Once back in BA, we had a little over 2 weeks until our friend Louise from home was due to meet us, and therefore we decided to split this time into two parts. Week 1 would be spent in Uruguay and week 2 in Bariloche, back in Argentina. The fact that we could get to Uruguay in around an hour was draw enough for us, but the warmer weather in this part of the world when comparing it to Southern Argentina was the clincher, and so we headed north to a small town called Colonia. In order to get to Colonia, it seemed the best way was to make the short journey over the water in one of the frequent taxi ferries leaving from BA’s port. When we arrived at the ticket desk we asked which was the next boat to leave for Colonia and was told that it was a mere hour or so wait with Buccabus and that the price would be ARS 320 (about £50). Having done our research for a change, we already knew that there was another boat leaving at the same time that would actually be a lot cheaper with Seacat, and so since this
information was not forthcoming from the vendor, we casually asked if there were any other boats due to go soon. Once prompted the vendor then seemed to suddenly remember this option, and proceeded to tell us that ‘Yes, there is a Seacat boat leaving at the same time, and the cost is ARS240’ (about £35)….. lucky we knew the score!
After buying the cheaper of the two tickets, we then went through the standard border crossing checks and passport control, and were quickly at the boarding gate awaiting our Seacat ferry. Once the 12.30pm departure was announced, we were a little unsure as to whether it was the Seacat that we were due to travel on, or the Buccabus ferry, and so we did what most Brits would do in this situation and that was to see what everyone else did first before deciding what to do! After putting this plan into action, we noticed that everyone in the waiting area had got up and formed a queue, so not ones to turn down a good queue either, we joined the back of it, and hoped for the best. Turns out that every single person that was in the
boarding area was getting on the same ferry…..the Buccabus ferry?? Turns out that there weren’t two ferries after all, just the one, however if you asked for a Seacat ticket, you paid considerably less than if you bought a Buccabus ticket…Weird!
And, in case you are wondering, no, we didn’t have to sit in a different part of the boat, or even a different area……Strange, but we had finally saved some money in this country…At last!
So, on arrival in Colonia, we loaded ourselves up like cart horses, and made the 15 minute walk to our hostel. Here, the staff were friendly as were the guests, and after a little while chatting we took to the town to explore.
The first thing we noticed about Colonia was the abundance of Golf carts about. This wasn’t because of Colonia’s love of a Golf course but simply due to the lack of need for a car due to the size of this compact little town. Everywhere you went, there were tourists hitting the roads in these Golf carts which was quite amusing considering Donna and I pretty much walked round the main part of town in less than an
hour…this wasn’t a place to exert yourself it seemed!
During our walk around town, we both immediately warmed to the place with it’s pretty colonial buildings, old school lighthouse and flower filled plazas. It had a great balance of plenty of people about so that it wasn’t empty, but without having that feel that it was overrun with tour bus groups either. Everywhere you looked were cute little restaurants and quaint antique stores which just gave the place a real charm. There were even vintage cars that had been converted into little tables for two that although would have been a tight squeeze, were just so original and quirky. I think possibly the only thing that we didn’t love about the town was the colour of the water that surrounded Colonia, as it was a pretty dirty shade of brown, which was unfortunate as otherwise, this really did seem like one of the most perfect little places we had visited so far on our trip.
After walking round town for a while, we became a little peckish and so decided to grab ourselves a bite to eat. It quickly became apparent however, that this isn’t really an option
between 4pm and 7pm in Uruguay as all the restaurants shut in preparation for their evening meals….hmm, what to do. So, after walking around a little more, we finally came across what seemed to be the only restaurant open in town which was a strange place consisting of what seemed to be a balance of fast food and fresh food with a clown plastered all over the menus and windows of the restaurant as part of a surreal way of advertising their food. Had it not been the only place in town open, we would have avoided this tourist trap nightmare in exchange for one of the awesome little eateries we had seen whilst on our stroll, however at this time in the afternoon, this was all that was available and unfortunately, hunger won out. It was lucky that we were hungry after all as we were both served enormous plates of food! My breaded chicken so huge that it took up my entire 12 inch plate, and Donna and I spent a lot of time trying to guess what this really was, as there is no chicken on this earth that could ever be this big even after being
flattened with a meat hammer… eventually I decided I would prefer not to know, and shovelled the food in any way!
After our feast we retreated back to the hostel in order to simply chill out and rest for a while and randomly came across Gareth, a Welsh guy we constantly bumped into in Bolivia, who was also staying in our Hostel, and so spent the evening catching up on what we had both been up to since we last met and swapping travel stories from previous trips. Donna and I were desperately trying to stay off the drink for one night before we hit the beach and even managed to do so. Gareth however had no such priority as he happily swigged his £1.50 a bottle of smuggled Red wine from the supermarket in a chipped and faded coffee cup from the hostels kitchen….. unfortunately, I am sad to announce, I was jealous!
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