UNESCO World Heritage, Colonia

Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Friday, June 1, 2007

Weīd already seen Colonia, (the bus and ferry terminal) on the way over from Buenos Aires. As the weather was cold, windy and rainy that day we decided on an 8 hour bus ride detour to escape it. This turned out to be a great decision as the cobbled-stoned streets of Colonia looked a lot more welcoming today.

I could have sworn I heard a cat meowing constantly on the way into the town and sure enough one of the locals scooped up a cat cage from the luggage hold of the bus as she left. Poor tabby - would have been a bit chilly on that trip...

Colonia dates from the days when this key port on the Rio Plata was fought over by the Spaniards and Portuguese. The Portuguese have left a legacy in the colonial architecture which shows in the inlaid blue and white tiles in the oldest houses, for us reminiscent of atmospheric cities like Porto in Portugal. It is a little gem this town, touristy yes, but charming also. It feels safe and is atmospheric, dare I say romantic at night!

We went walking around the bay for a few kilometres until the village of Real de San Carlos where we sat in the sun at a neighbourhood bar, dining on tasty chorizo (sausage) in bread and drinking some rough cheap red wine. The barman sang a sentimental milonga (type of tango) and later Ed plucked up courage to borrow his guitar and have a play too. These are the times in our travels that we really enjoy, being in a non-touristy place and treated the same as everyone else - no-one trying to sell us anything overpriced, no need to take special care with your belongings.

Having spent a lovely relaxed time in Uruguay (a holiday from the holiday?) we left this country with a really favourable impression. There arenīt any tourist must-sees, but the peace and quiet, friendly people, Colonia, Montevideo and the hot springs were more than enough for us. (Ed says donīt forget the best steak EVER!)
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