A trip to Uruguay and Montevideo can be easily achieved in a long weekend. We started with an early morning on our first day to catch the ferry to Colonia del Sacramento, a world heritage listed village (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/747) and the oldest town in Uruguay. Absolutely gorgeous! There were so many quaint buildings and streets my camera went into overload. Look out for a London cab set up as a patio table, a map of the old city made of ceramic tiles and the City Gate complete with wooden drawbridge. I could have walked the laneways and alleys of the historic quarter all day. Lucky for us it was a quiet day and I felt like we had the town to ourselves. We had lunch at this cute place overlooking the ocean – way too much food as always. Day 1 finished with a late bus ride on a two and a half hour trip to Montevideo, the capital.
On Day 2 we wandered the streets of Montevideo, through the historic and modern parts of town, passing Palacio Salvo, Plaza Independencia and Plaza Constitucion. We stopped to take in the smells and sounds around the port (Mercado del Puerto www.mercadodelpuerto.com.uy ), enjoying a bite to eat at one of the many parrillas, then headed down to the waterfront and followed the boardwalk for nearly 8kms to the holocaust memorial. The walk is flat and easy, but must admit the legs were dying by the end. The whole foreshore is lovely and reminded me a bit of St Kilda in Melbourne or Santa Monica in California. Being winter it was fairly quiet and there was barely a soul around. A refreshing afternoon nap back at our hotel and we were ready to head out to a lovely Italian restaurant for a late dinner. Locals here generally don´t have dinner until about 10pm, which can make for a long day.
Day 3, we slept in and went walking again, this time along the main drag (Avenida 18 de Julio) and were surprised to see a huge convoy of trucks and tractors blaring their horns, and generally causing traffic chaos. We couldn´t quite work out what was going on, but it seems the local farmers are unhappy with some aspect of government policy (sound familiar). Their protest involved over 1000 tractors and truck cruising down the main street towards the city centre. The convoy took nearly 30 minutes to pass by. We continued our walk still passing trucks for what felt like ages. We stopped to get a drink at a shopping centre, then walked through the suburbs, towards ´Palacio Legislativo´ which we assumed was some sort of palace, but in fact must have been government house, because imagine our surprise, when two and a half hours after first spotting them, the farmers were gathered to rally. It was crazy, but not so different from rallies and protests back home.
That night we returned to Buenos Aires on the high speed ferry which takes about three hours.