A day to experience Uruguay

Trip Start Dec 05, 2010
Trip End Jan 03, 2011

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Monday, December 20, 2010

As soon as we packed the car, the clouds broke and the sun came out. We had to sit on a park bench by the ocean and just try to drink it in while we could. Then, very reluctantly, we hopped in the car and headed toward Montevideo.  The countryside is infinitely more beautiful when the sun is shining!

After returning our rental car, we went to the Tres Cruces bus terminal. It was similar to what I had experienced in Panama: a mall with a bus terminal attached.  We ate lunch in the food court and boarded our very comfortable, not crowded coach bus for Colonia. The trip took 2.5 hours and the bus was not crowded so we were able to nap and relax for the ride. And it only cost about $9 USD each, vs. our rental car which was $80/day.

In Colonia, we found our hotel and saw the Radission hotel and casino were across the street. It was so hot and sunny, we went in the hotel to ask about using their pool. The fee was $30 USD each and at 5:30 pm it seemed like a bit of a waste, so we settled for cruising around town and checking out the Rio de la Plata (seen this translated as Plate River but Plata also means silver so some questions remain for me on this one!)
We found a cafe on the water, ordered some drinks and watched the locals come down for a dip in the river. Lots of laid back Uruguayan hippies just chilling out in Colonia!
That night, we tried our luck at the Radisson casino roulette tables (ruleta). Mondays must be a slow night because we were the only ones at the table. Interestingly, slots are played with Uruguayan pesos but table games are played with US dollars. James and I each started with $50 (a game for us that started this summer in Vegas where I challenged him that I could win more and faster than he). In Vegas, I pulled it off. Here I did not. We cashed out once we were up about $20 and went to dinner. Now we're only $80 down for the trip (after our gambling night in Punta del Este). 

Dinner at Viejo Barrio restaurant was not only the best meal we'd had in Montevideo, it was the most romantic. We sat outside, under the stars, on a cobblestone street. The church across the street tolled the hour. We had a big dripping candle on our table and we ate delicious home made pasta. The Italian influence here and in Argentina deserves note and what I loved about this place was when you went back to the bathroom and passed the kitchen, there was La Mama, big round Italian lady with her sleeves rolled up. 

We also had wonderful service and I said to our waiter that we could taste the love in the food. He told us that the whole waitstaff felt that way. They got to eat the food every day and that the test was a fat cook. Then you know the food is good!!! 
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