travel

Little Travelers - Our Adventures With Kid(s)

Last week, after returning home from some grocery shopping in our neighborhood, our 5-year-old steps into the house and declares, "I'm bored with this city."  Amused, I promptly put it on Facebook and two out of the first three responses were "Where did she hear that?" or something similar. That wasn't what I expected.

Daughter #1, showing her hands, black with volcanic sand and the Osorno Volcano in Chile. February 2011.

She is a kid that has always been on the move but we've never said that we're bored with a city. NEVER.

That is something out of her own head.

In my opinion, it does show that she is comfortable moving around and wants to explore this great world of ours.

While in Minnesota, we lived in the same house for 7 years and sold it when I was 6 months pregnant with dear daughter #1; the same daughter with the charming quote above.

That got me thinking how much we have traveled and what we have all seen in her 5-1/2 years (4 of which have been in South America). We lived in a few places in Minnesota leading up to our move, then in Montevideo for 18 months, Bariloche for 5 months and now Córdoba, Argentina for just over 2 years (where our second daughter was born in 2012).

We have seen many other places in Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, all without a car of our own. We've rented cars, traveled with friends, hired a driver once (okay, twice) and taken a variety of planes, buses, boats and trains.

Exploring at Atlántida beach, Uruguay. March 2010.

In Uruguay, we've visited:

Colonia, Piriapolis, Punta del Este, Punta del Diablo, Cabo Polonio, La Paloma, Minas, Salta and through many more cities on the way.

In Argentina, we've visited:

Buenos Aires, Rosario, Mendoza, Bariloche, El Bolsón, Villa la Angostura, Concordia, Iguazu, Villa Carlos Paz, Villa General Belgrano, Cosquín, Capilla del Monte and others.

In Chile, we've visited:

Puerto Montt, Chiloé Island including Ancud and Castro, Osorno, Villarrica, Pucón, Puerto Varas, Santiago, Valparaiso, Viña del Mar and others.

This also included two over-land crossings of the Andes mountains: One from Bariloche, Argentina to Puerto Montt, Chile by car and another time from Mendoza, Argentina, to Santiago, Chile by bus.

 

On a bus to Capilla del Monte, Argentina. November, 2012.

I can't forget the three trips to/from the United States since we've been living in South America. We are pretty well traveled with our kids. We like adventure (it was even in our wedding vows, "Through Adventure and Adversity") and we encourage a love of adventure and adaptability in our daughters.

We're not planning another move anytime soon, but we DO have some interesting travel plans we're considering. As you may have guessed, we're also not the type to travel WITHOUT our kids.

We'll see where our next big adventure takes us - as a family.

Rebirth of UR MOVING WHERE!

The decision has been made. The commitment is real. We're back and blogging again about our lives in South America! Check out this short video about our plans: httpvh://youtu.be/YrX5ahqHKTc

We're in Cordoba, Argentina and absolutely love it here. In the coming weeks and months, we'll tell you about:

  • Renting a house as foreigners
  • Banking and exchange rates- some great tricks
  • Travel with kids
  • Location Independent lifestyle/Location Independent Parenting
  • Renting a car (or "You Better Be Able To Drive A Stick")
  • Places to visit in and around Cordoba Capital
  • The Medical System and Health Insurance
  • Looking back at our time in Montevideo, Uruguay and Bariloche, Argentina

Thanks for following our adventures and we look forward to hearing from you!

Our Next Adventure

Bariloche, Buenos Aires, Uruguay MapUruguay has been our home for the past 16 months and we love it. Through the ups and downs of adjusting to life in a different culture, we have been truly fortunate to find ourselves in such a place. We are ready for a new adventure, most likely temporary but we don't know. All signs are pointing us toward San Carlos de Bariloche,  Argentina. We plan to be there for the low season of October through December. If you don't know Bariloche, it is a very different type of place from Montevideo. Located in the mountainous area of northern Patagonia, spring is the low season there with skiing being the main draw in winter and hiking/water sports in the summer.  Since we have never lived in the mountains but would like to, this area really appeals to us.  There are other towns nearby such as San Martín de los Andes and El Bolsón that we plan to explore and the variety of outdoor activities in this mountain/lakes region is incredible.

