One of the joys of travel is visiting a place with those you love most. The experience quickly becomes a shared memory, almost like a little secret that no one else understands. It creates a new bond. And years later, you’ll be together, reliving some moment from the trip (like Gordon singing from the mountain top), and the joy will wash all over you once again.
Our family trip to South America over the holidays is one I’ll treasure because I’ve wanted for a long time to share this special place with Gordon, Lizzie, and Anna. Here, in their own words, they (humoring me) offer some reflections:
GORDON…Favorite was the Andes. They were a very pleasant surprise as I was thinking about Mendoza solely as Mendoza = wine country = lots of vines and wine drinking. I was surprised by how massive, gorgeous, and approachable the Andes were. We had two beautiful hikes in the mountains. The horseback ride to the wooden cross at the top of one mountain was a highlight. By not falling off the horse, I substantially increased my horse-riding batting average to .500. I have now been on a horse four times and only fallen off twice! Not only did I not fall off on our ride into the Andes, but our fantastic guide Nino had me feeling supremely confident on my trusty mount. By the end of the ride, I was convinced all I needed was the proper gaucho hat and blade on my hip to fit right in.
Enjoyed touring beautiful Buenos Aires and was overwhelmed with the rich history and culture. Even enjoyed shopping and having my girls pick out shoes for me in the zapaterias. And of course, tackling several Ojo de Bife’s that Fred Flinstone would have been envious of.
Lizzie…Picture this…Mendoza at sunset, a cotton candy sky sinking behind the mountain tops; sipping a glass of Malbec that was produced from the vines in arm’s length from your dinner table; eating a plate-sized Argentine steak with a side of fresh chimichurri; surrounded by some of the most genuinely kind people in the world; waking up to ride horseback through the Andes, followed by a home cooked meal by the best guide (Nino); only to end up poolside until the sun sets again and another day begins. Argentina is without a doubt the perfect winter escape that leaves you begging to come back again and again.
Anna… The Atacama desert was one of the most unique places I have ever been. The clay gave the landscape an orange-ish tint so it felt like I was walking on Mars. The land stretched for miles and everything was orange and so unreal and unique. The desert was made up of giant sand dunes that looked perfectly untouched along with picturesque salt flats surrounded by hundreds of flamingos. The atmosphere was so extreme that I quickly understood why it was categorized as the driest desert in the world. Being so dry while at such a high altitude, the harsh atmosphere was noticeable upon arrival. The weather quickly changed from day to night going from hot to cold in a flash.
The excursions were amazing and the options were endless. Each excursion was surprisingly very different, showing just how much there is to do in the desert. I particularly liked the night moon walk we did one night to watch the moon rise and light up the desert. It was impossible to capture in pictures, but the experience was indescribable. It was amazing seeing the full moon peer over the edge of the gorge and shine on the side of the rocks. I’ll never forget it. Thanks, Mom!
Destinations and Properties…
In Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America, Park Hyatt Palacio Duhua
In the Mendoza wine country of Argentina, The Vines
In the Atacama Desert of Chile, Alto Atacama
Caroline Travels the World (with family in tow) …and so Can You.