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City Living: Montevideo and Buenos Aires

After our memorable last evening camping in Pedro, it felt almost cleansing to cross the border into Uruguay. Also, we absolutely did not pay the ticket we had received the day before. Luckily you can count on the system, or lack of one, in South America to not keep track of things like tickets or fines. We stopped in a small town to stock up on groceries and arrived to our AirBnB by late afternoon. Eric found this little oasis outside of Colonia for us to relax, pack up our current worldly belongings, and sadly prep Pedro for his final goodbye. The place was called ‘El Nido’ meaning the nest and was run by a wonderful family. They were originally from Buenos Aires where the father ran a large hotel, but moved to Uruguay to raise their children and live a lifestyle focused on family and sustainability, with a much slower pace. They now have two small cabins on stilts that overlook a vineyard. Day one was spent relaxing and enjoying the fresh bread and homemade jams they left as a welcome present. The next day was spent taking every single item out of Pedro, putting on the lawn and then trying to fit it into one of our 4 bags. It was quite the sight.

When we drove away from our treehouse escape, we had all of our items packed into two huge duffle bags, two large backpacks, one day pack and one computer bag. We drove into Montevideo and found our little apartment. To get into the underground parking garage Pedro was squeezed possibly the tightest of the entire trip. Halfway through the main gate we had to loosen and turn in one of the side mirrors. Once we got in we were only sixty percent sure we could ever get out again. We unloaded all of our bags into the small apartment and cleaned up our tiny home for the last time. The morning we woke up with heavy hearts, as we would be saying a permanent goodbye to Pedro (even typing this now, it still hurts a bit). Eric was going to meet our German buyer, Felix, at a gas station near the airport. We decided that I would stay at the apartment and wait for the bittersweet news once the deal was done. We had already been in contact with Felix for some time and received a small deposit for Pedro. It’s always a bit stressful figuring out transactions and the legality of things in a foreign country. The hand off went well and as extremely shy as Felix was, he did make a fart joke which led Eric to believe he was going to be a solid next owner. Let’s be honest, there were tears when I saw Pedro drive away. After driving 28,801 miles through 15 countries, it was the end of an era for us.

After Pedro’s sale we had two days to enjoy Montevideo. We made our way around the city, went to the beach, which was surprisingly clean for being central within the city, and walked their huge malecon that spans miles along the coast line. We truly enjoyed our little neighborhood and host. We found some craft beer stores and had some amazing meals with delicious wine and beef. We decided that the tickets for the ferry from Montevideo to Buenos Aires weren’t so costly that taking the bus would be worth the transfers and lugging the bags around. So, we walked down to the port and booked our ferry for the following day. The morning of our scheduled ferry, we woke up and it was pouring rain. Since this was the first morning that we were 100% reliant on public transportation, we assumed we had given ourselves enough time to catch a cab. Wrong. The apartment we were in had a key fob to get through about four doors before getting outside. We strategically placed luggage in the doorways to make it out of the building and stood as much out of the rain as we could. Then started the hellish task of finding a taxi. Since everyone in the city normally walks to work or school, on a rainy day it took us 48 minutes to get a cab. Eric ran up and down two or three blocks in the rain to try and find a cab that wasn’t already occupied and not on its way to get someone. We tried to call the companies but the phone wouldn’t reach them. Finally, Eric showed up after he had ran off for twenty minutes in a cab. We were both soaking wet but made our way to the terminal. Luckily we got our damp luggage and selves onto the ferry just in time.

Arriving in Buenos Aires was sunny and humid compared the soggy Montevideo we had left behind. We crammed our stuff into a cab and made our way to our final spot. Our rental for the four nights in the city was the perfect location to explore the many sights. Once we got settled, changed into dry clothes and unpacked a few things, we went on the hunt for empanadas. We wandered around the neighborhood for a while and then had a great early dinner at a small tea café. We spent a lot of time just walking around the large city. They call it the Paris of South America and it really did have comparable qualities that stood out to us. We always enjoy the time camping and exploring the outdoors but we can’t deny that we also love our city time. One of the hilarious highlights of wandering the city was something neither of us had ever done before. We pulled the tourist card and road a double decker bus around for a few hours. For such a huge city as Buenos Aires was, it was fun to be able to jump on and off in all the highlighted neighborhoods. While we understand there is so much more to the culture of a city than those sort of tours show, it was a great opportunity to physically see way more than we would have on foot. Eric almost treated me to a Christmas Nutcracker performance but we just couldn’t pull ourselves together enough without being embarrassingly non presentable for the ballet. There were also a couple large markets around the city and great boutiques to pick up last minute gifts. One of our last and best meals was at a small but popular restaurant just down the street from our place. Since we didn’t have a reservation they sat us at a community table in the wine cellar. Our punishment for being without a reservation turned out to be one of the best evenings out we had. We enjoyed an amazing wine recommendation, conversation with local couples of all ages we would never had enjoyed the company of and the evening was topped off with two flutes of champagne. It was a perfect celebratory meal to end with.

The airport shuttle arrived for us on December 21st after our last hours spent walking around the city earlier that morning. The cab driver was the third person to call our giant black duffels, body bags. While driving out of the city it hit me hard that this was truly the end and that in less than 24 hours we would be back in the states. Eric had to witness me lose it in the cab and silently cry my way to the airport. Standing in the check in line, we managed to repack all of our bags to be under the 50 pound limit and were pretty pleased with not having to pay any additional fees to get all of our items home. We had a few pounds to spare and Eric was a little salty that he could have packed a few more small tools to come back with us. After making our way through the airport and boarding, we settled in for our night of free airplane drinks, movies and hopefully a little sleep before landing in good old US of A.

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