Back to the traveldiary mainpage

First day: [1]
Second day: [1]
Third day: [1]
Fourth day: [1]
2013-10-11_Uruguay
  • No KMZ (Google Earth) for this traveldiary.
Departure from Montevideo
Woke up at 7:30am, morning necessities, breakfast (now as I'm thinking, I don't have the smallest idea where was the kitchen in this house and what was the breakfast)

When everything is ready I checked out and I got to learn that the receptionist girl from Spain lived in Budapest for a year (don't tell me you need an external link...).
d04_01 (2013-10-14 07:34:33) -- show location on Google Maps
I wasn't sure that I'll be able to reach the bus terminal in 30 minutes (that time left my bus to Colonia), going uphill. But the morning exercise is good and anyway I would only loose time if I had searched some place to change my notes to coins - so I just walked hastily on the way back.
d04_02 (2013-10-14 08:03:04) -- show location on Google Maps
24 minutes later I tore the ribbon, made in time!
d04_03 (2013-10-14 08:03:53) -- show location on Google Maps
You can see the sculpture of José Fructuoso Rivera y Toscana. Rivera was born in the city with the cutest name in the whole world on the 17th of October 1784. His name is connected to such accomplishments like triumphantly repulsing the Brazilian and Portuguese attacks, further he was elected as the first Prime Minister of Uruguay on the 6th of November 1830.

Such other notions and memories are joined to his name like with the leadership of his niece Bernabé Rivera by 1833 they completely exterminated the Charrúa tribe (in Spanish).
d04_04 (2013-10-14 08:04:17) -- show location on Google Maps
Vení a descubrir por qué Buenos Aires es tu ciudad. - Come and discover why Buenos Aires is your city.

I didn't say anything. Don't look at me like that! Really, I didn't think anything.
d04_05 (2013-10-14 08:09:41) -- show location on Google Maps
The portable mate.
d04_06 (2013-10-14 08:10:51) -- show location on Google Maps
Tres Cruces, the bus terminal. There's an another Tres Cruces too like this.
d04_07 (2013-10-14 08:15:01) -- show location on Google Maps
The colourful terminal.
d04_08 (2013-10-14 08:17:36) -- show location on Google Maps
Leaving to Colonia.
Departing exactly at 8:30am.
d04_09 (2013-10-14 08:20:20) -- show location on Google Maps
Arrival to Colonia
Landing, I threw down the backpack in the luggage office and greased myself with sunscreen because the weather is horrifically good. Walk.
In the city
Those cozy, shady cobblestone streets. At least in the historical district, I didn't venture to other parts of the town because of incuriosity and didn't have that much time. One day is sufficient to discover the historical district leisurely.
d04_10 (2013-10-14 11:28:09) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_11 (2013-10-14 11:28:20) -- show location on Google Maps
Snack from the Micromacro shop: 78UYU one coke, mineral water and this banana-honey galletita. Much to my surprise I was satisfied, it didn't resemble with the average Argentine sweets where the first bite is perfect, then comes the extra tons of sugar.
d04_12 (2013-10-14 12:31:35) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_13 (2013-10-14 12:52:19) -- show location on Google Maps
Sitting-a-round in the 25 de agosto park. The reason why it's an important day for Uruguay is because on the 25th August 1825 did the country declare its independence, departure from the Empire of Brazil and the United Provinces of Río de la Plata.
d04_14 (2013-10-14 12:55:18) -- show location on Google Maps
With the knowledge of all informational maps and the explosion of the carbohydrates I started to discover the historical district. For the most of my dismay I lost the map what wonderfully positioned the (by my memories) 14 points of interests... I visited each of them, but I don't know all their names. Next time.

You can get such map evidently on the bus terminal, but possibly at the information desk of the ferry as well.

Since 1995 the historical district of Colonia del Sacramento belongs to the list of World Heritage. Now I don't intend to start history picking-pecking to inspire curiosity, its past can be wonderfully read on the UNESCO WHC site and the Wikipedia too of course.
d04_15 (2013-10-14 13:16:56) -- show location on Google Maps
The wall of the castle.
d04_16 (2013-10-14 13:17:32) -- show location on Google Maps
The remains of the Bastion of San Miguel.

For the very earthly travellers and who have more time might appreciate this, to the right on this image you can find a bike rental. I didn't use it but FYI.
d04_17 (2013-10-14 13:22:23) -- show location on Google Maps
Colonial houses from the 17th century in the los Suspiros street.
d04_18 (2013-10-14 13:24:25) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_19 (2013-10-14 13:27:47) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_20 (2013-10-14 13:28:07) -- show location on Google Maps
Colonia + mandatory = photography of old cars.

