One of the good things when you travel is that you don’t only enjoy the countries while you’re traveling around—you bring back memories, feelings, experiences, tastes and smells so that your travel keeps on living in your heart and in your mind. The result is that you miss the places you’ve been to and wish to return someday.
Six months in South America—half a year! That’s enough time to set up a kind of daily routine and get used to the atmosphere and unique South American way of life. Now that we’re in Europe enjoying Spain and the French countryside, we’ve found that we miss many things from South America. Here is the list:
It is not very difficult to miss the South American weather, especially considering the fact that in Europe this year it is has been cold and rainy until almost the middle of June! It was even snowing around Madrid when we arrived there on the 25th of May. Nevertheless, though not every part of South America is tropical, we really enjoyed the climate—especially in the Galapagos where, despite the hot temperatures, the wind makes the weather just perfect. It might have been different if we went there in winter (June-December).
I learned Spanish when I was at school a long time ago. Since then, I’ve never had the opportunity to really practice my Spanish with native speakers. I arrived in Bolivia with a Spanish accent from Spain and I had to adjust to the South American way of speaking. I enjoyed remembering what I’d learned at school—and learning a lot more. For me, language is a very important element while traveling. Even if you don’t understand the language, it is part of the culture and leaves a melody in your memory. I love Spanish and really miss it.
Though the Americas (both North and South) are not exactly the place to travel for food, we really enjoyed the set lunch (almuerzo) that we had at least once a week. It is very cheap and offers a complete healthy meal. We especially appreciated the soups, an essential starter of a real almuerzo.
In South America, it seems that in each town or city the squares are similar. They are usually a mix between a garden and a square. People come there to rest, read, talk, play with their children, sleep and walk their dog—it is like everywhere else in the world, but it still feels different.
We loved all the animals, but we miss the llamas a lot. They are just so cute.
TV in South America is in Spanish, and they don’t subtitle the movies. You can still watch many of the seventies TV shows (Kung Fu, Miami Vice, etc.), but recent series and movies are also available, and they are all dubbed in Spanish.
South America without carnivals wouldn’t be South America! Though we missed the very important carnival inof Oruro in Bolivia, we got to see one in Cochabamba and also attended the training for the carnival of Rurrenabaque. We totally loved the dances, music, colors and the costumes. Through carnivals, the Andean and South American cultures are perpetuated, and the performers (who are mainly young people) bring back to life the ancestral rituals of their countries.
We appreciated very much that wherever you go, even in big cities, people are very relaxed. Even if they are living in a kind of unwavering routine, it is still better than being stressed out all the time.
The landscapes and vegetation in South America are gorgeous, and also very diversified depending on the altitude. In both Bolivia and Ecuador we had the experience of going from one place to another and seeing the vegetation, the landscape and the climate changing along the way. It felt like we were going to another country. The Cordillera left unforgettable scenes in our minds with its very special enlightenment that seems to be specific to South America.
Another great invention! Well, we didn’t spend all of our time in hammocks, but I must admit that having one around almost all the time is really nice! I especially appreciated the hammock chairs that are easier to rock.
Having a shower that is never as hot as you want, and getting an electric shock (a small one, but still!) while shutting down the water every morning is how you start your day in South America.
(God Bless France!)
We couldn’t find any good cheese in South America, but they have good recipes made with cheese.
Especially in Bolivia, what they call “postre” (dessert) will never meet your expectations.
Have you been to South America? What did you like more over there?