As part of a two week trip to Buenos Aires in May 2011, we decided to spend a few days in Uruguay, Argentina’s neighbour.
The journey aross the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento by express Buquebus ferry takes just 75 minutes. I debated long and hard whether or not to visit Colonia. Although considered a popular day trip destination from BA, the town has also been portrayed as little more than a brief stopover for cruise ship tourists. We took the chance, however, as we would be travelling by bus to Montevideo later that day, so our visit would also be short.
Miraculously, not a single cruise ship stopped by that day, while the ferryload of fellow passengers all dispersed within minutes, leaving us with hardly anyone to bump into for the rest of the time. I can imagine how unpleasant it would have been with hundreds of visitors in the small historical section or Barrio Historico, now an UNESCO World Heritage site. As you’ll see from the photos below, it’s rather picturesque with more than its fair share of classic cars and on the day of our visit, tranquil.
The luxury bus journey from Colonia to Montevideo took 2 hours and 45 minutes but with a short nap and free Wi-fi, the time passed by extremely quickly.
For the next few days we explored Montevideo on foot. We stayed at the wonderfully quaint Hotel Embajador and ate twice at the nearby El Fogon, where I had two of the best ribeyes on the entire trip. The restaurant was packed on both Monday and Tuesday evenings, so I think we chose well.
Highlights of the trip include discovering the immaculately preserved Cafe Brasilero. Dating from 1877, it’s the oldest cafe in Montevideo and where you can have a quiet cortado or lagrima with your newspaper. Also eating a tasty chivito (Uruguayan steak sandwich) at Cafe Bacacay and walking through the upper class residential areas of Punta Carretas and Pocitos to reach the beach. You’ll see in the photo below that there was no one there! On the way there, we came across a vegetable market on a residential street, while a curious Boxer and his kitten friend came to say hello.
One day when we have more time, we hope to go on a longer driving trip around Uruguay.
Thanks for reading!
Helen Yuet Ling Pang