After some rough days and nights at sea in the South Ocean, we were overjoyed to arrive and start docking at Stanley, the largest city, in the Falkland Islands around 730AM on Feb 21, 2022 – and for once we were actually up and on deck to see it. There wasn’t much to see though, just some rusted out docks, so after having a glance we went down for a light breakfast.
We decided not to do the Falkland Island Stanley city bus tour nor the nature walk that Hurtigruten was offering, and instead find our own way around the city. We set out around 8:30 AM and were able to walk from our ship to town. It was about a 30 minute walk, but for the most part well paved, and easy to follow. The homes we passed were low and squat and nothing too spectacular.
We started to get into town and passed the Globe Tavern that the ship had recommended. (We’d try to go back there later for a drink, but weren’t sure if it was actually open, as we couldn’t get the door open, and by looking through the windows the place looked deserted.)
We popped into the first gift shop we found, The Pod Gift Shop, and ended up buying a quirky wooden spoon ornament, and a gift for friends. The woman working there, Selby, was a chatter box, and filled us in on all kinds of local thinking such as Covid not currently being on the island, but she decided to be “safe” and still wear a mask with patrons around (no one else in town did we found) although it often came off and she did shake our hands as we left. She explained that business had been really slow and we were the first cruise ship at the Falkland Islands in awhile. We later found out that we were only the 8th to come by this year.
We then passed the local Falkland Islands distillery, which was closed at the early hour, so we continued on to Ross Road the main street of Stanley. On our immediate left we saw the Jubilee Villas, which were built in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, and were now used as tourist board offices. We passed another gift shop, The Harbour View Gift Shop, that we also decided to explore, and this one was actually quite nice and had a lot of fun little items. We ended up getting a few stickers for our laptops here and a serving dish with a whale for our mountain house.
We continued down Ross road to the Christ Church Cathedral which has four blue whale bones arched out in front of it. We popped in, and were met by a nice, short woman who also wanted to talk our ear off about the majesty of the cathedral, and all of the various uses it serves for the town, such as hosting school choirs. That day they were actually celebrating the Cathedral’s 130 year anniversary. The ceiling looked like an overturned ship, and as churches/cathedrals go, it was quite nice. It was a place of serenity and quiet, which the woman noted, but was ironic because she talked our ear of the whole time. So far, people here seemed very friendly albeit possibly a bit starved for conversation. We also noticed that dental hygiene was a bit lacking as were many teeth. I guess you can’t take the British out of a British colony as the stereotypes go, even though that doesn’t really apply to modern-day Britain.
We continued down the road, passed the Penguin News. CJ joked that maybe her newspaper company should buy them!
We then headed to the Historic Dockyard Museum. We received free admission through the cruise. The museum was well done, and covered the early history of the Falklands, the local flora and fauna, and of course the war. Both their brief involvement in WWI, and of course the Falkland Conflict. It went in-depth into the subject, but there wasn’t a whole lot of history of the Falkland Islands to cover, and in many ways life hadn’t seemed to change too much. There were still people living out in Camps, as they called anyone living out in the country, who didn’t have a lot of contact with the city, let alone the greater world, outside of the internet, which we found was relatively expensive for not a lot of data.
One of the coolest things we discovered in the Falkland Islands Historic Dockyard museum was a new musical instrument (or at least new to us) called the Symphonion. Check out the video:
We were getting hungry at this point and stopped into Malvinas House to see if their restaurant would be open for lunch, but they told us they were closed. Apparently everything had started to close on Mondays due to worker shortages brought on by Covid. However, we couldn’t understand why these business wouldn’t make an exception for the one time (out of 8) that year that cruise passengers would be in town to spend their money. Didn’t seem like a capitalist mindset to seizing the opportunity, but maybe that was the way they liked it?
Thwarted, we continued down the main road past Thatcher Drive, the 1982 Liberation Memorial, the Government House (really just a house), and the Battle of the Falklands Memorial.
Everything was mostly meh, nothing too spectacular. We headed back into town taking a different and higher road back. We were hoping to maybe have lunch at The Narrows Cafe that seemed to have some good sandwiches on their menu, but the curse of Monday closings struck again. We ended up retracing our steps and heading into The Victory Bar. Some of the scientists were coming out and said not to get the draft beer and that it was was expensive. We didn’t love how that sounded, but at this point there didn’t appear to be a lot of options, so we headed in. This was one of the divey-est of dive bars I have ever been in, and without too much charm, but definitely doing its best to masquerade as a British pub.
The food offerings were limited, but they did have some sandwiches. I ended up having a BLT with cheese, and CJ got a Toastie sandwich with ham, lettuce, and tomato (although I think we also got charged for chili and mushrooms on her sandwich). We heeded the scientist’s warnings, and didn’t get the draft beer. I instead went with a canned Strongbow Cider, and CJ got a John Smith beer, that was flat and not cold. All that, and it ended up coming out to $30. Not worth the cost, but kind of worth it just to get something that wasn’t the ship’s food.
After that we circled back around to the main thoroughfare, bought some really junipery and peppery gin at the local distillery, picked up some art at The Capstan Gift Shop that we had noted but skipped on our first stroll, and took a quick stroll through the local supermarket. It contained lots of goods from Tesco and Waitrose from the UK. Makes sense. We then walked back, and were pretty tired from the sun and surprisingly the heat of the day (ended up getting into the mid 50s), so we took a nice nap.
That was really it for the day in Stanley, Falkland Islands!
Here’s the recap of the food for the day:
- Breakfast: Yogurt, we kept it light in anticipation of a nice big meal in town. Whoops!
- Lunch: Something different, sandwiches in town, but expensive and barely passable.
- Dinner: We both had the baked tomato galette with goat cheese, tapenade and pumpkin seeds as a starter. It was tasty. Then I had a crab consommé while Chandra had a roasted eggplant soup, hers was better. After that we both had a spelt, barley and squash risotto for our main, which was okay once we added some salt and pepper. Finally, we both had some more grainy ice cream for dessert.