sábado, agosto 12, 2006

Del Departamento de Prensa

El siguiente artículo fue publicado por el Greenwich Time, en Greenwich, Estado de Connecticut, USA, en su edición del día de la fecha.

Nota: El Departamento de Prensa desmiente categóricamente las declaraciones que se le atribuyen acerca de la cordura de nuestros héroes. Una vez más somos las víctimas inocentes de la prensa conspirativa y adicta que somete nuestros elevados fines a sus mezquinos intereses sectoriales para subyugarnos y oprimirnos y así perpetuar la dependencia y la dominación. Pero el pueblo sabe discernir y no se dejará engañar. Eso!! Sí, señó!! Que te recontrapasa?!?! Lo vamuá reventá!!!

Greenwich Time - August 12, 2006

Getting lost in Lima, Peru. Driving through a river in Mexico. Replacing a defective thermostat.

Driving through a river in Mexico. Replacing a defective thermostat.Francesca and Martin Bercetche have been through a lot since they pulled out of a friend's Riverside driveway more than two months ago to begin a cross-hemisphere road trip to their native Buenos Aires, Argentina. The couple reached their destination Wednesday, logging 12,400 miles over 66 days through 13 countries and capturing more than a thousand memories through the lens of their digital camera.

"We made it," Martin Bercetche, 60, a retired Pfizer Inc. executive and gastroenterologist, said by phone yesterday.Dozens of relatives and three of the couple's four children greeted the two adventurers this week as they arrived home, where they are planning to retire after 17 years in Cos Cob. They had many questions about the trip, which took the couple through the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina. "I think the journey itself, the trip itself, was the big thing," said Bercetche, who estimated that he did 95 percent of the driving in a Renault Kangoo van. "You have to get along well with your wife or partner, otherwise it's a problem.

"While her husband did most of the driving, Francesca Bercetche, 49, spent much of the trip updating an Internet blog dedicated to their trip. The couple's Web site, which displayed photographs of fishing villages, white sand beaches and the ruins of Machu Picchu, drew a following of friends stateside."Now they write to us, 'What are we going to do now that this reality show is over?' " Francesca Bercetche said.

Santiago Assalini, 47, a Riverside banker and Argentinian friend of the couple who helped them upload pictures to their blog, said the adventurers had definitely strayed from the beaten path."Did you see the Indiana Jones pictures?" Assalini said. "I think they're crazy. I wouldn't have done it, but I think it's remarkable. I have to admire their spirit."

Despite some of the remote destinations pictured on their Web site, the couple said the ride was relatively free of hardship and devoid of close calls. "Every road is sort of halfway paved," Francesca Bercetche said. "At no point do you feel you are losing contact with the civilized world." Martin Bercetche said he will spend his retirement as an adviser to a biotechnical company in Argentina. Fittingly, his wife has lined up work as a travel agent who will help plan trips to Argentina.By car?" No, they're flying," he said of his wife's prospective clients.


miércoles, agosto 09, 2006


Hello friends, finally we made it to Buenos Aires and Martindale, the Country Club where we live. We have mixed feelings: happiness at having arrived home and reuniting with our kids, as well as sadness for the end this incredible experience. We feel a sensation of loss of the independence and freedom we experienced for the last 65 days! We drove a total of 12,375 miles through 13 countries (and 12 customs!!), with no flat tires, no mechanical problems except a thermostat that was replaced, and no problems thereafter.

We fortunately have no health problems to report, and we experienced no mishaps of violence or crime in any of the countries visited.

Yesterday evening, friends and relatives came to visit and we had the chance to finally share all the many adventures and experiences.
Many asked what was the best, nicest, part of the trip. It is difficult to answer in a few words. We believe that the most gratifying aspect was the journey itself. The possibilty of facing the unknown everyday, having the chance to see beautiful places, and at the same time having our hearts broken by the primitive and modest way many people live in Latin America (LA). As a whole, we had the chance to experience the heart and soul of LA. A continent of contrasts, with much more diversity than what we thought. LA is considered "Latin". We agree in that the main cultural influence is Spanish with a strong presence of the Catholic Church. However -when you look into the huge indian population that is still living with the same traditions, music, religion and way of living as it did 400 years ago, people that do not speak Spanish but rather a dialect from quechua- you realize that they are not "hispanic". Furthermore, when you visit the countries on the Caribeean coast and you see the ethnicity there with a frank majority of black people, with also their own traditions, music, etc, you can tell that they are not latin or hispanic either. It is a continent of contrasts, colour and traditions.

