Colonia & Montevideo: Diversion

Posted on June 27, 2011

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What had originally been planned as a 2-day stop in Uruguay en route north eventually wound up being a 4-day sojourn in two nice but dull towns. I disembarked the ferry from Buenos Aires, the nicest mode of transport I have experienced travelling so far, in Colonia del Sacramento, a nice coastal town.

“Nice” is about as far as I can go in giving it platitudes, however, as an hour-long walk proved enough to see what the town had to offer, which was very little. This may have had something to do with the season, as I imagine walks along the waterfront are a lot more enjoyable with the sun beating down rather than rain. My hostel was next to empty, and having had my fill of the picturesque but painfully quiet town I spent a quiet night reading and watching television.

It was with relief, then, that I caught my short bus the next day to Uruguay´s capital, Montevideo. The happiness was shortlived, however, as it emerged that my bus to Brazil ran only weekly and I would have to spend three nights in the rainswept city. Another option would have been to return to Buenos Aires by ferry and catch a bus from then, but I have developed a minor phobia of retracing my steps and so decided to see what Montevideo had to offer.

The answer was a little. I started with a visit to a gaucho museum to ‘marvel’ at examples of a lost culture, which in fairness is much more defined by Argentina than Uruguay. Other than that I spent my first day wandering the streets of the city, finding a nice, walkeable but fairly standard place. Dinner was pizza before I settled at the hostel, Che Legarto, to watch the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final between the local team, Penarol, and the Brazilian side Santos. It was somewhat of a big deal, and having many Brazilians staying at the hostel added to the atmosphere.

The next day I visited the scene of the game, Uruguay’s national stadium. The ground was a mess after the night before, but also houses the Museum of Football, displaying memorabilia from past World Cups, Uruguay having of course won the tournament in 1930 (the first competition) and 1950. I also visited the Carnival Museum, which takes place in February every year. This was very interesting, though it reminded me a little of looking at pictures of a night out that you had not been on. I returned to the hostel for a sedate night out of my own with the lingering Brazilians and an Englishman.

Having successfully wasted away my time, I was glad to depart for Brazil the next day on a mammoth bus journey, having obtained an unusual passport stamp but little more from my time in Uruguay.

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Posted in: Experience, Travel