Everyone complains about 2016 and accuses it of being aweful. It was only after we got back to the reality, around September, when I began slowly realizing that the world is not a nice place. During 2016 my big, long-awaited dream of travelling South America came true. The first eight months of this year was a time of detachment from reality and bad news. Was this trip what I dreamed of? No! It was completely different from any imaginations I had and that is why it was so awesome. Because what would be the point of travelling if images from our heads equal the reality. In summery our 2016 looked like this:
New Year’s Eve of 2016 I celebrated in Poland, where I also spent the first week of the year. After that I got on the flight: Poznań – Munich – Montreal. We had two days for repacking and getting everything ready for the big trip to South America. A day before our flight to Chile I dislocated my knee in a parking lot in front of a shopping mall. Not a nice beggining, especially that we were starting in Patagonia, known as a hiking and trekking paradise. Next day we started our almost 30 hour long flight: Montreal – Toronto – Santiago de Chile – Puerto Montt – Punta Arenas. My swollen knee didn’t make it easier.
In January we saw Tierra del Fuego and after that, other parts of Chilenian and Argentinian Patagonia, where we admired Torres del Paine and Perito Moreno glacier.
In February we continued our slalom through the Argentinian and Chilenian borders crossing Patagonia. Jason got to see Fitz Roy, while my knee and I stopped mid way up the trail. After that we went along the Carratera Austral, probably my favorite part of the trip. From there we took a ferry to Chiloe island, which at the begging seemed to be a little bit overrated, but after we reached the small fisherman villages and felt the real athmosphere I changed my opinion about this place. In the small town of Dalhuce, I was taking pictures like crazy, unfortunately none of them survived. In February we also visted vivid Valdivia and Villaroca and at the end of the month we reached Santiago de Chile, where within 30 minutes our daypack with our camera and all pictures from the beginnining of the trip was stolen. It didn’t leave too friendly of an impression towards the city and although my feelings started to warm up the next day, I knew that Jason stayed deep cold and we had to hit the road the next evening.
We spent most of March in Argentina; first Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls and after that we quickly crossed Paraguay in two days. The second part of the month we spent in the north-western part of Argentina and at the end of March we crossed the Bolivian border and visited Salar de Uyuni.
We spent April in Bolivia, mostly in Sucre, doing a three week long, intensive Spanish course. After that we moved on to the eastern part of the country. In Santa Cruz, the main city of the region, we stayed with a friend we had met during our trip to Salar de Uyuni. From there we explored Jesuit Missions, which turned into one of the best surprises of our trip. At the end of April we saw Toro Toro National Park and La Paz.
On May 1st we biked down from La Paz to Coroico in the Bolivian jungle. After that was Lake Titicaca and Isla del Sol and then it came time to say goodbye to Bolivia. We crossed the border with Peru. Through the rest of May we saw the Colca Canion, Macchu Picchu, Choquequirao and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. By the end of the month we reached Lima.
In June we went on a 4-day trekking in the Cordilliera Blanca, Peru. We got to the peruvian coast at Trujillo and after that we headed east into the land to the Amazon region. My 30th birthday was spent with an iritating parrot in a little Amazon village, where we were a bigger attraction than the one television in the community. Unfortunately mosquitos invited themselves to my party as well and unceremoniously helped themselves to my blood. I wasn’t able to count the bites, but it went well over my brain’s limit and I fell into a fit of madness. The rest of the month we spent on small and large boats crossing the waters of the Amazon basin. We reached Iquitos, known thanks to Herzog’s movie, and from there on took another cargo boat to the Colombian border town of Leticia. In Leticia for the very first and last time during our trip through the South American continent we took a plane (excluding the ones we took to start and end the trip). In this case, our only altarnative was another 10 days on a boat. This way we reached Bogota in only an hour.
In July we enjoyed a Colombian summer. Finally we arrived to the long-awaited beach. Even though we both thought that we were not ‘beach buddies’, we were truly enjoying the Carraibian waters and sand. We discovered deliciouse and cheap drinks, served at a bar set in the middle of a street in Cartagena. We reached the most northern point of the South American continent and although we decided to skip going to Venezuel this time, we had an opportunity to taste Venezuelian beer called Polar, which was great for the dessert heat. We left Colombia on a sail boat, which unfortunately sounded like a motor boat for most of the time of our trip due to the wind conditions. While sailing our way to Panama, we stopped for a couple of days on San Blas Islands.
We started August in Central America. In two weeks we quickly went through three countries: Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. At the very end of our trip Jason started to get Zika symptoms. In the middle of August our trip came to the end and we flew back from Nicargua to Montreal. After one week in Canada, I went for a little visit to Poland.
In September, Jason started his new job in Montreal and I spent most of the month in Poland. On my way back to Montreal I stopped for a couple of days in Toronto. We spent a few last days of September extesivly looking for a place we could call home.
On October 1st we moved into our very own (although rented), new apartment. Finally we could have a morning coffee in our kitchen, a little thing we missed a lot and were dreaming about for all those long months of traveling. We didn’t have too much time to enjoy it together though, because on October 5th Jason left for job training in Miami for a couple weeks.
In November came my turn to go for two weeks to Toronto. After months of being together 24/7, now we were constantly missing each other.
In December Jason went to Edmonton for two week and I stayed in Montreal. At the beginning of the month I got a stomach bug, which stayed with me until the end of the month. On New Year’s Eve I decided to do something with it and I went to the walk-in clinic. First guess were bacterias and viruses from South America, but I will know the final verdict when I get the results form the lab (yeah, it is middle of January I am still waiting for the results). In December we did some small trips. We went for a weekend to Ottawa, where we saw Pigeon Park’s concert and we went on a free tour to the Parliement. No, Justin wasn’t there. We also went for one night to Mount Tremblent and during the Christmass holiday time we went to the Laurantians mountains to visit Jason’s family, where I tried cross-country skiing.
And now I am wondering what 2017 will bring to me. It probably won’t be as action packed as 2016, but that’s ok, as long as my knees stay where they are and my stomach gets back to the more northern bacterial flora, I will be content and happy.