This adventure is an incredible journey through landscapes and cultures, people and foods we’ve never even imagined before. Every day is amazing and words cannot really properly describe it. But one thing I’d been dreading was spending the holidays away from home. Skype is wonderful and I am so incredibly thankful that we are travelling at a time when we now have that option of a “virtual visit” across the miles. But really, as Dorothy says, “there’s no place like home.”
It was tough being away for Thanksgiving. But as Erik pointed out, Christmas would be even harder, as it is celebrated everywhere and decorations and packages and Christmas trees would remind us of what we were missing back home.
We’d originally intended to rent an apartment where we could have a nice kitchen and even get a small Christmas tree. But after struggling in La Paz, we boarded a bus to the quaint town of Sucre. We had booked a nice house-like hostel with a complete kitchen that we’d read people describe as a home-away-from-home. We thought it would be a perfect place to spend Christmas. Erik, Gideon, Michele and I loved Santa Cecilia hostel. When we walked in the door after a long overnight bus from La Paz, the owner welcomed us with hugs and kisses on the cheek. Even though she was a stranger, there was something nice about a welcome like that on Christmas Eve.
Erik and Michele had gotten sick from what we think was dodgy hamburgers from Loki Hostel, but one can never know. Erik recovered ok, but Michele was bedridden. Erik, Gideon and I hit the town and had a nice dinner and several holiday drinks. It was actually really fun and we managed to find other travellers who were celebrating Christmas there. As we left one bar around 11:30pm, we came upon a parade with music, a manger, and what appeared to be a priest. We curiously took photos and videos and decided to join in. It turned out to be a procession to Midnight Mass. The church was beautiful and I felt like it was nice to be there for Christmas Eve.
Erik and I went shopping for our Christmas feast. Despite some doubts and resistance, I was determined to have a home-cooked meal for Christmas. All day, Erik and I chopped and cooked and marinated and baked. It was a lot of fun. And we were thankful to have a great kitchen all to ourselves. Erik’s big endeavor was the Christmas roast – in our case roasted chicken, as turkey is very hard to come by. We’d actually found one at the grocery store, but we decided $40 for a turkey just wasn’t worth it.
Our menu was Rotini Pasta with Fresh Homemade Sauce (I’d been dying to make fresh sauce for weeks!), Herb & Onion Roasted Chicken, Sliced Scalloped Potatoes, Stuffing, Cinnamon Glazed Carrots, and Parmesan Herb Sliced Zucchini. Although we wound up eating the chicken last as it took far longer to cook than we’d anticipated, it all turned out very tasty and we were quite proud of our Christmas feast.
Erik and I then baked a variation on layered magic bars – some delicious coconut chocolate melted bar cookies – along with traditional chocolate chip cookies. Yummy.
We spent the rest of the night eating Christmas cookies and playing cards in front of the beautiful Christmas tree the owners had already at up. We got our Christmas tree after all…
Although we didn’t exchange any gifts, Erik has already given me the best, most amazing gift ever. This incredible trip. I often stop and look back on all of the fantastic places we’ve been, the 12 countries we’ve explored, the thousands of photos we’ve taken (over 15,000 already) and the magical memories we’ve made. It takes my breath away. I know it’s late, but I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.