Tuesday 10 May 2016, Colonia del Sacremento – Uruguay
Today was another really big day for us, but we saw some really amazing things – I’m excited to tick another UNESCO World Heritage Site off the list!
We checked out of our accommodation in Colonia this morning, but headed into the historic quarter for a walking tour before moving on to Montevideo. We had a lovely local lady called Alejandra (does that make you want to sing? 😂) show us around, and she was incredibly knowledgeable and passionate. There is a very long timeline of the history of Colonia – it changed hands many times, and was fought over by the Spanish and the Portugese, and therefore has both styles of architecture. Some of these buildings (which are all original) are 300 years old, and they are just beautiful!
**This dog followed us around for our tour.. We named him Eric (pronounced Erique)
After a few accommodation site inspections, including Hotel Charco ( which I would come back to Uruguay for), we lunched at a restaurant where they brought out an appetiser of bread – we have had SO much bread on this trip, my roommate says she is “breadifying”, and if she is breadifying, I am turning into Dulce de Leche… something else we have had everyday (a delicious caramel spread). After lunch we had some time to wander around the streets – unfortunately most shops had closed up for Siesta, but there was one small coffee shop open, and they offered takeaway coffee (which I haven’t seen anywhere else so far)… It was the WORST coffee of my life, but SO worth it for the crazy hilarity of the man who owns the shop! It’s a tiny little shop (I’m kicking myself for not getting a photo) and the man works in there alone with his techno music pumping (which definitely doesn’t fit in with the 300 year old theme), and a hilarious coffee machine, which is actually just a machine you’d have at home… if you weren’t fussy. It was 90 Uruguayan Peso ($4 NZD) for my bitter coffee, and I enjoyed it because the man danced along to his bizarre music, and tried to chat to us in English – he ended our wee meeting by telling us three girls that we have lovely eyes, and stroking my roomy’s hair as she exited (stereotypical Uruguayan charms, apparently).
From here we started our drive to Montevideo.. or at least I thought we had until we started down a bumpy dirt road (it’s always good to go somewhere that’s not detailed on the itinerary, with your Mexican driver who doesn’t speak a word of English) which eventually led to a beautiful lodge (technically a home stay, but it didn’t feel that way). This is quite an awesome option for something relaxing and a little isolation. It’s also situated on the river, so there’s a bit of a beach (though it is still technically the river at this point along the coast, and so I personally wouldn’t swim in it). Some very interesting decor choices at this lodge, but mostly very beautiful.
The sun was setting as we left for our 2.5 hr drive to Montevideo, so I didn’t see a lot, but we did stop on the way, and bought some snacks – Uruguayan treats, which were all really interesting.
So far we’ve not seen anything of Montevideo, as we had dinner at the hotel we are staying at, but some of us did go to a pub down the road for some of the local drop (a lager called Patricia), which was ridiculously cheap – for four hours worth of rounds for five people, the total bill cane to $55 NZD, including tips. Something we came across a lot today was people smoking marijuana- this pub’s staff were no exception. It is decriminalised here, and so a lot of the locals are into it… you cannot escape from the smell. We think we drove through an area where it was being harvested on the way to Montevideo, as the van suddenly filled with the strong scent.