Greetings from Montevideo, Uruguay!
We’re getting ever closer to the final itinerary of our first contract with Holland America! I think that I can speak for both Brandin and myself when I say that we’re ready to be home in 28 days. I, personally, cannot wait to practice on my own piano (even having free time to practice will be a relief!) and it will be nice to not have an audience in front of me every single night - it can be completely exhausting. That aside, we’re still having a good time and are excited for the next itinerary. In Buenos Aires, we have two overnights in a row so we got together with a couple other musicians to split an Airbnb apartment! We’re looking forward to cooking a meal or two and sleeping on solid ground while also being right in the heart of the amazing city of Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, we do all have to work the evenings on the ship. After our three days in Buenos Aires, we head down to spend Christmas scenic cruising in . . . ANTARCTICA! We’ve been looking forward to this part of the trip ever since we agreed to this contract and I think it will be the perfect way to end our tour of South America. Of course, we’ll be without internet for about a week . . .
This past itinerary beginning in San Antonio (Santiago), Chile, has been quite nice regardless of whatever burnout we may be feeling (or senioritis as I most recently know this feeling as). We met a group of really cool guest entertainers - Evolution - and went on wine tastings in Casablanca, volcano viewing in Puerto Varas, and hiking in Puerto Aysen. We’re so lucky that we get multiple chances to see each port and what it has to offer. The last time we stopped in Puerto Montt (Puerto Varas) we couldn’t see that there was a volcano and I even went on a tour up the side of it and still couldn’t tell that I was on a volcano! But just a couple days later we docked at the same port and while we were having lunch, Volcano Osorno came out in full force and was just as beautiful as the post-cards showed!
Crew members have a wonderful opportunity of signing up to be escorts on tours at each port and we have been very fortunate to be picked for quite a few tours. Most recently, I got to go trekking in the Antarctic Andean Forest outside of Ushuaia, Argentina, which was incredibly beautiful. Brandin and I both got to go on a tour in Punta Arenas, Chile, to Isla Magdalena, which is an island only occupied by seagulls and Magellanic penguins! It was so crazy to be surrounded by so many penguins - a couple even walked right up to me! I would be lying if we didn’t try to scheme how to get one back on the boat with us. Hazel told me that she wanted a friend back at home. Speaking of pets, there are two French Bulldogs that I’m trying not to buy here in Montevideo . . . Christmas present to myself??
In regard to our performances, we’re excited to be presenting Les Échoes, a piece written for us by our dear friend Shaye Swanson, to our audiences on these last few cruise itineraries. We first performed Shaye’s piece around a year ago and it’s been a great joy to revisit the piece - which is very well received by our audience members! We’ve found many pieces that we love and are hoping to take on tour once we’re done with Holland America. We’ve also started adding a Christmas music program to our routine! I’m thankful for all the years I spent sight-reading through Christmas books and playing at parties because of all the possible repertoire it provided us with, small pieces we can throw together no problem.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Holidays, etc.!
Next stop: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Craig & Brandin