Monday, 31 October 2011

Day Fourteen: Argentina – Across the waters to Uruguay

Our minds must have gone mad – when the plate landed on our table – it was an instant regret; this is EXACTLY what we had been trying to avoid for the past 2 weeks…

6.30am – Baquebus to Colonia del Sacramento– Uruguay. Just one hour across the Delta to another Spanish-speaking country. Within 10 minutes of arriving at what seemed to be an abandoned port and we were in the centre of Old Colonia.

A quaint city – village just a couple of hundred years old, proud of its old automobiles; their BBQ restaurants; and their craft shops. The village can be explored within 45 minutes. So we had to drag our every step. By hopping in and out of the shops we could while a bit more time.

There were precious stores – all well made and certainly of exceptional quality than similar shops in Buenos Aires. The prices seemed extreme and near impossible to fathom; 5 x Argentina pesos – therefore about 25 x UK pounds. That makes it about 4pence (£0.04) per dollar – try the maths on that. When a beer is priced UR$100 it was a bit unnerving.

There are some excellent art and craft stores here of both real leather, wool artefacts as well as some superb wood and metal designs that are excellent prices and a great souvenir. I stopped in Oveja Negra, a local boutique with goods made from local sheep – the black sheep’s hair is thick and unique to Uruguay – so I couldn’t resist buying a poncho.

Silvia Sarti established the brand Oveja Negra as artist/designer and travels the world selling here designs. While in sweltering heat of 30+ degrees we soon learned how cold it could get in winter – these intricate designs for sweaters, scarves and accessories were increadily well made.  Check below for details. See the shop in my video and the poncho I bought.

It’s certainly worth taking advantage of the time to relax and stroll slowly around the small port town. Beyond here, a taxi ride away, there is a larger town but not one we felt was appropriate to visit.

On the way back to the port we stopped for a Paradilla – their special BBQ meat bowl. Our minds must have gone mad – when the plate landed on our table – it was an instant regret; this is EXACTLY what we had been trying to avoid for the past 2 weeks; black pudding sausage, liver plus some odd fatty substance. We only had a small bottle of water and salad to dilute the taste between us.

Our final night of luxury we spent in a 4* Axel hotel – Heterofriendly.  This hotel came complete with see-through shower, queen-sized bed, mini-bar, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and a pool with a transparent bottom from the foyer!

We spent the evening drinking Caipirinha in the bar before stumbling to the fifth floor for a late night spa.

The final day we took it easy on our last trek on the shopping streets of Buenos Aires before heading by taxi to the airport for our 24-hour journey home.

One excellent holiday – a great adventure.

Boat to Uruguay: AR$300
Poncho: UR$4,000
Taxi to Airport: AR$150
Sweets for family & friends: AR$75
Oveja Negro: Address: De la Playa 114, Barrio Historico. Tel. 052-21323. Also a store in Punta del Este.