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USHUAIA, ARGENTINA - Day 1


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What a beautiful setting! This is the Southernmost City in the World. It is on the shores of Beagle Channel, surrounded by mountains and forests at the end of the Andes.

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Ushuaia is a frontier-type city, the capital of the triangular-shaped island of Tierra Del Fuego in the Southernmost province of Argentina, 55 degrees south.

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If weather back home in New England can change in a minute, I'd have to say here it changes second by second! We set out on the bay to see some wildlife on a clear, 37 degree summer day.

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Notice - it was a really nice boat! That's apple cake - good to keep something in your stomach when the ship is rolling!

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Sea Lions, South American Fur Seals and Cormorants, oh my!

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The Lighthouse at the End of the World - there are two?

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The winds have picked up, rain showers now and then - but what a great morning!

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Posted by Swenigale 10:06 Archived in Argentina

USHUAIA, ARGENTINA - Day 2

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We joined some friends for an early morning exploration of Tierra del Fuego National Park, a 155,773 acre preserve. Too early for the Southernmost Post Office to be open!

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But, not too early to see some graceful Black-necked swans.

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This remote area encompasses mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and hidden lakes. I read that it has "one of the most beautiful cold forests in the world".

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The Verde Lagoon is this beautiful emerald color because of glacial water.

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This is the absolute end. The Pan American Highway, which starts in Alaska, ends here.

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When you look across Lapataia Bay - at the one place where there are no hills - you are looking straight out with nothing in the way all the way to Antarctica!

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We rode back to town on the former Prison Train (Ushuaia was started as a penal colony) which is now the Tierra del Fuego Southern Train.

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The town was an Argentinian penal colony from 1902 to 1947 and today is the fastest growing town in Argentina. In the afternoon we walked through the town and the wind had really picked up, so our walk back to the ship was a challenge - probably the strongest wind in which we have ever walked!

Posted by Swenigale 08:21 Archived in Argentina

PUERTO MADRYN, ARGENTINA


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The wide Malecon of Puerto Madryn stretched before us, encircling the western shores of the Golf of Nuevo.

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The summer sky was threatening rain, but we packed up our windbreakers and set out for a nice long walk.

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The wind is persistent -so the long beach is lined with cabanas.

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Need a hearing test?.

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In 1865 several Welsh females arrived in this region of Patagonia and created a "New Wales" for themselves. Their first shelters have been excavated here in the Punta Cuevas District.

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We comfortably waited out a thunderstorm in the tower of the Ecocentro, a small but well done center devoted to the observation of marine eco systems. This was the goal of our walk and our turnaround point.

Posted by Swenigale 13:51 Archived in Argentina

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY


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We are in one of the smallest countries in South America, but it is a country with one of the most stable economies in South America.

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Montevideo is the capital city of Uruguay and it is our port today. The many grand old buildings are slowly being renovated.

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We stayed close to the ship- it was cloudy and rainy in the morning and our Sunday Service was scheduled for late afternoon (it's never a good idea to chance being stranded in another part of the city when there is responsibility at hand).

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We explored lots of artisan shops - I got Ed to pose with an unusual work of art - it combines two of his favorite things - notice the fork?

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Speaking of eating - we didn't, but we had great fun in the Mercado del Puerto with all the wood-fired grills going full tilt!

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Hmm - looks like our backyard Oktoberfest!

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There is a handy chart so you can pick out your meat part.

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Thank you, Montevideo, we will be back on Friday in the 3rd segment of the World Cruise.

Posted by Swenigale 14:06 Archived in Uruguay

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - Day 1


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Ah, Buenos Aires, city of "favorable winds" - and today also with clear blue skies! This is Evita's City, and here is the famous Casa Rosada, the presidential house.

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Eva Peron captivated Argentinians. Her image is here, above the wide Avenida 9 de Julio, some say the widest avenue in the world.

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Argentina and Uruguay both claim to be the birthplace of the Tango.

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The Boca Jr. Football (Soccer) stadium - the blue and yellow colors were chosen because a Swedish ship was the first to arrive when the port was new (or something like that).

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La Boca became our main destination on this, the first of three days in Buenos Aires. The following photos were taken in that Bohemian section of the city.

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Posted by Swenigale 16:56 Archived in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - Day 2


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This is the start of the 3rd segment of the World Cruise. Today we took a taxi out of the city to the Tigre Delta.

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This is a wonderful vacation area and our driver told us that it gets really crowded on weekends. It is still summer here.

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The tributaries and canals have big boats.

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.and little boats.

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There is a long rowing tradition.

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Reminds us of the Charles River in Boston in some places.

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There is also a Fruit Port with a large handicraft market.

