As ordered, my wake up call wakes me at the same time as my alarm on the phone… 4:45. This is much to early!! But the ticket said, I have to be at check in 2 hours before departure.
Wait? What am I going to do today? I am going to Uruguay. To be more precise to Colonia del Sacramento. This small town on the other side of the Rio del la Plata has a historic quarter, that is a UNESCO world heritage side. And it is only an hour by ferry away, you get another stamp in your passport and another country on my geocaching list. The weather shall be great, so I am looking forward to this trip – minus the early wake up thing.
As there is no breakfast to get this early at the hotel, I bought a croissant and a roll the day before, as well as some mineral water. That will hold until I am at my destination. Going down to the reception and exiting the hotel, the gates to the street are still closed and are opened for me. My plan is to call a taxi to get to the ferry terminal – which is about 4 km away. Standing on the sidewalk using the app, the security guard directs me back into the hotel area, behind the gates, pointing out with sign language and some broken English, that it is not safe using the phone out on the sidewalk. You might get robbed. So – since no Uber is available, I ask the reception to call me a taxi. That arrives about 10 minutes later and the gate is opened for me. A 10 minute drive that costs me about 120 pesos – nearly nothing at all. The terminal is still dark, even with people inside and I am there a little bit before 6 am. But, as I found out, there is no need to e that early. The check in doesn’t start until an hour before boarding. I could have been in bed another hour… AHHHHH.
There are long cues for the Montevideo ferry. That was the other option, but the tour is 3 hours one way and I read that you need 2 days in the city, which I don’t have. But after some time – the lights are now on in the terminal – they open 2 counters for my ferry. Fast check f my passport and my ticket and I am send to immigration one floor up. There is not a long cue at the counter and after a check and 1 new stamp in my passport I have to follow to another counter, where the Uruguayan immigration is. A smile, a check of the passport and another stamp in my passport.
The waiting area is nearly empty. The ferry still has to move from the other side of the harbor to the terminal. I find out, that Argentinians like to stand in line. People are reserving their sport in line with their backpacks. So just copy their behavior. Finally they open the doors, check the tickets and let you onto the ferry. First thing I do is to go to the information desk to buy an upgrade to business class. This is about 7 Euro – not to much. There is an extra business class area.You get a coffee and some cookies on entering. The seats are a little bit more comfy and there are not that many people here. So for 7 Euros, I think it is Ok for an hour. I get a seat at a (dirty) window. The ride is smooth and soon we arrive on the other side of the river (yes, it is a river). Since the passport control happened in Argentina, you can just go to the terminal. But first they scan your luggage (as they did before boarding in Argentina). Quite new terminal.
I know where the historic quarter is, so I follow the road and do not take a bus or taxi. I don’t want to exchange money, but I read that Argentinian pesos are accepted here. Close to the ferry terminal are several rentals for bicycles, golf cards, mopeds and e-bikes. That seems to be a good idea. I find an agency that rents out e-bikes. It is 25 USD for 8 hours. Not cheap, but I am on holiday and will indulge in this luxury. I pay cash in Argentinian Pesos and leave an old fashioned credit card machine that takes a carbon paper print of your card. I will get the whole thing when I get back and can destroy it.
The bike is nice and an easy ride through the streets. Nice streets with trees planted on the side and more or less maintained houses. Not a long ride to the old city gate, where I find a tourist information, get the WiFi information and an old fashioned paper map of the city. But first I lose 15 minutes trying to find out, why my camera reacts funny… until I find out that I hit the button for manual focus. Problem solved.
The old town has nice and old houses. There are remains of the “city” wall and there should be a geocache – which I don’t find. Gone as so many others. Now it is time to explore the rest of the area. Cobble stone streets and very old streets that are impossible to use with a bicycle. Very nice houses, not to many tourists, cafes, restaurants, art shops. Interesting to explore, but this is not the biggest area. Again two geocaches that are gone. I take my bike to the new city center which is much more like other cities. A small town. All the normal shops for the locals. After a little break at the river shore I try to find a geocache at a beach – and am lucky. My Uruguayan souvenir is save. 🙂
Soon time to get lunch, so I ride back to the tourist information to find a place to eat. There is a burger place directly at the old gate and it has good reviews. So that’s where I go. A small place, not many people. A nice place to sit in the backyard. The burger is nice. Enjoying the quiet place. I also try the desert that is nice, too. The bill is not to high, but I thing 50-70 % more expensive than Argentina.
There is not much to do here and the e-bike has a limited range. I decide to take a small tour with my Osmo pocket switched on and film the town. Driving a little bit around. Church, ruins of the old governors house. I think to explore more of the area you need another vehicle with a bigger range and maybe you should be in company. I ride back to the rental and deliver back my bike. I still would have three hours before the last ferry, which I have booked. But since there is not much more to do I also could use the time in Buenos Aires and relax a little bit after 4 days of action. At the terminal there are two earlier departures. One with the company I used, which I try first. But my ticket is extra cheap – not possible to change the departure time. A new ticket is 35 USD. US Dollars are accepted everywhere here and people use it. I think the price is to high. Maybe I just have to wait. I check with the other company. They have a departure that is in an hour and they are only 25 USD. Yeah… OK. I will do it. Buying a ticket, to check in and then to the luggage scan. Then immigration. Again it is a stamp for leaving Uruguay and then another counter to get into Argentina (they take a picture and a fingerprint on both entry and exit). And there is stamp no. 3 for the day.
A short wait and an hours ride on a passenger catamaran later I arrive on the other end of the harbor of Buenos Aires. Best way to get home is a taxi. A little bit of traffic on the streets and the normal driving style (every space between cars is a space that must be used… no matter what). Takes about 20 minutes to the hotel. I get to slices of pizza (they use a lot of cheese here) and head to my room. I put all my electronics on the charger and start to get my backpack ready for the next day trip tomorrow. I also use the time to write 2 days of the travel blog. I even manage to get to bed early. Alarm will go of at 6, taxi will get me at 6:30.