Last year, knowing my sister was returning to the United States, I opted for one more go at the Patagonian region before I might find myself without local connections in Chile (happily, my brother-in-law and niece stayed put). I invited my niece for a graduation trip, and before I knew it Omar had donated his car and we were a foursome with wheels. The Barriga family’s travel style taught me a new travel technique that KC and I have dubbed The Barriga Break.
It’s a simple concept, but one I had never in my life considered while I traveled – wait… hurtled – to my next destination: when you see an appealing spot, stop and enjoy it. (Duh, right?) This can be a cappuccino at a sidewalk cafe or a grassy spot along a river crying out, “picnic here!”
The benefits of Barriga Breaks are different between Patagonia and Europe; in Patagonia we spent 2 weeks driving long distances over Chile’s Carretera Austral, or Route 7, in fact a gravel road where speeds of 50 km/hr [30 mph] felt breakneck. We only experienced a single F.T.* but I understand Omar needed a complete realignment once we were back on pavement. In Patagonian Chile, we needed Barriga Breaks to restore circulation to numb bums and Omar probably needed them to to avoid throttling the females after the 3rd consecutive round of Alice the Camel.
*F.T. That thing that happens when you drive over a nail and you lose air. I have endured a curse since I was 18 years old: If I or someone near me utters the phrase “FT” it happens to me within 48 hours. Granted, we don’t have a car at the moment, but I see no reason to tempt fate. After all, we’ll be buying a vehicle in Africa and driving it on plenty of dirt roads.
KC and I, on the other hand, take Barriga Breaks to give our sore tootsies a break. Without a car and in cities like Florence, Rome and Istanbul, we prefer walking to public transportation if weather permits, and museums with concrete or marble floors are murder on the feet. A Barriga Break fortifies us so we can finish the day’s sightseeing.
We were lucky to have begun our training early, as it prepared us for what I am affectionately calling the Month-Long Barriga Break of Botswana. In other words, Intro to Africa Time 101. Stay tuned.