Today we leave Montevideo to travel by bus to Colonia de Sacramento. We catch a taxi from our Hotel to the bus terminal. When we arrive at the terminal we can get a ticket straightaway and the bus leaves within 5 minutes. The bus is comfortable, and we settle in for the 3 hour drive. We pass through quite a few small towns, stopping occasionally and at one stage a dozen school kids get on the bus for a few stops, but the time passes quickly. Once we reach Colonia we get in a taxi to go to our Hotel. We check in and then head out to have a look around the old town of Colonia. Colonia is the oldest town in Uruguay. In 1680 Manuel Lobo from Portugal with 5 ships containing about 400 soldiers, craftsmen, carpenters and stonecutters, and 18 guns, reached San Gabriel island (later to be called Colonia de Sacramento) on 20 January 1680. Colonia then went between Spanish, Portuguese and British rule many times. Some of the outside walls of the town remain with some cannons that were in place to protect it. The town has cobbled streets and quaint bars, restaurants and shops. We go up into the lighthouse which was constructed because the Rio del la Plata was so dangerous that many ships carrying the silver from Potosi were lost at sea. The Rio de la Plata (River of Silver) is the meeting of the Uruguay and the Paraná rivers and forms one of the borders of Brazil an Uruguay. It empties into the Atlantic Ocean, forming a funnel-shaped indentation. The Río de la Plata may be considered a river, an estuary or a gulf. For those who consider it a river, it is the widest river in the world, with a maximum width of about 220 kilometres. Built in 1855, the lighthouse would stand on part of the ruins of one of the towers of the ancient San Francisco Xavier convent. There are good views from here over parts of the old town and the Rio de la Plata.
We stop for lunch and share a pork chivto which is a pork sandwich, chips of course and a coke. Standard fare for lunch but the restaurant is nice, it overlooks the square of the old town and we sit under a lovely shady tree.
After lunch we look in the Museum and see some of the colonial furniture from Portugal and some interesting taxidermy from the times. One of the more interesting is a whale skeleton from a whale that was washed up nearby.
After lunch we look in the Museum and see some of the colonial furniture from Portugal and some interesting taxidermy from the times. One of the more interesting items is a whale skeleton from a whale that was washed up nearby. There are also these gliptodonte which are the strangest looking things. Glyptodontes are armored mammals, relatives of armadillos that lived during the prehistoric period. It was roughly the same size and weight as a Volkswagen Beetle, though flatter in shape. With its rounded, bony shell and squat limbs, it superficially resembled a turtle. Never seen one before! We wander aound the town and go to the old port and look in some shops and art galleries. For dinner we go to a restaurant near the water and fortunately they have outdoor blinds, so we can sit in comfort as it is freezing. We have the special which is seafood paella for two and a half bottle of wine. Quite an atmosphere as the restaurant is nearly full. Some others around a very quiet. A good meal with lots of seafood in the paella.