Why did we go to Uruguay? Because it was there.

Colonia del Sacramento Travel Blog

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The gate to the old city
An easy day trip from Buenos Aires is the town of Colonia, Uruguay.  There are other easy day trips from BA.  But Colonia gave us a chance to say we had been to Uruguay.  So that's why we went.  You don't hear much about Uruguay.  The locals would like to keep it that way.  It's a small and quiet country whose claim to fame is probably that it has won two World Cups despite having a population of only 3 million.  But it's beautiful, safe, cheap, and the food is good.  Colonia del Sacramento is a historic town.  It was a Portuguese colony, then Spanish colony, then Brazilian colony before gaining its independence.  It retains its colonial charm in the historic district with its cobblestone streets, catholic churches, and shaded plazas.
The lighthouse
  It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site so many of the attractions are well-preserved.

We arrived on a high speed hydrofoil and headed straight toward the historical area of downtown.  It's a sleepy little place. In fact, we nearly had to wake up the owner of the restaurant to get fed.  After quick tour of downtown, we rented some motorbikes and drove along the riverside to a racehorse track.  There wasn't much going on given that it was a Friday morning, but you could imagine it being the best place in town to hang out on race day (if they have any).  There was also what's left of a bull ring, though it was only used for a few years.  Bullfighting has been illegal for almost a century.  Sheraton was building a brand new golf resort nearby which provided an interesting contrast to the area.
Another typical corner
  We saw as many horses as people on our way back into town, and there weren't a lot of horses.

Lunch was my standard meal on the trip, consisting primarily of a gigantic cut of meat and beer.  I'd give the Uruguayan version of that lunch an A+.  Two pork chops that fell right off the bone plus the best beer I had in South America.  The brand Pilsen was  crisp, with a nice bite to it, and absolutely perfect with food.  That's all beer needs to be, and they understand that in Uruguay.  One thing we did notice about the locals was they like their mate'.  We saw plenty of people sipping the herbal drink in Argentina, but Uruguayans took it to another level.  Seemingly everyone in Colonia was drinking mate'.
The bullring
  People working in shops, people in their cars, people on the street, people on dates.  We saw people carrying the cup in one hand, and an entire thermos of more mate' in the other hand.  Now I like coffee.  Some might say I'm addicted to coffee.  But never in my life have I walked down the street with a coffee cup, and a thermos of extra coffee.  We saw at least 10 people doing this with mate' in Colonia, and we only saw about 20 people total.  Wonder if there are some "special" qualities to the brand of herbs they were drinking.  We probably should've tried some in retrospect.  Gustavo made a joke that Uruguay decommissioned its Navy because nobody did anything but drink mate' all day.  I'm still trying to verify that this was a joke.  

Well, didn't want to miss the boat back to Buenos Aires.  It was worth going to Colonia, but I can't imagine spending more than a day trip there.   When we got back, BA felt strangely like home.  We went to a high end Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant for dinner, then out on the town for about 12 Fernets con coca cola.  A lively end to an otherwise sleepy day in Colonia.

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The gate to the old city
The gate to the old city
The lighthouse
The lighthouse
Another typical corner
Another typical corner
The bullring
The bullring
Tree-line avenues
Tree-line avenues
The racetrack
The racetrack
The racetrack
The racetrack
Golf course
Golf course
City hall in Colonia
City hall in Colonia
Swimming pool
Swimming pool
Street corner in old town
Street corner in old town
The old fort
The old fort
The old fort
The old fort
Plaza
Plaza
Other side of the city gate
Other side of the city gate
The old wall of the city
The old wall of the city
Rio de la plata
Rio de la plata
Old fortification
Old fortification