A big reward we had during our journey was the possibility of publishing this blog. We appreciate very much your efforts to keep it alive with your comments, enthusiasm and "good karma". It really helped us to mantain contact with our world and gave us the strength to continue posting our comments almost on a daily basis. Some days we were tired after a long day of driving, but when we thought of the number of people involved in our trip and the interest shown, we stayed up late until the job was done. Many of you contributed with messages to the blog, many more sent us messages to our emails and many more (we are now learning) followed our trip through the blog without any comments. What a great experience!!

We would like to thank all of you who made this blog a success. The following is a list of people that made this trip possible. We apologize if we forgot somebody, but we hope you can understand.

Fernando y Ana Ibarzábal: They brought the Kangoo to the US and allowed us to drive it back. Their advice and experience was very important for us, we remained in contact throughtout the whole journey. Finally they surprised us when they showed up in Venado Tuerto (300 miles from Buenos Aires) to greet us upon our arrival. Thanks Ana and Fernando!

Santiago Assalini (Bernardo, Sallah): Was our help desk 24/7. From Greenwich or Buenos Aires he supported us technically when we were not able to publish the pictures due to insufficient computer power (or skills!). He also created the Notes from de Editor with incredible and very creative designs. Without Santiago's assitance, the blog would have stopped at south of the Rio Grande. He took a few days off with no permission, and this is something we are working on!

Patricio Taylor convinced us that the blog was worth doing at a time that we were totally "blog naive" and thought that the blog was a lot of work and very complicated to manage. Also, had made many witty contributions to the blog with his wife Mercedes, from Buenos Aires, Rome, some nice beach in Denmark and London!

Our daughter Tiri and son Tino: they were cruciall in downloading the blog and teaching us in its management. Also their comments from Nice or London, were very welcome.

Ginny and Bill Caragol: they opened (once again!) their home in Greenwich for us while we were getting ready for the trip. The Kangoo was kept in their driveway for more than three months!! We owe you big, Ginny and Billl...

Mariu Ferrraro: was the executive assistant, and helped from Greenwich in solving many administrative problems. She was able to FedEx the article of the Greenwich Time with the front page article on our trip and a camera that we forgot in Ginnie's house to Texas.

Bob and Ellen Mohan: they opened their home for us in Richmond, Virginia, where we spent our first night in the comfort and support of their company.

Josefina Tanoira: received us as family in San José, Costa Rica in her beautiful appartment for a few days. We watched the World Cup together in a nice restaurant, she loaded us with argentinian candy that lasted for many weeks! She was always kept in contact with us through emails and blog, always with a very positive and enthusistic view. We miss you Jose...

Doraluz Campo and husband Mario: they were our guardian angels in Colombia. We enjoyed her appartment in Santa Marta. Her almost daily advice, was instrumental for the enjoyable stay in her beautiful country. A special thanks to Vanessa Pelaez who helped us in many logistic issues in Colombia.

Patty and Carlos Arturo Campo: They received us for a couple of days in their home in lovely Guatapé. We had the chance to enjoy Colombian hospitality in an incredible nice area of the country.

Caia Nevares: he helped us in getting all the paper work and permissions to drive the Kangoo all over the world!

Carlos Pereyra Iraola: With the experience of having done this journey in the early 60's his advice and offers of contacts and information along the way was always very welcome.

Daughters Josefina and Maria: they were able to manage our home, pay the bills and take care of Tiri in a very smooth and nice way. Thanks girls!

Connie Bellocq: Ready with a witty comment, she was always close to us. She also provided computer assistance to some of our readers. We spend the last night of the trip in her home in Venado Tuerto with husband Juan, the best Vet in the region.

