Our final excursion is all said and done, I'm sad to say. There are so many things to see and just not enough time to see them! Now I can scratch Colonia, Uruguay off my list. Although I loved it so much I think I might have to go back for a weekend before I come home.
The excursion itinerary: take the Buquebus to Colonia for a day of shopping, swimming, laying in the sun, and eating.
Luli, our lovely little friend, who is now our "Panrimo Coordinator" since Tony has gone back to the US, was our designated tour guide. We met Luli at 9am and made our way to the port. To go to Uruguay from Argentina you take a ferry boat. You can take the slow boat, which gets you across the Rio de la Plata in about 3 hours. Or, you can take the fast boat, which is more expensive, but it gets you to Uruguay in about an hour. Thankfully we took the fast boat, and it was pretty fast. The boat is equipped with airplane style seating and its very own duty-free store. You should have seen these people go crazy over perfume and candy. I've never seen such a shopping frenzy.
By 12:30pm we were in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. Walking from the port to the town it was easy to see that we weren't in the city anymore. Colonia is the oldest town in Uruguay and it is full of history. The Barrio Histórico is actually a very popular destination for tourists. Colonia was founded by Portugal in 1680 but rule over this territory was in almost constant dispute with Spain until its independence in 1928. It went back and forth between the Spanish and Portuguese by conquer or treaty. It was even taken over by Brazil for about 7 years. Needless to say, its development has had the unique influence of both countries.
So enough with the history right? On to the crazy adventures!
Well we didn't actually have any CRAZY adventures. We did rent a golf cart type vehicle (only better) built for four, which was one of the highlights of the trip for me. It turns out the good/clean beaches are a couple of miles outside of the historical neighborhood. So we got some food, got on the cart, and headed to the beach with me at the wheel and Bennett in the passenger seat telling me what to do. As soon as we made it up the hill outside of the city blocks we got our first view of the beaches. It was beautiful! We found a good spot and we got in the water.
While we were in the water the clouds started to roll in. We made our way to the bar on the beach and as soon as we hit the door the winds picked up. The storms here are incredible. They start with these intense winds that seem to come out of nowhere, the rain follows soon after and none of it seems to last very long. The wind was tearing through this little bar patio but it was incredible to watch. The entire storm lasted maybe an hour and then the sun was shining again.
The rest of our evening consisted of shopping and dinner. One dollar is about 25 Uruguayos so shopping required some math. We were dealing with dollars, Argentine pesos, and Uruguayos. It was very confusing.
We got a wonderful recommendation for dinner that evening so we wined and dined. The food was delicious. I had steak medallions with mashed pumpkins. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of this meal, it was truly a site to behold.
After dinner we had to power walk back to the Buquebus to make our 10:30 departure. We almost didn't get on the boat on time because Bennett was receiving a bit of harassment from the guys at the little customs desk. Unfortunately for Bennett he is unmistakably American. At 6 foot something he is probably one of the tallest guys they've ever seen here (is second toe is as long as my pinkie finger.)and he has a Minnesota t-shirt for every day of the week. Anyway, they were claiming he didn't have a stamp on his passport from Argentina, which was not true, we figured out afterwards that he was probably just wanting some money. I've decided the best way to deal with this kind of situation is to stand up for yourself and don't give anybody anything, ever. Every time I've felt like I was getting ripped off in some way, the second I spoke up about it they resolved the situation. I think they just kind of hope you'll become flustered and do something stupid.
So that's all she wrote. It was not nearly enough time to get spend in Colonia. If I were going again I would go for a weekend or take an earlier boat in the morning. It's a beautiful place that deserves more than just a few hours of exploration.