Originally, I thought the last month of my trip would involve studying for finals and spending warm days wandering through familiar territory. On the contrary: the next few weeks will probably be the busiest of the whole semester. But I am definitely not complaining. The past two weekends my Solmates and I had some great experiences.
Two weekends ago, we ventured across the Rio de la Plata to Colonia, Uruguay. Colonia is a small town that the Spanish and Portuguese fought to control for hundreds of years. The tiny streets are all cobblestone and the casas are like something out of House Hunters International (HGTV anyone?). Perhaps most interesting was that various sections of town constructed by the Spanish and Portuguese looked completely different. Each time I turned down a new street the houses were built in a unique style. Even the roads were constructed differently.
Of course, we also had to partake in some traditional Uruguayan food. We all had a chivito- which literally means little goat. Unlike the name suggests, there was no goat meat involved- only a delicious piece of thin steak topped with egg, tomato and some of other yumminess all squished between two pieces of bread. I still don’t understand why we have to name foods after tiny animals (burrito = little donkey). It is confusing and I do not like thinking about eating baby animals. Besides its name, I would have to say I am a fan.
Unlike the Argentine side of the river, Colonia has a quiet beach. We even walked to the top of an old lighthouse (“faro” in Spanish) and had a great view of the town.
The next weekend we went to a gaucho ranch or “estancia” as we like to call them down here. The gaucho is the Argentine equivalent to our western cowboy- a gaucho roams the wild plains of Argentina, sweeps women off their feet, shoots guns and rides horses. Although unlike John Wayne, they wear barrettes and gaucho pants. Now that I think about it, I owned a pair of gaucho pants in the 7th grade and I had no idea what the word gaucho meant.
We rode horses, watched a gaucho dance the “chacarera” and explored the estancia. Of course, we also ate steak (so much red meat). Later, the gauchos put on a show.
My padres will be visiting me in exactly one month and I can’t wait. I will keep you all updated on my last, hectic weeks. Until then, enjoy this photo of me in a gaucho hat.