Lilianne and I met exactly 57 months ago. It was love at first sight. I was unemployed back then so I had time to visit her. Got a flight to São Paulo for the weekend and I ended up staying for ten days. We were in love. Before come back to Rio de Janeiro, my birth place and were I used to live until april 2007, I ask her to be my girlfriend and she said yes. Great!
After a week she went to Rio to visit me for the weekend, after a couple weeks she went again and said to me my mother in law invited me to stay with her in São Paulo until I manage to find a job. Fantastic since I had the idea of moving out Rio de Janeiro anyway, too much violence, too much heat, too much sun…In two weeks I sold everything I had and got a bus to São Paulo.
And so it began my story with my wife Lilianne Schmidt. At the first six months I was looking for a job which is not easy to find inside the biggest latin America city, with 19.200.000 people just at the capital, the whole state of São Paulo has 41.000.000 people living in. Damn that is a lot of people!
Well, when I got the job it was perfect since I have been always very determined at jobs, which makes my job results always accurate, good. In just 3 months I got promoted, and after 7 months again, and well, within 14 months I got promoted 4 times. I was okay at the job but in over a year, I did just one project to big mountains and I wanted more, so I talked to Lilianne and she agreed to back me up so I could get off the job. And I did in dec 2009. Went out for climbing and after 75 days and 9 great summits including 2 Brazilian First Ascents, I was back in march 2010. Again, looking for a job.
In the meantime, she got vacation coming, so we went to Europe! Twenty days backpacking together through 9 countries inside the old continent. Fantastic experience and we wanna do it again to step on other countries we left behind. After the 20 days she got back home and I stayed, leaving paris on a bus to Geneva, my 10th country, on my way to his majesty Mont Blanc.
Successful climb on Mont Blanc, light frostbite on my toe, sleeping on the streets of Zurich for three nights, and bam, I was back in Brazil, looking for a job one more time.
All that time, Lilianne supported me the best she could.
The new year came, 2011, supposedly the one before the big end of the world in 2012 hehehe. At the very first day I left São Paulo again for another expedition, Ecuador this time. The trip was not very successful, it snowed in Ecuador more than in 37 years, so I never got the chance to try Antisana, Cayambe or Chimborazo. Ths trip as whole wasn`t so good. But the experience worth it of course. After 20 days I was back in São Paulo, looking for a job.
This time the job came kinda fast. At march 1st I started where I work now, it is a good job but it comes with a big load of stress and responsibility. I can handle that, at least for now. Lilianne was always by my side.
Well, what I didn`t wrote here so far was: When we were at some boat ride inside Venice I ask her to marry me! She said yes. It was kinda romantic hehehe…So since then we`ve been planning the wedding. It happened officially in October 15th, and my name changed from Paulo Roberto Felipe da Silva to Paulo Roberto Felipe Schmidt, So my nick name Parofes doesn`t have to change at all ahahahahah…
But the dinner party of our wedding was in dec 3rd, 2011. Most of her family was with us but on my side, almost no one. The dinner was great, everyone liked our cake dolls, after all it is funny hehehe…
Now the big step was the one I expected the most, honeymoon!
The dinner was in dec 3rd, and we left São Paulo on a flight to Buenos Aires at dec 4th, just hours after the great feast. From Buenos Aires we got another flight to El Calafate, Patagonian territory baby!
Well, there isn`t much to tell except by tons of photos…Look for yourselves. The place pretty much speaks for itself.
A little bit about Patagonia:
Patagonia is a region located in Argentina and Chile, integrating the southernmost section of the Andes mountains to the southwest towards the Pacific ocean and from the east of the cordillera to the valleys it follows south through Colorado River towards Carmen de Patagones in the Atlantic Ocean. To the west, it includes the territory of Valdivia through Tierra del Fuego archipelago.
The name Patagonia comes from the word patagón used by Magellan in 1520 to describe the native people that his expedition thought to be giants. It is now believed the Patagons were actually Tehuelches with an average height of 180 cm (~5′11″) compared to the 155 cm (~5′1″) average for Spaniards of the time.
The Argentine portion of Patagonia includes the provinces of Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut and Santa Cruz, as well as the eastern portion of Tierra del Fuego archipelago and the southernmost department of Buenos Aires province: Patagones. The Argentine politico-economic Patagonic Region includes the Province of La Pampa.
The Chilean part of Patagonia embraces the southern provinces and regions of Aisén and Magallanes, including the west side of Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn.
Tierra del Fuego (Spanish for "Fireland") is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The archipelago consists of a main island Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego divided between Chile and Argentina with an area of 48,100 km2 (18,572 sq mi), and a group of smaller islands including Cape Horn. Initially discovered by Ferdinand Magellan's expedition in 1520, the islands were not settled by people of European descent until the second half of the 19th century at the height of the sheep farming and gold rush booms.
Today's economic activity in the northern part of Tierra del Fuego is dominated by petroleum extraction while in the south tourism, manufacturing and Antarctic logistics are important. The numbers of the native Selk'nam and Yaghans were greatly reduced by introduced diseases and by unequal conflicts with settlers. Today the Selk'nam are practically extinct as a distinct people, with all of their very few descendants being mestizos and their language extinct. Some of the few remaining Yaghans have settled in Villa Ukika in Navarino Island, others have scattered across Chile and Argentina. Tierra del Fuego hosts large areas protected as national parks and reserves, most of them in the mountainous south.
