Monday, December 23, 2013

Colonia - Uruguay

Just a quick 1 hour ferry ride from Buenos Aires, Lydia and I decided to take a side trip to Colonia, Uruguay for a couple of days.  Am I ever glad that we did, as we found Colonia to be one of the most picturesque sleepy towns I've ever set eyes on.  In just the two days we spent there, we took around 5 times the photos that we took in the month that we spent in Buenos Aires... and Buenos Aires is stunning!  This place is just a freak of nature though for post card images everywhere you look!

That being said, the first thing we saw from the ferry wasn't all too scenic :S  Technically, this was taken off the boat on the Buenos Aires side though.  I have no idea what they're pumping out into the water, but it certainly doesn't look good!

That's more like it... though we're still on the Argentina side here :)

BC ferries may have the occasional lecture about dolphins and plankton during the trip between Victoria and Vancouver, but the ferry between Buenos Aires and Colonia has the forbidden dance of love!  Take that dolphins!

Sorry about the shoddy camera work here, but I was battling with an old lady over positioning to film the dancers!  I think she won.

Ok, so this is officially the first picture that actually takes place in sleepy Colonia.  Cobblestone, tree-lined streets, vintage buildings and cars, cafe's, old forts, oceans, birds, and the perfect mix of sun shinning down over the blue sky means that camera battery life is in high demand here in Colonia!

Having worked up an appetite during the ride over, we decided to have a light lunch before we got started exploring.

Mmmmmm salad!

There's really not much I can say about the next set of photos, other than Lydia and I had an absolute blast just walking around the town and taking it all in! 

Prepare the cannons!!!!!  

Colonia has a number of old forts and walls lining the old coastal town.  My guess is it's something pirate related.

Damn that town is beautiful!

Lydia and I found this cat saving us a seat at one of the street-side cafes.  There we got to partake in our first yerba mate experience.  Yerba mate is a very popular tea drink in Argentina and Uruguay.  It's essentially a copious amount of tea leaves piled up in a wooden cup, drank with a filtered metal straw.  You can only add a bit of water in at a time (since there's so many leaves in the cup), so you'll get a pitcher of hot water alongside the tea to keep re-filling the drink.  It's potent stuff.  After drinking it, you'll get quite a caffeine buzz (like head flying kind of buzz).

With their copious work breaks, you'll usually find the families sitting down with one another drinking their yerba mate together.  It's believed to be a social drink, never to be taken on the go.  You always have to sit down and enjoy it with your company (not such a bad idea), so we did just that!  Our company just so happened to be a cat though!

That didn't mean that she couldn't enjoy some yerba with us though!

By this time, I was flying from the yerba!  We loved it so much that we ended up taking home a couple of kilos of the stuff with us on our trip home (along with the special cup and metal filter straws).  It must have given the customs officials a bit of a start to see the large kilos of green leaves taped up in our bags! lol

I imagine that there will be several times in my life were I will look back at this exact moment!

Some gorgeous vintage cars lined the streets of the city.  I'm not sure if they were for decoration or function, but they definitely fit the scene there!  

The car pictured above was definitely decorative.  It was actually converted into a dining table at one of the local restaurants.  We were a bit stuffed from our prior 'salad', so we unfortunately didn't take that one in.  I'm not sure I would have fit anyhow!

I want to find this couple so that we can give them this picture!

The town didn't lose its alure at dusk.

One thing that I can't forget to mention is that by this time in the trip, Lydia and I were actually getting a little down on our spanish abilities.  It seemed that since we left Bolivia, we weren't able to keep up in conversations with the locals as much as we had in the previous countries.  Then in Colonia, while taking in the night shops, we ran into a sweet street jeweller, who we ended up talking with for hours.  We were both really confused by this.  Had our Spanish abilities finally come back out of the blue?  Later in the conversation, however, we found that the girl wasn't actually from Uruguay, rather she was from Colombia - hence the reason we could actually understand her!  The countries in the south of South America (i.e. Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay) each have unique and thick accents which makes understanding their people really difficult.  Seriously, it's like they're speaking a whole other language! 

The next day, Lydia and I continued to wander the streets, did a bit of shopping (for the worlds best alfajores and tea sets), and practiced our tango on the docks, before heading back to Buenos Aires and starting our long trip back home to Canada.  

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