British Columbia is a green and peaceful place. We absolutely loved it. In total we were in Canada for just over a month, and the whole stay was extremely special for us, as, most notably, it officially signalled The End of Our Trip.
On Sunday 2nd April 2017 (yes – a long time ago now, but better late than never) we arrived in Canada. Before even setting out from the UK we had known that Canada would be our final destination, so when we finally got there it felt fairly seminal.
We were staying with my uncle and aunt in Vancouver, BC. Anthony is my mum’s youngest brother and a treasured member of the family, but with the exception of a couple of famed cameos at mine and my sister’s weddings, we had barely seen each other over the years. He and Patty had kindly invited us to stay at theirs, which – given we were planning to hang around for almost five weeks – was an extremely generous offer and one we were very happy to accept.
Costa Rica was every bit as wonderful as we hoped it would be.
Before Costa Rica, we had been in Arequipa, Peru, where we had had a difficult time. Already exhausted and travel-weary when we arrived, our time there seemed to be blighted by illness and misfortune. Indeed, Amber became so badly ill that we were unable to travel until she got better, and we had to delay our departure from the country by almost a week. Then, when we finally were able to leave, through an extraordinary set of circumstances (and driven in part by our own foolishness), we somehow managed to miss our flights. A journey that should have taken 12 hours became an epic 36 hour battle, and probably the most intense and stressful experience of our entire trip.
So, when we finally arrived in Costa Rica, we felt like shadows of ourselves, highly anxious and deeply in need of some TLC and R&R. Both of which we got in spades.
This path that we have taken
Is adventurous, some have said brave!
Experiencing the world and all its delights
Creating memories to forever save.
We absolutely loved Chile.
It’s not that we weren’t expecting to. But while we knew in advance that we wouldn’t be able to get to some of its most well loved destinations – the Atacama Desert in the far north, Patagonian Torres del Paine in its most southernly tip, and Easter Island way out in the Pacific – we knew little about just what else the country had to offer.
But lots to offer it has. These are our highlights, and just what made our time in Chile so special.
Our month is Santiago will without a doubt go down as one of the best spells of our entire trip. Lively, laidback and with loads to do, Santiago surprised us in how much it has going for it. In our four weeks there, we got properly stuck in, making the absolute most of the bustling bar and restaurant scene, frequently taking Amber to the city’s many playgrounds, soft play areas and interactive museums, doing a splash of hiking, and even getting involved in a bit of volunteering. It was a jam-packed month and supremely enjoyable.
While we were in Santiago, I volunteered with a local homelessness charity, Corporación Nuestra Casa (Our House) for two evenings a week. A Chilean voluntary organisation, it has been providing food and shelter to the capital’s street dwellers for 16 years. The following is an account of one of the evenings I spent with the charity, handing out food on the streets of Santiago.
When you are travelling and your surroundings are unfamiliar, you often end up in situations that are not immediately obvious to resolve. And some situations, despite having seemingly obvious resolutions, end up being far more awkward and difficult just by the sheer fact that you are a stranger in a foreign land.
On this trip so far, a number of people (and inanimate objects) have crossed our path at exactly the right moment and have helped us resolve such situations. In one form or another, they have saved the day. We refer to them as our Guardian Angels.
We are sincerely grateful for all of them. As such we would like to honour each person (and inanimate object) for the positive impact that they (likely unknowingly) had.
Fact: Argentina is utterly brilliant.
We have covered our 2 and a half months in Argentina in other postings (see links dotted throughout this post), so our aim here is to simply round it all up and jot down a few of our highlights. I say ‘simply’. We had some of our most precious moments of our trip so far in Argentina, so summing it up in a few short words is no mean feat.
But I’ll give it a go.
For months and for months she would shake her head,
And choose to walk on her knees instead.
No matter what we did or what we said,
Walking to her was something to dread.
We spent the month of October in Buenos Aires. Up until then we had been on the move for almost two months, and while the travelling was amazing, we were starting to feel like we might all benefit from settling in one place for a little longer than a week.
Our plan for the month was to hunker down, save some money, try to improve our respective Spanish levels (more on this in an upcoming post) and find some enjoyable child-centric things to do together. All of this, we managed to achieve (except the save the money part – did someone say budget?) with – to our immense delight – a few additional gems squeezed in as well.
Buenos Aires is pretty dreamy. Beautiful to look at, fun to be in, it is grand, individual and full of life. We spent the first few days strolling about, admiring the architecture, mincing around in parks and generally just enjoying the relative stability of knowing we didn’t have to pack up all our belongings again any time soon.