One challenge with our plan is how to live in a more rural area without a car.  The Bariloche area has a great bus system that runs a loop from downtown to the main roads, with other buses running long distances from Bariloche. While we explored living within the city proper, we were told in no uncertain terms that while the city has all the modern conveniences, the city is not why people come to live in Bariloche. Now we are researching temporary rentals on the main bus loop or within a decent walking distance to the city center.

Our flight is booked for September 25th, our current landlord is notified of our lease termination and we are starting the purging process all over again.  There is no turning back now!

Our list of things to sell will be coming shortly. It is amazing how much you can acquire even when you live in a furnished  rental and never really purchased much.  Alas, we have plenty of housewares, toys, clothes, books and cloth diaper supplies that we will be selling.  The plan is to come back to Montevideo during/after high season 2011 but we don't want to store all our extra stuff, so away it goes.

Wish us luck!  This extended vacation will hopefully be just the thing we're looking for.  New things to learn and explore within a beautiful, restorative environment.  You can't forget the great German architecture, handmade chocolates and artisan beers produced in the Bariloche region!  Sounds like my kind of place!!

Our Weekend on The Coast

We had the most amazing time last weekend exploring the eastern coast of Uruguay. On Friday evening, we rented a car from Thrifty.  When considering the name, ironically, it was the most expensive portion of our road trip.  Vital, though, as you can't really have a road trip without a car.  It was a Hundai Sonata-type which was new, but without some of the features that I would consider standard- like airbags. Eeeek!  It did have a great Pioneer stereo system, though…

We took off early on Saturday morning. Our daughter was thrilled to get the chance to sit in her car seat, so luckily we had a very eager traveler (She doesn’t get much of a chance to ride in her car seat here in UY since we have no car.)  After a quick stop at Montevideo Shopping’s McDonalds to get coffee and medialunas, we were on the open road

Atlántida beach
Atlántida beach

Without a set plan, but a few key places we wanted to see, we drove east along la Rambla to find where it would take us. Saturday was a beautiful, sunny morning and we felt a great sense of adventure for what was our first tip into rural Uruguay since August.

La Rambla turned into Route 1, which brought us to Atlántida and we couldn’t pass it by without at least driving though. What a sweet little beach town, and only about 30 minutes from Montevideo! It was obvious to me why this relaxed but upper-end town is a popular vacation spot for both Montevideo-ans as well as Argentines.  It was well groomed, cute houses and hotels, a nice mix of city and beach amenities and beautiful sandy beaches with rolling dunes.

We continued to drive for as long as we could along the coast while dodging dunes that had blown into the road.  It was becoming more rural as we drove and a we had a fantastic peek into these beach towns at the very end of summer, while the weather was still warm, but the crowds had already gone back home.

Atlántida fishermen
Atlántida fishermen

The road eventually brought us back to Highway 9, just outside or Pan de Azucar. We’d been to nearby Piriápolis twice, so we decided to stay on 9 and keep driving past Piriápolis.

Next on our list of things to do was a visit to a very under-appreciated beach with a unique claim to fame in UY, called Playa Chihuahua.  More on that in a later post.

Since we were on the road to Punta del Este, and we were craving Thai food, we drove into town to see what we could find. Our wireless modem was giving us a few options for food, so we drove but unfortunately found nothing. Punta was still surprisingly busy and was slow driving through the main shopping streets. I can’t imagine what it is like in January!

Back to the ocean drive, this time on Route 10 to La Barra.  I thought la Barra was a very cute little town, with a bit of the glitz and glamour of the upscale shops of Punta, with a beachy, small town feel.  It reminded me a lot of Santa Barbara and Montecito, CA.

