Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Onward to Uruguay


Timing is everything and time was definitely on our side today. We woke early in Tigre and caught the train back to BA. We had left our luggage overnight at our hotel so we stopped to pick them up before heading to the ferry. Today, we decided, we're going to Uruguay. Neither of us knew much about the country and most travelers I encountered either knew only Colonia or Montevideo, but nothing past that. The plan was to take the ferry, spend the night and then come back the next day to BA.


We reached the ferry building to find a ferry to Colonia leaving in a half hour. Two tickets, please. The ferry to Colonia only takes about an hour and it's relatively comfortable. Just enough time for a glass of wine and a ham and cheese sandwich. And customs couldn't be easier. Two agents stand next to each other in the departing terminal you hand your passport to the first agent (from Argentina) who stamps you out. She hands your passport to the next agent (from Uruguay) who stamps you in and you're done before you even board the boat. Oh I miss the old days of traveling. It used to be so easy.


Colonia's sights are primarily contained in the Historic District. It's an ancient shipping port with cobblestone streets, restored buildings and even a lighthouse. It's very quaint, romantic and touristy. But a majority of the tourists are only day trippers who clear out and head back to BA at night. Surprisingly, though, hotels here are on par with BA prices and you don't get nearly the same bang for your buck.


As we wandered the city we stopped in a cute, little wine shop for some Tannat, cheese and salami. Uruguayans are very proud of their domestic wine (Tannat) and cheeses which are both very good. While still daylight, we climbed to the top of the lighthouse to take in the scope of the historic district and then watched the sunset near the boat club pier. As soon as the daytrippers take their leave this town slows down and settles into something romantic and wonderful.


Similar to Argentina and Chile, Uruguayans dine late, so we joined them with a wonderful late meal of fresh fish and shrimp at El Drugstore - a restaurant that came highly recommended. The atmosphere is cheery and they have live music every night, like so many of the other restaurants in the area. Tourists that fail to see the charm of this city at night are missing out. It might be a tourist trap by definition but there's something very wonderful about it.

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