Colonia in Uruguay
04.11.2010 - 05.11.2010
This morning saw us take a walk down to the docks to take the first ferry for the journey over to Uruguay. This saw us have the unique experience of walking through derelict building that could have easily been a building in post war Berlin such was the state of it. The waiting area here does not even have a café or set of toilets……hard to believe really. However the process went relatively smoothly and with the added touch of having the two countries immigration sitting next to each other speeding up the process. The ship however sailed with more comfort (and included a cafe and toilets onboard) than the waiting room had offered and we were soon in Uruguay, to be greeted by a building making the BA side look good!
Colonia is a popular tourist destination from BA due to it being nice and close and its reputation as a smaller quieter city that leaves the big city feel to Montevideo but has a nice historial district worth visiting. Despite the entrance to Uruguay we were enthused to be here and wandered into the heart of Colonia and its historic neighbourhood and were really amazed as the place was really quite beautiful. As with all colonial cities the streets were covered in cobblestones and the houses were simple and typified with their little Spanish balconies, this city however disinct tree lined streets that were a dominant feature. The really attractive bit is that the whole city is set into the harbor ensuring that no matter where you go in the city you are always close to the water. With this and the fact that the old town itself is very small it provides a very relaxed feel.
The first day was spent merely wandering around the lovely old neighbourhood and taking in the nicely restored old gate and the partial remains of the town wall, both simple but really nice and fit the atmosphere of the town beautifully. The city also has a few nice parks but nothing extravagant or over the top about it, this is perhaps the most surprising and enjoyablable part. After walking around we decided toweigh into the age old debate over which BBQ is better, Argentinian or Uruguayan, with the BBQ in Tigre up against the BBQ in Colonia. Overall I would have to say the BBQ here was nice but not quite of the same standard of that in Tigre and with little difference in price I would have to side with the Argentines.
The next day saw us head out to the abandoned old bull ring which was an unreal place to visit. The structure here is sadly falling apart stopping it from ever being an expensive tourist attraction, however the hole in the fence does reserve its place as a free tourist site. The bull ring is really awesome to walk inside and it’s easy to enjoy the setting here especially when you are sitting amongst the stands alone taking in the sheer size of the arena. From either the bottom of the arena or the top of the stands everything else appears so small in comparison and it is easy to imagine how incredible the atmosphere would have been at full capacity in the height of the festival. The really great thing is that you can relax and enjoy the place taking your time with very few tourists apart from the one or two that venture in as well.
With our departure time fast approaching we headed up to the lighthouse which gave great views over the harbor and back over the city (as well as being ridiculously windy). Today being nice and clear it was easy to see the islands off the shore and even possible to make out the buildings of Buenos Aires in the background.
With everything in Colonia ticked off we headed back to BA through one of the nicest terminal buildings you could wish to see. Seriously no idea what the deal was but compared to the sub standard WWII bunker that we made do with in BA this was a luxury mansion and we were actually wondering if it had duty free shops such was the quality. With no shops in sight however we were left to return to Buenos Aires and ponder our trip to Ushuaia tomorrow with the hopes of some luck coming our way and fitting in a trip to Antartica……fingers crossed!