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That evening a local dance company came onboard to perform folk dances.

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The dancers are all from one family - here is one of the littlest gauchos.

Posted by Swenigale 15:31 Archived in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - Day 3

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The ship’s shuttle bus brought us into the city and we walked through Florida Street (the wide pedestrian street) to the Teatro Colon. Hästa is posed on pink marble in the grand entrance staircase.

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The theatre was opened in 1908 and is magnificent, as ornate as a French palace.

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The chandeliers were all electrified when it was built, a further display of wealth at the time.

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The concert hall seats 2500 and the acoustics are perfect – no sound system needed! The acoustics are considered to be so good as to place it in the top five performance venues in the world.

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We posed in the Presidential Box.

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Back on the street again we passed the obelisk commemorating the 4th centenary of the 1536 founding of the city on our way to the cathedral.

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One of the liberators of South America, General San Martin, is buried here. The tomb has two soldiers in dress uniform guarding it.

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An eternal flame honors the General’s memory.

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The Cathedral as viewed from the Plaza de Mayo near the Casa Rosada.

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Little Argentinian green grasshoppers seem to like the ship (even up here on the 10th floor) – we had a nice quiet afternoon reading outside, just us and the grasshopper, before we set sail from beautiful Buenos Aires.

Posted by Swenigale 14:16 Archived in Argentina

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY 2nd visit


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Surprise! We are sailing back into Montevideo after a day at sea, actually just off the coast.

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We walked from the ship to the Plaza Constitucion

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The Cathedral Matriz on the Plaza.

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Vendors were setting up their wares in the parks and pedestrian streets - their specialty is antiques in this area.

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Walking farther into the city there is what remains of the city gate and it leads to the Plaza Independencia and the statue and tomb of General Artigas.

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This is the Gaucho Museum - formerly the home of a wealthy politician, and one of the oldest houses in the city.

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The beautiful house has impressive displays honoring the Uruguayan folk hero, the Gaucho.

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Walking back to the ship we encountered a fellow American - singing for tips in his adopted country.

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And - the lure of all that meat grilling on the open fires got to us - lunch in the Mercado. Sweet.

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L'amitie.

Posted by Swenigale 11:06 Archived in Uruguay

SANTOS, BRAZIL day 1

sunny 95 °F

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Ah – Brazil at last! We have sailed miles and miles along the coast of Brazil, skipping two scheduled ports due to weather and we arrived today (1/2 day early) in Latin America’s largest seaport, Santos.

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We sailed far into the Estuario des Santos, with car and people ferries crisscrossing the river continuously.

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Santos was once the world’s largest exporter of coffee, at one time with 80% of the world’s coffee market.

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Boats of all kinds moved about us.

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Believe it or not, four of us decided to walk from the port on our own.

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Maybe not the best idea -

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We were headed toward the old city, the sun was strong and it was well over 90 degrees!

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We finally opted for a taxi when someone (maybe an angel) in halting, Portuguese/English warned us of “burglars”!

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The Caso do Café – fittingly, the Coffee Museum.

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Our taxi driver brought us back to the port area – we just had to cross the road and the train tracks and go into the terminal. Adventure complete.

Posted by Swenigale 16:41 Archived in Brazil

SANTOS, BRAZIL day 2

sunny 90 °F
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You know you must be in Brazil - when they have to spell it out: No wearing a bikini in the mall!

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But on the beach - of course.

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Santos has perhaps the longest beach front garden in the world, and endless beach to go with it.

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So - we watched what we thought was beach volleyball but it seems to be a hybrid - this server turned his back to the net and kicked with his heel! Returns were played like soccer - i.e. no hands allowed. Well, Santos is proud to be the home of soccer star Pele, so I guess that fits!

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School is back in session so no crowded beach on this weekday.

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A small Aquarium is located near the beach walk.

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This spotted eel is smaller than it looks!

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This way to the..Penguins.

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We hummed the music from "Chariots of Fire" - it seemed fitting!

Posted by Swenigale 15:21 Archived in Brazil

PARATY, BRAZIL

sunny 90 °F
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Oh, a wonderful, sunny day! We anchored in the Bay of Paraty and a 45 minute Tender ride brought us into this Brazilian town of 16,000 inhabitants which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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The town developed when gold was discovered in 1696 in the mountains of Minas Gerais. It became almost deserted when the gold rush ended. The beautiful colonial buildings were therefore preserved, and it is now a wonderful vacation spot and haven for artists.

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The old town is a draw, but most vacationers also try out the more than 200 secluded beaches that surround the bay and take adventure trips up into the surrounding jungle.

