We’re back ‘home’ in Lima, after two weeks travelling in Uruguay, Argentina and a quick day trip to Brazil (if they stamp your passport it counts, right?!).
I’ll start with our first stop – Uruguay. What a surprise! I knew very little about this country, the smallest in South America, and now I’m dying to see more. Uruguay is like Argentina’s quiet little sister, constantly living in the shadow of the bigger, extroverted and more prosperous sibling, ever trying define her own identity and future. Over the last decade she’s really come into her own and is now one of the most stable, socially equitable and liberal countries on the continent. If you’re interested, read more here.
We skipped the capital Montevideo, and the touristy Atlantic coast, and instead followed the Río de la Plata (Plate River) upstream, forming the country’s eastern border with Argentina. We came here to experience Gaucho country – controversial given that ‘the gaucho’ is basically synonymous with Argentina, but the little sister did not disappoint.
After a sleepless overnight flight from Lima, we had the perfect relaxing start to our trip. We strolled around and rented bikes in the picturesque town of Colonia del Sacramento, relaxed on the ‘beach’ (of the river) and had a swim.
We spent one night out in the pampas at Estancia La Sirena, one of the oldest estancias (ranches) in Uruguay. Picture an endless expanse of harsh, baked scrubland on flat rolling hills, only dissected by the occasional dusty road, and mercifully quenched by the life-giving Río Negro. Within half an hour of arriving we were out horseback riding (my first time!) in the midday sun with Roberto, our rather authentic gaucho.
We spent the time out on the horses, napping in hammocks, and even milking cows! That night we enjoyed a lovely asado (BBQ) with our hosts and fellow guests and lay in the grass sipping red wine and star-gazing, enjoying the rare absence of light pollution.
The tranquillity was shattered when we returned to our room to discover a little snake had slithered in to say buenas noches (amateur mistake leaving the door open). The next half an hour was spent with Steven and the staff trying to get rid of the snake, a thorough search of the room to make sure he didn’t have any amigos, and me trying not to freak out… Round two came at 3am when I woke up screaming, thinking there was something at the bottom of the bed. Cue Steven’s second search, still nada…
I really fell in love with the horses, especially my trusty though lazy steed, Pinta. The highlight was a sunset ride across the fields, with Steven trying to encourage me to canter. I chickened out… Maybe next time…
More travel tales to come from Buenos Aires and Iguazú waterfalls!
Love from Lima xxx