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Roadtrip: Peru and Chile

Where are we off to next?


View Peru to Chile & World Trip 2012 on noahv's travel map.

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Here's where we're heading next, after three-and-a-half months in lovely Cusco, Perú. It's been wonderful here, and we'll post a full recap of things we loved, didn't like too much, etc., but now we're getting ready to pack up our bags again and hit the road.

Here's a quick overview:

We are heading by bus from Cusco to Puno for some kayaking on Lake Titicaca. From there, we head to Arequipa and a visit to Colca Canyon to see the majestic Peruvian condors. Then we make a break south for the border, crossing into Chile at Tacna/Arica. Once in Chile, we are going to be staying with some Couchsurfing contacts as we work our way down the coast, with a stop in San Pedro de Atacama to visit the Atacama Desert - the driest in the world and also one of the most scenic.. Then some more busses, and we get to Santiago on Halloween.

A quick day or two in Santiago to allow us to regroup and repack for our trip to Patagonia, and then we fly to Puerto Montt, and get on the Navimag ferry Evangalistas for 4 days heading down through the glaciers and fjords of Chile. When we arrive in Puerto Natales we will do some exploring of the Torres del Paine National Park for about a week (working on the exact specifics now).

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Patagonia offers us an impressive menu of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The hard part is deciding how to make the most of our six short days! November is late Spring in Southern Chile, so we expect to feel right at home with Seattle-like weather (a.k.a. anything goes). Parque National Torres del Paine is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and home to one of the most impressive mountain and glacial areas on earth. We plan to stay in some refugios in the park, hike, and soak in the beautiful landscape. Our visit could also include hiking the "W Circuit" which includes Torres del Paine Base, Nordenskjold Lake, Cuernos del Paine, the French Glacier, Paine Grande, Grey Lake, Paine and Pudeto.

When we are done exploring Torres del Paine (at least in the time that we have - I'm sure we could spend longer), we will go down to Punta Arenas to catch a flight back to Puerto Montt.

We will spend just under a week on the mystical island of Chiloé, where we can experience an older way of life with traditional foods, local customs, and an amazing natural environment. Although we have yet to decide on our specific itinerary on the island, it is sure to involve a bit of kayaking, hiking, and general appreciation of this unique place.
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After a return ferry ride from Chiloé, we will do some more exploring of Valdivia and the surrounding areas, including historic Spanish Forts, German beer, and beautiful ocean views. We may rent bikes and explore or just enjoy a break from hiking.
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Finally, we fly back to Santiago for some time with Juanchi and his family. We will explore Santiago and Valparaiso and maybe even get some time at the beach, before we have to pack up again and leave South America for good as we head across the Pacific on 1-Dec.
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Lot's of adventures to come in the next two months, and we will do our best to take lots of pictures and post stories of our experiences! Let us know if you want more details of our itinerary - we will be covering more than 4200 miles in the next 2 months!

Posted by noahv 07:50 Archived in Peru Tagged itinerary rtw planning Comments (5)

Victoria Victory!

Initial steps on the path to being an international traveling family

Canada_Bear.jpgIt's been a while since we returned from our trip to Victoria, and I wanted to answer the pressing question - "did we get arrested at the border trying to smuggle in a Chilean exchange student?"

In short, no. Thanks to all of Anne's pre-work at the consulate, the border crossings in both directions went very smoothly. Lesson learned to put in the time to figure out what paperwork you need for travelling, and persevere through the red tape...

Other lessons learned:

  • Speaking calmly and smiling is your best bet for smooth experiences with Border and Customs Control officers
  • Keep ALL your documents, and keep it all handy (e.g. keep your Victoria Clipper boarding pass for parking garage discount)
  • You can usually count on your fellow traveller - don't be afraid to ask
  • Don't be afraid to say "I don't know" to the kids
  • Don't be afraid to say "Let's try it" with the kids
  • Take a chance - you might like it (like Leah with the zip lines at WildPlay - she was totally scared of the unknown; but once known, she wanted to do more MORE MORE)
  • Carry paper copies of bus schedule, a good map, etc -- you can't count on wi-fi or GPS to work.
  • Talk to the locals, get suggestions, set out without specific agenda . . . you will find the best adventures that way.
  • Kids are driven by food. The smell of popcorn, the sight of a Starbucks -- leads to the immediate need to purchase! There's always a delicate balancing act between packing food and hoping to find en-route.

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Challenges:

  • From the kids: "it's nice to travel, but I'm really looking forward to going 'home'" -- what if "going home" is over a year away?
  • Packing: we still packed big bags for 3 days... but, we were able to carry it all. Re-emphasized that carry-on luggage is the way to go (we got to get off the Clipper first while the people with checked bags waited...)
  • Being there on time: as hard as we tried, we were pretty late getting to the boat to depart Seattle. However, we did get lucky with our "special room" on the Clipper to Victoria (primarily because we were late - and that the Clipper crew took pity on us)

Overall, a great trip. The city of Victoria is a fun place to spend a long weekend. We loved Roger's Chocolate, Miniature World (as cheesy as it sounds), walking through the Fairmont Empress, having lunch at the Parliament building, visiting the Royal BC Museum, seeing Sammy the Seal at Fisherman's Wharf, and swimming in the pool at our Worldmark hotel.

We're looking forward to going back to Victoria soon!
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Posted by noahv 10:44 Archived in Canada Tagged travel planning lessons Comments (2)

De-stuffing

or, in pursuit of emptiness...

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One of the nice "side-effects" of our trip is the need for us to get rid of all of our stuff. After 12 years of living in our house (and raising rearing 2 kids), we've got a lot of stored-up stuff. We're really looking forward to taking this opportunity to get rid of all of the stuff that we don't need anymore, plus stuff that we think we might need later (but probably don't...)

We're now in full swing for our first (of many) garage sales - this weekend it's the PNA Neighborhood Garage Sale day. Hopefully we'll have nice weather, and will get lot's of people to come buy/take our stuff. Either way, it's not coming back into the house (well, most of it anyway). We're getting the kids involved by offering them a cut of the money made selling "their" stuff. Of course, they'll want to buy more stuff with that, but that's another conversation...

I'm also using this as an opportunity to get rid of all of the mail that comes to the house. I've been unsubscribing to all paper catalogs, credit card offers, etc. All bills are being migrated to online only. Phone books have already been opted-out via the new Seattle phone book program. We're already on the junk mail opt-out list, but I'm assuming that we'll need to continuously monitor what's coming into the mailbox for the next couple of months to make sure that we get it all. Still need to figure out what to do with the mail while we're gone...

Later, we'll look to unload cars, clothes, household items, electronics, computers, sports equipment, etc etc. Probably through Craigslist and/or Facebook, and (of course) lots of yard sales and trips to Goodwill. Ideal end-state will be to have a couple of boxes of must-keep stuff - personal documents, keepsakes, etc. - that we can store for the duration of the trip. House will remain furnished as part of the rental, but the only stuff we keep will be what we carry with us on the trip. Pretty liberating in theory, but not easy to get there in practice. Good thing we still have over a year to go...we're going to need it!

Posted by noahv 16:14 Archived in USA Tagged stuff planning Comments (1)

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