Lighthouse in Colonia del SacramentoTuesday 30 April to Thursday 2 May
Exploring the old town in Colonia del Sacramento
Another beautifully sunny day...to begin with!
So, Tuesday morning it was off to the ferry port to catch the Colonia Express. Another taxi ride where my heart was in my mouth, flitting between buses, cars, motorcycles and pedestrians. As is always the case, we made it in one piece. How there are not continuous traffic accidents here I don't know. Perhaps all the drivers are telepathically connected in some way so can read one another's next moves.
After a nice hour long wait in the check in office we were through and boarding the ferry.
We arrived into Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay's oldest town, a couple of hours later. At the hostel I tried to sort out the following days travel to Montevideo, only to discover it was a public holiday on Wednesday. This meant the usual hourly services were reduced to 3 over the whole day (the first already sold out). This was to be the first experience of my best laid plans not working out.
After weighing up whether it was worth the slight rush of the trip I decided to go ahead and book the bus tickets -
Colonia del Sacramento
Plaque commemortaing the restoration of the city, which has been under both Spanish and Portuguese control
departing at 1pm the following day, staying overnight and returning to Colonia on 2 May in time for the ferry. I thought it'd give me a few hours each day to see the city's two main districts. In retrospect this was not the best decision, but who was to know the heavens planned to open in truly British fashion!!!
That evening in Colonia I went down to the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was beautiful, right on the coast. As I explored the cobblestone streets it was drawing close to dusk. The dipping sunlight was casting shadows across the beautiful colonial buildings and playing in the leaves of the trees lining the plazas. Other highlights were the Portón de Campo - a city gate and drawbridge - and the Lighthouse.
I then walked down to the yacht harbour, taking a seat on a bench on the pier to watch the sun set. Silhouettes of yacht masts lined the skyline and boats bobbed around on the rippling water.
The city was truly sedate and I reveled in the calm, after the storm of Buenos Aires.
The following morning I woke up early (well by
Vista from the city walls looking out to sea
my current standards) to walk the promenade - a 6km walk to the old Bull Ring. It was on this walk I received the amazing news that I was now an Aunty, little Layla having been born at 5lb 1.5oz. Aside from being there to meet her in person and share in the joy of her arrival with my family, the setting could not have been more perfect. A few tears did creep out at this point I must admit.
Further along the walk I chanced upon a bike race so stopped a wee while to join the onlookers.
Pressed for time to get back for my bus I made it to the Bull Ring, which appears disused. A vast building, it was not the most beautiful of structures, but impressive nonetheless.
Returning along the same route, I got more of an opportunity to take in the ocean view and enjoy the breeze.
I made the bus and slept pretty much all the way into Montevideo. Approaching the city you got views of the favelas on the outskirts of the city. A sight to see, with houses made of breeze blocks and corrugated iron roofs. Some
Walking the Old Town
Beautiful shaded footpaths with glimpses of the colonial past
appeared fairly stable, whilst others were crumbling. The conditions that these families live in is unimaginable and I felt extremely blessed with my lot in life.
Further on an industrial skyline opened up, as we passed power stations and refineries, followed by skyscrapers further towards the city. After arriving at the hostel the heavens opened and thunder clapped. It did not seem I would have my two hours of time to explore the beaches bordering the city that night.
It was not a totally wasted trip though, as it provided an opportunity to meet other people staying at the hostel and hear their travel tales. I met two Americans (David and Ben), seasoned travellers who had seen much of South America and had some recommendations of places to see. David was travelling thanks to the royalties on his books - he had produced a number of books and instructional DVDs on bead and wire jewellery-making, and had taught extensively in the past. This provided him the opportunity to travel pretty much continuously, with a short break when he would look after his parents ranch to give them time off. He kindly showed me how to make some earrings,
Plaza at sunset in Colonia del Sacramento
giving them to me as a gift.
I also met two Manchester lads (both called Josh) and a Welsh girl (Jess), who were coming towards the end of their 12 months of travel. I discovered Jess had done a lot of travel, like David. Working as a model and in TV, two jobs a year was pretty much all she needed to complete before packing up and heading to somewhere new. Some people have all the luck!
The following morning I had a couple of hours to wander the Old Town in Montevideo - viewing buildings through drizzle and mist. I had a sense that I wasn't perhaps seeing the city at its best, but a few architectural features did stand out and made me feel less like I should have stayed in Colonia.
It was then back on the bus, followed by the ferry back to Buenos Aires.
Tot: 0.066s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 10; qc: 47; dbt: 0.0104s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb