Monday 09 May 2016, Carmelo and Colonia – Uruguay
A 5.30 am start today, we took the Buquebus (ferry) from the port of Buenos Aires to Colonia in Uruguay – it is a one hour ferry ride (on the fast boat) across a delta. The process through immigration was a little confusing – like the arrival forms on the plane (which were pretty much completely in Spanish and very hard to follow), the immigration officers at the port don’t make it overly easy – one person looks at your passport, takes your photo and thumb print, but then that person doesn’t have the authority to stamp you into Uruguay, and so they tell you in Spanish to head to another counter to get your stamp. Very weird and kind of scary – I’m thinking why is he not stamping me in, am I in trouble? I don’t know because this person either cannot, or doesn’t want to speak English.
Anywho, we all got through and had a nice smooth sailing to Colonia. We dropped our bags off at our accommodation and immediately moved on to Carmelo, which is about an hour north up the coast. My first impression was that Uruguay countryside looks A LOT like New Zealand… Maybe mixed with Aussie… But with the odd bright pink flat roofed house and donkey on the side of the road.
Our first stop for the day was at a lovely wee winery called Irutia – it’s been around since 1919, so they really know their stuff and have lots of historical items around. It was pretty industrial, but interesting and the wine was fantastic (South American reds 👌🏻). The owner, Maria, was so great and made us feel very welcome and liked to have a joke, regardless of the language barrier. A real character. I can’t even describe the level of hilarity that she oozed.
Our next few stops were accommodation site inspections, which isn’t something I was going to write about here, but they were all SO amazing, with one in particular that I have to tell you about. The second accommodation that we saw was another winery called Narbona. Founded in 1909, they have kept it as original as possible and it just has 5 accommodation rooms. This place was so ridiculously charming, and I didn’t want to leave! Here are some pictures.
We looked at three accommodation options in Carmelo and each of them were amazing yet very different to each other – I really want to come back and stay in all of them. For the small amount of Uruguay that I have seen so far, I absolutely love it. Tomorrow is seeing the old part of Colonia del Sacremento (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and then on to Monte Video.