A Travellerspoint blog

$5000 Pesos Uruguashos

Nos giró demasiado!!

semi-overcast 23 °C

sUntitled_..Sripada.jpg

On Saturday we decided to check out the other side of the wide and brown Río de la Plata by taking a Buquebus ferry to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. According to my guidebook, Colonia was founded by Portuguese settlers from Brazil in 1680 and was an important center for smuggling Britist goods across the Río into the Spanish colonies throughout the 17th century.

sDSC_0170.jpg
sDSC_0077.jpg sDSC_0078.jpg

How that history currently reflects itself on the surface of the town was harder for me to see, but maybe just because I was distracted by how amazingly beautiful and peaceful it was. The boat drops you off at the dock, and then after a 10 minute walk through the modern downtown, you hit the Barrio Histórico on the peninsula jutting into the river. (By the way, in the entrance of EVERY shop you pass will be an employee leaning against the doorframe drinking mate. Apparently mate is even bigger in Uruguay than in Argentina. They all have these hearty red-brown leather pouches to fit the thermos with hot water, the gourd, straw, and the herb mix.)

sDSC_01181.jpg

The cobblestone streets are lined with trees, with small buildings housing either small shops (usually with a large array of mate paraphernalia) or cafés (like the really nice Parrilla del Barrio serving “chivito”… a sandwich with a slice of ham, lomo (beef), lettuce, and tomato.

sDSC_0089.jpg sDSC_0104.jpg sDSC_00921.jpg sDSC_0108.jpg
sDSC_0116.jpg

It is a good place for strolling, kind of conducive to that pace. The cobblestone streets, including one called Calle de los Suspiros (Street of Sighs) tend to be short and crooked or slanted. The sidewalk leads right to the riverside, where you can see many sailboats just off the shore. Definitely a wonderful way to spend a day.

sDSC_0137.jpg sDSC_01471.jpg

When we went to take money out of the Uruguyan ATM, there was a sign next to it with conversion factors. It said 1 USD = 2260 URU or something like that. So we were like hmmm… does it mean 2260, or 22.60? I looked on the floor and saw a few receipts from previous people’s transactions and saw amounts like 3,000 URU and 4,000 URU so we decided to take out 5,000 URU between the two of us.

Low and behold looking at the sign on the next bank we pass, it says 1 USD = 22.60 URU … and we were like WHAAA???

Long story short, there are still many hundreds of Uruguyan pesos in my safe box that need to be exchanged…

In terms of the Buquebus, there’s the fast 50-minute ride or the slow 3-hour ride. Show up early on the day of or the day before to buy tickets and be prepared for lines. Also, be prepared to run into more “tercer edad” gringos than you see on a normal basis even in the States (or maybe that was just my experience).

On our way there, I joked with one of the American retirees on the boat, “If you can’t understand our Spanish, it’s just because it’s SO Chilean… not because it’s bad or anything.” We also met a girl on the boat doing a 30 day recorrido of Argentina-Uruguay-Brazil. She had studied abroad twice before including for one year in Florence, during which she spent ONLY ONE WEEKEND in Florence! All the other weekends she was out and about Europe! Is that not insane? I think that’s unnecessarily ridiculous, in a slightly negative way (to put it as vaguely as possible).

UPDATE: Since coming back to Chile, Jeff and I have been looking for a place to exchange the plata. Unfortunately, the going rate here is 1 USD = 10 URU or 11 if we're lucky. Meaning... we have a wad of money worth $80 that they're only willing to give us $40 for. Jeff is waiting to exchange his money in the States.

Posted by KKS 20:09 Archived in Uruguay

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

woohoo. this place looks really empty. like...was that 5000 URU supposed to be the village subsistence bundle for that day? I hope not.

by yaNatasha

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint