Christmas on the road

We have been sadly remiss over the past 4 weeks at updating our blog; our excuses range from Peru, where it seemed we were always busy looking at something and learning; lack of wifi access; and finally Christmas, which put us both in a contemplative, non-bloggng, mode.

This Christmas was the first one we ever spent apart from our kids.Now it’s natural that children move out – and “getting rid of” our children was one of the reasosn we decided to take this trip – but we sorely missed our kids. Acttually we missed them so much, we had to adopt a few new children, and find a few new friends. This is how it turned out…

The last thing we did in Bolivia was to visit Isla de Sol; the visit entailed, amongst other things, a 2 hour boar ride to the island, and a 3 hour hike. On the boat ride out, we were seated next to two delightful young couples from Australia / England – Felicty and Ash, and Tess and the (long-)suffering Chris. We also spent a fair amount of time with them during the hike acorss the island. Great meeting them, but so far nothing extraordinary.

A few days later by happenstance we met the same delightful couples in Cusco, Peru. They were going to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, while Karen and I intended to spend some time in the Sacred Valley before heading towards Machu Picchu. So, while there was nary a chance that we would see each other again, we decided to at least have a Pisco Sour – delicous, btw – together and introduce ourselves properly. Fun meeting them for the second time, but these things happen.

H, K, Felicity, Ash, Tess, Chris.

Six days later, a few days before Christmas, Karen and I are sitting in Ollantaytambo, a small village close to Machu Picchu, eating lunch and waiting for the train that is going to take us there. Who should walk by? Of course, the delightful couples, this time enhanced by Chris’ sister Laura, and her two friends Kirstie and Beki. In a further coincidence, Karen and I were going to spend Christmas in Cusco, as were the “kids”.

Karen and I had been in a slightly melancholy mood – missing our kids – but this third chance meeting, and the fact that we were all going to be in Cusco, convinced us that we should adopt the Australian/English 7-some as our children for Chistmas, and that they should call us Mum and Da, at least on Christmas Eve.

Three days later we met for Christmas Eve drinks in Cusco; more Pisco sours were consumed, and cheesy gifts were exchanged.

Bookmarks! Thanks Mum!

I always wanted a pot-holder!

So, part I of Christmas Eve on the road was great fun and brightened our holiday.

Part II of Christmas Eve was a dinner with fellow overlanders. The first time we were in Cusco, 10 days before Christmas, there was no one at our chosen camp site except for Karen and I and some llamas.

H and other camping guest.

When we pulled in on the 23rd though, Quinta Lala, as the place is called, was packed.

German, French, Swiss, Austrian, Belgian, and US overland vehicles

German, French, Swiss, Austrian, Belgian, and US overland vehicles

Parked on the enclosed meadow were:

  • Wolfgang and Monica, Germany, who we first met in Sucre, Bolivia, and then in La Paz, Bolivia
  • Isolde, Julian, and their friendly pitbull Kamar, France, new friends
  • Karen and Oliver, Switzerland, also met in La Paz
  • Dieter and Ernie, Austria, who we first met in Iguazu, Argentina, and then in La Paz, Bolivia
  • Dirk and Lucette, Beligium, met in Ollantaytambo just a few days ago

Six vehicles, six countries, seven really as I’m Swedish. Somewhat remarkable that we met four of the five couples previously; however, what we have come to find out is that there is a set of well-known camp sites for overland vehicles throughout South Amercia. Two of the most well known are the Oberland Hotel in La Paz, and Quinta Lala in Cusco, so odds of meeting the same folks in these two spots are decent.

DIrk and Lucette together with Isolde and Julian were the main organizers, I believe, behind a Christmas Eve dinner. They had hired the sister of the caretaker at Quinta Lala to come and cook an alpaca dinner for everyone.

The travelers

The travelers.

K and Monica (Germany)

Dinner was delicious; conversation was good; fireworks were lit later – all in all, a great Christmas. We still miss our (real) kids…

7 thoughts on “Christmas on the road

  1. I’m sure your (real kids) were missing you too! It’s great to remember that relative strangers can come together to celebrate Christmas and that no matter where we come from we all basically want the same things in life – to be surrounded by the people we love and celebrate Christmas together. Your future grandkids will be so lucky one day to hear all the adventures their totally cool grandparents took back in 2011 and 2012! Happy New Year and safe travels to you both.

  2. Henrik and Karen–

    January 9, 2012

    It was my first weekend up at the ski house and your presence was sorely missed. Rhonda and I drove up Friday and skied Copper Mountain Saturday. The mountain has a 22″ base (should be 60″ by this time of year) so you definitely picked the right year to take off and travel! We went to the new Mission Impossible movie which roams the world (like two people I know), with scenes from Budapest, Moscow, Mumbai and even Seattle. Then Rhonda cooked me a big fat NY strip and we thought of you and your travels. Rhonda just returned from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia and has some great photos. We are both missing you but we are travelers too and know that you couldn’t spend 18 months doing anything better.

    Buena suerte en sus viajes! (I’m sure incorrect, but you get the idea!) Monty

  3. I’m reminded of something I heard from Joseph Campbell “When you follow your heart’s desire, the world will step in to help”. Sorry you were feeling blue but how wonderful that you found some new friends to share the moment. We’ve been thinking of you both.

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