One of the most famous sightseeing and tourist trap of Colonia are those senescent but renewed veteran cars what the tourist audience can spot at random locations.

Veteran cars likewise but thousands of kilometers away.
d04_21 (2013-10-14 13:31:16) -- show location on Google Maps
Plaza Mayor at my back, the Naval Museum in your eyes.
d04_22 (2013-10-14 13:33:56) -- show location on Google Maps
The Lighthouse of Colonia del Sacramento was finished in January of 1857. The tower is 26 meters high and the light (it flashes two red lights in every 9 seconds) can be seen as far as 7.8 nautical miles (14.44 km). During the course of history various sources provided the energy for the lamp, starting from kerosene, through acetylene up to electricity while in 1997 the system was upgraded to solar panels.

Before the lighthouse you can see the remains of the San Francisco Monastery from the 17th century. It was built in 1690 but in consequence of a fire it was completely demolished in 1704, only the walls survived.
d04_23 (2013-10-14 13:34:46) -- show location on Google Maps
50UYU or 20ARS is the entrance fee, and you have the green light to climb the 26 meters high spiral staircase to the top if you wanna rock and roolll.

View to southeast toward the port.
d04_24 (2013-10-14 13:41:03) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_25 (2013-10-14 13:42:52) -- show location on Google Maps
View to southwest, toward Buenos Aires. You can see the Saint Gabriel Island in front (the biggest).

panorama01
d04_26 (2013-10-14 13:48:35) -- show location on Google Maps
The towers of the Basílica del Santísimo Sacramento basilica.
d04_27 (2013-10-14 13:54:08) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_28 (2013-10-14 13:54:21) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_29 (2013-10-14 14:03:59) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_30 (2013-10-14 14:04:39) -- show location on Google Maps
The westernmost dot of Colonia.

panorama02

panorama03
d04_31 (2013-10-14 14:09:14) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_32 (2013-10-14 14:13:31) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_33 (2013-10-14 14:17:01) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_34 (2013-10-14 14:20:01) -- show location on Google Maps
Hájtek and übersekurity.
d04_35 (2013-10-14 14:24:01) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_36 (2013-10-14 14:24:14) -- show location on Google Maps
The port for private yachts of Colonia.
d04_37 (2013-10-14 14:27:13) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_38 (2013-10-14 14:31:58) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_39 (2013-10-14 14:32:46) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_40 (2013-10-14 14:33:58) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_41 (2013-10-14 14:37:49) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_42 (2013-10-14 14:38:16) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_43 (2013-10-14 14:39:06) -- show location on Google Maps
Sitting-a-round on the beach.
d04_44 (2013-10-14 15:14:24) -- show location on Google Maps
Only one couple was brave enough for the early dabbling.
d04_45 (2013-10-14 15:14:30) -- show location on Google Maps
Plaza 25 de agosto again
A hamburger by 17:18pm and takes out 80UYU from your pocket.
d04_46 (2013-10-14 15:42:40) -- show location on Google Maps
Ohhh no! He found the colourizing functions of the camera! Somebody take it from him, oh my god, please do seize it now immediately!!!
d04_47 (2013-10-14 15:55:02) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_48 (2013-10-14 17:23:40) -- show location on Google Maps
Before its closing I took my backpack from the luggage office on the terminal and since I still had 60 UYU in my pocket and extra time on my watch, after an another Micromacro visit I returned to the Bastion of San Miguel.
d04_49 (2013-10-14 17:25:57) -- show location on Google Maps
A pleasant finish of a pleasant journey
Zillertal, Pilsen and Charles Dickens bilingual book.

How it's already been researched the Pilsen isn't a Pilsner but the leading brand of Uruguay. I think Zillertal is better but since by this time I consumed only this, I couldn't do academic comparisons with the Pilsen what disappeared later.
d04_50 (2013-10-14 17:32:19) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_51 (2013-10-14 17:47:33) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_52 (2013-10-14 18:13:04) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_53 (2013-10-14 18:15:12) -- show location on Google Maps
Saint Gabriel Island.
d04_54 (2013-10-14 18:19:41) -- show location on Google Maps
A 354 degrees panorama.

panorama04
d04_55 (2013-10-14 18:24:17) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_56 (2013-10-14 18:26:07) -- show location on Google Maps
While I was advancing to the ferry terminal I spotted the historical tracks and train of Colonia and its Colonia station. The station was inaugurated on the 1st of April 1901. The party lasted for 9 hours and transported politicians and the management of the train company at first.

