Well we did it!!! The trip was a complete success, hardly flawless but it was a pretty incredible trip. I am very happy to be home and have been enjoying the comforts of our house and the thought that I don’t have to pack up in a few days and head off to the next destination. I think the thing we missed most was Nana and our good friends, it seems like it has been a continuous series of seeing our friends and get togethers. I also really find that I have missed the garden and the house and our spot overlooking Lake Medota. Maddy seemed to not be as eager to head back home but I certainly need to recharge before the next adventure.
I have found it hard to describe the trip with our friends, in the normal flow of conversation probably because we did such an amazing breadth of activities. There are the normal effusive adjectives… Amazing, Incredible, Once in a lifetime (I hate this one, mostly because we are going to do it again next year), and I can talk about parts of the trip like my favorite places but it is hard to describe the trip as a whole. So it is nice to have this blog to look back on; I had totally forgotten what we did 5 months ago. If anyone wants any information on where we stayed or how we navigated certain parts of the trip please feel free to contact Maddy or I. Without further ado here it are some final statistics from the trip including the final map although the mileage on the map does not include our return to Rio de Janerio or my trip back to Montevideo. The map isn’t totally accurate either, I blame google for that.
Distance traveled by car: 21,600 kilometers (13,600 miles)
Countries: 5 (6 if you include my trip into Peru to purchase the car)
Days: 156 (5 1/2 months)
Stops: 46 (so on average we moved every 3.4 days)
Plane rides: 5
Boat rides: 5 (scenic or pleasure boat rides)
Beaches visited: 32
Hot springs: 4
Volcanoes Climbed: 1 – Volcano Villarica
Flat tires: 4
Car breakdowns: 0
Adult breakdowns: only a couple
Kid breakdowns: many
Furthest South: Torres del Paine, Patagonia Chile
Furthest North: Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
Wine regions: 2 (Colchagua valley and Mendoza)
Oscar Niemeyer buildings: 4
Waterfalls: too many to count; seems like there was one around every bend in Patagonia
Salt pans: 1 but it was the largest in the world!
Anyway some quick observations from being home for 2 weeks:
The politics in the US is still really awful (although Brazil is close behind); I have noticed that even in normally polite Wisconsin people have been quite rude and really for no reason. It makes me think that the awful tone and behavior of our president is rubbing off on people in Wisconsin. Maybe it was just that the people in South America were so helpful and welcoming.
Another startling thing is that there are no bees here in Wisconsin, everywhere we went in Brazil and Argentina there were bees buzzing around us you couldn’t get rid of them but here in Madison I haven’t seen many at all.
We enjoyed the food in South America. There were a few standouts, Salvador de Bahia and Buenos Aires had amazing food. The meat in Argentina and Uruguay was fantastic and the fish was also very good. The buffets in Brazil were also very good and quite ubiquitous. Juice in South America is also actually from fresh fruit and is on every corner and very delicious. Otherwise normal restaurants all had hamburgers, chicken and other typical American foods.
As this is the end of our trip I will probably not be blogging very often in the next six months but check in during the fall as we will be planning the next expedition. Asia anyone? Anyway signing off for Travel-Trotter. Salud for now.