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World Travels 2023 - 2024, 05 Jan 24 - Valparaiso, Chile to 11 Feb 24, Los Angeles Leg.

Updated: 6 days ago





Final segment of the first leg.


Los Angeles - Queen Mary Royal Sunday Brunch – 11 Feb 2024.





Welcome to Los Angeles

 


My old Army friend and close friend, Gina Garabedian, met me at the Port of Los Angeles and decided to take me to an incredibly special brunch.  She took me to a local favorite, “The Queen Mary Royal Sunday Brunch.”

 


Joseph Thompson and his fellow Army Buddy Gina Garabedian


This brunch takes one on a worldwide culinary adventure and features over fifty unique dishes from around the globe.

 

It is a delightful mixture of traditional western breakfast fare like made-to-order omelets, pancakes, eggs benedict, and homemade hash.

 

It also has traditional southwestern treats like Albondigas soup and carne asada tacos.

 

I cleansed my palate at our refreshing salad station featuring a chef-crafted Cobb salad, imported tuna nicoise and a variety of domestic and imported cheeses.

 

The highlight of the brunch was the full selection of fresh seafood like oysters, shrimp, and snow crab legs.   

 

This Royal Sunday Brunch has the air of a royal soiree and is anything but typical. It includes free flowing champagne, live music and a tantalizing signature menu that is sure to please even the most discerning palates.  It was a total delight to eat there after completing the first of the four legs of my world cruise.

 


“The Queen Mary Royal Sunday Brunch.”

 

Ensenada, Mexico – 10 Feb 24

 


Map of Ensenda, Mexico


Ensenda, Mexico Highlights


I plan to uncover the secrets of Mexico’s wine country and tantalize your taste buds during this exclusive wine tasting experience, followed by a delectable three course meal with views of the vineyards.

 

I will drive to the Guadalupe Valley Vineyard for a lesson in cultivating grapes in preparation for wine production.

 


Finca Tre Valle De Guadalupe Vineyard


I am looking forward to sample three delectable wines, including a Grenache, a blend of Merlot and Malbec, and a Nebbiolo, which derives its distinctive flavor from harvest during the warm, dry seasons.

 


Finca Tre Valle De Guadalupe Winery Tour and tasting.


These wines were paired with a decadent three-course meal with fresh, seasonal ingredients and unique flavors, presented in a setting overlooking the estate vineyards.

 


Interview with the Finca Tre Valle De Guadalupe winery owner.



Best winery in Baja, California

 

Cabo Luxury Day of Sailing – 8 Feb 2024

 

I am looking forward to board a 50-foot luxury sailboat and set out to discover the natural wonders off the Cabo San Lucas coast, passing landmarks like Playa del Amor and El Arco, the iconic natural arch that is home to a sea lion colony.

 

I will act like a celebrity onboard this luxury sailboat sailing past Cabo’s famous arch on my way to a secluded cove, where I will observe bottle-nose dolphins, hump-back whales, and sea lions with a cocktail in my hand.



Entering Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

 

Life is good to drop anchor in one of Cabo’s stunning coves, where I kick back on an oversized cushion and bask in the tropical sun, drinking many cold beverages, and enjoying a tasty lunch and breathtaking coastal scenery.

 


Sailing and living the good life.



Sailing around Cabo San Lucas, Mexico



Perfect day of sailing around Cabo San Lucas, Mexico



Everyone, please live your best life.


Ship at Sea - 6 Feb 24


Today was another long day of sailing. Basically, rough weather Ahd choppy seas.



Rough North Pacific Seas



Guatemalan Gastronomic Experience in Antigua with Lunch - 5 Feb 24

 


Welcome to Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

 

I plan to embrace the rich flavors of Guatemala with a mouth-watering gastronomic experience, as I sample a variety of traditional dishes, learn how to prepare my very own enchilada and discover the highlights of a historic colonial city.

 

I will take an air-conditioned ride through the Guatemalan countryside on my way to the Spanish colonial city of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a treasure trove of Baroque-style architecture.



Getting ready for my Guatemala Adventure


 I will begin my culinary adventure at a local restaurant, where I learn how to transform local ingredients into the perfect enchilada - one of the region’s most popular dishes.



Early snack before we explore the city

 

Next, I will stroll through the cobblestone streets and admire this 16th-century town’s incredible highlights, including an impressive museum/workshop dedicated to Mayan jade, a bustling central plaza with a unique mermaid statue, and the Santa Catalina Arch – a magnificent reminder of Antigua’s colonial origins.



