From Montevideo, it’s a short bus ride (3-4 hours – no 2-hour delay this time, just half an hour late) to Colonia, from where it’s just a 1-hour ferry ride across the Río de la Plata to Buenos Aires. I was in a four-bed dorm with two Argentinean girls (in their thirties, hallelujah! and incidentally both called Mariana, so that was easy to remember) and we had dinner and spent the next day together, exploring the city.
By the way, my Swedish friends will understand that I spent the entire time I was by the Río de la Plata, on both the Uruguayan and the Argentinean side, singing to myself:
Samborombon, en liten by förutan gata,
den ligger inte långt från Rio de la Plata,
nästan i kanten av den blåa Atlanten och med
pampas bakom sej många hundra gröna mil,
dit kom jag ridande en afton i april
för jag ville dansa tango.
This is part of a song by the much-loved Swedish singer Evert Taube about Fritjof who comes to the small village of Samborombon in Argentina to propose to the beautiful Carmencita, who unfortunately instead favours a rich man with a big estancia and 20,000 cows.
Colonia is described by the Lonely Planet as “an irresistibly picturesque town”, and its Barrio Histórico is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. On arriving from Montevideo, I had spent my first grey afternoon wandering around the old town taking pictures of the streets, the buildings, the ocean… The next morning, the clouds had cleared and the sky was blue so of course I had to go round with the two Marianas to all the same places and re-take all the photos! The old town is a lovely little area, and I can imagine it’s even nicer when it comes to life in the summer and you can sit outside the little cafés on the cobbled streets. Same for the beaches, which would be much more useful in the hot summers!
Iglesia Matriz on the Plaza de Armas is Uruguay’s oldest church. I stood for several minutes in front of the church waiting patiently for the tourists to clear so that I could take a good picture; when they finally left, a big truck pulled up and parked right in front of the entrance…
The practical bit
For boats between Colonia (also Montevideo) and Buenos Aires:
-I took the Colonia Express, very convenient, with immigration handled smoothly, though a very long way to walk down from the terminal to the boat!
-There is also the Buquebus (sounds in English like ‘book a bus’ in a French accent…), which has both 1-hour and 3-hour boats to Montevideo.