“Summer” Vacation: Part 1

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We just reached the halfway point of our year abroad and celebrated our six-month GSW “anniversary” on the beach in Itajai, Brazil. Having left Cusco on December 22, we’ve now been traveling for over a month through Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, and we’ll be wrapping up our summer vacation with a few weeks in Colombia. But first we will have an exciting week of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. So far we have had quite an eventful few weeks!

20151227_151244Our travels began when we met with family in Santiago, Chile. It was an emotional, ecstatic reunion that set the stagefor an exciting few weeks of travel. We had an early morning flight to Punta Arenas, the south of Chile, which was our entry point to Patagonia. After driving another few hours south we arrived in Torres del Paine national park to begin our Patagonian adventure! The highlight was definitely a sixteen-mile, daylong hike uphill to see the towers—a pair of very imposing granite peaks. It snowed, but we were not to be deterred. Although the snow made the hike more difficult, it also made it that much more special. We also took an awesome speedboat ride to several impressive glaciers, which was another highlight.

We drove over the border to Argentina and made our way by plane to Ushuaia, a.k.a. the end of the world, the southernmost point before Antarctica. It wasn’t that cold because it was summer there. Ushuaia was a really interesting place as a former penal colony turned into an industrial parts assembly and shipping center, as well as a center for touristic opportunities. We rang in the New Year after a day of spotting sea lion colonies, and although it was not as lively as New York on New Years, Lark and I still had a great time going out on the town.

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After Ushuaia, we were ready for some beach time and made our way to Punta del Este, Uruguay. We rented a house on Chihuahua Beach, which turned out to be a nude beach with lots of participants, but at least one half of the beach was still covered. One of our friends from college flew in to join us, and that was really special. Punta del Este was an awesome place to relax on the beach and spend a few days enjoying the company of our big extended family before finishing that portion of the vacation. It was definitely sad to say goodbye to my family at the end of the week, but I’m also so thankful that I got to spend this time with them over the holidays and enjoy all the adventures we shared.

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… Stay tuned for our next adventures!

Ciao!

— Caroline

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