Monday, December 6, 2010

Day Tripping to Colonia, Uruguay

While family and friends at home were gorging on turkey and pumpkin pie, Paul and I spent our Thanksgiving in the small Uruguayan town of Colonia del Sacramento.

I awoke shortly after 5 a.m. Thanksgiving morning so we could catch a taxi at 6 to be at the Colonia Express ferry terminal at 7 for our departure at 8. Our passports were stamped at the ferry terminal -- cheating, I think, since we were still in Argentina.

Colonia is a popular daytrip from Buenos Aires, only an hour ferry ride across the Rio de la Plata. Our $50 (US) ferry ticket included an hour tour of the town, which was more than enough time to get acquainted with the old town, with a diameter of just a few blocks, surrounded by water on three sides. We learned about Colonia's joint Spanish and Portuguese history, but Paul and I both decided independently not to visit the city's several tiny museums.

We did, however, climb about 120 steps up and down the winding staircase of a working lighthouse. We walked along the river. We browsed the many shops. We ate empanadas. We loitered at a waterfront restaurant with a glass of beer and a piece of chocolate mousse pie. We took it easy.

My only souvenirs of the day are a Uruguayan bill and a single coin. Every place accepted and gave change in Argentinian pesos. At the last minute, we stopped at a gas station convenience store so we could buy a bottle of water in Argentinian pesos and get change in Uruguayan pesos.

Visitors to Colonia can just barely make out the skyline of Buenos Aires across the river on clear days. It was a clear, hot day when we were there, and an easy, scenic way to get a page full of stamps on my passport.

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