Category Archives: travel

What is a Workaway stay like in Uruguay?

The sign at the entrance of our sweet hosts. There are many types of workaways, as varied as the hosts and volunteers themselves. We were accepted to a Workaway in Colonia Valdense, Uruguay for all of November, 2022. Here are some sweet memories.
Dropped by the autobus here in Colonial Valdense, Uruguay. We are traveling as a family through South America with our teen kids and border collie. Victoria, our host, picked us up and warmly welcomed us to her family’s organic farm. We quickly saw that the daily routine is work and more work: to grow, harvest and make glorious food, care for animals and enjoy the life of the land and community.
Taking a walk on our first night, getting to know the area before going to sleep.
Picking peas.
First job for us was to pick and schuck peas and beans. It’s a job any kid on a farm can do.
So many beans and peas.
The poppies, calendula and articokes at sunset
First morning, woke to news that 19 chickens were killed overnight by a fox. The work of discarding the bodies led me to this forest where these cow skulls greeted me. The kids take the bones and build forts here.
Our host family is growing artichokes for the first time and is open to how to prepare it in creative ways. Sooo many articokes.
Articoke flower, it’s really special to see this in person at sunset.
Oregano, dried and destemmed. Ready for the blender and then storage.
Viv cooking one of the many meals in our thirty day stay at Uruti Workaway with Gaston and Victoria.
Medicinal teas guided by Victoria
Stinging nettle swelling…
Remedy for stinging nettles (ortiga)
Making green pasta with Ortiga, stinging neddle. Nettles are rich in calcium and iron and used on the farm for fertilizer, chicken supplements, pasta, medicinals, etc.
Number 2049, as picturesque as this scene was, we learned that these steer are all shared by families and friends for meat. The schedule of “harvest” is depending on lunar calendars. Gaston and Victoria rotate the 2 small herds daily to sections of grass bordered by a flexible electric fence and in exchange receive some of the meat either to consume or sell. The streers live a pretty ideal life until…that day.
Number 2049 the day after being killed, chopped and left to cool overnight, these neighbors came back to finish the cuts. The processing of this steer took two men two half days of work plus the prep time Victoria did of moving the single steer to a pen alone and away from food for 12 hours prior to slaughter. The steer was never transported by truck to slaughter or sale while full size. Pretty earth friendly when compared to commercial beef.
Niles’ lemon meringue pie to put your mind in a sweeter mood.
The galleria that makes hot afternoons bearable.
Niles making tortillas.
Niles made Victoria a birthday apple pie.
At the Rio del Plata beachfront, a huge waterfront that has both Buenos Aires and Montevideo as inland ports. Niles throwing sand balls for Gypsy.
Hanging out deciding on how to approach a swim.
Peoma the farm dog who is not able to keep a fox away from the hen house, loves a lap
Viv and her chick orphaned during a fox raid.
The huerte or working garden for squash, corn, and tomatoes. Niles, Viv and I dug, conditioned the earth and planted with Victoria’s guidance.
Mike breaking ground with me for the corn.
Harvesting moras for dulce de mora in front of the house.
Victoria with her vat of ducle de pimentos: best with cheese. Victoria makes ducle de mora, pimentos, hongos, doraznos, limon, naranja, quinotos, damascos, uva, pera etc. All products of their land, all organically grown.
We cleaned jars, wrote and taped labels for the products as she turned them out of her kitchen. It was a treat to be able to see the process from harvest to jar.
The sign used in front of the Organic Fair on Saturdays while getting ready for the fair.

Montevideo to Colonia Valdense to Meet our Workaway Family

Sweet Maria and Ricardo, Superhosts of Airbnb in Montevideo

Today we leave Montevideo and our sweet Airbnb hosts who opened their rooftop Casita to us and their hearts. Maria and Ricardo alerted us that there would be a pop-up fruit and vegetable market the morning we were leaving. And sure enough, at 5:30 there were stands being erected just below the terrace.

Trucks full of fruits, vegetables and the vendor stands all showed up for the Tuesday pop-up market.
The terrace where we hung out and had meals the last 3 days.

Maria, Ricardo, Niles, Vivian, Gypsy and I packed the bags and kennel to the main street to flag a taxi. We had reserved an Uber but found that I had marked for “pm” rather than “am” on the app. Lord, planning is sometimes overrated. We flagged a super helpful taxi driver and got to the bus terminal with plenty of time. Gypsy has to ride in her kennel at all times in taxis and the long haul buses. Final hugs for Maria and Ricardo and we were off.

At the Tres Cruses estaciĆ³n waiting on our 2 hour bus trip.
Our destination is Colonia Valdense, Uruguay to be picked up by our host family through Workaway. We were accepted to stay with them to help around their farm and kitchen as well as do language exchange.
Niles and Gypsy on the terrace in Montevideo.
Our Casita in Montevideo.
The beach! Montevideo has several sandy beaches that are public. The sign says no dogs but, there were many….including Gypsy.
Walking tour of Montevideo. The better way to travel Montevideo is by bike or public bus but those were not an option with Gypsy.

Buenos Aires, Argentina to Montevideo, Uruguay by Colonial Ferry and Bus

Saying “Goodbye” to Buneos Aires
Waiting outside the check in at the port. Paid: $151.19 for three, no cost for dog but is on the reservation.

Because port customs (vehicles arrived 13/10/2022, today is 10/28/2022) has been a very long process with the vehicles in Buenos Aires, we are splitting up today. Three to Uruguay to start the Workaway with Victoria and Mike to stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina to jump customs hoops. Our plan to get the vehicles to Uruguay will evolve after the vehicles are released to Mike.

The Port of linea Colonial Ferry:–2aBhD5ARIsALiRlwCjr5es54VFc9YL9VhCEPQHMqzte93OG0qdqzJaYttESKdkqfpe8FIaAhH5EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
We are EARLY! Our bags went through X-ray, we presented our tickets and passports to Argentinan customs then Uruguayan customs. Customs didn’t ask for papers or charge for our dog. There must be more checks on the other side? Spoiler, yes, there is.
Colonial schedule for today, 28/10/2022.
Waiting room at 7:52 for the ferry after customs for 8:30 am ferry.
Lots of space for the dog kennel and all the bags near free for all seating on ferry.
On deck with Gypsy
Walking towards customs on the Uruguay side
Customs officer swiped to check Gypsy’s chip, took our original Colombian Certificado de Salidad (we took photos of the QR code and papers). No fees, Gypsy entered Uruguay
Now, the bus ride, glad we brought the kennel! 2 hours to Montevideo by bus. She is not allowed in the passenger area. Not a happy dog as we walked away.
Lots of farmland, forests, family compounds along the road. From the bus, Uruguay looks like a tropical Montana. Wheat, sheep, cattle, family restaurants, churches, land and houses for sale, BIG open spaces. It’s good weather today, sunny, spring temperatures. Uruguay looks to be thriving at least from the view of this well kept coastal road.
View from the bus, every once in a while you can see the bay.

Next, posts from Montevideo!