Most people in the USA have never heard of Tintin and his white Terrier, Milou, or Snowy (who looks suspiciously like my dog Sophie) as he is called in the English language versions of their adventures.
Tintin, his sidekick Captain Haddock and the other characters, are still wildly popular in Europe. The author, Hergé, happened to be a patient of my Dad during WWII in German-occupied Belgium and, as a kid, I grew up avidly reading all his adventures.
Did you know that Tintin was the first human to step on the moon, decades before the Americans planted their flag there? Check it out in Destination Moon and in Explorers of the Moon. Eat your heart out Neil and Buzz. That young Belgian reporter beat you to it…
The ones that really left profound impressions on me were Tintin in America, which probably planted the seed of my desire to move to the USA from my native Belgium, King Ottokar’s Sceptre, which inspired the flotilla sailing trips to Croatia and Montenegro, but the adventures that impacted me the most were The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun, which brought Tintin to Peru.
I became fascinated by that country and it was on my bucket list ever since I was in my early teens. I knew the song “El Condor Pasa” years before Simon and Garfunkel decided that they would rather “Be a Hammer than a Nail”.
Not only did I finally make it to Peru (a business trip was the excuse to go) but I had the opportunity to get involved in humanitarian work there (which sometimes was quite adventurous too) and visit some fascinating places like Cusco, Machu Picchu, Paracas, Sipan, Kuelap and the Amazon jungle. I got to hike the Inca Trail twice and ended up marrying a lovely Peruvian, our flotilla “Admiral” Mila (itself an interesting adventure and the subject of a book that I am in the process of writing).
I am always looking forward to new discoveries in that country and have a long to-do list ready for 2021 but, in 2020, we are going back in March. Mila and I have organized a fascinating trip that we want to share with our friends.
We will publish the report when we return from that trip in future blogs but, if you want to experience it first-hand instead of living vicariously our adventures through our blog, you can join us on this fascinating journey. Check out the program and sign up as the space is limited to twenty participants.