Thursday, October 13, 2011

Helados, Bodegas, y Bicicletas

Hola a todos!
Wow. Time is surely flying by! I can't believe another week has already passed since my last post and I have another amazing weekend to tell you about! On Friday Uruguay played Bolivia in Montevideo. This is the team I saw win the Copa de America my first week here so of course I took full advantage of my opportunity to watch them live. Although it rained all day and we watched the game soaking wet, it was worth it! Uruguay won the game 4-2 and I learned a thing or two more about soccer. By the end of it all I have it all I think I'll have a pretty good grasp on it :)

This weekend Ali and I took a "girl's weekend" which was really an impromptu "LETS FIND SOMEWHERE TO GO" weekend. The ultimate decision: Colonia del Sacramento.

7 different kinds of oranges/mandarins
from one fruit stand!
So far this might be my favorite place in Uruguay, although each place for me has been very distinct and I have enjoyed every place I have visited. They have all been wonderful, there was just something about the atmosphere and feeling I got when I was walking the streets there. Hard to describe but it was calming; made me feel really good about all of the things I have done thus far and made me look forward to what is yet to come. I know that probably doesn't do it justice, but somethings just can't be explained very well in words- ya just had to be there.

How to sum up Colonia? It is a small town about 2 1/2 hours up the west coast of Uruguay right across the river from Buenos Aires. It is the only place in South America (outside of Brasil) that was founded by the Portuguese-so I was informed this weekend- and it still has a big historical feel to it. There is a historic district where all of the streets are still the old cobblestone, they have old ruins, and the historic buildings. It's pretty much what I like to call- a postcard city- every street corner looks like it belongs on a postcard. With Spring in the air, all of the trees and flowers were in full bloom and the sun was shining most of the weekend. It was wonderful.

Saturday we found ourselves a beautiful little restaurant and sat outside. One thing I would come to love about Colonia: the food. It was a fairly cheap meal but sooo yummy! and we were even able to enjoy another cup of Medio y Medio. We had heard a lot about the little shops around Colonia so we just spent the afternoon exploring and the best find we had all weekend (in my opinion at least) was an Artesan ice cream shop. AHHH. not good for an ice cream addict. It was excellent and I had to restrain myself from buying a second- I just decided to go back on Sunday and get 3 flavors instead of two :D

Sunday we had plans to bike around because renting bikes and exploring the outskirts of the town (there was a bodega-winery- we really wanted to see) that way is very popular, but the weather didn't want to cooperate. Well.. wait.. it didn't want to cooperate when we were sitting outside with our bikes- as soon as we gave up the idea of biking and proceeded on foot it cleared up and was beautiful the rest of the day. n the hostel we met someone from Ohio that was on his first vacation since he joined the Peace corp over a year ago. He has been living in Paraguay since last September and it was extremely interesting to hear about his work there! We ended up throwing around throwing a Frisbee for awhile and enjoyed dinner at a restaurant on the waterfront to watch the sunset with a nice bottle of wine.
 I just can't help but think about how crazy the whole situation was- there we were in a tiny town in Uruguay, met and befriended someone from Ohio who was living in Paraguay... and we are living in Montevideo. Sometimes the things I do or see here just seem so surreal, I find myself wondering "did that really just happen?" quite often. I mean there I was eating dinner with Ali, who I could swear I have known for years when in reality it has only been about 3 months, talking with someone we had basically just met as if we had already known each other. Or sometimes it just randomly hits me- I'm in Uruguay. I'm in URUGUAY! It's such a blessing to have all of these opportunities and to meet so many wonderful people.

Anyway Monday we made it our ultimate GOAL to get on those bikes and go to the winery regardless of the weather. Lucky it was nice out- unfortunately our hostel only have one bike left. So we went in search of others. Now the bikes that we had seen people riding and that were at our hostel were GT or Trek- very high quality. So when we asked someone where we could rent a bike they pointed in the right direction... well kind of. We showed up to this tiny whole in the wall place and when the guy was getting one of the bikes off the chain fell off twice, and Ali's bike ended up not really having breaks, and anyone could hear me coming from a mile away. But there we were on our bikes pedaling down the highway 4 miles to the winery!

It was WELL worth the bike struggles because we came up to this small little winery that was a 4th generation operation with only the 8 siblings running it. We got a free tour/ wine tasting and the wine was wonderful. It was my first wine tasting as well! Since they don't mass produce the wine and it is only sold right there to people to come for tours, etc it was very inexpensive and Ali and I both got a bottle. She got Tannat- the wine of Uruguay and I chose a Rosado (a little more sweet instead of super dry).

Then off we went to catch our bus and head back in Montevideo. What a weekend.

Un Beso

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