In 1962, Walt Disney made a film. In the late 1980’s, my Mother, remembering the film from her childhood, and thinking it a film my sister and I would enjoy, popped a VHS into the machine and recorded it.
The film was “In Search of The Castaways”, a live action adaptation of the Jules Verne novel “Les Enfants du capitaine Grant” or “Captain Grant’s Children”, in it’s translated version.
The plot centres around Captain Grant’s two children chasing clues to find their missing father having received a message in a bottle after his ship was wrecked.
One of the reasons that I enjoyed the film so much, and it sticks in my memory to this day, is the setting for the main adventures. I can still remember the excited voice of the French professor helping the children – “ah, PatAgOOnia!”
I had no real concept of where or what Patagonia was, only that it was a place one could ride horses across The Andes, experience earthquakes, avalanches and ride giant rock sleds over glaciers and through ice caves. There were native American Indians, giant condors and vast flood plains. To top it all, there was a chance of meeting a young Hayley Mills.
From that day to this, Patagonia has had a hold on me. Not necessarily a driving, obsessive hold, but a hold that sticks in the back of your mind. A hold that says, ‘one day’.
So when we were planning our South America trip it was that, and Patagonia, that were for me, going to be the highlights. For most, it is Machu Picchu or monkeys in The Amazon. These were very nice, but for me, as we drove south from Bariloche along Ruta 40, that was where the trip really got exciting.