Wednesday, 7 March 2012

-Uruguay. -No, you're a guay!*

*Actual conversation between Vincent and myself. This is what happens when you speak two different languages...

We didn't plan to go to Uruguay. It was never on our list, was never a place that interested us in the least. I couldn't even locate it on a map a month ago. But there it was, just an hour by boat from Buenos Aires.

And they had a beach there.

As yet another of our split-second decisions, we bought a boat ticket to Uruguay and booked a hostel in Colonia del Sacramento, a small town on the coast of the Rio Plata. While it pained me to leave Buenos Aires, a city I had fallen in love with and never wanted to say good-bye to, we never once regretted the two days we spent in Uruguay.

I can't even pretend to have gotten a feel for the country- we spent less than 48 hours there, spent nearly every waking hour on the beach and ate at a wine and cheese restaurant for dinner. But Colonia was a cute, well-maintained little colonial town with a historic center that looked like it hadn't changed in 200 years (except maybe for the wine and cheese restaurant...). It was all cobblestone streets, candy colored houses, whitewashed fences, sycamore-lined avenues and palm-shaded plazas. Sailboats bobbed in the harbor, a lighthouse towered over the center. A perfectly rusted one-speed bike leaned against a faded stucco cottage. It was f-cking adorable.
During the day, we went to a beach a mile out of town. It was a long, wide strip of fine sand, lined on one side by eucalyptus and pine trees and on the other by the wide opening of the Rio Plata where it meets the Atlantic. There were no waves, just an endless expanse of flat, clean brown water, reflecting tones of blue from the cloudless sky. Although it was fresh (not salty), the water rose and lowered with the tide. The beach was nearly empty- only a scattering of small groups of people here and there- and made for the perfect place to do nothing but relax in the sun and congratulate ourselves on finding this little paradise.
The second day, we rented bikes from our hostel to go to the beach. We were overjoyed at the cheap price of the rental until we saw the bikes: the only two models with any air in the tires were a gear-less road bike from the seventies with one pedal missing and a child's dirt bike.

Guess which one of us got the dirt bike.

I'm a pretty small person, but I'm not child-sized, and I spent the rest of the day peddling around with my knees in my armpits, legs splayed out like bat wings. On the up side, it was handy to be able to easily reach the ground with my feet, since my bike had no brakes to speak of.

On the boat ride back to Buenos Aires, we were a little regretful that we couldn't have extended our mini beach vacation a little longer. But we had a bus to catch the next day to Bariloche, in northern Patagonia, and we weren't able to change our tickets on such short notice. Such is the life of a backpacker. It's rough, but we persevere.

1 comment:

  1. I am catching up your post, I know I've waited too long, it's a shame!!!
    So funny, don't you have picture of both of you on the bikes?
    Funny as an unexpected event is "vacation" for you, but you are already in vacation!!!!!
    Very happy to read you again

    Gros bisous