Montevideo and Colonia del Sacramento

Trip Start Oct 08, 2005
Trip End Oct 06, 2006

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Thursday, July 27, 2006

So I had a very easy journey across the border into Uruguay - took a night bus again and was worried I would have to get clear immigration at 3am but I woke up at after 9 hours blissful sleep not even knowing what country I was in until I was handed back my passport with all the relevant stamps in. Probably the smoothest border crossing ever. Take note, Laos, Vietnam and Singapore.

Did not like Montevideo much (not having a great deal of success with South America at the moment am I?). Its big, sprawling, quite dirty and poor, and not a lot of interest to see. I stayed in the old town which is quite pretty, and has a lot of colonial buildings to admire, but a lot of it is being restored so theres not much to actually do apart from look at stuff. The best thing about the city was by far the restaurants - in the old town there are hundreds, all candlelit and atmospheric, and I had two of the best meals ever - a fab pizza and a melt-in-the-mouth steak - whilst I was there. The steak (about half a cow), salad, a large vodka (probably a triple, it was well strong) and a few glasses of red wine set me back less than 8 quid.

Thank goodness for Colonia, the only place so far Ive been happy to spend more than a few hours. Its about 2 hours west of MVD, on the banks of the river between Uruguay and Argentina, and is gorgeous. Portuguese settlers came here in the 1700s, set up this beautiful little town, of which most is still in its original form. Houses are tiny and painted lovely pinks and terracottas, the streets are cobbled and lit with traditional looking lamps, and there are loads of cute little restaurants dotted about. I braved the weather on my one night there (we had had a hailstorm that afternoon, stones the size of my fist fell out of the sky, there was a fair bit of damage) and had a wander round and a (cheap) meal, then had a look round in the day when the sun was shining on it. There are a few museums to pass the time (including quite a cool one with a huge armadillo shell and loads of stuffed things in - watch out for the alligator under the table, scared the life out of me!), but mostly its just a wandering kind of place. One thing about the museums here though is that all the descriptions are in Spanish, so if you dont know any, you are kind of left thinking, "Well, thats nice, but what exactly IS it??".

And then I got the boat across the river to Buenos Aires, where I am going to be for a while. I start school on Monday, learning Spanish for a week, and staying with a local family to get immersed in the culture. Firstly though I am going to spend the weekend on the beer in BAs legendary nightlife.
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