Buenos Aires was a happy blur. The Argentine capital of 17 million people has New York’s chaos, Paris’s beauty and Barcelona’s latin ambience. In four short days sandwiched between a 36-hour bus ride from Patagonia and a 21-hour flight to Canada, we had just enough time to fall under the city’s spell.
Our warm showers hostess Clara rode all over town with us, helped us find a scale to weigh our boxes and a taxi to get us to the airport. She’s in the planning stages of her world tour, and after spending a little time with her, one would expect nothing less from this ambitious university student. We hope to see her when she rolls through Montreal in a couple of years.
After we landed back in our home country and cleared Canadian customs, we asked the officer for one last stamp for our passports.
“I can’t. The entry stamp is only good for six months, for someone who’s visiting Canada. You guys can stay forever!”
It was nice to feel we’re welcome somewhere, that we belong somewhere, after having been strangers for so long in so many places.
It’s not easy coming out of a year and a half of high adventure in distant lands. Our re-entry process started with two weeks with family in Medicine Hat, Alberta, where we stayed with my mom and her husband Skip. They spoiled us beyond all good reason with their fine company and outrageous hospitality. Every meal felt like a special occasion. We even got chocolate Easter bunnies on Sunday morning.
Most of the Alberta clan came down to “the Hat” for the Easter holiday. My sister Laura, who I hadn’t seen in over two years, was even able to make it over from her adopted home in Switzerland for a week. We had a table of 13 around a turkey, a ham and all the trimmings, and Lucie and I served up two big cheesecakes. I think I put on five pounds during one sit down meal. By the end of our stay in Alberta, I’d gained over 10.
During those two weeks, going outside for a walk felt like a big outing. I’ve never seen Lucie spend so much time indoors, in pyjamas. You’d never have guessed that we were capable of moving ourselves more than a couple of blocks on our own steam. We took showers, took naps, ate snacks, and played scrabble, each day’s events culminating into everyone sitting down together around a nice big supper. It was like a dream, and it was hard to say goodbye.
While we’d toyed with the idea of riding across the country to Toronto, where the rest of my family lives, we opted for a 48-hour bus ride instead of a month and a half bike ride. We got to see everyone out here in Canada’s megacity, including my baby half brother Matthew who has somehow grown into a little person in our absence, as well as cousins, aunts, uncles, and my grandma.
We are, however, cycling the last few hundred kilometres home. Once we get onto the Island of Montreal, where Lucie’s family lives, it’s really and truly the end of this journey. We plan to enjoy one last week on the road before then.
Party! May 27 at Vices & Versa on St Laurent. Write us for details!