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Travel diaries from South America

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Hotel Las Torres Gauchos Patagonia Chile

A travel diary like no other

In the true spirit of adventure travel, Lucilla Butler – aged 70, six kids, 21 grandkids – has sent us a good old-fashioned letter in the post after her epic 68-day journey through South America with us.

She describes in candid detail her experiences – much of which she did on horseback – from flying plates of spaghetti to giving her heart to Peru.

 

Lucilla writes:

“To say my trip was a success is a grave understatement, it was a howling success. It far outweighed my expectations. I had a marvellous time.

The highlights were two a penny but in the early days the charm and friendliness of the hotel in El Calafate was reassuring. I loved the ferry trip up the coast.

 

Trekkers Torres del Paine Patagonia Chile

Trekkers Torres del Paine Patagonia Chile

 

There was one memorable moment when in the roughest part I was walking to my table with a plate of spaghetti when there was a fearful lurch. I went one way, the boat another and the spags yet another. After that I was guarded by a glamorous sailor wherever I went.

 

Riding heaven

Once I got the riding up and running I had some fabulous rides. I rode on a lake bed 30 Km from El Calafate led by a gaucho who looked straight from Hollywood casting (villains department). We saw skunk and fox and condors galore.

Riding is perfect for those whom walking uphill is too strenuous but trudging around with beginners is a bore, I was only happy to pay more and have a guide for myself.

The Chilean lakes were beautiful and found myself choosing white-water rafting as something to do. Wow! It was fabulous – I was the oldest by a good thirty years.

 

Heart in Peru

But my heart lies in Peru. It was there that I had the most memorable time. I defied the Foreign Office and flew over the Nazca Lines, but saw very little. I walked up to a spooky cemetery in the Colca valley and saw the squashed skulls.

The Indian community on Lake Titicaca were fascinating, their food revolting and I danced the night away in local costume – feeling a right charlie.

 

uros-lady-fishing-peru

Uros lady fishing,, Peru

 

Then I went on to Cusco and more riding. There is nothing more romantic than arriving at a temple on a horse and being the only people there.

Then there was the jungle, what can I say?  I had a delightful guide called Uriol and was overwhelmed by the beauty, the flora, the fauna and the amazingly comfortable lodges. Sitting in a simple boat with an outboard motor chugging down the river will be a memory I cherish.

 

To Ollantaytambo

So, you can stuff Lima and Santiago but the other places all came up trumps. I had no bad moments and was treated with friendliness and courtesy wherever I went. Yes, I was about 20-30 years older than anyone else but no one made me feel gaga.

I gather there is a lovely film called something or other Marigold Hotel set in India. Well I think there should be trips to Peru for the over 60s, we can all die happy in Ollantaytambo.

Thank you for all your hard work and care and attention, it couldn’t have happened without you.

Yours ever,

Lucilla

 

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