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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some final thoughts....

When we decided to do this adventure, we had very little expectations. When we traveled before kids, our style was to live in the moment and make it up as we go. Though the situation was a little different this time, we have kids and we have a little more responsibility back home, we stuck to our "live in the moment" mentality.

At the beginning, we knew we wanted to go to Peru. So we started there. We bought a one way ticket to Lima, booked a hotel room for when we arrived in the middle of the night, and booked a flight to Cusco for the next day. That's it. Done. Trip planned. We didn't know if we'd stay a week, 3 weeks, a month, 3 months? We were determined to just go with the flow.

Would we travel to Chile and Argentina or go north to Ecuador? We didn't know. Could our kids handle long distance buses? Would we have to fly places? Would we find a place that we would just want to stay? How expensive are these countries really? Are we having fun? Team T just had find out by doing.

Early on in our trip, we kept meeting people who raved about Colombia. That seemed to be the direction to go. How did the rest fall into place? We took buses, stayed in hotels, hostels, homestays, tents, and hammocks. We tried night buses. In Ecuador, we stayed in a town we loved and rented a house. But we found ourselves itching to get back on the road after a month. We loved the Andes, but after a week or two we wanted to head to the beach. The rainforest just had to be explored! So we bused ourselves over the Andes and into the Amazon basin. Then traveled down river several hours to experience our earth's lungs! When we couldn't take the heat, bugs, and humidity we headed back up the Andes again. Then to the beach. We just made it up as we went. At some point in the trip we started thinking about going home. That's when we pulled out the map and decided what we still wanted to see and bought a ticket home.

Team T toured a corner of South America for 5 months. It was a wonderful adventure. We learned a lot about ourselves, each other, and about South America. We have a multitude of shared experiences. Our stories make us grin and laugh. The inside jokes are endless! We are very grateful to have taken this opportunity to spend 24/7 (and I mean it) with our 2 small children and explore some new territory together as a family. The question is where will we go next and when?????

Team T will be stateside for a while.... We will not be posting anymore photos or notes at this blog site. If you would like to continue to follow us check out our home blog at...

Some general notes about our travels...

Countries visited 4 Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela
Total Hotels/hostels/homestays/campgrounds: 49
Buses (an hour and a half or longer) 41
Meals out 400+ (restaurants w/ a toddler)
Hours on buses (an hour and a half or longer) 210 hours
Flights 3 (Lima, Cuzco, LA/VT)
Currencies 3 (Ecuador uses US dollars)
Books Read 12 (including 4 Lonely planet guides)

Heading Home

Team T is packing up and heading home. This is where the road divides. Mom and the kids are taking a red eye flight to Mexico City and then onward to Los Angeles for a month. Daddy is staying an extra day in Bogota to buy a suit and then fly back to Vermont. Time to start attending to business. He's piecing things back together before the rest of us get home.

It's been a great journey and a wonderful experience traveling with our kids.

GOLD MUSEUM Bogota, Colombia

GOLD! Who doesn't love it? This was the one Colombian museum we had looked forward to visiting. It was very well done and had quite an incredible collection. With the price of gold these days, I completely understand why the Colombian SWAT team has a strong presence and the buildings around it are rigged up with all kinds of surveillance cameras.

We have to be pretty proactive before entering any kind of museum with a 3 and 5 year old. One strategy we have.... as soon as we enter the museum we head right to the gift shop.Our kids choose a couple of postcards of special items to find in the museum. Then the games begin.... it's a scavenger hunt to find the items in our postcards. The adults play too! Team T spent a good 3 hours combing the gold collections. The kids were totally into it.

There is a lot of gold here! It was quite impressive. They had quite a lot of English explanation as well. GOLD FEVER!

Photos from Bogota, Colombia

Last of the pigeon feeding. This was one of the most popular activities for the kids. They loved it!

Guard in front of the presidential palace. Apparently there is a changing of the guard ceremony.

A view of the large church on the plaza here in Bogota. We fed the pigeons and watched them fly.

Bogota, Colombia

Welcome to the city! We took what was supposed to be a 2 1/2 hour bus ride to the heart of the Colombian capital. The reality was a four hour ride. 2 1/2 hours to the city and an additional 2 hour ride to the bus station! Thank god it was the last bus ride in South America.

We settled into a rather large hotel room.... quite a luxury for Team T for the night. The kids had quite a lot of "galloping" room. "Hee haw," how happy the youngsters were! Our big plan for this city was to see GOLD. We also did a little shopping and sight seeing while we could. It was raining on and off.

Dinosaur Fossil In Colombia

So this is a dinosaur fossil that was found about 6 km. from the town of Villa de Leyva, Colombia. We went to check it out.

Villa De Leyva, Colombia

We took a little side trip from the city of Tunja to do some fossil hunting. This little town was once part of an ancient sea. The conditions were just right.... it's full of fossils! Even the building materials are old fossils. Very cool! Villa de leyva was exactly the small town we were looking to spend our last few days in South America.