Good Riddance 2020

Windswept in Torres del Paine, southern Patagonia, Chile

Ho ho ho everyone and welcome to the 2020 edition of the Weissler Holiday Gazette. What can we say about a pandemic year, except good riddance?

Click the links in the text below for more info.

The year started out well enough, with a wonderful long trip in January to Chile and Argentina. It was Liza’s 60th birthday bash, and our itinerary took us from central Chile to southern Patagonia, and over the Andes to Mendoza, Argentina. Mostly for birding, but it was a great chance to stay awhile, do some wine tasting, and enjoy the austral summer.

Little did we know that was going to be it for the year. Our first inkling something was afoot was the scene in the Mexico City airport; the security personnel were wearing masks, and we heard that someone on our Aeromexico flight the day before (from Mexico City to Los Angeles) was positive for the virus – one of LA’s first cases. Liza’s seatback entertainment screen on the flight came up in Chinese, which we joked must have meant the person with the virus had her seat. Oh, not so funny now. We returned home safely, and then like everyone else watched the situation go from bad to worse.

The reality set in when we had to cancel trips (Portugal and Spain in April, Colombia in June, Washington state and Canada in September), not to mention get-togethers with family over the holidays.

On the bright side, we rode our bikes more than any other recent year (we actually lost weight), Liza took a bunch of online cooking classes (most notably with Tierra Negra Gourmet in Buenos Aires and Seasons of My Heart in Oaxaca), and she also had (and continues to have) fun working her way through a Nordic Baking Book. We did eventually venture out on a few day trips, to the Chiricahua National Monument and to the Fort Bowie National Historic Site. We also had a short driving trip to the Mogollon Rim, staying in Show Low, Arizona in the fall (before the autumn virus surge). We’re also upping our game in bird photography, having rented a camera for a week’s trial before spending a month or so thinking about whether we’d actually buy that model.

Robert at Massai Point, Chiricahua National Monument

So what’s on tap for 2021? Hopefully, a vaccine, although it seems we’re in the demographic that won’t get it until May at the earliest. We don’t intend to fly anywhere until we’ve been vaccinated. Our Colombia and Portugal trips were rescheduled to next year; we have reservations at Big Bend National Park in the spring but we’ll have to see if the park and lodge are open, and if it’s ok to drive there at that time. A return to Scotland that had been tentatively scheduled for June had to be punted to an indefinite future date. Cornwall is beckoning to Liza too (this comes from watching Poldark on Masterpiece on PBS).

Frankly, though, we’ll just be happy to go anywhere, even if just for a few days escape. Because nearly wherever we go, there will be birds to photograph, hikes to take, and nature to enjoy.

Wishing you all a most happy holiday season, whatever you celebrate, and a safe and healthy 2021. A couple other websites you may want to browse as well:

The Adventures of Buddy Bison!
Liza’s food blog, Liza’s World Kitchen
Niece Maureen’s articles for Entertainment Weekly
Brother Lee’s Notes on a Pac 12 Scorecard blog
Follow us on Instagram! lizaweissler and bbisonw