Last month, Jim and I had a great time visiting some wonderful places. As mentioned before in previous blogs, we stayed in this picturesque fishing village in Uruguay, near the border with Brazil. We saw the spectacular waterfalls of Iguazu, from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides. We walked along the promenade following the Parana river in Corrientes.
And last week we have enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of Salta. Centrally located in northern Argentina, it was easy to visit the wonders and villages that many of the various microclimates in Argentina have to offer. There, we treated ourselves to a tour through the Cafayate valley with its amazing rock formations and colors. Each more beautiful than the other. And, of course, there was a visit to a world-renowned vineyard and the tasting of some great wines. Also after the tour, over dinner and afterwards too.
All along the way, we met nice people. One even friendlier and more helpful than the other. We felt spoiled, lucky and mostly grateful for all the beauty we had seen and how we felt welcomed as visitors.
After this great month, we were looking forward to going back to Bolivia. It felt like going back home, back into our daily routine, meeting with Marlies, Abad and their family and their (our new) friends. We thought we knew the country, after having stayed here for almost two months. We thought we knew what to expect. And even though we love adventure and visiting new places, we also love to see people and places we know, to get to know them better and share memories and in-jokes. And wine.
And here we are, not even 3 days back in the country, and the experience is everything but the routine we thought we would have. In these few days, we have visited Tarija and Sucre, met more great people, and seen new wonderful things.
In Tarija, we were invited, by family of Abad’s son and friends of Marlies, for a wedding at a vineyard. The party started at 2pm with champagne and lasted till midnight. And what a party it was, with good food, enough drink for everybody, a band, singer, lots of dancing and good company.
Even though we did not know the people, we felt very welcome. Nobody seemed to wonder why we were there. And both the bride and the groom took time to talk with us, and invited us for the after party the next day.
And here, in Sucre, another warm welcome awaited us. Abad’s nephew, a very successful business man, seemed to have all the time in the world to have breakfast with us and his son and share experiences. And his wife, his business partner, was waiting with lunch for us. The hospitality we have been offered these last couple of days by Marlies and Abad’s family and friends has been touching and heartwarming.
Also the city is a pleasant, unexpected surprise. Sucre is probably one of the most charming capital cities I have seen. Full of steep cobbled streets, whitewashed houses with red-tiled roofs, and picturesque square where young couples stroll hand in hand and elderly gentleman read their newspapers.
It’s strange to realise how my mind had fooled me, it had me expecting a few comfortable and familiar weeks in Cochabamba, instead of more amazing places and more generous hospitality. So for this last month in Bolivia, I think it might be better if we expect nothing other than the unexpected and be more open for the surprises that come our way.