Tuesday, January 22, 2019

I’d heard that Uruguay citizens had the highest consumption of hierba mate in the world.  What was surprising was just what that entailed. Apparently, you must carry a thermos of water at all times, along with the bomba in which the mate is brewed, as illustrated by this young man. I’m sure there must be a mate elbow syndrome. After reading about the preparation of mate, Charlie and I have decided that life is too short, especially at this age, to learn the intricacies of mate. Besides, we don’t want to engage in cultural appropriation.


We took the ferry to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay yesterday. I love being on a ferry, watching land recede, the wake the boat leaves, and feeling the cleansing wind. Bye, bye Buenos Aires.20190122_092139

Hello, Colonia, with your diminutive Centro Historico. You were a refreshing change from city streets. We arrived around 10:30 and stayed until the last ferry at 9 in order to see sunset, as I’d heard it was spectacular. In the meantime we did what we do. Walk.

Initially we walked to find a place for breakfast. As I can get pretty selective about where to eat – I want atmosphere and ambiance – we walked a while. This ramble took us into the historic center and to the lighthouse which you can enter for a climb up and a view. That’s an option I always take for a different perspective. And for the breezes.


Brunch at Buenos Vientos on the water provided the longed for nourishment after a long morning fueled only by coffee before we left the apartment.


My ham, cheese, and tumaco sandwhich was one of the best I’ve ever had. It was reminiscent of our days on the Caminho. Tumaco is not a typo, it’s a tomato, garlic, olive oil spread which we first encountered in Spain and which I made a habit preparing long after. Accompanied by an atomic IPA, we had a long relaxing settle in. No through traffic has such a salubrious effect on the dining experience.


After a late night, an early morning, and a beer at brunch we found our way to the park you see across the water with the ram horn. We plopped down on the grass, under a tree, and immediately took a nap.


That ram horn is an art piece made of planks of wood. This area is the Centro Cultural Bastion del Carmen and was part of the cities early fortifications. It now houses art exhibitions inside.

I awoke from my nap just in time to see some young men disappear into the earth. When Charlie woke up we followed suit. A short stairway led us down to a cistern.


The rest of the day was spent in visiting the historic center and sitting in a park by a fountain. It was a good change of pace to sit on a park bench; to chat or be silent and listen to the water; to be entertained by children amusing themselves by running about, climbing on walls, and chasing pigeons. One little girl sounded like a pigeon herself as she chased them on her chubby little legs.

Sunset was too late to be viewed waterside as we had to be at the terminal one hour before departure – aduana and all that. But we did see it from the window, a brillant red glow that set sky and water afire.

More sky extravagances followed on the ferry back. Somewhere over some part of Buenos Aires an electric storm was jamming in the sky with jagged red lines of light and illuminating the clouds in a rosy glow. I’ve never seen anything like it and watched until it burned itself out. Not long after, a red moon rose above the horizon. The majority of riders were inside, probably glued to their phones. It pays to be outside.

To finish off the day we popped into Todo Mundo for dinner and salsa music. Arriving home after one in the morning, I crashed immediately and slept til 10.


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

More height! Today we visited Palacio Barolo which was recommeded by a woman we met on the subway. The architect, Mario Palenti, had the astounding idea to design the floor plan based on the cosmology of Dante’s Divine Comedy. You begin the tour in hell on the ground floor, ascend to purgatory, and finally climb up several flights of stairs to work your way into heaven at the uppermost level of the lighthouse. That’s up 22 floors, plus. The architecture starts off robust and ornate, then becomes more and more plain as the soul is purged. And now I feel compelled to read that darn Divine Comedy. Or maybe the Cliff Notes version. Have any of you read it? What say you?


That’s all. Paula


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