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Our guide this morning, Louis, brought us into the hills and rainforest above Paraty to show us the beauty of three different waterfalls.

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The Pedra Branca Waterfall

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Does this remind our New England friends of Swift River (near the Kancamagus) in New Hampshire?

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One of the more unique features of this town - the low sea walls have gaps built into them so that twice a day, as the tide rises, the streets are flooded in some sections of town (usually to about 6 inches) and then are washed by the receding waters.

Posted by Swenigale 15:11 Archived in Brazil

ILHA GRANDE, BRAZIL

sunny 88 °F
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Yesterday's Rainbow in Paraty Bay

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Ilha Grande is a beautiful, unspoiled island off the coast of Brazil. For almost a century it was a prison island and before that it was a pirates' hideout. Our ship was anchored in the bay.

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We got an early start in a water taxi - destination the Blue Lagoon - passing our ship's tender.

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The island attracts sun worshipers with its 106 beaches, but it is also "the number one prize-winning stretch of Atlantic coastal rainforest" in Brazil, so ecotourism has taken off.

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This is where the water taxi anchored and we snorkeled. There were so many fish that it felt like we were swimming in an aquarium.

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On the way back our boat captain pulled close to shore to pick and eat the fruit of some kind of cactus. He didn't speak English and we don't speak Portuguese, so we may never know what it was.

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There are almost no roads or cars on the island, so transportation belongs to the sailors. These are places I never have pictured when I have thought of Brazil!

Posted by Swenigale 12:26 Archived in Brazil

BÚZIOS, BRAZIL

sunny 86 °F
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I’m thinking the tourism people of Búzios would love to keep these vultures away from the harbor! After all, Búzios is another one of Brazil’s lovely vacation getaways.

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Water Taxis are definitely the way to go when roads are few and temperatures are steamy!

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We enjoyed a swim at a lovely beach.

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We were at the beach early in the morning – before the large boats with loud sound systems came to anchor.

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A quick visit from a feathered friend – the tourism people probably like this bird.

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Brigitte Bardot vacationed here from nearby Rio de Janeiro back in 1964 when Búzios was a lovely but undiscovered fishing village.

Posted by Swenigale 10:36 Archived in Brazil

RIO DE JANIERO, BRAZIL - Day 1

sunny 88 °F
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Morning mists will clear later today. We had an early arrival in this spectacular port city. Sugar Loaf Mountain is on the right and in the distance is Corcovado Mountain, with the statue of Christ the Redeemer on top.

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Of course, undaunted and possibly unimpressed by the beauty of their home, life goes on for the over 6 million inhabitants.

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We visited Rio in 2010 on the Serenity, so there are a few more of our pictures of this incredible city posted there.

LINK: http://worldcruise2010.travellerspoint.com/

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Copacabana - one of the most famous beaches in the world

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Possibly the largest art deco statue in the world, the Christ the Redeemer statue is 130 feet tall, atop 2,300 foot Corcovado Mountain.

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This is a quote: Most of Rio lies on a geological structure called Brazilian Crystal Basement.The structure had many tectonic alterations, which resulted in the several elevations, hills, mountains and valleys which characterize the coastal line of Rio.

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Frigate birds in formation

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The patterned sidewalks made of black and white stones are just like the ones in Lisbon and are protected by law (or so I've read).

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The New Cathedral - located not too far from the ship's dock

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Big doings and major alterations are afoot for this already vibrant city, since they will be hosting the 2016 Olympic Games and next year's World Soccer Cup.

Posted by Swenigale 12:11 Archived in Brazil

RIO DE JANIERO, BRAZIL - Day 2 & 3

sunny 90 °F
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Our 2nd day in Rio is undocumented pictorially because we took a cab to the beach at Ipanema, traveling light so we could swim in the surf! This is the morning of the 3rd day, which is also the start of the 4th and final segment of the World Cruise.

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The city centers of Rio are surrounded by neighborhoods called Favelas that stretch up the hillsides and into the valleys.

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In this group of Favelas, called the Complexo do Alemão, the city has recently installed a state of the art cable car system with 6 stops.

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We rode the cable car up and back, giving us a bird’s eye view of the incredible array of buildings.

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Back on the main roads traffic moved at a snail’s pace. “Welcome to Rio”, said our driver as we passed a bus driver reading a newspaper (this was on a main highway, mind you!), motorcycles weaving in and out of the crawling traffic and entrepreneurs selling candy and water to the drivers in their cars. We eventually arrived at our final destination, San Sebastian Metropolitan Cathedral.

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There is no bad angle from which to view the fantastical landscape of Rio de Janeiro!

Posted by Swenigale 11:26 Archived in Brazil

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