Why Uruguay?

Trip Start Sep 02, 2008
Trip End Dec 14, 2008

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Another day, another country!  In order to increase our very important 'country count', and also because we'd read and heard great things about Uruguay, we whizzed through Buenos Aires, downsized our bags thanks to the lovely hostel we are staying in on our last night, and headed straight for the port to catch a ferry to Colonia del Sacramento, handily just over the river from Buenos Aires on a 1 hour ferry.

Colonia was built by the Portuguese in the 17th century to keep a nosey eye on the Spanish across the river in Buenos Aires.  After hiding in our hostel for the first few hours due to ridiculous amounts of rain, and Nige's reluctance to go out in his uncool raincoat, we ventured out to explore early evening, and discovered a gorgeous little town of cobbledy streets, colourful old houses, little squares with pavement cafes and whitewashed churches.  As it had only just stopped raining, the streets were deserted and rainswept, which with the stormy skies, added to the atmosphere, which was slightly detracted from by the skanky dog which accompanied us on our tour! 

In sunshine the next day, Colonia was just as gorgeous, although we spoiled the peace and quiet by hiring a crazy dune buggy to tour the streets (the other option was a golf cart, but Nige opted for fast and dangerous rather than slow and safe!). Luckily there wasn't much traffic as we had no walls or windows, no seatbelts, no indicators and didn't always know which way we were allowed to turn down the one way streets!  Scarily, a skanky dog took a disliking to the roaring engine, and chased us down the road, nearly jumping into my lap and tearing my throat out but luckily we survived to tell the tale thanks to Nige's expert avoidance driving!

After Colonia, we headed to the capital, Montevideo, which like most Uruguayan coastal towns, is built on a peninsula, and again, we'd heard great things, but this time unfortunately we were disappointed.  We stayed in a horrible cramped and busy backpackers, the weather was cold, cloudy and windy, and the city was dirty and deserted - not a great first impression as you can tell!  However, just before we left the next day, we found time to go to the Mercado del Puerto for a classic Uruguayan parilla (BBQ), where we sat up at the bar in front of the fire, watching a master BBQ-er perfectly cook whole pigs, chickens, innards, sausages, ribs, you name it, it was there!  We had a feast of ribs and sausage accompanied by chips, bread and a great version of chimichuri, a South American relish of herbs, spices, garlic, chilli, oil and vinegar, and then rolled off to the bus station to head to the beach......
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