A few months ago, Tahleen's brother expressed his desire to have his three sisters together with him in Uruguay, the country of our birth. After weeks of planning and preparation for the trip, the Reunion took place in May 2007. The dates of the visits of the two USA couples were staggered, so that each of them shared time individually with the Uruguayan families. It was fall there. The highlight of the whole trip was a journey in a rental van to the north of Uruguay, which took place during the week we were all in Uruguay.
The first commemorative meal, as it were, took place on the 15th of May, with the four siblings surrounding the same table where we had shared so many meals growing up together. Our nieces gave us a sumptuous dinner, and we were all brought up to date with the itinerary and schedule of our trip.
Six days, five nights, eleven departments, 1,600 kilometers -- ah, what a tour!
Going North through Durazno to Tacuarembo we had good weather, though cool, and we soon saw the first of many gauchos, rolling pasture lands and herds of cattle. Robert was on the lookout for fences, I wanted to collect more photos of Artigas statues and my sister-in-law was interested in photographing laundry hanging out to dry. Our first night we had a great meal at La Rueda, complete with a portrait hanging on the wall of tango singer Carlos Gardel, who was born in an estancia not too far from the city of Tacuarembo.
Some highlights of the second day included the view of several cerros, and more gauchos, the traversing of Route 30 in the Valle del Lunarejo, the visit to the amethyst, agate and quartz mine, and the arrival at the estancia (cattle and sheep ranch) El Indio. We drank a special toast at sunset, and were awed by the clear, starry, skies.
We had two memorable, if cold, nights at El Indio, which bracketed a truly enjoyable day there. We had some amazingly simpatico hosts who took care of us wonderfully, including serving us some tasty meals. They gave us a grand tour of the estancia. We enjoyed seeing several animals and were amazed by the beauty of their holdings and lanscape views.
We were almost sad to leave El Indio, but more adventures and photo ops awaited us: a country school house, a church also out in the middle of nowhere, a coffee break at Bella Union, and a sunset on the Rio Uruguay. We had a restful night at Posta del Dayman, just outside of Salto, which has its very own indoor and outdoor thermal swimming pools. Half of our group enjoyed the hot water!
On the last full day on the road we made several stops for visiting/photographing the Meseta de Artigas, the bridge to Colon, Argentina, the municipal park of Paysandu for a picnic, the outstanding cathedral and equestrian statue of Artigas in Paysandu, the bridge and dam over the Rio Negro and the Gruta del Palacio. We spent the last night of our journey at Trinidad, in the department of Flores.The final day on the road, which was half a day, we saw more cattle, and the original Artigas statue of Uruguay's founding father in San Jose de Mayo. Lunch was at Libertad, where the manager regaled us with an old record of Gardelís played on an antique record player.