We have to mention many faithful followers that with their comments made this experience unforgettable: Ana, Inés, Angélica, Mercedes, José, Lucy Bercetche, Sylvina Madero, Marcela Torino, Laura and Freddie Thompson, Luisa Nevares, Mouche Agar, Patricia Kottner, Malena and Rochi Nevares, Agus and Chippy Breard, Sergio Testoni, Caro Boilini, María Luisa y Manucho Tanoira, Fede Grillo, Juan Carlos Bercetche, Ceci Bartolomé, Charles Enestrom, Jose y Chris Hope, Juanchi y Tommy Bellocq, María Inés y Abel Tezanos Pinto, Mechi y Fernando Mayorga, Manuel López, Alvaro López, Tommy Aguirre...

We also received many nice messages from abroad: Frank Hickson fom London, Andrew and Paula Heath from Rye, New York and the Provenze, Amalia y Luis Pulido from Madrid, Marisela and Edgardo Feldstein, Joyce and Juan Pablo from Stamford, CT, Debbie Small from Grenwich, CT, Susan Silbermann from New York, Corinne Carlsen from Queens, New York, Dan Dierks from Hagerstown, Indiana, Ana María from Israel... Special thanks to the Greenwich Time for the coverage of our trip.

And as we say in Spanish: colorín colorado, este blog se ha terminado (that's all folks)....

This was a wonderful journey, a huge thank you to all!!!

lunes, agosto 07, 2006

Entrada triunfal en Venado Tuerto!!

Hola familiares y amigos: ya falta poco para llegar a casa... dormimos en Purmamarca con sus increíbles colores y comenazamos el descenso hacia el destino final. Habiamos quedado en hacer una parada en lo de Connie (hermana de Fran) y Juan Bellocq en Venado Tuerto y de allì a Buenos Aires.

Ayer recorrimos las zonas mas áridas de Santiago del Estero y Tucuman.

De a poco, fueron aparecieron los colores verdes y los animales de la pampa húmeda.

Al llegar a la entrada de Venado, oh sorpresa... nos recibiò una bandera Argentina, enarbolada por Connie y Ceci Bartolomé al borde de la ruta.

Que emoción, primeros parientes que vemos en meses... pero eso no fue todo, ya que detrás de un árbol nos esperaban también Ana y Fernando Ibarzabal, que se vinieron especialmente desde Buenos Aires para recibirnos.

Seguramente estaban muy contentos de vernos, pero también muy satisfechos de ver a su Kangoo sana y salva después de hacer la "doble Buenos Aires-Nueva York". Farra en Venado Tuerto (Half Blind Deer city) esta noche y mañana...rumbo a las casas!!

Hello friends!! We are closer to home!! Yesterday we travelled south through the central part of Argentina, the dry provinces of Tucuman and Santiago del Estero. This morning..it was the Pampas...cows and more cows....

We had agreed with my sister Connie that we would pay her a visit and spend one night at her house, 300 miles west of Buenos Aires.

She was waiting for us close to the toll booth at the entrance of her town...waving a huge Argentine flag...with her friend Cecilia. Hidden behind a tree, were Ana and Fernando Ibarzabal..our friends and mentors who drove the Kangoo all the way from Buenos Aires to Chicago five months ago...and started this adventure. This was an incredible arrival!!We are off to Buenos Aires tomorrow morning, we will keep you posted.

domingo, agosto 06, 2006


Llegamos a LA MADRE PATRIA............!!!! En el dia numero 63 de la travesia!!
Salimos de San Pedro de Atacama por la mañana y cruzamos a Argentina por el Paso de Jama, a 4,600 metros sobre el nivel del mar. A medida que avanzabamos...el corazon nos palpitaba cada vez mas fuerte (y no era solo por la altura)!!! Cuando ya creiamos que ningun paisaje nos podia sorprender, aparecieron las lagunas heladas...y las llamas tomandose un refresco.

