Last weekend Z and I returned from two weeks in South America: three and a half days in Buenos Aires, and the rest of the time in Uruguay.
Buenos Aires is a great city–cosmopolitan, exciting, EuroLatin–and it was a magical season there. The city is full of jacaranda trees, and they were in bloom, so that everything was wrapped in a pale purple haze of blossoms. I was glad to experience one of the world’s great cities . . . but I loved Uruguay.
Uruguay is a green, rolling country, gentle of topography and temperament, and we had a terrific time driving around it clockwise. We took the ferry from BA to Colonia del Sacramento and proceeded up the Rio Uruguay, to Artigas in the northern mining district and then to Rivera (where we crossed into Brazil briefly, as the city straddles the border without an official border crossing), and then through the northeastern interior on tiny dirt roads to the beautiful South Atlantic coast. We spent our last night back in Colonia, where we had a Thanksgiving dinner of grilled meat and delicious local wine, then took the ferry back across the Rio de la Plata to BA, wandered around the charming neighborhood of San Telmo for a few hours, then headed to the airport for the long trip home.
–the wonderful birds of Uruguay, including rheas, which made me squeal with excitement every time we saw them (we saw them pretty often)
–a visit to a native-animal breeding center in Aguas Dulces, Uruguay, where we saw a lot of well-cared-for creatures, including wild mountain cats, coatimundis, caimans, and capybaras with their babies (we also saw a capy in the wild)
–the people we met along the way, who were without fail charming, helpful, and happy to see travelers enjoying Uruguay (a number of them asked if we were moving there to get away from Trump, which, if only)
–seeing the big old Southern Cross hanging in front of us in the sky above the Costanera in Piriapolis, Uruguay
–the Naval Museum in Montevideo, which we finally managed to find just as it closed for a two-hour lunch break, but which we were able to explore at will while the staff took their break, thanks to their courtesy; it has a great exhibit on the Graf Spee and the Battle of the Plata
–the view of the South Atlantic from atop the lighthouse in Jose Ignacio, Uruguay
–watching the Supermoon rise above Puerto Madera on our last night in BA
–“the world’s second most beautiful bookshop,” Ateneo Grand Splendid in BA, which occupies a stunning former theater
–being unable to escape the increasingly awful news about Trump’s coming reich, and the clouds of dread and anxiety about it that descended upon us from time to time
–my 29-hour homebound itinerary with several very long layovers; but, as I’ve said more than once, that’s what Kindles, disposable toothbrushes, and drugs are for
Will we go back? Maybe, but not right away. This was Z’s second trip in two years to BA and Uruguay, and he’s ready for a change. I hear Chile is a good place to visit . . . .