The last 4 days have been magical. We have been camping on the edge of a lake near a small town called Villa La Angostura. We are surrounded by gigantic mountains, some of which are volcanoes that occasionally spew ash into the air which creates a surreal misty effect. The lake is fresh and cold, and is fed by icy glacial streams. We are camped in a pine forest and have a cosy fireplace next to our small tent. It is perfect for us.
Amaya and Sebastian are loving it. Amaya’s imagination is limitless and she spends hours by the lake in rapidly evolving, fantastical worlds. Sebastian throws rock after rock into the water, he wades through streams, collects wood for the fire, sits importantly on his log and from time to time is permitted into his big sister’s imaginary world.
Both Shoshanna and I are continually stunned with the beauty of this place and feel immensely happy and at peace to be here.
The last time we were in Santiago was in 2008. Pre-kids, if there ever was such a time… We didn’t really enjoy it. It is a big, dry, dust-bowl of a city, surrounded by monstrous mountains that can only be glimpsed through the smog or heat haze or whatever it is.
The last 7 days have been quite the opposite. Santiago is still big and smoggy and noisy but our experiences were only positive! This is despite crazy jet lag and two needy children.
I think it is actually because of the kids. They have forced us to slow down and not try and wring everything we can out of each day. It doesn’t matter if we repeat activities – we have been to the zoo twice! And we would never have even gone to the zoo or the fantastical “parque de la infancia” (childhood park) or eaten giant fairy floss or multiple ice creams or played in street fountains or had random strangers snapping photos of our kids.
Yes travelling with kids means we can’t lazily sip coffee on the sidewalk or join the New Years Eve festivities or chug back the customary litre bottles of beer in seedy and not so seedy bars, but maybe real joy is found elsewhere.