The City of Antigua, Guatemala

 

Next, I will indulge in more Guatemalan cuisine at another restaurant, where I can savor a typical local snack, followed by a delicious pepián de pollo - a regional main dish consisting of chicken, potatoes, vegetables and a special sauce.




Excellent lunch of local dishes


For dessert I will travel to a colorful Guatemalan candy shop filled with regional sweets made from all-natural ingredients.

 

I will receive a bag of these special candies to bring back home, before returning to my awaiting ship.

 

  

Puntarenas, Costa Rica - Jungle & River Wagon Expedition - 3 Feb 24

 


Welcome to Puntarenas, Costa Rica


I plan to journey through the stunning lush tropical rainforest on an exciting tractor-drawn wagon that takes you across the Tárcoles River, and will keep an eye out for fascinating local wildlife before heading to the recreated old village of Santa Lucia for fresh fruit and exploration.

 


Preparing my journey into the Jungle


I will begin my journey with a drive to Villa Lapas, an eco-resort located in the famous, dense rainforest of Costa Rica.

 

I will be driven in a designed tractordrawn wagon and experience the excitement of traveling through luscious landscapes and the crystal waters of Tárcoles River.

 

I cannot wait to see the natural splendor, while my tour guide acquaints me with this lush and beautiful rainforest.

 

My camera will be ready and discover some curious inhabitants, such as the colorful toucans, scarlet macaws, rare spiders whose cobwebs are like steel cables, lizards, howler and spider monkeys, as well as exotic plants from ancient times.

 

I plan to enjoy the sounds of the nature, take pictures, might even swim into the clear waters of this beautiful river if weather allows.

 


Jungle wildlife and exotic plants.


Afterward, I plan to continue to Santa Lucia, a unique little town that has been newly constructed using old building techniques and materials to show exactly how Costa Ricans lived in previous centuries.

 


Santa Lucia Village


Here, I will indulge in a tropical fruit buffet and cold drinks, as i wander around this small, old-style village before returning to the port.

 


Magical Evening in Peru - 30 Jan 2024

 

I am on the bus and I'm looking forward to my magical evening in Lima, Peru.

It's going to be a great night.

There's going to be sightseeing, shopping, a night water show, and a fabulous dinner tasting local Peruvian dishes.

I recorded these events and I hope to be back to my cabin before midnight tonight.

As always live your best life.


Love Park, Lima Park - 30 Jan 24

 

I was in Love Park, Lima, Peru all by myself.

 

The Love Park is located on the cliffs of Chorrillos overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It's surrounded by walls of romantic quotes scripted in mosaic tiles and a monumental statue of two lovers embracing each other in the center of the park.

 

Love. What can I say?

 

I strongly believe in the power of love, and I think love is the greatest gift from God to humanity.

 

Well. It's hard since I'm traveling alone by myself, so it looks like I must love someone who is me.  Ha Ha.

 

So, I'm enjoying this cruise and I hope that sharing this beautiful video of two Lovers will inspire everyone to love more.

 



My thoughts on Love Park



Images of Love Park



Water Park in Peru – 29 Jan 24


My tour guide mention that the water park in Lima, Peru is the second biggest attraction in the country.  The Magic Water Circuit of the Parque de la Reserva, inaugurated on July 26, 2007, is one of the largest municipal projects, an icon of the city of Lima and a symbol of the recovery of Lima's public spaces. It has thirteen cybernetic fountains, supported by the highest technology where music, water, sound and laser lights are mixed to present us with unique and incredible shows.

 


Fountains and Water Show



QUINTA BOLIVAR House and Restaurant



Last event of the night was to have a marvelous Peruvian dinner at the Quinta Bolivar House and Restaurant. The construction of the house dates back to approximately 1818 (the year in which the Palacio de la Magdalena, today the Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru, was built).


The house was owned by Doña Manuelita Sáenz, known as La Libertadora del Libertador, as she was the one who accompanied Simón Bolívar for the last eight years of his life, starring in a famous romance that made history in their society in 1819. Bringing modern and revolutionary ideas to her time, Manuelita did not hesitate to support her beloved's feat of independence.


After the departure of the Venezuelan general in September 1826, she continued to live in Lima in a hostile environment. Then she travels to the port of Paita, where she becomes known and lives off its delicious delicacies. Finally, Simón Bolívar died on November 23, 1856, without having returned to his homeland.


Quinta Bolívar Restaurant encloses a unique mystique that attracts visitors due to the multiple stories that have been woven around the relationship between both characters and where it is presumed that they shared happy moments.