Y despues...la frontera...la fuerza simbolica de un cartel verde y de unas letras blancas... la alegria, los abrazos y el alboroto dentro de la Kangoo...(lastima que no habia nadie a quien pedirle que nos sacara fotos...)

El Paso de Jama es de una majestuosidad dificil de explicar con palabras. Luego de pasar por las lagunas heladas aparecen las Salinas Grandes, una inmensidad blanca...los pliegues de la sal parecian olas sobre la superficie del mar.

Ayer dormimos en Purmamarca..hoy estamos en Cordoba. En nuestros corazones se mezclan tantas emociones: alegria e ilusion por la llegada...euforia por el reencuentro que se aproxima...nostalgia por el sueño que se desvanece.. como la sombra silenciosa de la Kangoo....
Si Dios quiere el martes estaremos en Buenos Aires.

Hello friends!! On day number 63....we made it to Argentina!!!! The road from Chile crosses through the Paso de Jama, at 4,600 meters above sea level. The landscape is truly amazing: frozen lake, llamas and vicuñas...then de Salinas Grandes (salt lakes on the Argentine side).

When the welcome sign appeared on the horizon...our hearts started beating faster...it was party time inside the Kangoo, cheering, clapping and embracing...but not a soul in sight, to ask them to record the moment!! So many emotions fill our hearts: happiness and gratitude...and a wisp of nostalgia for the dream that vanishes...like the silent shadow of the Kangoo...
We plan to be in Buenos Aires on Tuesday...

sábado, agosto 05, 2006

Del Departamento de Prensa

Con motivo de la proximidad del regreso de nuestros heroes a la Madre Patria, el Departamento de Prensa ha encargado a varias agencias internacionales de publicidad la creacion de un logo recordatorio de la epopeya viajera de los Versace. Hemos recibido los primeros resultados, que se exhiben a continuacion.

Llegamos a Chile!!

Hola amigos, otro día maravilloso, con nuevas experiencias y paisajes. Entramos en Chile (nuestra ante-última aduana!!)

Llegamos a dormir a Iquique en un lindo hotel sobre el Pacífico. De pacífico no tiene nada ya que es un mar muy fuerte con impresionantes olas y espuma. Ayer a la mañana iniciamos el viaje hacia San Pedro de Atacama (2,400 metros de altura), en camino hacia la frontera con Argentina. El viaje no pudo ser mas scenic! Desiertos impresionantes, sin un árbol por ningún lado.

Pasamos por la antigua Anaconda, (Chuquicamata) la famosa mina de cobre que fué nacionalizada al principio de los 70 cuando Allende era presidente. Tambien atravesamos salares impresionantes con un color blanquecino mezclado con roca, las montañas parecían nevadas, pero era esa sal.

La temperatura durante el día es de alrededor de 30 grados pero a la noche es muy frío.

Finalmente llegamos a San Pedro de Atacama, un increíble pueblo de casas todas de adobe con piso de tierra y llena de turistas de todos los países que se puedan imaginar. Es el paraíso de los jóvenes y mochileros. Mucha tierra en el aire, pero también mucha onda. Los boliches a la noche se llenan de jóvenes que le dan una especial vida a este remoto lugar.

A la caída del sol, nos recomendaron ir al Valle de la Luna que queda a pocos km. de aquí. El lugar es sencillamnete alucinante, montañas de las mas diversas formas y colores. Subimos por la cresta de una duna de arena en forma de pirámide y llegamos al filo de una montaña y desde allí vimos la caída del sol... very romantic!!

Los colores iban cambiando al pasar de los minutos hasta que finalmente el lugar quedo iluminado solo por la luna... very romantic again!! Lamentablemente las fotos no logran captar esos colores, por lo que tendrán que venir personalmente a ver este mágico lugar!

Ahora estamos listos para el siguiente tramo. A través del Paso de Jama, cruzaremos la última frontera y llegaremos a... ARGENTINA!! No se puede creer, ya estamos muy cerca del destino final... cuantas emociones diversas se agolpan...

