Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: South America 2009

Day trip to Uruguay

After a long day and late night on Sunday, it was perhaps no real surprise that I slept through until 0900! Even so, this was unusual for me and, mildly shocked by my own perceived slothfulness, I leapt out of bed and into the shower. Fairly impressively, I thought, I was ready to go to the Club Lounge for breakfast within 15 minutes. We were ready to leave by ten o'clock and walked the five blocks or so to the Buquebus terminal, to catch the fast ferry to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. (They certainly don't go in for snappy names in South America! )

The procedure at the terminal was a bit of a rigmarole : make a reservation, pay at the separate Cashier's desk, then go to the check-in desk. At least Passport Control was commendably streamlined, with Argentinian and Uruguayan officials sitting side-by-side in Buenos Aires, hopefully meaning a minimum of fuss on arrival. We were able to spend around 15 minutes in the First Class lounge before the boarding call came. The upstairs Primera cabin was comfortable and the service proved to be agreeable, consisting of a sweet, a glass of bubbly and a selection of sweet treats. The only drawback proved to be a couple of rather noisy kids, who ended up sitting directly in front of us

Buquebus First Class lounge at Buenos AiresFirst Class cabin

Despite the relative lack of formalities, arrival in Colonia was chaotic, due to major redevelopment work taking place in and around the terminal. Nevertheless, we quickly found our way towards the old town World Heritage zone, initially via a disused railway track bed. First priority on arrival was to have some lunch, sitting outside in one of the squares. It was strange to think that this was the equivalent of November in the northern hemisphere and yet here we were eating al fresco. As we had our lunch, we acquired a new friend, of the doggy variety. Unlike the mangy-looking strays prowling the streets of Buenos Aires, however, this one was a tad portly, clean and well looked after. Our young waiter kept him happy with a few pieces of chorizo. Paying wasn't a problem, as restaurants here were happy to accept a variety of currencies, including Argentinian pesos, US dollars and even Euros!

Disused railway stationOur new friend, posing for the camera

Coinciding with the end of lunch, the cloud cover dissipated and strong sunshine ensured that the attractive Old Town area was looking its best. We spent the rest of the afternoon strolling around in the warm sunshine and were able to relax once we had confirmed beyond all doubt that Colonia was in the same time zone as Buenos Aires. (There had been some doubt about this and we didn't want to risk missing the ferry back!)

We sat down again for a rehydrating soft drink prior to heading back to the ferry terminal. The First Class cabin on this journey was less busy and also quieter - no noisy kids! I nodded off for a bit, but did manage to catch the sunset, as darkness fell en route.

Final drink prior to leavingSunset

Our chosen restaurant for this evening, Empire Thai, was just a few blocks from the hotel. As such, it was an easy walk after a short rest and freshen-up. We enjoyed an excellent Thai dinner, and very good value it was too! 

Monday 18 May

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