 


Excellent of local drinks and dishes


 

Cusco Airport – Plane Ride to Lima -30 Jan 24

 

I'm at the Cusco, Peru airport. Waiting for my 10:00 Eastern Standard Time flight. As always airports are crowded. Crazy. And extremely noisy. Looking forward to flying to Lima. And getting back to my ship by around 1:00 this afternoon.

 

Well, things are going forward and I'm feeling pretty good.

 

Also, since I was unable to see Machu Picchu. Our Cruise company is going to give us a free 7-hour bus tour of Lima Peru.

 

Trust me, I like free stuff, like everybody else.

 

Looking forward to showing you my adventures in Lima, Peru.

 

Also, as always, please live your best life.

 


Bus ride tour of Lima, Peru

 

Folk Dancing - 29 Jan 24

 

Local folk dancing at the bottom of the Andes mountains on a beautiful cattle ranch. Two lovely young individuals doing a traditional dance and it's very beautiful.




Traditional Folk dancing in the Andes Mountains

 

 

Restaurant in the Mountains – 29 Jan 24

 


Excellent home-grown luncheon with local wine.

 

Sacred Valley of the Incas - 29 Jan 24

 

I'm at the sacred valley of the Incas. It's an hour ride out of Cusco, Peru and it's totally awe-inspiring. The mountains are all covered in green. The grass. The clouds. And it's just a place of all. I kind of give this to equivalent to their Grand Canyon. The splendor of the valley really cannot be captured by a camera or video.

 


Sacred Valley of the Incas



Photographs of the Sacred Valley of the Incas

 

Machu Picchu Protests – 29 Jan 24

 

Here I am and Cusco, Peru. I am filming the March against Machu Picchu, current private company management. People want to have Machu Picchu for the people not for the government and private industry contractors.

 

Large police presence. Yes, I am here in the middle of it. You know what, I am still living my best life.

 


Machu Pichu Marchers



Marching Protesters

 

Inca Museum - 29 Jan 24

 

The Inca Museum of Cusco is one of the best cultural centers of the imperial city. It provides an excellent insight into Inca culture. It has ceramics, textiles, tools and even human skulls dating from Tahuantinsuyo. The museum is located a few steps from the main square.



Inca Museum Photographs



Gala - 29 Jan 24

 

Excellent fireworks, theatrical smoke and local dancers give a marvelous floor show showing how the Inca gods gave fire and corn to humanity.  A visual sight and sound for all of the senses.  This was followed by a five-course meal of local foods and wines.

 


Entrance of the Inca Gods

 



Inca Gods perform




Five Course Gala dinner under the stars


Fortress of the Incas – 28 Jan 2024

 

 

Here I am high up in the Andes looking at ancient Inca monuments. In this rugged terrain of the Andes Mountains, just a short distance from the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, lies Sacsayhuamán—a breath-taking megalithic fortress.

 

Often overshadowed by the more famous Machu Picchu, this architectural marvel is a rare, surviving artifact of the Inca civilization's architectural brilliance.

 

I have to tell you even though the Inca stone walls are very beautiful. I feel very heavenly and mystical experience here and I'm truly glad I made the trip.

 


My thoughts on the Inca Fortress



Inca Fortress Photographs

 

Cusco Main Square – Lunch - 28 Jan 24



Abra Bistro is one of the best restaurants in Cusco.  A lovely setting with great music and friendly chefs, eating here is such a treat. Their wine selection is excellent, so I highly recommend getting both red and white wine to accompany your meal. It really is a must visit whilst in Cusco!

 


Five Star Luncheon

 

Cusco Main Square – 28 Jan 24

 

The Plaza de Armas is an unparalleled destination within the beautiful Imperial City and is an unmissable point of the city since it is where numerous tourist circuits take part. It is surrounded by colonial buildings that denote the passage of the Spanish and many other buildings of immense importance.

 

Even so, this square has an origin that dates back long before the conquest, and its part within the Inca Empire was of immense importance.

 

The Plaza de Armas was the point chosen by the Incas to begin the creation of the capital of the Inca Empire. History, culture, beauty, and tradition complement each other in this place to create one of the best-known squares within Peru.

 



Cusco Main Square

 

 

Pisco, Peru – Travel through time to visit the Land of the Incas -28 Jan 24

 

My bus tour is starting today the city dropped us off and what's called a terminal Port not a cruise port so we're catching several different buses before we start our tour overall a good start for a beautiful day.

 

 

Pisco

 

Well, hope it doesn’t disappoint anyone that we actually won’t dock at Pisco but at the Port General San Martin which is about a 40-minute drive from Pisco.

 

I will begin my journey with a flight to Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage site and first capital of the Inca Empire.

