Monday, February 09, 2009

Colonial capers

Time to leave Montevideo. A morning departure meant another brush with the anarchy of hostel breakfast time before navigating my way back through the city bus system to the Tres Cruces (Three Crosses) bus terminal - as with most South American cities, the main intercity bus terminal is out of the town centre so all the coaches aren't fighting their way in and out of the centre all the time. I then had another uneventful 2.5 hours on the coach back to Colonia, where I had a couple of nights to spend. I was staying at another of the El Viajero hostels there, which was actually probably slightly nicer than the one in Montevideo, with a good chill-out/TV/DVD area. Having got in slightly earlier than I'd thought I might, I had another chivito (though chicken this time) for lunch, finished off another book (Bel Canto, which I can strongly recommend) and then went off for a wander around the Barrio Historico, which is actually the remnants of the first European colony in what is now Uruguay, set up by the Portuguese from Brasil to try and break the Spanish monopoly on local trade via Buenos Aires.

Looking around the old cobbled streets, clambering around on the remnants and reconstructions of the colony walls and climbing the lighthouse kepot me occupied for a few hours, after which I had an ice-cream down by the waterfront and then headed back to the hostel, where I met a couple of my room-mates, a Kiwi called Rian (no, it wasn't just a mispronunciation of Ryan or anything, his folks were Indian) and an American called Carlo, and also had a bit of a chat with a couple of Scottish girls, Dawn and Emma, who were on the tail end of their trip and facing up to the prospect of heading home - there do seem to be a lot more people heading anti-clockwise around South America at the moment, but that may be the effect of people trying to be in Rio for Carnaval. Rian and I ended up grabbing some food at one of the local restaurants, and then tiredness kicked in and I watched a bit of TV back at the hostel with the Scots lasses and crashed out.