This blog is a little overdue, and a little out of order, but on the day before I left for Bariloche, I went to Uruguay! I new it would be a cool trip even before I went because it’s a whole new country I’d never been to before, and I was looking forward to coloring it blue on my Facebook “where I’ve been” map.
Honestly, I’d never really wanted to go to Uruguay before. It is a small, funny looking country with a really bizarre name, and no one has ever heard anything about it other than it’s there on the map. Still, I was stoked when I saw that my study abroad program includes 2 trips to Uruguay (we’re going back in September for 4 days to Montevideo and Punto del Este).
I am so in LOVE with Uruguay! BA is a cool city, but it’s huge and noisy and reeeaaallly dirty. Like, shockingly dirty. So it was really refreshing to get away from the city for awhile and just sit around in a quiet town for a bit. We went over there via the Buquebus, a huge ferry that takes 3 hours to cross the widest river in the world, Rio de la Plata. The Rio is quite brown, but impressively wide, and as we looked back over the city, there was a brown smear of smog in the sky. Delish.
When we arrived in Uruguay, we walked a short distance into historic Colonia, a small part of a bigger city. We looked around for a few minutes on our way to a restaurant, where all 18 of us sat in an inner courtyard and ate lomo (steak) sandwiches and chillaxed for a few hours. Then our program director, Augustín, who turned out to be quite the history buff, took us on a walking tour for about an hour. It was really interesting, because Colonia’s spot on the Rio was strategic for both Spain and Portugal back in the day, so it changed hands 7 times before finally being occupied and ruled by Spain until it’s independence. Augustín taught us things like how you can tell which buildings are Spanish (white with windows that are curved on top) and which are Portugese (stone with square windows).
That was also the first time most of us had really gotten to see Augustín’s personality and gotten to know him, and he is one funny guy. Meghan and I were trying to ask him about the mail system in Argentina, wondering if what we’d sent out and what our parents had sent us would ever get to where it’s going (he said yes, but its more likely no) and he kept saying “bien, bien, bien. Bien, bien…bien bien…” over and over again! (It means good/well/affirmative) But after awhile, we were like, “is he even listening to us??” It was actually pretty funny. As we walked past the cathedral in town, Augustín stopped us and said (very dramatically) “this is a very old church, but in 2000, something very important happened here…” and we were like “oooooo! What could it be?!?” And he said, “my wife and I were married here.” Awwww…so cute!!
Which actually reminds me, I haven’t told you yet about my newest list. I have a lot of lists, like places to go, things to do in my 20s, e-mails to send today, etc. The newest one is my TOP 10 PLACES TO GET MARRIED. I thought of it, because, as Augustín and his wife realized, Colonia would be a superb place to get married. So far, we have:
1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
2. Bariloche, Argentina
3. Colonia, Uruguay
4. Mt. Rainier, WA
5. Victoria, Canada?
Now, I’ve been thinking about making an ‘international edition’ of the list and a US edition because really, who’s going to go to Uruguay for my wedding? (PS, if you actually would, feel free to send me an e-mail or comment on this blog, so I can get a feel for how reasonable it would be for me to have my wedding on another continent.)
After our tour we had about an hour and a half of free time before we had to meet up to get back on the Buquebus to go home. We tried to rent mopeds and the place didn’t have any to give us, so Meghan and I went and rented bikes and rode all over town, taking pictures and basically just enjoying life in Uruguay. It was a fabulous day while it lasted, and then I was incredibly tired and cranky when I got home and had to pack for Bariloche, but a great day nonetheless. Totally loved it, it’s a very cute town and if you ever find yourself in BA, it’s a must-see.
Hey, maybe when I get home I’ll take my blog and publish it as a travel guide :D