How we experienced multi-cultural Christmas in Patagonia
After 30km through blooming fields with violet flowers we get to Cohyaique (after 3 weeks in small villages is 50000 people concentrated in one spot really a metropolis). It’s around noon, the center is full of people, everywhere is Christmas decoration but still tranquilo – relaxed. No stress or people rushing during this celebration of peace and love.
We meet fully loaded cyclist – Alex from Brazil. He’s been here two days and today is moving to a warmshower host Boris. We haven’t had access to internet, so writing WS requests wasn’t possible. After a while he comes back that he called with Boris and he can also host us … great offer, but we are still waiting to meet the French guys.
In the meantime I look in the nearby streets for some cheap camping. I’m returning when there is already a group of people – Alex, another cyclist and guy without luggage – probably Boris … this won’t be possible – four of us plus two more …???
But when I get closer, Jan with big smile tells me that we all are welcomed. Pedaling to our Christmas host is 15 minutes uphill (we are still thinking if finding a hostel wouldn’t be a better solution considering we have to get back for the French).
Boris is in his 30-ties who wants to a trip around the world, he is motivated cyclist and he moved to this small cottage from his parents because he wants to host us – traveling cyclists :).
We get keys, bowl of cherries, he warns us that the neighbor’s dog sometimes steals things (like a fuel bottle from last cyclist – incredibly important thing here!) and wishes us great stay and Merry Christmas – we should feel like at home, he is going for dinner to his parents’ house.
With Alex and Rodolfo (cyclist from Chile living in Canada) we return to the center. We visit stylish coffee shop with the best internet in the town – for expensive coffee and cake (fortunately I’m celebrating today so we can:)). After more than 2 weeks we skype home. We meet with French at the fountain. They are waiting there with Klaus – another “famous” cyclists… we heard rumors about him, or especially about his tires, that he’s been using them for 27000km… Also another cyclists stop by – we would like to take all of them with us but that wouldn’t be nice to our host.
We do big shopping in almost empty supermarket (like a half year famine should come). There is no more sauerkraut and I have to think out a backup plan instead of the typical cabbage Christmas soup..
Back at the house all of us meet together with Boris and his parents in the kitchen-livingroom. His mom brought ceviche (salad with raw fish), traditional cake and even changed tablecloth with Christmas theme. Considering the effect of all alcoholic beverages in the fridge, we build out tent rather now to be prepared and we can start cooking.
Two working stove fires, six cyclists who fit together, 3 bottles of pisco, 3 wines, 8 beers… lots of food and later in the night Christmas dinner: Russian salad + apples in sweet sauce – SK; salmon at butter with nuts and rice – FR; pasta and meet in incredible sauce – CA+BR; ceviche and traditional cake – Chile :).
Not only because we are on other hemisphere, eating international foods or that we are from different countries make these Christmas special. It’s also the tradition we have in Slovakia also but I’ve never understood its meaning nowadays – on the table is always one more plate prepared – for visitor – but who’ve ever used it? And today: 6 visitors are sitting at the table and there is one plate waiting for the host who’ll come later from parents.
Boris, thank you very much for this life lesson about trust and humanity! Cami, Christian, Rodolfo and Alex – thank you for your great company on this perfect, long and funny evening!