Go Uruguay!–S. American Adventure Part IV

Greetings; this is my last post on my 2010 South American Adventure with my wonderful cousin, Megan.  Being the traveler she is, Megan is currently getting ready for a trip to Australia right now, wow!  Anyway, you can read about the rest of the South American Adventure in these posts:

I’m continuing on from Day 8 of our tour; we had been in Buenos Aires a few days and had just two days of vacation left.  We’d just finished our Urban Running Tour of the city with speedy Diego, and had plans to visit Uruguay for the rest of the day.  There is a ferry called the Busquebus (Megan’s favorite word) that can take you round trip from Buenos Aires to Colonia, Uruguay by crossing the Rio de La Plata.  We did have to purchase the tickets in advance the day before, but the ferry terminal and process were pretty efficient from what I remember.  The crossing seemed to be ~45 mins to 1 hour and went quickly.  Once boarded, there are airline like seats and a TV.  There was really no going outside on the ship though.  We did make friend with a young Argentinian, Marcos, who was trying to practice his English.

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Once in Colonia we had some navigation to do.  Fortunately, everything was  in walking distance from what Rough Guides told us.

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The streets were extremely quaint and quiet.  I loved the colors and the cobblestone roads.

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We walked to ruins of an old fort and a lighthouse you could climb for a matter of coins and see views of the town.

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We really enjoyed the quiet nature of Colonia after being in big cities most of the trip.  We continued walking and visited a very old church.

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Then found a popular alley for lunch.  Can you see the plants growing out of the old car on the left?  Very cool.

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The restaurant was very vibrant, busy and had a Spanish guitar band called Caminos de Fango playing.  Loved the live music!

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I guess everyone else did too – because even though we checked with the waiter on time due to our tight schedule, 45 minutes after ordering we still had no food.  So we enjoyed our bread and butter then had to cancel our order and rush back to the Busquebus (ferry).

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The really cool thing about that day was the Uruguay was playing Germany in the World Cup!  So of course the game was on the Busquebus and everyone was cheering.  We obliged to cheering for Uruguay, even though we have German roots and secretly were fine if Germany won, and they did.

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I did mention we were on a tour (Latin America for Less – which I don’t particularly recommend), but we planned a good amount of our itinerary outside the tour.  That night, though, we did opt to attend dinner and a Tango show, and albeit touristy, I’m glad we got to see the Tango perfomance.  The dance is uber sexy – everyone was enthralled by it.  Such a leggy dance too; if I could only dance so well in heels!

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These girls were performers, no acrobats!  The guys were flipping them around like crazy.  We also loved the accordion music.  It was a good way to end the night.

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On our last day, we had a little time before catching flights in the evening.  I was flying back to Houston, and Megan was flying on to Chile/Bolivia traveling by herself – how daring!  That morning, we got up and took a quick run to Puerto Madero, then after a little navigation, made our way to the Fine Arts Museum.  The building was a bit older; while the museum was good, I’d recommend MALBA or the Evita Museum if you’re trying to choose.

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Once we stepped back outside, we realize it was rainy and overcast, so we stopped by a street market as quickly as we could without getting rained on, then walked to an indoor shopping area where we could enjoy a little snack.  We ate some coffee with sticky croissants and felt very Argentinian.  Speaking of Argentinians, the people in Buenos Aires are beautiful!  Both men and women.  I recall lots of tall people, long hair, high boots and gorgeous winter coats.  Maybe I shouldn’t bring David here…

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This picture made me realize I’d neglected to comment on any of our breakfasts – most hotels we were at served a European style breakfast, and I enjoyed muesli most of the time.  Megan did, however, introduce me to toast with cheese and jam.  I initially turned my nose up to it, but then realized it was delicious!  The other breakfast-related point to make was that we once tried to take cheese sandwiches with us (for lunch later) and got scolded by the hotel attendants!  I can’t blame them for doing their job though.  But now back to the last day – we headed back to the hotel so I could catch a cab.  Even though I arrived at the airport really early it was a mess.  I can’t emphasize enough that this was the worst airport I’ve ever been to as far as lines and processes go.  I waited in lines for over 3 hours.  If you plan to travel to/from BA, make sure you add some extra time for the airport!

All in all we had a fabulous time and I was sad to leave Megan (and jealous of her continuing 2 weeks of South American travel).  I really loved Argentina and do plan to go back to Patagonia with David someday; maybe next year?  I also loved Megan as a travel buddy – we always seem to teach each other so much.  Some of my learnings on this trip:

  • Check out the cost of foreign travel shots and Visa requirements prior to booking your trip – it cost me $300+ for the Brazil shots/Visa.
  • Pack less, but more layers!  Use an easy to carry suitcase (obvious one, I know).
  • Packing some nice travel sized lotions and shampoos are totally worth it. Loved my travel size Burt’s Bees.
  • If going on a tour, book your own flights, don’t book your own
  • Learn a language; it was great that Megan knew Spanish so we could talk to some locals on the way
  • Don’t assume you’ll be able to get cash in your country of destination – research ATM use or have some exchanged prior to arriving
  • Tripadvisor and Rough Guides books are awesome resources

As they say – Hasta Luego!

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