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January 23, 2013 / JustinKays Porter

Colonia: The Last Stop

Our last night and our last day of the trip were spent in the sleepy town of Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. We thought it would be a nice, mellow way to spend our last day, and the city is only an hour from Buenos Aires, so it would be easy to get to the airport to catch our flight home.

Colonia was a major shipping town during the 1600s and 1700s, when Spain and Portugal were battling over land and water in South America. Due to it's proximity to Buenos Aires (just across the Rio Plata), Colonia became the major shipping hub whenever Spain shut down or monopolized the trade into and out of Buenos Aires. When the land grabbing came to an end and the bigger, better port in Buenos Aires became reliable and available, Colonia was more or less forgotten. The town retains a lot of the original structures, including the fort, the old pier, the city wall, old cobbled streets, and the lighthouse. The barrio historico has been deemed a world heritage site and many of these structures have been restored.

Colonia at sunset

We arrived to Colonia by bus and immediately set out to find a spot on the river to watch the sunset. Although Colonia is “just across the river” from Buenos Aires, you can see it is one hell of a river! Just to the right of the sunset, you can see some of the taller buildings in Buenos Aires (no, no… Not the island. Between the island and the sun… The buildings are there, I promise!).

We enjoyed the sunset, then found a place for dinner, our last of the trip. We settled in at a cafe that had candle-lit tables set up on the cobble stone streets, with views of the lighthouse and the river. Just as we finished dinner, the cockroaches came out. Yes, I'm totally serious. Nothing ruins the mood of a romantic candle-lit dinner in an old town like hundreds of cockroaches!! Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating slightly, but at least I wasn't as bad as the women at the nearby tables, screaming and near tears. Anyway, it was a good thing we were done eating!

Wine and candles. Happy girl before the roaches came out...

The next morning, with the cockroaches all retired to wherever they retire to, we began exploring town. We wandered through the cobblestone streets of the barrio historico, checked out the old pier, admired some public art at the Colonia cultural museum, climbed to the top of the lighthouse, and explored some old ruins and the restored city wall. This is where things got a little interesting. We found the city wall from the back side, and thought it would be fun to walk along the front of the wall, up to the door leading into the city. Well, the wall had been originally designed with a moat and a drawbridge, and the ledge we had been walking along ended about 10 feet short of the gate. We thought we could just hop down from the ledge (about four feet to the ground), and walk up to the gate. Hop we did; right into the mud. Yep, the moat still holds onto water a lot better than the surrounding landscape and we found out the hard way that it's almost always filled with a good inch or two of sticky, stinky mud. Good thing the river was nearby for a quick foot washing!

Public art at the old pier

At the top of the lighthouse

Inside the lighthouse, looking out

View from the lighthouse

The wall that ended in a muddy mess...

Cleaning up the muddy mess in a brown river. No, the irony is not lost!

On the drawbridge leading into the city

We had explored all of the barrio historico in a few hours, so we found an ice cream shop to cool ourselves down a little bit. And Justin was probably the happiest kid ever: pistachio flavored ice cream in Uruguay! His absolute favorite. I stuck to dulce de leche, and we both enjoyed our last ice creams!

Pistachio!!!

The ice cream excitement and all the exploring had worked up our appetites. We stopped at the Drugstore for lunch, sat outside on colorful chairs under colorful umbrellas on cobblestone streets while being serenaded. It was very picturesque, the food yummy, and the beer cold. We couldn't ask for more!

The Drugstore

We knew our time was up in Uruguay, because we pretty much had exact change in Uruguayan pesos for lunch. Not to mention we had to catch our ferry back to Buenos Aires. Thus started our trip home: a ferry from Colonia, Urugay, to Buenos Aires, Argentina (complete with a customs and immigration adventure), an hour and a half taxi ride to the Buenos Aires airport (that should have taken 30 minutes; thank you Friday night city traffic! Side note: we also had exact change in Argentine pesos for this ride… another sign it was time to go home), more customs and immigrations and lots of lines, a flight to Houston, a flight to San Francisco, and a ride to Campbell.

Really?? Yes, this is real life in Uruguay.

Home, sweet home! What a wonderfully amazing trip it has been πŸ™‚

Those last two pictures are just for fun, from Colonia. I mean really, look at that dog! That can't be comfortable. Justin says he must have calloused gums. Hopefully you think this dog is as funny as we do!

 

7 Comments

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  1. sporadic.stanford.edu / Feb 18 2013 5:27 pm

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  5. Uncle Todd / Jan 24 2013 1:33 pm

    What an adventure. It was like reading a Jimmy Buffet book. Kaysea, you are such a talented writer,. If you ever get tired of rocks, I know what you calling is. When is your next rtrip? I want MORE!! Glad you are bothe back safe and sound.
    Love,
    Uncle Todd

    • JustinKays Porter / Feb 5 2013 5:48 pm

      A Jimmy Buffett book?! You sure know how to compliment a girl πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed it, hopefully our next trip is sooner rather than later! xo

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