For our final HC group trip we spent this past Saturday in the picturesque little town of Colonia, Uruguay. It was our first trip out of Argentina since arriving in June and it will be our last trip out of the country until we leave in three weeks at the end of the semester.
I had to get up at 5:45 a.m. in order to meet the group at the ferry terminal by 7 a.m. We had to get there early to pass through security and migrations before we could take the 90-minute ride to Colonia. Even though Colonia is so close, it is an hour ahead of Buenos Aires so by the time we arrived it was about 10:30 a.m. Uruguayan time. Unfortunately the weather looked unsettled—cloudy skies and a forecast for rain. We started the day with a guided walking tour from the ferry to the old, historic part of town where we saw some of the major sites. Colonia is a town of 23,000 people and most of the tourist sites are located in two plazas, which are conveniently situated just around the corner from each other. We saw churches, ruins of houses, the city gate, as well as one of the original Portuguese streets, which dates back to the colonial era (a period that lasted from the mid-1500s to the mid-1800s). Around noon the tour was over and it was time for lunch, which was perfect timing because we were all starving and exhausted from our day starting much earlier than any of us were used to. We had a long, leisurely lunch and then wandered around the cobblestone streets until we happened upon the beach and a little artisanal fair. As we took a break from wandering the stalls at the fair, I looked up and saw that the sun had come out. Finally! We all flocked back to the beach to sit out and soak up the sun.
After about an hour, the sun was so warm that I had to break out the sunscreen and then retreat into the shade for a break. We spent the next few hours lounging on the beach (well, I split my time between the beach and the shade) just enjoying each other’s company and the amazing weather. The next three weeks are going to be hectic for all of us, filled with projects, finals, papers, and presentations, so this was the perfect opportunity to sit back and relax before the craziness begins. Later in the afternoon as the sun was lowering in the sky, two other HC students and I decided to take one last walk through the city, ending up at the lighthouse. We climbed to the top where we sat and enjoyed looking out over the city of Colonia. It was so peaceful and beautiful—as though one of the postcards from a tourist shop had come alive. We eventually returned to the street level to meet up with the rest of the group and catch the end of the sunset together before heading back to the ferry terminal.
We didn’t get back to Buenos Aires until about 10:30 p.m. and by that time all I wanted was to go home and crawl into bed. Despite my exhaustion, I was so happy and relaxed after having a wonderful day in an enchanting little city.
Katie Riley '14