a whole.
Made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, the 635-ton (576,062-kilogram) statue was constructed between 1922 and 1931. It was designed by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva and sculpted by French sculptor Paul Landowski. Christ the Redeemer is considered to be the largest art deco statue in the world. It is 130 feet (40 meters) tall, including its base, and the arms stretch 98 feet (30 meters).
The peak can be reached by taking the two-and-a-half-mile (four-kilometer) Corcovado Railroad. Trains leave every few minutes from the station at Cosme Velho. The slow ride to the top of the peak passes through remant Atlantic rainforest in of Tijuca National Park. When the train tops out, a view spreads out below that literally takes the breath away.
we dont have much time, but we want to see as much as we can... writes the OP
to be realistic forget Santiago de Chile.. Arrive in BA, enjoy BA, as suggested take a domestic flight to Puerto Iguazu on argentine side, stay on the argentine but visit both sides, then take a domestic flight from foz to Rio and spend the time there. in this way, you can have a SENSE of having visited the three places..
It may be different for others, but it took me 10 different visits of one week each before I could say I have been to BA and know BA.. I have a good sense of Iguassu, having been there nearly that many times but Rio, I have been only twice and have only a superficial view of the place..
But if you have only two weeks, try to limit yourself to BA Falls and Rio..
Me and my friend went for Estrella del Sur agency and booked a 3-day-trip through Uyuni to the Chilean border (well when you sum it up it less than 48 hours, but you start at 10-11am on the 1st day and arrive at the border early on the 3rd day).
The agency had mixed reviews, but as we heard every agency received some bad comments...its a luck of the draw i suppose. as far as our trip is concerned, we had a friendly driver who took good care of us, helped us take cool photos in the desert and cooked for us. we were 6 in the toyota 4WD and we slept as a group in a dorm on both nights.
the only trouble we had was a tyre breaking down in the middle of nowhere and again engine giving us trouble, but it worked out in the end - it all adds to the adventure!
all in all, it was a great experience, perhaps even a highlight of our 4-month-trip on the continent. i hope the othes are as lucky!
p.s. - it can all hugely depend on the people you're with; we were all in twos and they were great people, lucky again..!
The old prison is one of the major sights of Ushuaia, you will see the cells of the prisoners and many background-stories about the people who had been in prison there. The original prison-train is shown in the innercourt of the museum, dont miss that, there is a great locomovil as well.
There is a Maritime museum as well in that building.
The old prison & Maritime museum is open for visitors:
April to October open daily: 10.00am - 8.00pm
November to March open daily: 9.00am - 8.00pm
LAST ADMISSION is at 07.30pm
The Museum is OPEN EVERY DAY except on Christmas Day, New Year's Day and public holiday.
ADMISSION PRICES :
General Entrance A$70
Foreign Students A$40
Family Ticket A$150
When you are visiting Santiago de Chile, dont miss to take a look inside this great museum: Museo Colonial San Francisco was built inside the former franciscan monastery next to Eglesia San Francisco and it is really worth seeing !
The museum is divided into several rooms and you will enter each of them through a different door from the monastery-garden. In the first one photography was not forbidden, while in the other ones sign-posts at the entrance clearly said : No photography. So you will see in my photographs only the best exhibits from this first room, the other rooms are similar !
Museo Colonial San Francisco is open for visitors
daily except Monday from 10am - 01.30pm & 03 - 06pm
sundays & holidays between 10.00am and 02.00pm
entrancefee is 1000 $ (=2 euro)
I always had the feeling, that Cape Hoorn / Kap Hoorn is the very end of the southamerican continent, BUT in fact Cabo da Hornos / Cape Hoorne is quite a large island and in its southern part it ends with a steep rock that reminded me a lot of Gibraltar. This is also the side of the island, where the storms are quite heavy all the time, because the Atlantic streams and storms merge there with the ones from the Pacific. Over the last 5 centuries hundreds of ships sank there and thousands of sailors lost their lifes. At the same time there is almost NO wind at all in the northern part of the island, where the lighthouse, the flag of Chile and the monument of the Albetross are !
We arrived at this rock early in the morning, the storm war really heavy and also quite cold, we had a local pilot onboard the ship Celebrity Infinity and as soon as we approached the lighthouse it got warmer and the wind did not blow there at all.
Only small ships will land on this island and when-ever Cape Hoorne is listed as a port-of-call when you are sailing with an ordinary cruiseship, read the small-print as well: this island simply cannot accomodate hundreds of tourists, there is just a tiny pier, the lighthouse and nothing else !
Argentina & Chile:
The Beagle channel is one of the most important natural waterways in Tierra del Fuego and it was named after the ship "Beagle". There are a lot of small islands, where you will be able to watch seabirds, see-wolfs, seals, penguins and other interesting animals. A lot of ships are offering halfday and fullday-tours of the Beagle-channel,one of the highlights of such a tour is always "The lighthouse at the end of the world".
Most tours are made by catamarans, that are able to get very close to the islands, so you are able to take perfect photographs !
Argentina / Fireland:
Tierra del Fuego National Park
is an interesting nature reserve in a distance of about 10km from Ushuaia and we got there at the end of our ride with the "train at the end of the world"
20 pairs of beavers were taken from Canada to this end of the world in 1940 and because of a lack of natural enemies there are about 70000 beavers nowadays and they are systematically destroying all of the trees of the area.
So far the government did not find any solution to the "beaver-problem"
Eclaireurs Islands Lighthouse
the lighthouse at the end of the world
was built at a small island in the Beagle-channel after a cruise-ship had sunk there in the early 20th century. This lighthouse is still one of the highlights of all of the many excursions by catamarans to see the great wildlife of the Beagle-channel : Sea-Wolfes, seals and all sorts of birds...
My day in Ushuaia started with a foggy early morning and soon after arrival it turned into perfect sunshine, a bit windy, but still quite warm !
Ushuaia: end of the world, beginning of everything
Fin del mundo, principio del todo
that is the motto of Ushuaia, the southernmost town on earth and the capital of Tierra del Fuego / Fireland. Ushuaia is also the port, from where most of the ships will start their cruises to Antactica.
Right above that inscription you will find an interesting museum:
The "end of the world-museum"
it is devided into the museum-building that you will see on my main picture and into an interesting part in the outside, where you are able to see these old exhibits of my photographs 3-5.
The museum is open Mon-Sun : 09.00 - 08.00pm
guided tours (only in spanish!) are held at 11am +2 & 5 pm
The entrancefee is $15 in local currency = ca. 5 US$
For wheelchairs there is a small lift on the left
the museum is free for residents of Tierra del Fuego
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