A 2 day pit-stop between Argentina and Brazil
27.03.2013 - 28.03.2013
While Uruguay was never on my must-do list, I had 2 days spare before I needed to meet my friends in Brazil, and so decided to breeze through one more country, instead of milling about Buenos Aires.
Colonia del Sacramento
Founded in 1680 by the Portuguese, its strategic position and use as a smuggling port meant that its sovereignty was hotly contested, and the city changed hands several times between Spain and Portugal.
Just a short ferry ride across the 217km wide Rio de la Plata, Colonia is a quaint little town, do-able in a day trip from either from Buenos Aires or Montevideo. The small coastal area can be seen in a few hours on foot, where visitors can stroll through the quiet cobbled streets of the old Portuguese settlement, viewing the original houses and small museums from the colonial period.
The first of these sights would be the Portón de Campo (city gate), rebuilt in 1968. This, together with the ruins and lighthouse, which was built in 1694, destroyed, and rebuilt in 1845, might be the city’s main highlights.
With a little time to spare before the next bus to Montevideo, I also managed to sneak in a quick lunch in the park, with views of the Basilica.
Arriving to the capital of Uruguay in the evening, I headed straight to my hostel, only to be informed I shouldn’t go back out as it was quite dangerous. A bit distraught at missing my last South American full moon, I caught up on emails and some much-needed sleep, and ventured out for the whole of the next day instead.
Having just one day to view the city, I put my time to good use, and walked all through the cuidad vieja, past the Plaza Independencia, Teatre Solis, and onwards by the water to the port, where many locals go to fish.
Although run down in some areas, the city was quite pleasant, and it was nice to be able to look out on the horizon and take a breath of fresh air.
Of course a trip to Montevideo is a complete waste without a lunch stop at the famous Mercado del Puerto, where masses of parillas selling all types of grilled meats meet in an old factory warehouse. Having had my fair share of beef in Argentina, I tried the Costillas de Cerdo (Pork), which were cooked to perfection, and served with pureed apples and a complimentary glass of wine.
I realize that 2 days may not have been enough to give this country justice, but for me it was enough to experience some of the culture, and see some of the sights.