Trip Start Apr 20, 2008
74Trip End Aug 15, 2010
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I arrived in Colonia at around 8pm and did have plans of staying in and being a bum. However my room mate Fernando, a Uruguayian from a place called Paysandu convinced me otherwise. Fernando is studying
engineering and is Colonia on a work placement. He said we should go and walk around the historical area of Colonia and I have to say that I am so glad that I did. It is a beautiful town and even more beautiful by night. The cobblestone streets and old houses are light by dim yellow lights, more like lanterns really and the place has an awesome atmosphere. It had been an unseasonally warm day and the night was too
gorgeous. After my tour we had a beer and then I went back to the hostel.
In the morning we went walking around the same area so I could see it in the light and take some photos. Fernando, like so many other Uruguaians had his matte with him. They´re even more into it than the Argentinians... apparently it is an aquired taste but personally I think it tastes like drinking tobacco.. it does give one a bit of a buzzz though... very high in caffeine. I cant remember if I have talked about what matte is? At the risk of repeating myself matte
is type of herb, a special matte cup is packed full of the herb and then hot water is poured on it, you then drink the water through a sort of straw that has little holes in the end so you only get the water.
When the water has been drunk the cup is refilled.. until one has finished a whole termos full of water... thats a lot of matte! its very common to see people in the strteets, in the mall... at the bus station carrying their matte cup and their thermos around.
Anyway back to Colonia, this is one of the oldest towns in Uruguay, originally founded by the Portugese to smuggle goods across from Buenos Aires. The river that separates Buenos Aires from Uruguay isthe widest river in the world and looking at it you would swear it was the sea and it kind of is, if you look at a map theres a line and one side is sea and one side is the river. The town was surrounded by a big wall which there are some remains of
unfortunately out of bounds as it is falling apart.
On the way back we stopped at a parilla, a traditional Uruguayian barbeque and here we ate meat. Well sort of... the Uruguayans eat just as much if not more meat than the Argentinians and a meal often consists of just meat. When the food came I was a little surprised to find that it encompassed so many parts of the cow, blood sausage,
tripe, kidney and some sausage and ´normal meat´. I did try everything, albeit tiny tiny bits and the only thing I spat out was the tripe... because it truly was disgusting..
After lunch it was time for me to board a bus for Montevidoe, the capital city. Fernando had set me up to stay with his sister who met me along with her friend Nicholas at the bus terminal. I had seen a photo so luckily I found them easily enough. It was so nice to get to a new place and not to have to instantly get out the map and try to work out
where to going, Silvana and Nicholas even insisted on carrying my bags for me which was the biggest luxury ever!!
It had been raining in the morning so it wasn´t the nicest of days, but not too cold. I decided it was a good day to visit some museums and indoor activities. I had got up early in order to make the most of the day so was slightly frustrated to find that none of the museums opened until 11.30!!! Just outside the apartment, on the square something was happening in one of the big old buildings, there were lots of cars out the front and part of the road was blocked and there was soldiers marching through the square. I went to see the main sights of Montevideo, old buildings and the port. I had lunch at the mercado del Puerto, the market at the port which is full of BBQ restaurants. I ordered a steak this time though and was served only a huge steak and some bread. The gentlemen serving me saw me getting my camera out to take a picture of the BBQ and insisted that I pose and pretend like I
was cooking it... so embarrassing!
I did make it to a few museums in the end, the national history museum which was quite dull, mainly for the fact that everything was only in Spanish so I had no idea what I was looking at
In the evening Silvana and I went to a mall and had a look around and ate traditional Urugauyan hamburgers. Just a hamburger but with a ral piece of meat in it and olives and a whole bunch of salad. I started a torturously long journey to Iguazu at midnight.