Ok, I admit, the main reason for going to Uruguay was for my passport. Don't usually go to a country simply for the stamp in my passport, but I like the thought of squeezing it in to make it my twelfth Latin American country in twelve months. Luckily Uruguay is pretty easily accessed from Buenos Aires - only across the Rio Plata. It's even doable as a day trip!
So early in the morning, struggled hard to get out of bed and taxied to the Buquebus ferry terminal. Had an hour to spare, but started to get a little anxious when had to queue at a few lines. It wasn't very clear what the purchasing ticket process was, and got a little confused when my passport was handed back to me at the end of the second queue (about twenty minutes wait) with no tickets issued. But luckily they had already got my details on the computer, so only had to go to the cashier (another ten minutes), pay, then bugger off to the check-in desk. And then through security and immigration! But... got everything done in time to get onto the boat before it departed... phew!!
The boat was an hour late in departing though - apparently strong wind making the crossing a little dangerous. And I wondered whether it was really a good idea to cross into another country, with weather dependable transport, so soon before catching an international flight...
Anyway, the crossing was fairly uneventual, mainly because it was raining and didn't really provide much for the scenery. Was also a little tired, though Mona, a French Canadian girl from my first hostel was napping away, thought one of us should be conscious to keep an eye on the bags.
Oh, this is also my first crossing an international border by boat! :)
When we arrived into Colonia three hours later, Uruguay greeted us with some very wet weather. Helping me adjust to UK weather, no doubt!! Dashed to a money exchange place, bought a phone card and to the bus terminal for an onward bus to the capital city, Montevideo, about two hour away.
Andrea, from my first hostel in Buenos Aires has a flat there, whilst working for a NGO and had offered me a free couch space. I was supposed to tell her when I would get there in advance, but since I wasn't too sure myself, thought I would call once I got to the bus terminal. As there had been no contact from my side, she had just made plans shortly before to go to the north part of the country. Whoops...
So I wondered whether it was a good idea for me to be going to Montevideo when I got onto the bus. I didn't get there until almost six in the evening. It was still raining, starting to get dark, and wouldn't have much time to explore the city. Checked into a very scruffy hotel (not been to such a bad one for a very long time), and decided would get up very early the next morning for a few hours of walk around. Then would catch a bus in the late morning to Colonia, for a few hours there. Then boat back to Buenos Aires! With that resolved, went to look for dinner. So got to see a little bit of the city as well.
It's a small quiet capital city. Probably the most laid back one I have been to in Latin America. Guess Monday night wasn't exactly it's most bustling neither! The buildings are mainly colonial, and were quite neat. There was also a nice restuarant and bar district, which was again pretty quiet.