And since we announced the news, many of our friends (admittedly mostly the female variety) have demanded, with alarming ferocity, to know the minute details of my proposal. The emails really are quite scary:
“Stacey – congratulations!! But I want to know WHERE, WHEN, HOW? Did you cry? Do you have a ring? Have you set a date? Did he cry? Was it magical? If so, how magical? What were you wearing? Did he use any of Shakespeare's sonnets and/or a medieval string instrument in the proposal? Did he get down on one knee – was it the right or left knee and did he look awkward? Were there doves courting in the background when it happened?”
So, to save Stacey typing a dozen emails with a dozen colourful descriptions, he is a summary of one of the nicest, most magical (yes, it was magical, the other above questions to be addressed later) few days of our lives.
(Don't play the youtube video yet, I need to give some background info. Just wait, it'll be worth it).
We are in northern Patagonia, Argentina. Here, we'll camp for a couple of weeks. Camping will save us some pennies but also, as this manor is very pretty and rural, sleeping in a tent should be lots of fun.
(RIGHT – HIT THE YOUTUBE VIDEO AND PREPARE TO WEEP LIKE A CHILD - HERE COMES THE ROMANTIC BIT).
Our first spot on the camping tour was Bariloche, set by a stunning lake with mountains in the background. Our camp site, called Petunia, is right on the banks of the lake, with its own private beach and pier. We were so happy to get down to Patagonia after a 40-hour bus ride from Salta and found a great spot in the camp site. We bought, wine, beer, bread, cheese, olives and meat to have a much needed barbecue feast. After showers and popping the wine open, we were generally in a fine mood. It was a roasting hot day and as the sun set, we made our way down to the pier (which was suitably quaint) with a glass of red wine. It was, if I say so myself, a perfect spot for a very important question.
Tough question, I know (The flying/double Boyle conundrum, not the offer to be my wife, that's an easy one). Anyway, she gave the right answer (to the proposal, I disagreed with her “no” response to the becoming a double-headed Scottish ugly flying opera singer).
In short, she agreed to marry me. We hugged and said nice things to each other, then went back and ate half a chicken with some avocado. And drank more wine. And talked about our future. And smiled – lots.
Now, it's hard to plan a surprise when the person you're planning the surprise for is by your side for 24 hours a day. But I did manage one surprise. We spent one (cold) night in the tent, but the next day, we packed up and I whisked Stacey to the nearby Hotel Llao Llao for a couple of nights. It's a great big hotel with one of the best views you'll get – looking out across Lake Moreno with snow-capped peaks in the distance.
We spoilt ourselves there and had a great time:
- Stacey had a bath for the first time in 6 months – she disappeared into the bathroom for about 90 minutes and came out claiming she had never felt so clean.
- I had three saunas. More than I have ever had before. My pores didn't know what hit them.
- We did archery and we were both pretty good at it.
- We got upgraded to a 'studio' room.
- We had cheese fondue, which we couldn't finish.
- We got a magical bottle of champagne delivered to our room thanks to Stacey's sister Kirsti and her soon-to-be hubby Luke.
(Click to view pictures)
The ring. There is a ring, but it's not here. We hope Stacey will take my Gran's (on my Dad's side) engagement ring. Stacey has yet to see it, but provided she likes it, it'll be adorning her finger for a lifetime to come. In the meantime, a fellow camper offered her a plastic imitation 'Kate Middleton' ring, which will have to do until then.
We've had an amazing few days and we can't wait to get back on the road to continue our travels. Argentina has, so far, been a very special place. Thanks to everyone for their kind messages – we can't wait to celebrate with you all when we get back.
Oh, the answers to the questions I haven't answered: Some tears, but graceful and well-timed. No date set yet, let us get home first please. Some gentle welling-up on his part – not well-timed. The same scruffy clothes we've been in for 6 months. No. Possibly – it was getting dark so could have been over-familiar pigeons.