Thursday, November 21, 2013

Colonia And Montevideo (October 26th - 27th, 2013)

The main reason we visited Uruguay was to get more U.S. dollars, as we had not exchanged enough in Brazil.

From Buenos Aires we took a speedboat to Colonia. We were really surprised about how much water had to be propelled in order for us to move at 60 km/h.

Water streams coming out of our speedboat

In Colonia we first booked a bus to Montevideo and then went to town. We had to try a couple of ATMs in order to get cash, but eventually we managed to find one that gave us some Uruguayan Pesos to start with. We could then go for lunch and try a traditional Uruguayan meal: Chivitos al plato. It was good, but reminded me of typical meals at cheap Czech restaurants: chicken fillet, ham, cheese and fries. Afterwards we took advantage of the local duty-free shops and bought new gloves for me and a fleece for Laura. We then walked through town. It was nice and compact. The highlight of our visit was a climb to the top of the lighthouse, from where we could even see Buenos Aires in the distance.

This car actually belongs to the adjacent restaurant and you can even get served inside it, if you don't mind the plants!

This lighthouse was the highlight of our visit to Colonia

If you zoom far enough you can see Buenos Aires left from the small island

Laura shining more than the lighthouse lamp :)

Around 3 P.M. it was time to catch our bus and in a couple of hours we arrived in Montevideo. After getting accommodation we went out to withdraw U.S. dollars. It took us some time to figure out that the $6 withdrawal fee counted towards the limit of $300 per withdrawal, so we were able to withdraw just $200 at a time. Fortunately, the ATMs in Montevideo allowed us to withdraw many times in a row and always served us with almost new $100 bills, which are in the highest demand in Argentina. Later on when I did the calculations, I found out that even with paying this extra fee, we got $9 more on every €100 than what we had managed to get in Brazil. With dollars safely hidden and locked in our hostel we went to enjoy the sunset and evening in Montevideo.

Sunset from Plaza Independencia

The next day we organized our return back to Argentina and then went to see the old center of Montevideo. It was quite nice and we even saw the change of guards at the mausoleum of the Uruguayan national hero José Gervasio Artigas at Plaza Independencia. As it was the weekend, the old center felt quite deserted, but we still managed to find some great sweets at a bakery.

Statue of José Gervasio Artigas in front of his mausoleum

After lunch we went for a long walk around the cost. It was a bit windy, but nicely sunny and we enjoyed talking with each other and watching the locals spending their Sunday. There were many people sunbathing on the beach, playing soccer, kids flying kites, but nobody was swimming in the ocean.

Beaches in Monte Video

Soon it was time to go. The way back was the same as there: first a bus to Colonia and then a ferry to Buenos Aires. We arrived quite late and had to take a taxi back to our hostel, but just before midnight we were happily sleeping in the same room as before.

In addition to twenty portraits of Benjamin Franklin, we brought back some nice memories and of course more pictures.

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