Day 97: Uruguay For the Full Set

Sun. 18th November 2012

1694 ruins and 1845 lighthouseAs we flew from Rio to Buenos Aires instead of the original plan to get the bus (42 hours on a bus even with overnight stops did not appeal in the end), we have opted to catch the ferry across the Rio de la Plata to visit Uruguay. We will then be able to say we will have visited all the countries in South America (counting Venezuala and Columbia in Central America).

To establish what to pack for our overnight trip to Colonia in Uruguay, I opened the shutter of our bedroom window and squint upwards through the small gap at the sky. It looks bright sunshine but the weather forecast promises rain. Therefore I decide to pack sun cream and raincoat, flip flops and canvas flat shoes (as well as the necessary clean knickers and toothbrush). This should cover all options, even if I can hear my sons in my ear – two pairs of shoes for a day away?

The first stop is a laundrette which, luckily, is open on  a Sunday; second stop Starbucks for Dave’s caffeine fix; and then we are ready to catch the ferry. It was a five minute walk to terminal, ten minutes to check in and to get through customs, half hour queuing at the gate and finally onto the boat. As this is a fast ferry, the ship is all enclosed and we cannot go on deck for the view and photos.

Ferry docked in ColoniaBuenos Aires looks quite pretty as we leave the dock and deserves further investigation on our return tomorrow. We have not yet got the measure of BA as the Marina next to the ferry route is quite small given the huge river mouth and all the yachts we see out sailing by on a very pleasant Sunday morning. The crossing takes an hour and we are never out of sight of land.

Colonia del Sacramento, to give it its full name was established by Portuguese in 1680 to smuggle goods across to Buenos Aires until the Spanish captured it in 1762. It is like Paraty we visited south of Rio in Brazil but on a much smaller scale. It is very pretty with the Colonial architecture and also plenty of cafes to sit out and watch the world go by making it a popular tourist spot.

Caught in a time warpCalle de los Suspiros translates to Street of Sighs (nothing like the Bridge of Sighs!) and is an original Portuguese street. The “Colonians” could teach the “Paratyians” a lot about making cobbled streets easier to walk on. The centre of the historical part is a 10 minute walk from the ferry and mainly pedestrianized with all cobbled streets. A popular way to get around is to hire a golf buggy, but as we have all day we decide to walk around.

It only took an hour or so to walk around. This included climbing the lighthouse with its narrow winding staircase with no way of passing anyone so this was the only traffic jam we saw all day. The Basilica of the Holy Sacrament which was built in 1808 is the oldest church in Uruguay, and so it was worth a look inside.

Pretty PosadaOur accommodation is a pretty Posada recommended by Zaida, especially being able to sit out on the roof overlooking the river. We also enjoyed an after dinner stroll around the waterfront to see the sun set. You could also just make out the skyscrapers of Buenos Aires in the distance.

Sunset over the riverWe had changed the remains of our Brazilian currency into just under 1,000 Uruguayan pesos (about £35) which covered our afternoons expenses including the tower trip, a shared pizza for supper, beers and a nightcap, oh and a fridge magnet and some insect repellent as we had left ours in Argentina. Not bad going!

 

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4 Responses to Day 97: Uruguay For the Full Set

  1. Gavin says:

    Argentina and Chile, empanadas that’s all I am going to say, enjoy.

  2. Chris says:

    Ok, firstly, how are Colombia and Venezuela in central america? Also what about guyana, suriname and french guinea? Basically I have issues with your overly bold claim! I’ll accept “We’ve now visited all the south american countries south of the equator”

    (Also that steak you posted a picture of on facebook the other day looked amazing).

  3. Janet Hornsey says:

    I hate it when my son shows me up. In my defence where does Central America end?

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