Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

Oct 14, 2001 -- Day 878 -- Our 37th Country

Credit to, a Very Friendly Place

-- Story by Erin --

October 10:  It was a very pleasant trip, only clouded by the fact that the bikes again didn't come this weekend.  Actually we had more sunshine in four days in Uruguay than in the whole two weeks we were in Buenos Aires.

The 45km ferry from BA to the town of Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay is not cheap, but then again nothing really is here.   The slow ferry cost us US$22 each (not including the bikes of course!) and took 2 hours and 45 minutes.  The fast ferry would have cost US$35 each and takes 45 minutes.  (Compare this to the Staten Island Ferry in New York City which is free, takes about 20 minutes and takes you past the Statue of Liberty and gives you a fantastic view of the Manhattan skyline!)

All of our friends in BA said that Colonia was a very nice little place to see and stay.  I have to say they did not overstate their praise for the place.  It is indeed a very cute little town (about 20,000 people), with a picturesque historical section complete with old cobblestone streets.  It's location on the Río Plate means the water is brown (not polluted, but from the silt upstream), but the little green islands off it's shore make it scenic.

We walked off the boat towards the old part of town to find a place to stay for the night.  The first place we looked at was quaint, but wanted US$35/night (breakfast included).  A bit pricey for our budget, we wandered a bit further.  The next place we found, Posada Tita y Carlos, we recognized from our tourist brochures.  We inquired about a room and found it to be more reasonably priced at US$20/night including breakfast.  Carlos met us at the door and made us feel immediately welcome.  (His partner, Silvia, is a motorcycle enthusiast and a local tour guide.)  The room he showed us a bit antique looking (not in a rich sort of way), painted bright colors, had a loft and was clean (most importantly).  We paid him for the night (it's common to pay in advance in these little guesthouses), dropped our bags and went out to explore the town.

It was early afternoon and we hadn't had our lunch yet.  The first priority was to eat and then sightsee.   Chris found a little burger place on the main street that seemed to be popular with the locals (we always try to eat where the locals do).  For less than a US dollar, we had enormous burgers with everything imaginable on them, including an egg, relish, cheese and various vegetables on a big bun.  Chris was very proud of himself for finding such a bargain!

We wandered around the old section of town and made note of all the old, I mean really antique, cars on the road.   It seemed like the favorite pastime of the locals is to keep the golden oldies around.

The next morning we headed for Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, by bus.  The trip is about 200km, takes about 2 and a half hours, and costs US$7/pp.  It was a good way to see the countryside, which is characterized by fairly barren rolling hills and old estancias (ranches) here and there.  Montevideo is a large city, similar in architecture to Buenos Aires, but with more beautiful plazas.  The city juts out, like a small peninsula, into the confluence of the Río Plate and the Atlantic Ocean.  The old section of town has winding cobblestone streets and ancient buildings with balconies decorated with wrought iron and flowerpots.

We managed to find a cheap hostel in the middle of town for only US$11/per night (breakfast not included).  It was small and had a window that looked out onto an airshaft, but who's complaining?   Again, Chris was very proud of this bargain.  At least it was clean.

The next day we made the rounds of the various sights the guidebook said we should see:  the Plaza de la Independencia, Plaza Fabini, the El Gaucho (the cowboy) statue, and the Palacio Legislativo. 

Taking a break from all that walking around, we were sitting in a big plaza (as you do).  We had just got an email from NZ that the bikes would not be coming this weekend either.  Frustration and despair descended on us. We have learned great patience in 2.5 years travelling, but this was a bit much for us.  You see, each week they told us the bikes MIGHT get on the plane, so we had to stay close by, IN CASE they did!  As we stared blankly past the huge statue of the great warrior mounted on his mighty steed, a huge sign for the American Airlines offices loomed in the background.

It was Friday, October 12th.  We decided to walk in and see what kind of "deals" they were offering.  Twenty minutes later, we walked out of the office, booked to fly from BA direct to New York City on following Tuesday night -- after 880 days on the road we were finally going home (although for just 12 days.)

That afternoon we returned to Colonia by bus, stayed again with Tita y Carlos and left the next day, Saturday, by ferry back to Buenos Aires.  The next two days were filled with making preparations (both logistically and mentally) for our return home.  It did not help that we both came down with a bad cold the day before we left, but that did not dampen our excitement!

Enter the historic town of Colonia...

...complete with cobble-stone streets...

...fancy street lights, and hand-painted street signs.

Sit in one of the many old cars parked in town...

... or maybe rent something a bit newer


About 3 blocks from the American Airlines office where we booked our flight to NYC

Lunch at the famous Mercado del Puerto

All this for US$10

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