Unfortunately I couldn't find more information of its history from the internet but seemingly and clearly it's not used anymore. People with further interests please visit the Railway Museum.
d04_57 (2013-10-14 18:30:53) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_58 (2013-10-14 18:32:17) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_59 (2013-10-14 18:33:08) -- show location on Google Maps
On the Buquebus terminal
d04_60 (2013-10-14 18:36:37) -- show location on Google Maps
And by 7:30pm I again stood in front of the customs officers, smirked about the inviability of my DNI, especially when the officer started to write down the identification number of the stamp what lost the validity in August 2013. I recommended him to turn the page.

But I successfully made my way through and realized that a human snake is seen, we're so many up there awaiting the embarkation.
d04_61 (2013-10-14 18:47:06) -- show location on Google Maps
A sunset during running.
d04_62 (2013-10-14 19:02:43) -- show location on Google Maps
By the way there was 0 number of security gates or searching.
d04_63 (2013-10-14 19:07:57) -- show location on Google Maps
At 8:13pm on the ferry. I didn't miss it, not even with time zone differences.
d04_64 (2013-10-14 19:30:02) -- show location on Google Maps
The other Buenos Aires-Colonia ferry, Colonia Express.
d04_65 (2013-10-14 19:30:54) -- show location on Google Maps
The sailing out was kinda esoterical. The loudspeaker made everyone aware of some constellation event, then a guy started to hit a gray metal tambourine for 2x10 minutes in the middle of the helicopter landing zone. Then he disappeared, only the a laptop was left lonely in the middle of the H letter, music was played and the colourful dancing visual effects on the screen rocked the people into a Stone Age, around the campfire mood. Maybe there's still hope.
d04_66 (2013-10-14 19:36:23) -- show location on Google Maps
Early evening passengers arrive from Buenos Aires.
d04_67 (2013-10-14 19:41:17) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_68 (2013-10-14 19:48:11) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_69 (2013-10-14 20:17:55) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_70 (2013-10-14 21:16:19) -- show location on Google Maps
Crossing the Río de la Plata
Walking-a-round, sitting, semi-daydreaming and at half past 11pm the Argentine mainland gets into the view.
d04_71 (2013-10-14 23:07:41) -- show location on Google Maps
d04_72 (2013-10-14 23:08:32) -- show location on Google Maps
At 11:10pm the ferry anchored.
d04_73 (2013-10-14 23:11:19) -- show location on Google Maps
Since I don't have knowledge of the colectivos around the Retiro ferry terminal, I just simply walked to the well-known Catedral, quick money withdrawal and exactly at midnight the Colectivo 29 flies me to the flat and by 0:30am I threw down the backpack.

Only to the floor, not from the balcony.
d04_74 (2013-10-14 23:13:22) -- show location on Google Maps
Conclusion
The minidiary entry
Now again can be clicked for extra references.

Time accuracy
I truly honestly tried everything but this traveldiary fell into a similar time zone complication pit what happened with the BsAs-Budapest-BsAs too. At the end of the ferry, before the disembarkation everyone was noticed that Uruguay is UTC-2, not UTC-3 what's Argentina. I surely adjusted the BlackBerry. Probably Canon too. But I'm unsure with Nikon. So mea culpa, alas the times don't have secondwise accuracy or even may be out of sync by plus or minus 1 hour (the diary text prevails, they are correct). Those readers who likewise to myself sometimes require academic accuracy, I apologize for this cardinal faux pas.

Spanish
By this time I reached the fact to enjoy the Spanish. Surely I had the learning curve up to there but I realized that my perchance loss of understanding may not come from my side but the fast speaking of the other participant and/or heavy usage of the slang. If someone talks well and nicely, it's fine. So the results are: Spanish won, English didn't even awake.

Holux M-1000C
Theoretically I had it with myself to follow and record the itinerary; on the contrary its practical usefulness would worth a poetic aria. That's all.
I send a word to them that won't recommend their products because it's unforgivable if a device what uses flash memory (irrespective to power availability, the data remains on the storage) is capable of loosing user data. And the loss of user data is the genuine Antichrist, the Tenth Circle of the 1-0 Hell, spouting brimstone in a fluke fertilizing pit.
Likewise to the previous event now the battery totally drained again and the internal software corrupted the existing data on the flash memory. If you don't use this device in a car on permanent charging (like here) then just forget it because you only gonna get gray hair. Or keep a sherpa with yourself who monitors the battery level and on his back he carries a little cage with a treadwheel and a hamster inside to generate the power.

