When attempting to find a program that would fully emerge me into Argentine culture this winter, my study abroad advisors all told me Sol would be my best option. This week really proved that to be true. I was able to experience a side of Argentina that I didn’t know existed until these past few days.
One activity that was a lot of fun was making empanadas. While being a staple food here that you can find on any corner, I had no idea how these intricate pockets of heaven were created. We were taught how to make the dough and create delicious empanadas by real empanada chefs on an adorable patio while the sun set. They may not have looked as great as what the professionals here are capable of, but with some extra help from the pros, they still tasted fantastic!
This weekend, we also got to travel to a special place outside of the city–El Tigre. On our way, we stopped in a small town overlooking the river, and visited a church with a different type of architecture than Buenos Aires. It just so happened when we stepped outside of the church, there was a rainbow circling the top of it and I just had to snap a picture!
Once we arrived to El Tigre, we went on a boat tour of the river and got to see how different the style of living and environment is on the islands compared to the city. The houses were all raised on stilts so that they won’t be flooded when the tide rushes up from the river, and there were even schools/restaurants all along the sides of the river. In order to get to these islands, they have boats that work as a mode of pubic transportation, or people can use their own personal boats–driving isn’t an option. After our boat ride, we were able to experience an old market that stretched through the streets all the way back to the riverside. I bought a couple of homemade candles from a small vendor on the main street and was excited about my purchase! It was a fun-filled day in the sun and like something I had never experienced before!
The day after our El Tigre adventure, we got to soak up some more sun at an authentic Argentine Ranch called Estancia Santa Susana. We road horses, saw a tango show, ate the biggest meal with some of the best steak I have ever had, and watch the Gauchos put on a show for us with their horses. When we arrived, we were greeted with empanadas and juice as we toured a museum of what it used to be like to live on a ranch. Before we left we all tried Mate. Mate is a bitter herbal tea that is as common as coffee in Argentina. People drink it in the parks in special cups and share the same straw. It is a long-standing tradition for Argentina and was a unique experience as well.
It has been an even greater week than the last and I can’t wait to see what this final week has in store!