Charmed by Colonia, Uruguay!
Trip Start Jan 15, 2010
36Trip End Nov 09, 2010
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We are currently on the Buquebus ferry heading back to Buenos Aires after 3 days in the adorable town of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. We arrived on Thursday to find charming, tree-lined cobblestone streets and a relaxed atmosphere that was much needed after almost two weeks of big city life! Colonia was founded by the Portuguese as a smuggling port from the Spanish and is located right across the Rio de Plata river from Buenos Aires (one hour on the “Fast“ ferry, 3 hours on the slow one!). The historic barrio is a Unesco World Heritage Site. The first day we wandered aimlessly through the streets, in and out of shops (ok, I have to admit now that not being able to shop is killing me!! So much cute stuff!!)--and I’ll digress a moment to say that we have decided to send about 10 pounds of stuff home by FedEx, including my semi dress shoes, leather journal (bought a tiny notepad that will work just fine!), heavy raincoat (bought a Columbia light rain jacket in BA), camera case, smoke detector (I hope I don’t regret that one!), and a couple of small tchotchkes that, once I knew we were mailing stuff, I could pick up!
Back to Colonia-- stayed in a cute B&B called El Viajero. Our room was off the courtyard and it was incredibly quiet and dark --got the best nights sleep I’ve had so far!! Our days were spent lazily wandering the historic town, stopping for window shopping and drinks, views of the water, followed by waiting for the amazing sunsets. Just what the doctor ordered before heading into 3 weeks of sleeping in a tent with no electricity!! Most of the meals here were good but not worth describing, save one. We wandered to a place that had a nice breeze from the river and the fresh catch of the day was the Boga fish. They served the whole fish, which was cooked on the grill with a little sea salt and lemon. WOW, it was fabulous. It is a white fish and has the texture of sea bass. While dining, I started chatting with a French woman in Spanish. She was a professional photographer and spends 6 months a year with her base in Colonia and 6 months back in France. While in Colonia, she takes 2 week excursions to remote indigenous villages in the Andes mountains and takes photographs which she makes into postcards. She arrives to the villages by horseback and lives like the locals- sleeping on the floor, eating what they eat, etc. She is 64 years old and has a startling amount of energy. Inspiring! She invited us to meet her there again that evening to share her photographs. So, after enjoying the 9pm sunset, we met her again
At some point in the evening, an Argentine family sat down at the table next to us to have dinner. Turns out the woman was in Colonia 3 years earlier and she had met our free-spirit photographer! Small world. So we all engaged in conversations, and after less than 10 minutes, this lovely, sweet family invited us to stay in their house located 200km south of BA. We were blown away at their openness--I mean, do you know anyone in the US who would invite total strangers into their house after a 10 minute discussion?? It was refreshing. I don’t know if we’ll get there or not--on one hand it would be back-tracking quite a bit after our farm duty, but on the other it sure sounds like a lot of fun. We are considering it….
Then, our last evening in Colonia, we happened across a live band playing and stopped to try some Uruguayan wine. They have a grape we had not heard of, called Tannat. It was good but not great--was smooth but did not have the complexity of , say a cabernet. The music was fun to listen to and we spent 3 hours there just hanging, listening to the music and drinking the wine!!
Back to BA for one night and then to the unknown at the farm!!