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Published: February 15th 2007
Historic centre i
Across the Río de la Plata from Buenos Aires lies Colonia del Sacramento, one of Uruguay's tourist spots. A ferry service links Argentina's capital city with Uruguay's oldest town. Step out of the UNESCO World Heritage Site historical centre and there's not a whole lot going on in Colonia, though this is what seems to appeal to the Porteños who visit the place for a bit of r&r. Beyond the barrio histórico's cobbled streets there's a practically abandoned amusement park featuring, amongst other things, a disused bull-ring. Underestimating the length of the walk there, however, we had to turn back in order not to miss the bus to Montevideo.
The idea of a quick paddle was finally rejected given the increasingly chilly temperatures; by the time we got to Montevideo a couple of hours later it had started to snow. Plus the waters of the Río de la Plata aren't those of your typical crystalline creek: a massive estuary, its silt content lends it a brownish hue which always reminds me of dulce de leche. (I've often come across this caramel-like spread described for English-speakers as 'milk jam', which, while not the most explanatory of translations, makes it sounds deliciously
Not sure what these chaps were up to...
interesting. The idea of swimming through it holds a certain appeal...)
We reached Montevideo late in the evening, and having filled ourselves with chivitos (a Uruguayan speciality, something like a steak sandwich) and clérico (like sangría but with white wine), retreated to our accommodation to avoid the sleet showers. The following day we wandered around the old city and increasingly began to wonder if the abandoned amusement park beyond Colonia was not, in fact, Montevideo - the place was deserted! Okay, so it was a freezing Sunday in the depths of winter, but this capital city felt more like a sleepy provincial town. Three hot chocolates later and we were ready for the trip back across the milk jam.
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