- Day 17 -
After a trendy psychedelic private bedroom in Montevideo, the conversion to a shared mixed dorm of 5 in Colonia didn’t initially endear the town to Cass. However we were won over by the charm, even if somewhat contrived nature, of the port.
The day had started with our usual hasty planning for the next 4 days, sorting out our accommodation and transport. Taking a local bus we reached the terminal and settled in for some lunch while we waited for our intercity to Colonia. I unwittingly ordered enough food to feed a family of 5, with just one of the two Milanese meal deals being bigger than my head! Thankfully the waitress understood I wasn’t running a marathon today so didn’t need that much food; splitting one dish and wrapping the other to go.
Unknowingly Colonia was busy, and for a small picturesque town that means full hostels. The reason for this became apparent after accepting a shared room in the dilapidated HI, when we were greeted by an expensive looking Triathlon bike, it’s owner busily checking his gel pack supplies and female supporters. Tomorrow was to be Colonia’s half Ironman tournament - he could’ve probably done with eating my Milanese!
By now the strange phenomena in Uruguay of it actually getting hotter after 2pm had turned the dorm into a sauna. The inadequate fan swirling an airless room and echoing the windless dry air outside. Taking advantage of the hostel’s free rental bikes, we decided to make our own breeze but navigating the cobbled streets on these relics proved comical, with much of our exploration of the undulating town done on foot. Several of the town highlights do feel a little staged with Havanna-esque vintage cars parked casually under cascading flowers and wooden carts positioned on side streets outside boutiques. The real draw and highlight of the town though is sitting outside the old lighthouse bar. Sipping an icy cold beer, tucking into the other half of our lunch, and watching the sun set in brilliant orange. We moseyed down the pier and looked out over the wide Rio Plate to Buenos Aires, our next destination.
As I have said our Milanese lunch had stretched over 2 meals but Cass had researched a great cheese and wine bistro tucked off the main square in a tiny courtyard garden. We thought we could fit in some late supper but were unprepared for the very generous local cheeseboard and accompanying goblet size wine “flights” for roughly £5. Feeling like I should be doing an Ironman in the morning to burn off the days cheese, we headed back to the hostel to be slowly grilled on our bunks like a bit of Welsh rarebit.
- By Ian