A change of pace at Sacremento de Colonia

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March 25th 2013
Published: March 27th 2013
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25 - 26th March Colonia de Sacramento and onto Montevideo

After a final tussle with the Ibis over the bill – tried to charge us for breakfast when it was included! So I asked about the discount for the problem with the air con that the manageress mentioned, a quick phone call and caught the words Inglesia and probably loco and result – one free nights stay! and we were off again.

We took a taxi down to the port in La Boca to catch the Colonia Express ferry. You had to get there an hour early to check in, which took about 5 minutes and then we sat around for an hour before we went through the immigration stuff. Got stamped out of Argentina and into Paraguay without leaving land! Then another 45 minute wait as the ferry was delayed, eventually it arrived and we all piled on and zoomed off. One hour later and we were in Uruguay!

It’s a small port in Colognia and there was an ATM but it wouldn’t give us any money so we walked a block up to the bus station, found another which did give us some cash and then flashed up out of order, so we only just made that in time. We bought our bus tickets for the next day onto Montevideo and then walked on to the El Viajero Hostel.

It’s really weird being in a small, laid back town where you can stroll across roads without fear of being mown down! Drivers even stop and wave you across, I like it!

The hostel is nice enough, it’s got a rooftop terrace which is nice and the bed seems quite comfy. So we dumped our gear and went out for a stroll. We just ate at a fast food place around the corner, it had tables on the pavement which was nice, but it was fly central which wasn’t so nice. We tried Chevito’s for the first time, a large bun filled with thinly sliced steak, tomatoes, lettuce, a fried egg, bacon, ham, mayo and tomato ketchup…….very tasty!

We walked down to the waterfront and wandered up and down the piers, we spotted the high rises of BA far off in the distance and generally walked around this old part of town. A lot of the large colonial buildings in this area are boarded up but they are still impressive. We found a visitors type centre, with an art exhibition and as it was early evening it was free to go in, so we did.

Back at the hostel there was a French film crew blocking the corridor and kitchen with all their gear so we sat in the lounge using the computer surrounded by screeching all American girls and a bunch of right hooray Henry’s from England – which was slightly mortifying.

The next morning we checked out, left our rucksacks at the hostel and went to properly look around this little ‘historical’ town. It was really sweet, all cobbled streets, quaint little buildings, a few ruins, a lighthouse and bizarrely a skeleton of a huge dinasour in a compound with a dodgy sabre tiger and a giant tortoise!

There are old vintage cars parked everywhere, they seem to be being used to set the scene of the past in lots of cases and in others they have plants growing in and out of them, it’s really quirky and I like it!

We paid our pesos to go up the lighthouse and climbed the 118 steps, the first part was fine (knackering but fine) and we climbed out to see the views, the final section however got smaller and tighter and the queue stopped and I had an attack of the chu chi tunnels. Thankfully just before I was at the screaming and running stage the big American in front of me managed to squeeze through the trap door onto the roof and so I was able to get out and breathe. It was high. Didn’t stay up there long, as I wanted to get down before a queue formed as I needed a clear run to get down and out! I was very relieved to be back out on the ground again – my phobias seem to be getting worse! We whiled away the time in one of the parks, watching the locals sipping their mate – they have special cups with metal straws and flasks that they all carry around with them and they make their drinks up by adding hot water to these special herbs and then they sip it (continuously in some cases) and then collected our stuff and walked to the bus station.

The bus left bang on time and we drove through lots of very green, flat, agricultural scenery and about 3 hours later arrived in Montevideo. Although we are back in a large city, it just doesn’t have the hectic pace of Buenos Aires which is nice.

We are staying in a small hotel called the Iberia which was obviously formerly a large family home. It’s been beautifully decorated and the staff are really friendly – infact the owner is learning English so she spent about 15 minutes practising on us! - trying to explain all the sights etc to us in very faltering English.

Time was getting on so we decided to go out and find somewhere to eat before it got completely dark. We ended up in a local café, where everything was in Spanish and the guy who served us was a right misery. The food was ok but not cheap for what we had so we won’t bother going there again.

Apparently tomorrow is a national holiday – we seem to keep landing on them!, no idea why or what for but the laundrette is closed because of it, arrrgggghhh I’ve been hanging out until we got here, looks like we will have to keep on smelling for a bit longer!

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