Sunday, 27 November 2011

IATTOUR Nov 21-27, 2011

Montevideo Week II

Well we have settled into a comfortable routine of 4 hours of class a day with two sessions; a grammar and conversation.  Afternoons are spent exploring the city, with either an evening out for dinner or to make something tasty we picked up in the market.  Every week the offering of extracurricular activities changes.

This week, we had an evening class with Christina (the director's sister-in-law) on how to make empenadas and a type of bread pudding.  Delicious and there is nothing like making food for motivating conversation en Espanol.  Montevideo is easy to get around, with lots of very helpful inhabitants keeping us on the straight and narrow.  The day of the last bus strike, we even had transportation officials stop us on the street.  When they discovered we were tourists, they welcomed us to Uruguay and reassured us that they were working to have the buses back on track.

During the week we spent a bit of time with a retired teacher, Steve, from Denver, who gave us lots of  useful tips on various places he has visited around the world.  We shared a US Thanksgiving dinner with Steve and Charlotte (from Germany) over a bottle or two of Tannat wine and steak.  Friday we had a number of people finishing at the school, so there was a chance for a group photo on the back patio.
The week was capped with an excursion out to Punto del Diablo, a lovely small beach town about 4.5 hours by bus from Montevideo (almost on the frontier to Brazil).  The trip was organized by the coordinator of the Tango school we attended the previous week (Andrea) and was attended by 6 of the language school students (2 Canadienses, 2 Suizos, 1 Estadosunidse, 1 Alemana) and 8 other people from the Tango school (who arrived on the next day).  Our hostel was within walking distance of the beach and we spent an hour or two wandering through Punto Del Diablo followed by a number of attentive young dogs before dinner.
Andrea had made reservations for us on Friday night a quaint and rustic beachfront restaurant.  We spent a wonderful warm evening enjoying a beautiful sunset and eating fresh seafood by candlelight while the host played guitar.  It was a lovely time with great food and conversation.
Shortly after breakfast, we headed to the beach.  As it is still spring in Uruguay, the ocean water felt a little cold to those from the south, while those from the north felt it was quite warm.  We spent hours swimming, sun-bathing, walking, photographing, watching seals (and a possible whale) before moving out of the mid-day sun to eat.  
This time we moved to the aptly named "Zero Stress" restaurant for lunch.  The Tango students arrived just in time to join us for a couple of hours of eating (fresh fish!) and drinking in this beach-front restaurant with an unimpeded view of the Atlantic.  
 Moving back to the beach, we continued our relaxing before striking out to buy 4 kilos of fresh-caught prawns for dinner.  The Tango students decided to join us making dinner in the hostel and few hours later we sat down to a feast.  We said that it was a stand-in for the Thanksgiving dinner that Elizabeth (from the US) had missed that Thursday.  To top the evening off, those who were still able to stand, played fubol or danced Tango late into the night.
The next morning, though not all had slept well, we returned to a different beach and spent the morning playing in giant waves, sun-bathing, shopping or playing soccer.  
 Although we climbed on the bus at 4 in the afternoon, I don't think anyone really wanted to leave this wonderful place.  A number of hours later and we were back in Montevideo, ready for what the week ahead had to offer.

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