Thursday, April 23, 2009


Recently I went to Colonia, Uruguay, a historically preserved city a short boat ride away from Buenos Aires.  The boat to Colonia is called "buquebus"- do not let this confuse you, it is in fact a boat not a bus (probably a spanish-english joke to fool tourists).  When taking the buqueBUS, you have the option of the 'fast boat' or the 'slow boat', but because my study abroad program was picking up the tab for this trip i didn't have a choice and ended up on a 3 hour tour instead of the 1 1/2 hour boat.  tiny suggestion: TAKE THE FAST BOAT, there isn't really anything to see except brown water(because of iron deposits, not trash) and in my opinion an hour of looking at murky water is plenty.  once we finally got to colonia we were greeted by a really quaint city, all cobble stone streets filled with crumbling beautiful buildings.  the city itself is very walkable and i think we saw most of the highlights in an afternoon.

One of the best parts though was that the director of my study abroad program has a bed and breakfast that he invited us all to have lunch at:

The house is hidden outside of the city on a small lemon farm so the entire property smells of citrus.  We had a great asado complete with chorizo, morcilla and bife de chorizo accompanied by a delicious salad.  Afterwards we lazed by the pool until it was time to get back on our 3 hour boat/bus...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Semana Santa

El Submarino

Semana Santa(Holy Week) is when everyone escapes Buenos Aires to hang out with their family in the country to celebrate easter.  I had imagined large fairs and religious festivals, but after talking to a few Argentineans I learned that Semana Santa is more about getting time off work and having asados.  I had wanted to go to Salta in the north, but after the dengue outbreak I decided not to risk it and go to San Juan instead.  After about a 15 hour bus ride we arrived in the sleepy town of San Juan which is conveniently located between national parks Ischigualasto and Leoncito.

Valle de la Luna in parque Ischigualasto is a desert full of strange geological formations and the site of the discovery of the oldest dinosaurs in the world.

cancha de bochas: basically means bocce ball court. DO NOT try to play bocce with these spherical stones...park rangers will get very mad.

Parque Leoncito, is home to the largest astronomical observatory in Argentina and sits on the Andean border.

Another great part of Leoncito is the dried out lake bed in the middle, perfect for doing gymnastics or donuts in our car.  

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mar del Plata

Mar del Plata is a seaside town about a 6 hour bus ride outside of Buenos Aires.  Apparently during the summer season the beach is packed and unbearably hot, just like the jersey shore! Fortunately we went during off-season when the beach was empty and the weather was agreeable.  At the port downtown there is a strange colony of sea lions who hang out by the boats and bark at each other.  If you have ever had the pleasure of encountering a sea lion you know that they are basically smelly angry manatees and that they have nothing in common with real lions.

Sea lion throwdown.  Although attacks on humans are rare, in 2007 a 13-year old Australian girl was mauled by a sea lion while surfing (