Uruguay – Colonia and Montevideo

A 1.5 hour ferry ride from Buenos Aires sits the aptly named Colonia, Uruguay. I’d ventured over for a day last November and had loved the architecture and relaxed nature of the town. This time around I wanted to explore a little more of the country and so headed to the capital city of Montevideo. The next 4 days were to be spent staying in the Buenos Vibras hostel which was quite lovely. It was in a perfect location just a stroll from the beach, with a nice outdoor space to enjoy a morning coffee and a lovely homely vibe.

Montevideo was the perfect mix of vacation, relaxation and exploration. The free walking tour of Ciudad Vieja was a great way to discover that part of the city, gain an insight into the history and wander through the Port market which had some delicious smelling restaurants serving up phenomenal steaks along with medio y medio (a half sparkling dry wine, half sweet wine). I was lucky enough to meet a few cool people on the walking tour who I then hung out with during my stay. I was even smuggled into the hotel spa, delightful!

Meandering the markets was quite the pastime. The Christmas night markets were worth a visit and finally on the 16th December I started to get into the festive spirit. Then there was the Sunday market which seemed to sell the most random assortment of goods and represented a car boot sale, without the car boot. At one point the wind picked up and a kitchen knife came whizzing along the floor towards us with it’s seller in hot pursuit.

Uruguay is known for it’s beaches and I would’ve loved to have made it to Punta Del Este. However, with a 4 hour round trip bus journey I decided that it was a bit of an over commitment. Probably the right call since I only lasted 30 minutes on the sand in Montevideo before a nice Uruguayan lady told me I was too pale to be out in the sun. She was right, 30 minutes was 30 minutes too long and I was sporting some wicked sunburn.

My lazy days came to an abrupt end when I heard about the civil unrest and airline strikes that were occurring just across the river in Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, this scuppered my onward travel to Rio. Thinking fast (or at least faster than I had in a while), I grabbed my things and legged it across the city to the bus terminal. I was in luck, and made the Brazil bound overnight bus with minutes to spare. 10 hours later I rolled off the bus in Porto Alegre. I’d made it to Brazil, now to intercept my initial connection to Rio. The realization that I didn’t speak a lick of Portuguese was setting in quite quickly. This was going to be fun!

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