After two weeks of bustling giant city life including learning the basics of Spanish, partying, and getting lost either by foot, in the subway or in the bus at least 100 times in Buenos Aires, I decided to escape that crazy place and instead travelled to Uruguay the neighbouring country which can be easily accessed from the Argentinian capital by ferry. Those 5 days were also the first solo travel trip I ever did!
Colonia del Sacramento
The first thing you will notice when you step out of the ferry to explore this litle city is that it’s calm: you haven’t experienced this for a while when you have been like me in Buenos Aires before coming here. In one afternoon you can walk through the city, I crawled up the light house for a few pesos which was definitely worth it, had a small lunch and afterwards Elli ,my wonderful travel buddy for this afternoon, and me chilled at one of the beaches Colonia offers. And no,it’s not next to the sea but the Rio de la Plata which is a river and super wide there, it feels like being at the sea or at least a really large lake. We didn’t go swimming as the water is everything but clean. For our short beach session where we enjoyed the sun and warmth one of the stray dogs joined us 🙂 of course he got many cuddles. I loved the cute and pittoresque streets and the nice playas, it was a great start into my Uruguay adventure! After I said goodbye to Elli as she returned to Buenos Aires, I took the bus to go to experience my first coach surfing experience!
San Juan Lacaze
The coachsurfer’s house I stayed at is actually a great farm around 30 minutes by bus from Colonia. I only had to tell the Bus driver that I wanted to visit Daniel Juan and he took me there, quite convienient 😀 I passed green flat grass land and already lots of cows chilling in their herds and every now and then some horses tied with a rope to the ground next to street (yes my equastrain heart was bleeding :() I reached the farm and Daniel was already waiting for me and showed me around his beautiful place and explained me what kind of agriculture he and his family are busy doing. Afterwards we explored the little town, which is not touristic at all but an industrial little town, but I really enjoyed to experience the real country life of uruguay. Also only thanks to Daniel I could continue my trip as, of course, the next day was their most important holiday (the day of independence) and the busses weren’t running according to their normal schedule. And i had to get from a rural part of the country to an even more remote one. Great planning all the way 😀 We managed to find out when the busses were running in the local office, at some typical street food from there and headed back to his farm. Of course in style on his motorcycle! 🙂 We spent the evening chilling, drinking the famous mate and cooking an amazing Spanish dish as there was a Spanish girl staying over as well. I practised my Spanish already a lot there and I am definitely super thankful that I did a course because without Spanish I would have been lost!
Mal Abrigo – Finally HORSE LIFE!
The next morning Daniel dropped me off at the bus stop and I was on the road again, heading to an estancia, a farm that has horses and often some other form of business in this case vinyards and other animals! Those two day weather was amazing and all I did was enjoying the sun and of course rode horses! My passion next to travelling, so as you can imagine when you can combine the things you love most it’s true happiness 🙂 The riding was an amazing experience as it’s done in the Argentinian/ Uruguayan way where you look and ride like a ‘gaucho’. Everyone who loves nature and animals should defenitely go horse riding in either Argentina or Uruguay, an experience you won’t regret!
My next and last stop was Montevideo, I managed to catch a ride with a super friendly Uruguayan couple who also spent a few days at the farm. Now I call them my ‘adopted grandparents’, they not only gave me a ride but helped me to buy my ferry ticket at the port and afterwards we had a wonderful lunch at the famous ‘mercado del puerto’ which is widely known for it’s good parillas (giant barbeques/braais where they grill tons of meat :D) they even invited me to it! I felt super touched as actual strangers helped me out so much and also explained me a lot about their hometown.
Unfortunately it poured the entire day, I managed to see the old town the next morning when I walked to the port to catch my ferry back to Buenos Aires. I can only recommend to visit the ‘Mercado de los Artesanos’ its inside a building and they sell beautiful but affordable Uruguayan art and handcrafted goods. Back in the hostel I made friends with two super funny French guys, we spent the evening together chatting and playing pool and cards.
What my first solo travel taught me
Those 5 days travelling solo taught me so much more than I expected. Yes I was afraid, yes I cried because I felt sad as I couldn’t immediately share my experiences with a travel friend, yes in the beginning it’s hard. But at the same time only this short period of time showed me that there are kind, great and funny people everywhere you go. You just have to dare it: dare to ask for help, dare to talk to strangers, dare to travel alone. In those days I had to think a lot about this one phrase my Mum keeps telling me since I am a little girl: [‘Das Glück ist mit den Mutigen’] which would be translated:
The ones who dare will be rewarded with happiness.
This phrase accompanies for many years now and it never has been more true than for this whole trip: I dared despite all my fears, and I had the most wonderful time, made friendships and grew a lot!
Thanks Uruguay, it has been a pleasure! <3