South America, Day Three: Colonia, Uruguay

I’ve just re-rolled my sleeping bag and I can barely function. On top of that, there appears to be a bunch of apes outside our room (aka, gap year youths). I’ll probably give you a proper update while I’m at the airport tomorrow (Buenos Aires to Santiago) but for now I’ll give you a summary. Plus some titbits I’ve forgotten to mention on the way.

One: We tried an Argentine spirit called Fernet, which tasted like mouthwash. A rank version. A fellow backpacker insisted we try it, as to immerse ourselves in the culture. So we did. And we got hammered.

Two: Bring dollars and change them on the street. You’ll get double your money as the exchange rate is unofficially 18 to 1, or something like that. (I don’t really know what that means but you should do what I say anyway).

Three: According to our La Boca tour-guide, Ceri, the best thing to do if you’re about to get raped is… shit yourself. (Yeah, we weren’t sure how to handle that piece of advice either).

And, as for today’s summary; we popped over to Uruguay, had a wander, ate the best chicken stroganoff known to man at a placed called La Bohemia as we sat outside in the pissing rain (they call that ‘al fresco’, right?). Then we went to the most photographed street in Colonia (Calle Los Suspiros). Shortly afterwards, we got followed by a wild dog… so we decided to seek shelter in a bar called Buen Suspiro. (What a great excuse!) We drank Malbec, ate cheese and got a cheeky try of traditional ‘mate’ (after hinting very unsubtly to the bar tender, Daniel)… and then we nearly died on the ferry back (there was a gale and a puke-for-all).

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It’s gone midnight and we’ve got a plane to catch. Night.

………………………………………………………………….

It’s the morning now and we’re at the airport so figured I’d continue where I left off. It’s technically tomorrow but I’ll keep to this entry for now. (If you’re confused, imagine how I’m feeling).

Before I do, we just checked our bank account. It turns out everything is not ‘muy caro’. One meal, for the both of us, came to £22… and that was at Cafe Tortoni (tango)! 2 steaks and a bottle of wine for £22; a tenner each! Turns out we’ve been working prices out with the wrong exchange rate. Instead of dividing by 7.5, we should have divided by 12.5. Ah well! Pleasant surprise!

Yes, so Colonia is rich in history. I’m not in a position to tell you about this history (no lo se, sabes nada), but I’d recommend you read up on it because it’ll make the daytrip more interesting. It’s such a beautiful place. Each cobble on the quaint streets is lined with moss… and the colours of the casas are just so pretty. It’s a very quiet place – we only saw a handful of people and a dog. It feels very safe and our backpacks could stay on our backs today. Even the stray dog was friendly – we didn’t hang about though, mainly because we’ve read / heard so much about rabies. And that’s all we need.

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To catch the Colonia Express, you need to take a taxi to the port. It’s within “the mouth”, aka La Boca, so don’t hang about. Get in, get out, and keep your wits about you. Out taxi driver took us for a ride (literally and metaphorically) – he drove us into the depths of La Boca, claiming he didn’t know the way (in Spanish), and managed to double the fair in the process. The half hour taxi cost about £5 so it didn’t really matter. We arrived on time, in one piece, so that’s all that counts.

I’ve just realised something!!

In yesterday’s Malbec frenzy, I forgot to mention THE STEAK!!! Not just any steak – the best goddamn steak I’ve ever had. It was so, so tender and, to demonstrate just how tender, the waiter cut it with a spoon. YES. With a SPOON!! It melted in our mouths – literally melted. The sweetest, juiciest, “muy rico” steak can be found at La Brigada. Order the ‘lomo’ and share it (you can always order more). It was honestly the best goddamn piece of meat I’ve ever had the pleasure of putting into my mouth.

Buenos Aires – a summary:

It’s a sexy, sassy, cosmopolitan city, bursting with colour and energy. Busy and vibrant, Argentina’s capital will keep you on the edge of your seat and on your feet. It hosts the world’s largest avenue (16 lanes) and it boasts some truly spectacular neighbourhoods. It’s a shame we didn’t explore Palmero or the markets in San Telmo properly – so if you allow yourself more time than us, you should give these areas more attention.

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