 

Tonight, I will explore Cusco and discover famous monuments and landmarks like Plaza de Armas take a jaw and the baroque Santo Domingo Convent.

 

I plan to take jaw dropping vistas of the surrounding landscape as you explore these one-of-a-kind wonders of the Inca world.

 

After my memorable adventure through ancient history, I will travel back to Ollantaytambo for a hotel stay.

 

On Tuesday I will then fly to Lima before transferring back to your ship at Callao Port, Lima, Peru.

 

 


Bus ride to the airport



Plane ride to Cusco, Peru


La Serena (Coquimbo), Chile - 24 Jan 2024


Today my tour begins near Herradura bay, where pirates and buccaneers like the infamous Francis Drake anchored. After a short visit and explanation, continue toward Guayacán Church, in a town that once held the world’s largest copper smelting plant.

 

I plan to admire this unique metal (inside and out) church, designed and made in 1889 at the Eiffel factory in France. Continue towards the English Cemetery, founded in 1850, an interesting place full of gravestones and crosses made in Europe.

 

It’s a memorial to the English pioneers and sailors who immigrated here during the 1825 mining boom.

 

Then it’s on to the Sailor’s Monument viewpoint, located high on a hill. It’s a 70-step climb to the top, but the views of La Herradura bay and neighboring areas are astounding.

 

I plan to continue toward the English neighborhood, for a short walking tour through the restored area.

 

I will stroll the main commercial streets lined by old houses built by the immigrants during the mid-19th century.

 

It is surrounded by antique houses with balconies, all built by English carpenters, you’ll feel the British influence. Finally, drive to Fort Lambert, built by Charles Lambert, a prosperous miner, to protect his stock and mining supplies from pirates.

 

Today I will delve into British influences in Coquimbo; Chile had the most descendants of British and Irish immigrants of any South American country.

 

Gaze in awe at Guayacán Church, clad inside and out with metal.


Map of La Serna - Coquimbo



Map of La Serna - Coquimbo 24 Jan 2024



Bus ride and Introduction


Guayacán Church, clad inside and out with metal.



The very stunning and metal Guayacán Church


Herradura Bay where pirates and buccaneers like the infamous Francis Drake anchored.



A very beautiful harbor


The Sailor’s Monument



The Sailor’s Monument


Antique houses with balconies, all built by English carpenters,



An old British street and Park with modern art.


English Cemetery, founded in 1850, an interesting place full of gravestones and crosses made in Europe.





Special Graves in the Cemetary


British Fort overlooking the La Serna - Coquimbo Harbour.



Photos of the old British Fort


Valparaiso and Santiago Chile - 23 Jan 2024


Santiago’, Chile

 

I plan to explore Chile’s bustling capital city, Santiago, with stops at the central square, Plaza de Armas, home to the city’s most prominent Catholic church and history museum, with time set aside for shopping at an artisan village and upscale shopping mall.

 

Today I will enjoy a scenic drive through the Chilean countryside on your way to the buzzing city of Santiago, the country’s capital.

 

I will start in the heart of Santiago, Plaza de Armas, home to some of the city’s most impressive architectural achievements, including the neoclassical Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral, the main gathering space for the city’s Catholic church, and the National History Museum that delves deep into the country’s turbulent history, from European colonization to the 1973 coup that installed dictator General Augusto Pinochet.

 

Next I will continue to Pueblito Los Dominicos, a handicraft village, where some of the city’s most talented artisans sell their work.

 

I will complete my Santiago sojourn with shopping at a modern mall in the sophisticated upper districts before driving back to Valparaiso.


Map of Chile and Texas looks similar!!


They look very similar!!


Santiago, central square, Plaza de Armas,



Santiago, Plaza de Armas, home to some of the city’s most impressive architectural achievements.




No Bathrooms


Shopping at a modern mall in the sophisticated upper districts



Excellent lunch in the mall food court


 Pueblito Los Dominicos, a handicraft village


Mote con huesillo is a traditional Chilean summer-time drink often sold in street stands or vendor carts. It is a non-alcoholic beverage consisting of a sweet clear nectar-like liquid made with dried peaches (huesillo) cooked in sugar, water and cinnamon, and then once cooled, mixed with fresh cooked husked wheat berries (mote). The sweet clear nectar is usually made with sugar, but can also be supplemented or replaced with molasses.




Mote con huesillo



My reaction to tasti9ng the special Chilian drink, "Mote con huesillo".


Valparaiso



Valparaiso Map



Early morning bus ride - 23 Jan 2024


Valparaiso Street Art



Local Street art.




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