Still driving and getting increasingly more hungry, we decided to stop for a late lunch in Jose Ignacio.  This was a very beach oriented city with very few restaurants or services.  A beautiful setting, as the whole town in on a hill away from the coast, it felt like the type of place you went to escape and be at the beach… with very few interruptions. But Jose Ignacio still had some inklings of Punta del Este, and not nearly as bohemian as day 2 of our adventures.

We found a good-sized restaurant that was open at 3 in the afternoon and had a great combination of a Waldorf Salad (Brad) an Chicken sandwich (me) and milk/random condiments for our two-year-old.  Being very much a toddler, she decided that she didn’t want what we ordered for her so she ate the ketchup and mayonnaise.  The kid likes condiments.

On the road again with full bellies and somewhat happy to be leaving the beaten path a bit, we drove on.  We detoured into Rocha and after an initially poor view of the cemetery coming into town, we found a few cute tree-lined squares, beautiful cobble stone streets and some charming traditional Spanish-colonial architecture. We decided to press on and spend the night in la Paloma.

Sunset in La Paloma
Sunset in La Paloma

We stayed at a nearly empty hotel in La Paloma called Hotel Trocadero.  The hotel was nothing special but comfortable, two blocks from the beach and for UY$900/night, including breakfast, we couldn't complain.  La Paloma is on a peninsula, so it’s very easy to find beach there.  Also due to its location, it has some AMAZING sunsets over the water. We just can’t get that in Montevideo, at least not on our side of the city where the sun slips behind the buildings and you can never see it hit water.

After getting ice cream, and before dinner, we walked down Av. N. Solari, which is the main road in La Paloma, directly to the rocky beach to see the sun go down.  There were others gathered, standing, in lawn chairs and even in their cars on the hills. We found a place to sit on a rock outcropping facing directly west with an excellent assortment of shells at our feet.  The sunset was an incredible display of red and orange and was worthy of applause by our fellow viewers when it finally slipped below the horizon.

The sunset was definitely the high point of our visit to La Paloma. After a disappointing seafood dinner and some window shopping ("What? That skirt is UY$ 2200??"), we returned to the modest hotel to get some sleep.

The next morning, we ate a beautiful, albeit bready, breakfast at the hotel, took a quick walk on Bahia Chica, the beach on the eastern side of the peninsula and packed the car for another day of adventure….

More to follow about day 2 in Cabo Polonio and Punta Del Diablo, along with our day 1 adventure at Playa Chihuahua.

A Weekend Away

We are planning to take a series of short road trips- just a long weekend each time to explore more of this great country. Having been to Colonia, Piriápolis and Punta del Este already, we're looking towards the eastern coast before it gets cold and the interior with possible trips to the hot springs and a wine tour in the fall. We wanted to pose the question to our readers: Where should we go for a short exploration trip this month?? Where To Go For a Weekend Getaway?

(polls)

Living Abroad Makes You More Creative?

Here's an interesting video discussing how those living abroad tend to be more creative- possibly tied to language skills and adaptation. Interesting studies!

"People who live abroad are more creative; and the more time they spend away from home, the more creative they become. Thats according to a recent study done by William Maddux, an assistant professor of organisational behavior at INSEAD."

Do Your Homework

Our adventure started long before we stepped off the plane at the Carrasco Airport, Uruguay on March 26, 2009. We've been planning this move for over a year, with an exploratory trip to MVD in March 2008 (with then-3-month-old Geneva in tow). On that trip, we spent 7 days in Montevideo, two nights in Colonia and 3 nights in Buenos Aires.

Expat Travel Technology: VoIP Phone Solutions

Lisa and I both need an inexpensive and simple way to speak with family and clients in North America and around the world.  The fantastic thing about this is that we didn't have to change anything to do it.  We have been using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for several years.  It's a phone system that uses the internet to carry conversation rather than regular phone lines.  There are countless