Today we are taking another day trip into Uruguay on the Rio de Plata coast line. The little coastal beach town of Colonia de Sacramento ( or simply Colonia) is a popular tourist destination for locals from Buenos Aires ( or “Portenos” as they call themselves) and Uruguayans alike. We are taking the same boat company, called Buquebus, for a shorter trip in a less luxurious ferry boat. Thankfully no surgical boots will be required.
The town is known for its quaint city center and the long stretch of beach along the river (more of lake at this point on the map) There are city tours of the town but it’s such a small town it can be toured by walking or by bike. My feet are still painful, but I thought I could ride a bike. We were happy to discover that the Thrifty car rental dealership rented bikes in addition to motorcycles, golf carts, and cars. The bike rental for the day was 18 dollars (pesos?) per day. We took to the road on bikes toward an old abandoned bull ring about 3 kilometers (2 miles) out of town. Once we got to the main coastal road along the shore we saw miles of pristine beach on the way there.
We also encountered a marathon race or perhaps an “iron man” race in progress along the road so there were few cars and small crowds along the way. Uruquay is relatively flat with rolling hills which is great for raising cattle, one of their major exports. Not being in great shape, there were several occasional where I had to push the bike rather than peddle. In general, the feet ailments were minimal. Along the way we stopped here and there to take photos of the people in the shore as we made our way to the old stadium.
After that we turned around and rode our bikes back into town for lunch. After lunch, we walked a bit and parked the bikes. The town looked very much like any small resort town. My friend wanted to explore more on foot, but the foot pain had returned so I excused myself and rested at a nearby bus stop bench, instead. After my long rest, we walked around town until we found a quaint little restaurant with chairs in a little green backyard with flowers and 1940 and 50s jazz music playing soothingly.
The interior of the place had photographs hanging from the walls. I found out that the owner was a photographer who had taught in Buenos Aires many years ago. The waiter was his son on vacation from college in Buenos Aires. He spoke very good English having stayed with relatives in the US many times. Currently, he said studying business at one the many universities and colleges in Buenos Aires. The photo below was taken with my Iphone so forgive the poor lighting.
We unlocked our bikes and headed back to the boat docks to catch the 8:30PM boat back to Buenos Aires. We thought were ahead time and so did not rush to get in line to go through customs. I usually get confused about the time because Argentina is two hours ahead of eastern standard time. They don’t observe daylight savings time. Uruguay on the otherhand does observe daylight savings time, so their clocks are only 1 hour ahead of EST. I keep tabs by using the world clock system app on my iphone just to make sure I know the time but didn’t double check this time and assumed my friend wasn’t privy to the same confusion. You guessed it, our watches were wrong! We were wondering why the boarding crowd had vanished and realized the boat was leaving without us. It was the last boat out until 7:30AM the next day!! So we would have had to stay overnight if we didn’t get on this boat. Franticly, my friend beseeched the boarding authority people and one sympathetic gentleman had noticed the boat was a little late and still in the process of loading the last of the automobiles. They rushed us through immigration and we rushed hurriedly to the closing doors and found some seats in the first class sections on an already crowded boat. Yet another, exciting adventure. Traveling abroad requires resourcefulness.