Well, it is a outstanding place to visit even as a couple in honeymoon, or in the best way like climbers seeking some of the most difficult rock climbing traditional routes in the world, extreme treks on the ice (some 15 days long), technical ice climbing and wildlife photography. Also kinda cold in winter, in some places, extremely cold.
So we were looking to know the famous Perito Moreno glacier, probably one of the most famous glaciers worldwide. Despite the fact Lilianne is not a hiker, climber, or lover of any kind of body activity whatsoever (hehehe), she agreed on a blink of an eye. Our first choice was of course Europe again but the time was very short, just a week, and we could not enjoy as much as South America since to go to Europe means at least to lose a day to go and another to come back, because of the long flight (12 hours). The money issue was not a big reason since go to Patagonia means to spent as much money as to go to Europe, it is quite expansive indeed.
Well…Perito Moreno, dudes!!! What a place! That was a fan-tas-tic experience we had, one of the most amazing ever for me, and for sure THE most amazing for Lilianne. She almost literally died on the first hour of the approach trekking since, as I said before, she doesn`t do anything that involves need to walk more than a few feet hehehe…But, she kept on going, focused, like on a mission. At the first hour we had to stop because she needed to find her breath, yes, to find it, because she lost it for almost a couple minutes ahahahah…poor baby.
Once the moraine ended we reached the glacier border, after a couple miles I think. Almost 90 minutes on that. Time to fix crampons and get it real, on the ice, first time for Lilianne on a glacier and she is 27!
Above the glacier we walked almost 4 hours, and the guide was talking to people how the glacier moves and all that follows, rock movement, caves, melting…bla bla bla. I know all that stuff for a obvious reason, to do what we do we must know that stuff for our own safety, the rest of the people there were tourists, pure and simple. I was the only one in fact a climber, but, I kept this in secret to hear the guides talking so I could write about it later. They were very, very good in every single aspect. Every word they said was right, but one thing was missing, they didn`t gave to any of the clients helmets or an ice axe to march with.
Blue caves, blue rivers, cristal blue ice….man that was a lot of blue I got to tell ya. But, Lilianne loved it despite the fact she was beat up at the end and she said the words I wanted to her the most: “Love, I am dead, but it was worth it, you were right.”
The whole thing took us around 7 straight hours, the walking of course. We left the hotel at 07:30 am and arrived back at 19:00 pm. Hot shower, dinner to celebrate the highpoint of our honeymoon and bum! Bed.
The city itself (El Calafate) has grown up a lot in just 10 years. Back in 2001 when the airport got ready, there was only 5000 people there. Today, there is almost 22.000. There is loads of hotels, cabans, hostals, flats, all for tourists or climbers seeking some ice adventure, or just getting rest to keep the trip all the way to El Chaltén, 1100km north west. Nice city, incredible flowers everywhere on the street, I took several shots of amazing ones I never saw before in my entire life…
The day came and we went to another flight, 4th of the trip, to Ushuaia, the end of the world city (known by that but really it`s not, there is still one last city to the south, at the shores of Navarino Island, Puerto Mont, this is in fact the last city of the world).
Man we loved that city, for live not for tourism!!! Very, very charming, great (fantastic) food, fun people, snow, ice, cold, warm (kinda – 6 or 7 degrees celcius) when it needs to be, there is the National Park (Parque Nacional Tierra Del Fuego) with wildlife, amazing trees, lots and lots of mountains, all of them very small 9the highest one is Mount Olivia – 1326m), but all of them present a different challenge since the altitude gain is quite big, at least 900m. Loads of rock climbing, treks…
One more point for Lilianne, close to Glaciar Martial (at the foot of Cerro Martial – 1000m), she saw snow for the first time! Now all that is missing for her is a snowfall.
I just wanna know one thing: Where do I sign?? Hehehe, I`m there baby!!!
Well, all the photos speak for itself…what an amazing place…unfortunately honeymoon doesn`t last for long, and after just three days more we had to come back home. The total was of 8 days on this fast but very delightful trip, with almost 6GB in photos and videos, one more peace of the world I can say: I know, I`ve been there!
I wrote all of this to try to make people realize that the small details that matter the most. The good morning kiss, the handshake, a gift out of birthday or Christmas date just for the will to make someone happy, the sing of a bird, a flower, sunset, sunrise, ice, blue ice, small things are important and sometimes the big ones too (like glaciers ahahahaha). And when people leave us at the time of their death, mostly we don`t miss the person, we miss the small things that person used to do with us or for us. Let`s try to be more relaxed, let`s try to respect more life, the environment, and each other. Marriage is about that. I think even summitpost or altamontanha here in Brazil are about that, it is our responsibility to manage that.
So, now we have been together for more than 4.5 years, married for 2 months so far, as happy as we can be (I know I am and I guess she is hehehe), we have the whole life ahead of us, and we can also say we finally know Patagonia! Next trip as a married couple, Europe again probably hehehe. When? Well that will be another story for me to tell…
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External LinksA brazilian website to get mountains info, including gps files to download:http://www.rumos.net.br/rumos/
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