South America Day 14 - Colonia del Sacramento

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South America » Uruguay » West » Colonia del Sacramento
January 22nd 2019
Published: January 24th 2019
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Today we are going to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. It’s not far; on the opposite side of the River Plate. But the river is so wide at this point, that it’s a 75 minute ferry journey.

We check in, pass through Argentinian immigration then have to do a 180 degree turn to pass through Uruguayan immigration (which is basically an official in the same booth with her back to the Argentinian official). This means that we finish facing in the opposite direction to the original direction we were facing. The old man sets off back the way we came clutching his stamped passport, finally realising he is walking in the opposite direction to the huge pictures of boats and arrows, and walks back through passport control, which annoys the official a lot.

Once on board, we try to locate an outside deck but there isn’t one. I’ve never been on an enclosed ship before. The layout is more like a plane with hundreds of rows of front facing seats. All there is to do is stare at the back of the seat in front, which contains the emergency evacuation instructions. By the time we reach Uruguay, I have added several words to my vocabulary and an wondering how to get ‘deslizarse’ into a sentence.

Colonia feels like it’s stuck in a time warp. Little has changed here since colonial times. We wander along the river, up and down cobbled streets past old Portuguese and Spanish buildings, stopping to climb the 118 steps (and one wobbly ladder) to the top of the 19th century lighthouse.

The town is full of day trippers from Argentina. The boats back are at 9 pm. Our cunning plan is to spend the day sightseeing, have dinner and return to Argentina. Strangely, most of the restaurants shut from 4-8 so this simple plan seems to have failed. I’m thirsty, hungry and grumpy. Finally, we find an open restaurant. It sells Patricia beer, which is very welcome. I wonder what my teetotal mother-in-law would think about having a beer named after her? We order a Caesar salad for 2. It’s the biggest, saltiest salad I’ve ever had. Just what we needed after such a sweaty day of sightseeing.

We return to the port early. It’s already full of people not sure what else to to with themselves in a town which is having a siesta until all the tourists have left.

I don’t have many souvenirs for my scrapbook. At the port, we finally spot a tourist information booth. Not surprisingly, it’s shut. So I decide to stage a break-in. The old man stands guard while I climb into the booth, crawl under a shelf and liberate a map of Colonia. Two pints of Patricia make this seem all the funnier.

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