On 28th November 2014 the new Paddington Bear movie is to be released in the UK and then on Christmas Day in the US. Incredibly it is his first time on the big screen. Directed by Paul King with Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington, it also features Nicole Kidman, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville.
Dating back almost 60 years, he was created by Michael Bond after he bought a small bear from Selfridges as a Christmas present for his wife in 1956. They named him Paddington after the nearest railway station to where they lived.
Paddington originally came from Darkest Peru, where he was brought up by his Aunt Lucy, after he was orphaned at just a few weeks old following an earthquake. When Aunt Lucy went to live in the Home for Retired Bears in Lima she sent Paddington or Pastuso, as he was called in Peru, to live in England. She taught him English before arranging for him to stow away in a ship’s lifeboat.
He arrived at Paddington railway station where he was found by the kind Brown family. They saw him sitting on a suitcase wearing an old hat (given to him by his uncle) and a label around his neck that read, “Please look after this bear. Thank you”. They could not resist and took him home to live with them at 32, Windsor Gardens in London. They bought him a blue duffle coat and kept him in marmalade sandwiches, his favourite food. And then so begins all his adventures.
The creator, Michael Bond, originally wanted Paddington to have travelled all the way from darkest Africa. However his agent advised against this due to the lack of bears found on the African continent. So he chose Peru instead, which is home to the Spectacled Bear.
To see the real life Paddington bear you do have to travel to deepest Peru. These bears are found almost always in the Andes mountains, hence it’s other name, the Andean Bear. Their preferred habitats are humid cloud forests with an altitude of 500m – 1000m as they can find more food there.
To go and see them in the wild head to a Peruvian forest and keep your eyes peeled. And of course have a look at Historic Haciendas for some ideas of places to stay during your unforgettable trip to darkest Peru!
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