Uruguay, Colonia del Sacramento

Trip Start Feb 07, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Saturday, August 4, 2007

We set off to the boat terminal in Buenos Aires and everything was going smoothly until we had to  pass through Uruguayan immigration and the official seemed to take a dislike to our passports. He took off with Tim's passport shaking his head and muttering. We watched from a distance as he and a colleague flicked through the pages. There was way too much shaking of heads for our liking. He finally came back with a letter in Spanish and, not speaking English, went off again to find someone who did. She asked us when we left to start our trip. When we told her it was Christmas time last year everything suddenly seemed to be ok. She showed us the letter, which seemed to feature the date 30th July and told us in the future we would need to get a visa to visit Uruguay, but it would be ok this time. So we made it onto the boat for the short trip across the Rio de la Plata to Colonia del Sacramento.

Colonia is a lovely sleepy little town and we felt a bit like we were in the twilight zone after bustling Buenos Aires. Our place was a little out of town in the new area where all the houses look really 1970īs. Only 20 minutes walk away though, the old town sits behind the port and is very picturesque and ... well, rustic! There's a lighthouse from where we watched an amazing sunset in the blisteringly cold wind.
On the waterfront is the old port where the smugglers used to operate. The town was strategically placed back in the old days as a base for smuggling goods in and out of Buenos Aires and thrived on this basis. It was first occupied by the Portugese,  but the Spanish ended up taking it due to its important location. There's loads of gorgeous little restaurants in the town, as well as a bunch of tiny museums. We saw some curious items including a fossilized giant mushroom and the remains of an enormous weird looking creature related to the armidillo. Add to this the number of old cars dotted around the streets and it makes it a pretty cool place to visit.
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