Uruguay, I´m a guay
Trip Start Feb 09, 2010
87Trip End Jan 22, 2011
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The following day we got up (and it was a lovely sunny day) and left super-early (missing our gorgeous, free breakfast again) armed with more information and time. Iīm going to include some practical information in this entry for fellow travellers, as we had such a hard time finding relevant information!
We boarded the Subte and took a train to the Florida station on the red īBī line
We then made our way to the Buquebus terminal. There are other operators that ferry people from BA to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay, but this seems to be the biggest company. The terminal building was super-modern and it also acts as the border between Argentina and Uruguay. There were two options of ferry. There was the high speed ferry which was 1 hour each way, and cost AR$244 (42GBP) return, and a slower, cheaper ferry at AR$133 (23GBP) which takes 3 hours each way. Being the shrewd backpackers that we are, we took the 3 hour ferry that would get us there for 1.30pm local time (luckily we found out about the hour time difference!). The ferry back to BA left at 8pm, which meant we had 6.5 hours in Uruguay! Time wasnīt on our side.
We sailed through immigration. One guy gave us our exit stamp, and we then shuffled a couple of meters to our right and got entry stamps to Uruguay. Very simple and hassle-free border crossing!
The ferry crosses over the river mouth to Colonia at the speed of a snail and we whiled away the time playing Pass the Pigs, reading and sleeping. We got to Colonia on time and decided to rent a golf buggy for the day. There are a few operators supplying these as you walk out of the port, they also have mopeds and gokarts. The one we chose was a 4 person Mule, which runs on petrol and we managed to barter down to US$30 (20GBP) for the day inclusive of fuel. (They take USD, Argentinan pesos and Uruguay pesos in all of the shops and restaurants and there are exchange places everywhere too)
We then spent the day razzing around in our nippy little camoflauged mule, much to everyones delight. It has a top speed of about 25mph, but feels so much faster on the bumpy, twisted cobble streets.
Colonia del Sacramento is an old colonial town with sleepy streets, old buildings, beaches and little shops and cafes. It also has a lighthouse, an old bullring and the town gates. We stopped on the main square to have steak in a pepper sauce with mashed potato balls. We scoffed our food as the sun was shining and the open road was calling our name. We all jumped back into the mule and spent the rest of the day exploring the old and new town, taking in the atmosphere, soaking up the sun and culture and bounching up and down through the bumpy streets
It was a really lovely day and we made our way back to the port with plenty of time to spare. One more piece of advice...even if its a warm day, take some warm clothes for the trip back. I was caught out AGAIN by the frozen Arctic winds of despair AKA aircon. I struggled to keep warm in my flipflops and tshirt whilst I glared enviously at clever locals wrapped in blankets and knitted jumpers. Note to self: if in doubt, pack my hoody.
We got back just in time to go out for the evening. The ferry docked at 10:30pm local time. We had to get a taxi back, as for some reason the Subte stops running really early, which doesnt make sense given the night owl tendancies of the locals. The taxi ride needs a blog of its own as we screeched around BA with a crazy lady at the helm. She spent most of the time driving at 100mph, cackling and driving over the retractable plastic bollards in the middle of road.
We managed to get home in one piece, and after searching for a shop that was open, found an outlet selling beer and melon vodka at reasonable prices. We invested in these and played Pass the Pigs until 1am when we headed out for a night on the tiles.
A great day out.