South America Day 8 – Colonia

For all those working at the Congress today is really the start of their holiday, they have been kept very busy at the centre sometimes well into the evenings. The 5 of them had an early start as they are transferred down to join us in our hotel. Now the whole group of 8 of us are all together in the one place at last. The 3 of us already here have an easy morning as the group is picked up at 11am by our tour guide to head for the port for our trip to Colonia. It's just under an hours trip by boat across Rio de la Plato to Uruguay to Colonia del Sacramento to give it it's full name and which was formerly a Portuguese colony. It is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and capital of the departamento of Colonia. It has a population of 25,000

It is renowned for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site where we have a lovely meal while listening to a local sing and play his guitar. His name is Jorge Schmidt and is very good and today he sells a few of his CDs.

The city is in complete contrast to Buenos Aires which is a huge city as opposed to the small rural setting of Colonia. Our tour takes us out into the country side where we are taken to a farm and a small winery. The farmer has a most unusual museum as he is in the Guinness book of records for his collections of pencils and key rings from all around the world. He also has a small marmalade factory a little cafe and a small collection of really old cars. Off we go to the winery, really just a big barn where they make wine and grappa. We are given a quick tour and tasting of the wine and grappa by one of the owners a lovely local women. They are of Italian extraction and they have been making wine here for 4 generations.

We take a drive along the riverside beaches and see a lovely sunset. Then it's back to the historical centre which is beautiful. There is evidence of the conflicts between Spain and Portugal who invaded it but it eventually returned to Spain. We have some nice tapas before heading back on the boat.

We get back to the hotel for 10.15pm but a few of us find a little bar 3 doors away from the hotel that has a jazz session with a quartet called the Sophie Lussi Trio, one of them must have been a guest!! We also got a bite of food and a couple of drinks. This turned out to get a great end to the evening. Overall we had a marvellous day and night. Up again early in the morning for our next trip.

You can see the photographs here.