Hello from Uruguay´s capital Montevideo for a backdated blog on Colonia. Its lovely to be back somewhere where there is actually a feel of genuine warmth in the air. I´ve been able to comfortably wear shorts and a T-shirt for the first time since Santiago, and long may it continue. We caught a Dover-Calais style car ferry from the port in Buenos Aires across here to Colonia. You couldn´t quite see Uruguay across the large Rio de la Plata, but from Colonia you can make out the skyscrapers of Buenos Aires, which leads me to think the ferry crossing was around the same length as Dover-Calais and around 22 miles. It is therefore puzzling why the ferry took us 3 hours when Dover-Calais takes 1 hour 20. Like many things in South America the boat just seemed to amble along, and barely even made any sort of wake out of the rear we went that slow. On arrival to Uruguay our tour guide (still Joaquin since the new tour guide is ill) was surprised to learn that they were one hour forward of Argentina, so I am now just 3 hours behind UK time, which is strange to think since I feel so far from home. It looks as though Uruguay has adjusted its clocks a few weeks in advance of the surrounding countries since Brazil is still 4 hours behind.
Colonia was a lovely little seaside town, with cobbled tree lined streets, a pleasant square, a lighthouse and lots of antique cars about. It had a real old-worldy feel and its not surprising UNESCO recently made it a world heritage site. It is a popular tourist destination for Uruguayans in the summer but fortunately for us it was pretty quiet but still sunny and warm. We only had an afternoon to explore the town, which is a shame since it had a relaxing holiday atmosphere and it would have been nice to stay longer. After drinks at a waterfront bar, me, Louise, Jen & Caroline hired out an open top golf cart, which is legal on the roads here in Colonia. I did most of the driving, with Louise and Jen having a go as well. We went 6km up the coast, past a delapidated looking and no longer used bullring, and up to the swish Sheraton Hotel & resort where we turned round and came back. The big seafront houses, moored yachts and general ambience reminded me a lot of Cape Cod, as did driving the electric golf cart, which is something I last did at Maurice´s camp ground. Despite its lack of speed we still managed to overtake the odd moped and doddering old driver (Uruguayans seem to move and drive really slowly), but there wasn´t much on the roads. I will still officially say now that I have driven on the right however! On returning after our 1 hour excursion I ascended the lighthouse, another reminder of Cape Cod, and we finished the day by watching a beautiful sunset over the Rio de la Plata and then having dinner at a nearby restaurant. It was nice having the sun set at 8.10pm, as in Peru it was down before 6pm. The next morning we had no further time to explore as at 8.30am our bus left for Montevideo, just a 2.5 hour drive up the coast.