The bell boy escorted us to our room, and we were left by ourselves. Yippee, we were alone! Without kids! I felt like a giddy teenager, left alone at home with my boyfriend.
Alone at last! It was just me and my husband celebrating 10 years of what has been an adventure-filled life together. We just sat there for about 5 minutes taking it all in. It's amazing how you go into shock and don't know what to do with yourself when you're so accustomed to three little people dictating every minute of your life.
There was no two-year-old yelling at the top of his lungs to go potty. No child crying because the puppy bit his nose. No hungry boys asking for snacks every 10 minutes. No laptop reminding me that I had writing deadlines to fulfill or dishes in the sink making me look like a slacker mom.
We spent the first few minutes saying to each other, "What do you want to do? I don't know. What do you want to do? I don't know." Then my husband went out to the lobby and came back announcing our no-kids adventure: "The horses will be ready for us in 20 minutes."
I have a love-hate relationship with horses. I would consider us an adventurous couple. We have rappelled off waterfalls and hiked through dark and water-filled caves, all the while holding our 2-year-old. I even went paragliding last year. But horses...
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This is me before the ride, totally oblivious to what I was about to endure:
Unless you have prior experience riding horses, you probably will NOT be riding off into the sunset holding on to your spouse's strong arms as your hair gently blows in the wind, like in the movie Sense and Sensibility. Take it from me, horseback riding isn't as romantic as you think it is.
If possible, avoid taking a "romantic" horseback ride on your 10-year anniversary (or your honeymoon, for that matter), because the reality is…
You might end up with a guide who is cursing in Spanish at the horse the whole time.
You will most likely be riding your own horse, not holding on to your spouse's strong arms.
You might end up riding on a back road, far from the scenic country ride you'd envisioned from that scene in All the Pretty Horses.
Just as your horse calms down, you might end up turning a corner and running into a herd of cattle, making your horse run toward the barbed wire fence.
Your horse may decide it's rest time, bend down, roll over, knock you off, and then begin to ride away while your foot is still in the stirrup.
You might start off your "romantic" horseback riding trip on a main road with chicken buses zipping by. All the while, your horse feels like he's bigger and stronger than that bus and takes to riding in the middle of the road.
You might end up with a horse who realizes he's close to home and decides to gallop the rest of the way, leaving you very sore at the end of your ride.
The not so smooth ride may lessen your chances of making out with your spouse that night.
You're so stressed out from your "romantic" horseback ride that you're glad no one had a video camera to capture your facial expressions during the trip. Oh, wait...there was a camera. Seriously, this is what I looked like the whole way:
Get me off of this thing!
I got really close to God during my "romantic" horseback ride. I prayed the whole time. I prayed that I wouldn't fall off the horse and hit my head against one of the big rocks on the road and end up paralyzed. I prayed that we wouldn't get hit by a chicken bus, or that my boots wouldn't get chewed off by ravenous dogs that kept chasing us, or when the horse rams me into the barb wire that I wouldn't go down face first. Needless to say, this was the worst $20 spent in my whole entire life.
Thankfully, I was able to block this out of my memory and enjoy the rest of my time with my husband and the beautiful old colonial-style hotel surrounded by the magnificent snow-capped volcanic peaks of the Andes.
By Mari Hernandez-Tuten
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