Packing, gear
For others it's possibly rather boring but the organizing part of this for me was no laptop, cable, charger or else went into the backpacks. What did this mean?
  • camera with the grip, a 18-70 mm lens and the GP-1 GPS receiver was the complete gear
  • 5 Nikon batteries, no recharging
  • 3 Holux batteries, no recharging - wouldn't help anything anyway
  • 16 GB, one CF memory card. Chances were few that I'll overspill it during 3 days (this happened only during the South Pole trip but that took 20 days)
  • No laptop double backup, so if the sky falls, then every image, Holux, draft will fly into the oblivion.
Yettt: the luggage is smaller, fewer things need to be paid attention. It succeeded, was sufficient.

For the travellers going to Uruguay I'd mention that the country uses European C, F type plugs (I'm not sure about your source country voltage and frequency usage: do check it for yourself before the travel: Wikipedia).

Public transportation
You can get to Uruguay by 4 means. The first possibility is by car (at first glance you can find the first bridge over the Uruguay River between Gualeguaychú and Fray Bentos). Second option is you team with a group who have a yacht. In Argentina above a certain age it's a somewhat obligatory action. This current travel started with this idea but after numerous confirmations still didn't materialize into the thick air so I looked for other solutions. Swimming would have been too much refreshing and the airplane too much expensive.

The only remainder are the ferries. The first option is Colonia Express which carries the passengers to Colonia in a mere amount of 1 hour and 10 minutes. It was a fallen possibility for me because by this time I didn't have a credit card yet and their website offered only such purchase option. Secondly, it wouldn't enhance my itinerary even I'd have time loss if I go to the Uruguayan side only on Saturday morning.

So, the final option was the chosen Buquebus. Albeit this needs 3.5 hours to cross - but momentarily I hasted to nowhere and decided the morning arrival as wiser. Further it probably was somewhat cheaper plus I could pay it in a Rapipago with waiting in the line + cash (hooray).

The local transportation among the 3 cities is the easiest by the buses and it's laughably easy. The cities are approximately but exactly 2 hours from each other so the distance isn't significant. Most of the accommodations offer the breakfast around 8am, the first buses leave at 9am so by about 11am you're in the next city.

Expenses
Uruguay is more expensive than Buenos Aires, how I recall. On the contrary to the North Argentina travel, alas I didn't note the actual value of the peso, neither how much would this or that cost today.

I found the bills and receipts (for the dear readers who require academic accuracy!) and they show the following numbers. It's unnecessary to try to draw any devouring conclusions, only for the information.

The locro in Punta del Este cost 220UYU and the Patricia beer 70UYU. If we divide by 2 for the Argentine numbers and a dinner, for 110 pesos you generally get some big slab of beef and for 35 pesos a complete bottle of a decent/good wine. The lunch in Montevideo cost 520UYU, aka 290UYU for a main dish, a beer and a coffee.

The shopping in the Micromacro 3.5 dl Pilsen 29UYU, 3.5 dl Zillertal 40UYU, 3.5 dl Norteña 27UYU and 6 dl mineral water 24UYU. In average for 20 pesos you get a 9 dl beer (Stella Artois, Heineken, which one palates one) the local Quilmes is even cheaper.

I don't compare the transportation prices: the Punta del Este-Montevideo COPSA transfer was 218UYU, the Montevideo-Colonia COT ride 258UYU.

Final words
My brief travel didn't allow me to become adept in the country but without any auxiliary odes I liked the three days. The southern shore of Uruguay focuses on two sights and their fans will be completely satisfied (the third group with cattle fans and rural life fetishists may wander more to north). If you're interested in the colonization of South America during the 16th and 18th centuries then you'll find countless memorials, sights and museums where you can delve yourself even more into the subject. The rather earthly travellers won't be disappointed either because although Brazil is named as the home of beaches and sunshine yet I'm confident Uruguay can provide a lot of experiences like this: the long, formed beaches welcome everyone who wish to have some sun- or water bath.
I don't have extensive information on this, but it's recommended to follow the road and water toward north and the Brazilian border from Punta del Este; the water is warmer and more suitable there.
Hundred words for all, it's a lasting memory from the morning cloudy and grayish, nearly abandoned Punta del Este and its nighttime yacht harbour - the market, seaside walkway and the dusk by a lighthouse of Montevideo - Colonia del Sacramento with the sunset over the historical relics of the colonization era.

From our next edition
Besides Uruguay there's an another country with a similarly scintillating name. Upon arrival.