In what would become a highlight of our entire trip we decided to spend the final days of our journey driving across the Canadian Rockies from Vancouver to Calgary. The route is an iconic one, following Highway One out of Vancouver and up into the mountains of British Columbia. Although it’s possible to divert via the Okanaga Valley to the south or Jasper to the north we decided to take the most direct route through the middle. After many months of travelling we were weary and keen to minimise time spent in the car.
That said the journey was still 1,000km long and after a fair amount of research and discussion with family in Vancouver we decided on the following itinerary:
- Day 1: Vancouver to Salmon Arm (462km)
- Day 2: Salmon Arm to Canmore (411km)
- Day 3-4: stay in Canmore
- Day 5: Canmore to Calgary (112km)
- Day 6-7: stay in Calgary
- Day 8: fly back to Vancouver
Our route across the Rockies
Mexico was added as a destination on our journey very much at the last minute. We had originally planned to fly direct from Costa Rica to Canada but for a variety of reasons we decided to opt for a route that would give us a week in Mexico City. We’d heard from a friend that it was a great place to visit and although many link the country with an incredibly violent drugs war and high levels of crime, from our research (which was admittedly just a couple of minutes on the FCO website) we were comfortable spending some time in the capital.
We landed on the evening of 26th March in slightly chaotic circumstances. Towards the end of our flight we had started to read some interactive books to Amber on the iPad. What we didn’t expect was for the interactive nature of the books to induce a significant bout of travel sickness for all of us, but none so much as poor little Amber. As we made our final approach, she decided to show everyone what she’d just had for dinner, proceeding to vomit profusely over both of us. Fellow passengers around us were incredibly considerate as we became ‘that’ family, proffering tissue packets and toilet rolls (which Claire tried to return afterwards, only to be met with polite refusals).
Amber was understandably upset and as is the way with a toddler, anger and frustration followed the tears, manifesting itself in a point blank refusal to allow us to change her trousers. So, not only were we ‘that’ family with the vomiting baby on a plane, but we were also ‘that’ family with the vomiting and crying baby wearing only a nappy, the very last in a long queue waiting to get through Mexican immigration.
This path that we have taken
Is adventurous, some have said brave!
Experiencing the world and all its delights
Creating memories to forever save.
When we made the decision to go as far south as possible on the South American continent (and indeed the world, Antarctica aside) one inevitable question was what happens after that. What goes down must come up, as they (don’t) say. What we noticed while planning the trip was a direct flight from that most southerly point, Ushuaia and Cordoba, Argentina’s second largest city located in the central / north of the country.
Saying goodbye to the end of the world before our 4 hour flight north to Cordoba
“All I do is keep on running in my own cozy, homemade void, my own nostalgic silence. And this is a pretty wonderful thing. No matter what anybody else says.”
― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
I love running. I love the “homemade void” as Murakami (one of my favourite authors) describes it – for me that’s the place where worry disappears, thinking itself disappears and you just put one leg in front of the other and enjoy a peacefulness that I find very difficult to recreate in any other environment. I don’t believe I have ever felt worse after a run than I did before it, even after the grueling 20+ milers when training for a marathon (a marathon that injury ultimately prevented me from participating in).
We are now 11 days into our month long stay in Buenos Aires and it’s safe to say we love it here. After changing destination every week since August 26th when we left Rio we were looking forward to the relative stability of an extended stay in a city with a global reputation. So far, despite the fact our explorations have been cut short by Amber’s first illness since being away, we are very happy to be here – the city has met all of our expectations and in many cases surpassed them.
The obligatory photo of the BA sign in front of Obelisco de Buenos Aires (built by Germans in 1936 in just 31 days)
Here’s what we’ve learnt so far.
On Wednesday we went on an adventure. We left our house at the crack of dawn and drove over 200 miles. We walked through shrub and woodland, over sand dunes, and across a misty and deserted beach. We reached a remote and isolated village without roads, electricity or running water. We saw a herd of sea lions. And it was one of the best days of our trip so far.
Our destination was Cabo Polonio. Located on the east coast of Uruguay, the village sits on a small peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. With a year round population of 95 (according to a 2011 census) it is less a village, more a collection of huts and houses, a grocery store and as a result of increased popularity a handful of hostels.
The cape is named after the Spanish sailing ship ‘Polonio’ shipwrecked there in 1735. Following the wreck, it became a settlement for sailors and fishermen, and due to its particular geography, rocky shores and fierce seas, it was the site of many more sea disasters. Legend has it that it was renowned among sailors and pirates across the world who believed the cape was cursed, that death would come to those who ventured there, and when in the vicinity of the cape compasses would spin with no direction causing ships to crash into the rocks of the shoreline.
Map of the geography of Cabo Polonio showing its complete isolation and unique lay of the land. Picture taken in the visitors’ centre at the entrance of the national park