Hello friends!! Yesterday we crossed into Chile...our last foreign stop!! We splept in Iquique, a bustling city on the Pacific Coast. From Iquique, we started climbing again, on our way to San Pedro de Atacama. San Pedro is situated at 2,400 mts above sea level, surrounded by incredible landscapes: salt lakes, salt deserts, amazing rock formations, the "cordillera de la sal" in bright and red colors. It is a very touristic destination and the Explora hotel has made it famous world wide. The photos you will see do not honor the magic of this place...you will have to come to see it with your own eyes!! Today we will tackle the Paso de Jama, at 4,600 mts above sea level, which crosses the mountains that separate Argentina from Chile...and hopefully tonight...we will have arrived to our motherland... Stay tuned!!

viernes, agosto 04, 2006

Despedida de Peru…por el altiplano y el desierto.

Nos despedimos de Peru, viajando desde Cuzco a Arequipa, y de allí a Tacna, ultima ciudad antes de la frontera con Chile. La primera parte de este itinerario transcurrió por el altiplano, a 4.500 metros de altura, atravesando una gran planicie en la que se alternaban rebaños de ovejas y de llamas.

Luego aparecieron los lagos, manchones azules entre los picos de las montañas, y los volcanes que custodian la ciudad de Arequipa.

Entre Arequipa y Tacna, la ruta va bajando hacia el Pacifico, y aparece el desierto nuevamente, con algunos oasis de vez en cuando, regados por los ríos que surcan los valles. Sorprendentes manchones verdes de vida, en medio de las rocas muertas.

On our last Peruvian days, we drove from Cusco to Arequipa and on to Tacna and the Chilean border. The road to Arequipa traverses the “altiplano” (high altitude plain), above 4,000 meters, a stretch of grasslands populated by flocks of sheep and llama.

Our schedule did not allow us to visit Lake Titicaca, but we saw some other high altitude lakes, shining blue gems amidst the mountain peaks.

After Arequipa, the road descends towards the Pacific Ocean and the vast coastland desert appears again…in all its empty vastness. Every now and then a river runs through the valleys…and the barren rocks come to life.

jueves, agosto 03, 2006


Hello lectores!! A continuacion les proponemos un breve entreacto, una pausa en las narraciones cronologicas...Algunos de ustedes nos preguntan si todo lo que vemos es tan lindo como las fotos que mostramos.... si todos los lugares por donde pasamos son tan maravillosos como las imagenes publicadas. La respuesta es SI....y.....NO...

Una de las vivencias mas fuertes de este viaje es poder ver las complejas, contradictorias y conflictivas realidades de nuestro continente... abrir nuestras mentes y nuestros corazones...absorber....y tratar de entender... Hay dias en que nos asombramos por tanta belleza; hay otros en los cuales el corazon se nos apretuja con tristeza....hay ratos de risas y momentos de preocupacion....de todo esto se trata este viaje.

Aqui van algunas fotos ilustrativas!! Son fotos tomadas en diversas ciudades y en distintas instancias. En una de ellas podran apreciar el "equipo de minero" que utiliza Indiana Jones para relajarse con el Sudoku, un rato antes de dormir (sucede que la iluminacion de la mayoria de los cuartos de hotel no es optima).

Hay otra que es un cabal ejemplo de "Spanglish creativo," en un restaurant de Ollantaytambo...

...y tambien una toma de un pase por aduanas...

Hello friends!! Today we propose a break in our chronological narrative. Some of our readers wonder if everything we see is as beautiful as the images we publish...The answer is YES and NO.

One of the rewards of this trip is the fact that we see a little bit of everything... each day brings us a different experience of the complex, polarized and conflicting realities of Latin America. Each day we try, as best as we can, to open our minds and hearts and try to understand....some days are filled with beauty...other days our hearts are heavy at the sights we see...there are moments of laughter and times of worrying...therein lies the beauty of this trip.
Here are some represtantive photos: you can appreciate the "miner equipment" used by Indiana Jones to relax with his Sudoku before going to sleep (the light in the hotel rooms is usually not good for reading); or a case of very creative "Spanglish" in a restaurant in Ollantaytambo. You can also visualize what the passing through customs entails...and some different shots of cities and roads. Never a dull moment!!