A weekend in Uruguay

I have been so incredibly busy lately that I’m quite behind on keeping up with posting! This has been the first day in a while that I’ve had most of the day free to sleep in and relax. That being said, I do have a mountain of homework in front of me!

I left you on my last post on the eve of our amazing trip to Uruguay! That Sunday we had to get up early to head to Puerto Madero to catch our boat over. I was amazed as I made my way there in el colectivo in the early morning just how many people were out and about in the city. “Where could all these people need to be on a Sunday morning?” I thought to myself. How naïve of me. These people were dressed, just returning to their houses or getting breakfast to recover from their night out! I love these people.

We all gathered at the Buquebus station downtown and boarded for our first stop to Colonia, Uruguay. Prior to coming on this trip to Buenos Aires, I had no idea that a trip to Uruguay would be included in our itinerary, and I was excited to add one more stamp to my passport and check it out! The boat ride lasted only an hour. I was expecting it to resemble a sort of ferry, but it ended up being more of miniature cruise. We felt very classy.

The weather greeting us in Colonia was rainy and cloudy, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying the quiet, quaint little town. Colonia del Sacramento is in southwestern Uruguay on the Rio de Plata. It is one of the oldest towns in Uruguay, founded in 1680, and was passed on and off between Portuguese and Spanish hands and its gorgeous historic district is listed as a World Heritage site. After dropping off our stuff at the hotel, we walked along the beach to spend some time before our walking tour. Despite the dreary weather, it was obvious to see why this is a vacation spot!

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We completed a walking tour through the historic district and rested before going out for dinner, where we ate, drank, and sang. Shout out to the boys on their rendition of Call me Maybe and dear, sweet Catie who accompanied me on my first Karaoke attempt at “Suddenly I See.” ….Suddenly I see why I’ve never done karaoke before.  The next day, we rose bright and early for the biggest breakfast probably any of us had had since arriving in Bs As. Breakfast for the people here consists of coffee and a small pastry or fruit, which makes me lament over my US weekend feast of pancakes, eggs, toast, etc, etc. It was also the first time many of us have been able to take out American dollars, as it is impossible in Argentina. We then took a scenic bus ride through the “country” of Uruguay and made our way to Montevideo! We first stopped by lunch at a parilla, or a place where you can get asado, steak basically, a staple in Argentine diets. Many parillas have a big open grill and cook all their steaks and sausages right in the open. Even as a pescetarian of three years, I’m not gonna lie, it’s SO tempting. Sit down meals in Argentina/Uruguay are very different from the US. The staff is not as attentive and the meals last a very long time. If in a hurry, it won’t be to your taste. But Portenos are rarely in a hurry to go anywhere. So with time for leisure, it is a perfectly wonderful experience to loose yourself in the company of good food and good friends.

It was a gorgeous day outside, and we had another walking tour. I was surprised to see some members of the Uruguayan military/police force posted outside of some of the banks in the financial district standing guard with large, intimidating guns.

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Afterwards we all walked down to the water that encircles the city. Montevideo, though a vibrant hub, is much more tranquilo and chiquito, as the Portenos say, than Buenos Aires, and it was really nice to experience that relief from the city.

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The rest of the week followed with only two days of school as Thursday and Friday were holidays. We were delighted and exhausted. I think you can ask any of us about our sleeping patterns, and will be surprised to find if we have any at all. Thursday was an all day group trip planned to Estancia Don Silvano, or farm basically, outside of the city. This one was a tourist estancia, so there were some activities planned. We started off the early afternoon with fresh empanadas and wine, which is not a bad way to start at all. We spent some time roaming around the camp, taking buggy rides, playing bocce ball, and making a photo-shoot out of everything, which I readily admit to doing. Afterwards, we sat down in the main hall for lunch and music with other tourists from all over the world.The meal was accompanied with wine, and before long, we all had a nice pink glow on our faces.

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The entertainment consisted of some traditional gaucho music and performances, and some tango.

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After lunch we spectated at some gaucho horse sporting events, which was a really cool way to learn about the gauchos and imagine gaucho life on the campo. All in all a fun, full day.

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And the night before, I made a spontaneous decision to spend my long weekend in the gorgeous city of Mendoza, all the way on the other side of Argentina! Stay tuned for my next post, and I’ll fill you in on all of our wine and mountain filled adventures. Until then-nos vemos!

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