A disgruntled librarian packs it up and leaves fabulous New York City behind,
going on random adventures through South America,
while simultaneously promoting literacy
and spreading the love of the written word.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

t-t-t-tigre! (and carmelo, uruguay)

oh dear blog readers, how i have forsaken you ... so a couple of weeks ago my beloved bolshevik and i journeyed (and by journeyed i mean we took a 50 minute train ride) to the riverside town of tigre.

tigre is super cute and kind of reminds me a bit of new england, you know ... if new england was flooded with spanish speakers.  tigre seems to be famous for two things ... rowing and markets.  due to it being kind of winter-ish here, we did not do any rowing.  but we saw the famous tigre rowing club, which was quite pretty.

the fruit markets, as they are called, are a huge complex of market stalls spanning several different blocks.  they sell furniture, art prints, antiques, old signs, mate gourds, and random things made of wicker.  and then i came across this little stall that only specializes in troll dolls?  say what?  the bolshevik refused to go inside this one because apparently he has a fear of troll dolls.  fair enough ... these guys were kinda creepy.

later, we rented bikes at our hostel and rode on a promenade that runs alongside the river.   eventually we came across a beautiful building which turned out to be the museum of tigre art.  as we did not actually go inside, i am unsure if this means it is a museum of art by tigre residents (or maybe artistic renderings of tigre) OR if it is just an art museum that is in tigre.  either way we took a gazillion pictures of it.

the following day we took a boat into carmelo, uruguay.  while we would've been happy to have another day in tigre, we needed to leave and re-enter the country in order to renew our visas.  so we took a nice ferry type boat ride and after 2 hours we docked in carmelo.

two "points of interest" at once: the bridge and the promenade
there are only 2 boats going to and from carmelo ... one arrives in carmelo at around 11 am, and then leaves at 5:30 pm.   let me tell you something about carmelo, uruguay ... it is possibly the most boring town on earth.  at around 11:05 we wondered how the hell we were possibly going to entertain ourselves for another 5 hours and 55 minutes.

at the boat terminal, we were given a small map of the town, with several little "points of interest" ... things like: bridge, plaza, fire department, new church, old church, tourist office etc.  during our 5-minute walk to the tourist office we actually passed by a large number of the sites on the map.  see that, they call that multi-tasking.

the nice man at the tourist office suggested we go to the winery.  but the winery was several miles away, and when we asked if we could take a taxi he explained that the next taxi wouldn't arrive until 1pm.  hmmm.

thankfully we noticed a whole load of bikes in the back of the office, so for the bargain price of $10 US for the entire day, we both got outfitted on some run-down bikes.

well i'll tell you dear blog readers we were infinitely happier once we got ourselves on some bikes.  we rode past farms and vineyards and horses and the four seasons golf course.

what?  yeah, apparently there is a huge luxurious four seasons in carmelo, uruguay.  we looked into hanging out there and it turns out its like hundreds of dollars for just about any activity. (little known fact ... miss fifi and her man got hitched at the four seasons in uruguay.  yup.)

my busted up bike in front of Narbona vineyards
for the first couple of miles everything was going well.  then the hunger set in.  then a few miles later we reached the hills.  oh, so many hills.  we were starting to get very disheartened that maybe we had passed the winery and would then have to go back and ride over all the hills again.

then luckily, without out any signage that can be seen from the road (really people, what are you thinking?  it's the only point of interest for miles.  invest in a sign!) we finally stumbled upon the winery.

inside the winery was a super cute little restaurant that was all dark and cozy and filled with wine.  the bolshevik and i, being starving and having just ridden about 7 miles or so on very shitty bikes up and down a variety of hills, were eyeing many menu items.  they were a bit pricey, but we figured that we deserved it (hey, we were on vacation!)  and then we realized that the prices were in US dollars and not uruguayan pesos.

and that is how the bolshevik and i wound up having the most expensive lunch we have ever eaten in our entire lives!  but we did it in style dear blog readers! we tasted several wines, tried some grappa made from honey ... all before ordering a bottle of wine, a plate o' cheese and some amazing homemade pastas. mmmmmm.

the only problem was that afterwards we had to ride 7 miles back to our boat, full of pastas and cheeses and a fair amount of vino.

i won't lie to you dear blog readers, it was rough at times.   but in the end we made it to our boat with several minutes to spare.  back in tigre we got some raised eyebrows from the border patrol, but ultimately we were allowed back into the country and no one was detained and no bribery was required.  all in all, a successful visa renewal weekend.

the end.

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