Thursday, September 22, 2011

Un pedazo de paraíso: Salto!

I feel like I am always just re-capping my weekends, but in reality that's when all the good things happen! School is the same old same old.. so on to what I did last weekend!

I went to SALTO this weekend which was about a 6 hour bus ride up the coast from Montevideo. It is located on the Uruguay river which happens to be the border between Argentina and Uruguay.
Our bus departed from Montevideo at 6:30am Friday morning, but since I decided to stay Kelsey's (and forget my bus ticket at home) we had to leave at 5:30am to get there on time. Not a whole lot of sleeping occurred Thursday night since we decided this 3-day weekend was our "Spring Break Re-Take." All of the other schools here are on Spring Break this week and for some reason we don't get the week off- so we made our own Spring Break! Although we didn't have a week to spend traveling our weekend in Salto was an amazing way to spend our impromptu Spring Break Re-Take!

After a 6 hour bus ride filled with sleeping, picture taking, and Cosmopolitan Magazine we found ourselves in the small town outside of Salto called Dayman which is where we rented a small house for the weekend. We were met by Kelsey's uncle and while we waited for the rest of the group who took a different bus we went to see the "termas" -hot springs- that the area is known for. I don't know about you, but in my mind I was picturing rocks, pools, maybe a river? Something very natural looking, but that was not what I found. They have actually channeled the hot springs into pools for people to enjoy. I wasn't sure how to feel about it at first, a little disappointed that there wasn't more of a natural feel to it, but I was happy to be traveling and seeing something new.
After walking around a bit we decided to grab a bite to eat at a restaurant. The weather there was amazing so we decided to eat outside. I ordered asado al tiro- best food you can find in Uruguay. It is type of beef ribs that is grilled on a parilla with the bones, fat, everything still in tact. It was DELICIOUS. Almost too delicious to really describe in words.

When we went to the house we were staying at it was like we had our own little getaway, a wonderful break from city life. We had a long GREEN front yard with trees! We joked as we walked up to the house "what is this green stuff- is that grass?" As if we had almost forgot what a yard looks like! Then the fun commenced: I finally introduced the world of frisbee to a few people! It became and obsession for the weekend and I was more than happy to feed that addiction! I threw for hours this weekend and it was wonderful! It really made me miss my team and I want more than anything to play an actual game now, but until then I'll just be perfecting my throws and teaching others! Later that night we headed into the actual city of Salto which is just a short bus ride away to visit Kelsey's cousins house and have some pizza! (I think by the end of this 5 months I won't even be able to look a pizza!) We walked down the mains strip of the city which was fairly deserted and quiet, much different from the main road that runs in front of my house in Montevideo. We made our way to and for the first time in my life I saw Argentina! Salto is on the Uruguay River which at this point is the border between Uruguay and Argentina. I didn't cross this time, but on my next trip to Salto (I intend on going at least on more time) I will be sure to adventure that way.

We called it an early night that night. The next morning I woke up early- much earlier than anyone else was going to! I laid in bed listening to the birds singing and decided to take sometime to go outside and enjoy the peacefulness of the morning. I don't think I have ever appreciated seeing dew in the grass and the freshness of the morning so much- I know I don't live in the country generally, but every morning when I leave my house in Montevideo I am surrounded by cars, pavement, and buildings. Something about this has just given me a new love and appreciated for the little things like dew on the grass in the morning and the sounds of the birds. Ali woke up shortly after and when we were getting ready to head to the hot springs and little shops everyone else was just getting out of bed!
Ali and I wanted to spend as much time as possible in the warm therapeutic water so off we went! The water was heavenly. There were multiple different pools- some were bathwater warm, others were hot tub warm. It was a wonderful day for it because it was slightly overcast and cooler making the water feel even more amazing. I'm not sure how I would feel about being there on a super hot day- hot water and hot weather don't seem to go together very well....

Later everyone re-united at El Rancho. We threw around the Frisbee and bit more, played poker, and had some awesome conversation. I couldn't help but feel the love of good company the entire weekend, we had such an amazing group! It was a great weekend for improving my Spanish as well! I felt so welcomed by all of Kelsey's family, it really made the journey even better for me. It was like I found another family here in Uruguay!
The crew at the bar
We ended up going out that night in Salto- 9 people in the bed of the truck and a 10 minute ride later- we arrived at a half outdoor bar. It was a lot of fun, we had a big group and danced the night... and the morning away.

Hammocks are wonderful inventions!
Saturday was beautiful and sunny all day! We spent most of the day at Kelsey's cousins hanging out, lounging in hammocks, and eating more delicious food. This time they made us chorizos- by far the best chorizo I have ever had. I also finally saw the entire process of grilling that makes meat here so delicious. First of all- they never EVER put wood that is still burning under the meat. The wood burns off to the side and as the coals go white and fall off the wood they put them under the meat. It takes a while to cook things, but it is well worth it. The chorizo had that nice crunchy skin on the outside and the inside was super juicy and flavorful- absolutely wonderful. The sun combined with good food and good company made for an enjoyable- and exhausting day. (Especially after only about 4 1/2 hours of sleep!) And people wonder how in the world I could fall asleep in this position (reference to the photo <----).
Later in the afternoon we headed for Dayman to go back to the hot springs one more time before we had to leave for Montevideo. I decided that hot springs at night is the way to go. The area was illuminated with green lights, the temperature had gone down enough for the water to give off a beautiful steam, and it was very peaceful. It was a wonderful way to spend the last of our time in the area. Before we left Totu kept telling me how much he loved throwing with me and how much he wanted to learn more about frisbee. He told me multiple times he would love a disc from my team when I returned so I decided I would give him the Frisbee I had with me. He was so excited he wanted a picture to make the gifting official! It made me so happy to share something so wonderful. Watch out: Ultimate Frisbee in Uruguay could be the next big thing!

We made our exit from Salto at 11:30pm Sunday night and arrived in Montevideo around 5:15am. Still catching up on sleep, but a weekend well worth it!

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like an amazing weekend. So relaxing and good eats what more could you ask for.