Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Like most Porteños, we fled the city for the holiday. Real Porteños go to the beach, which is about a five hour drive. We just took a one hour boat ride across the Rio de la Plata to the beautiful town of Colonia de Sacramento, Uruguay. It was a lovely place to spend a day.
To to get here we took the modern and fast Buquebus ferry. Comfy seats, wifi, and television made the trip painless. Upon arrival we were greeted by our guide Fabian and our driver Julio. Yes, we’ve had two drivers, both named Julio. Immediately we took a tour of this small town of 25,000 people. Colonia was originally settled by the Portuguese and was the site of many battles between the Portuguese and Spanish. Even the English gave it a shot.
Today, the city is a UNESCO Heritage Site, which means the buildings and structures are preserved. Fabian showed us how you could tell the difference between streets made by the Portuguese and those made by the Spanish (Spanish road drain on the sides, Portuguese down the center). We visited the old bullring that has not been used since the Uruguayans outlawed bull fighting in the early 1900s.
After Fabian finished our tour, we set out to explore on our own. There wasn’t much more to see but we stumbled upon Los Farolitos, the little sandwich shack on the main road. Los Farolitos is known for its chivito, a huge sandwich with a thin slice of beef, ham, cheese, fried egg, bacon, and a bunch of other things that make it yummy.
We enjoyed watching the town’s people prepare for Christmas while eating our chivito and sharing a beer.
It’s really warm here, like a summer day in Arizona. So, after our lunch we took to our air conditioned room at the Hotel Plaza Mayor. The hotel is right off the main square and has a beautiful garden courtyard. Steve went out on his own for a haircut and a run while I read and napped. We needed to save up a bit for the big Christmas Eve festivities.
Tonight we had dinner at Pulperia de los Faroles, which sits on the main square in Colonia. All of the tables were set up outside, lit with candlelight. We shared dinner with locals and tourists, enjoying the Uruguayan wine tannat. It was yummy. The festivities peaked at midnight with fireworks and champagne. In fact the fireworks went on throughout the neighborhoods for several hours.
We’ve seen a lot of stray dogs. They are fat and happy, as they are known as community dogs, and people take care of them. The numerous dogs roaming throughout the dinner area were sure satisfied. I tried to give a potato to one and he wasn’t interested. When our Argentine friend at the next table offered chicken, the dog scarfed it down.
Back to Buenos Aires for more city exploration tomorrow.
Merry Christmas to our friends and family!