Uruguay - Colonia del Sacremento


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Published: May 31st 2017
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Suzanne here...

At around an hour and a half, the bus journey from Carmelo was much too short for my liking. We really enjoy traveling by bus. We'd seen a bit of scenery and eaten the cheese baguettes I'd made before we left. I then had just the tiniest little snooze, when David informed me we were nearly there. Bah.

Hotel Perla del Plata was just a short walk from the bus station. It wasn't our first choice, but hotels in Colonia are rather pricey. Luckily it was actually quite nice. Small room but clean and comfortable, so nothing really wrong with it.

Colonia del Sacramento is a very pretty little town with cobbled streets and a UNESCO listed historic centre. It's on the Rio de la Plata, the same river as Carmelo. At Carmelo it was huge enough. Here it begins to turn into an estuary and is so wide you can't see the other side, save for a tiny glimpse of few Buenos Aires skyscrapers in the distance. In fact, it is the widest estuary in the world. There were plenty of people around, but as it is not high season it wasn't over crowded. We spent the afternoon just wandering around, getting our bearings and checking out potential dinner options.

We picked Los Farilitos Chivitos for dinner. Partly because we were keen to try chivitos again, and reviews said this was the best place in town. Partly because it was cheap. It was fast-food, but we didn't mind sitting outside on plastic chairs. The chivitos were delicious it has to be said. At $U740 (£20) for chivitos, chips and beer for two it was reasonable for Uruguay. But I couldn't help but think what £20 would get you in Thailand. Ah well, we're not in Asia anymore. We couldn't find a decent bar so grabbed a couple of beers for the room. We've been drinking Patricia, which is very nice. For the first time though, David had a Patricia Dunkle, which he proclaimed to be one of the best beers of the trip so far.

The next day started with yet another hotel breakfast, which was pretty good. The day then consisted of more wandering around. There really isn't much more to do in Colonia. We did know this in advance to be fair, and it is a lovely place to wander. We had lunch at El Asador, more chivitos (they are that good). It was nice, if not as good as Los Farilitos.

We'd seen the town by this point, and it was getting cooler. So the rest of the afternoon was spent researching some upcoming destinations. We did go out for dinner, to a Turkish restaurant called Istanbul Gourmet. It was absolutely fine, and quite cheap, if not exactly the taste sensation of the decade. I did tell off an older and rather well-to-do looking man who was playing a video loudly on his phone. Then he apologised and I felt bad. But really, it is quite rude I think, especially in a restaurant.

Having seen the whole town, twice, the next day we decided to walk 6km up the coast to Real San Carlos. It was a lovely walk past some small and quiet beaches. Once there, we visited the abandoned Plaza de Torros (bullring). It's a bit of a sad story. It was built by an Argentinian entrepreneur in 1910. He built a whole tourist complex, including a casino hotel and a wharf and rail station to bring the tourists in. From what I gather there was some sort of arrangement to lease the land for 25 years in exchange for building an electrical plant to supply the town with electricity. However just two years later bullfighting was made illegal. A second blow came when a tax was placed on any port where there was a casino. So the whole enterprise was abandoned. Much as I hate bullfighting, and in fact am not massively keen on gambling, I can't help but feel sorry for the guy. Anyway, it was interesting to see and I hope the long promised restoration of the bullring takes place.

On the walk back we adopted a dog. He looked well fed (like all the dogs in S.A. actually) and just seemed to want some company. The bounding joy he showed when David threw a few sticks for him was lovely to see. Luckily for us he wandered off to another couple before we got back to town.

We'd not had pizza for a while, and as there was a well reviewed pizzeria two minutes walk from our hotel we decided to try it. Pizzería Don Joaquín had good reviews, but we've been tricked by that before. But it looked nice and their prices were reasonable so we took a chance. Oh. My. God. Proper, delicious pizza! The only decent pizza we've had in South America was back in Guatape, Colombia. The rest have been pretty dire. This was wonderful, tasty, fantastic pizza. We'd have loved a nice draft beer to compliment it, but we are avoiding drinking every single day (honest) and I'm determined not to drink the day before a boat trip again, even a huge ferry on a calm sea.

The following morning it was time to leave Colonia, and Uruguay. We had breakfast before walking the 10 minutes to the ferry terminal. We've both enjoyed Uruguay. Perhaps not the most memorable county of our trip, but very nice. I think it would be even better in the summer. We did fail, yet again, to find Heavy Metal (come on Buenos Aires!). It was also quite expensive. But I'm very glad we made some time to visit. But I'm massively excited about Buenos Aires, and have been since we left England.


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