Saturday, January 19, 2008

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay (January 15, 2008)

Colonia del Sacramento is a Portuguese colonial town a few hours southwest of Montevideo by bus and a few hours by ferry across the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires. The historic portside area is a Unesco World Heritage Site, with old cobblestone streets, the original city wall (complete with cannons and a drawbridge) and the foundations of some of the first buildings.

Now, the town is full of restaurants, art galleries and shops selling local handicrafts. Instead of metal signs, the streets are marked with ceramic tiles, and ancient bougainvillea climb the brightly colored walls. Huge trees line the main streets, providing welcome shade from the intense summer sun. At night, I could see the lights of Buenos Aires across the Rio de la Plata.

The old city wall and drawbridge. Along the back side of the wall are several of the original cannons. The preferred mode of transportation in Colonia is by scooter or moped, despite the cobbled streets. This scooter in particular caught my looks more like a kid´s bike than a motorized vehicle!
Colorful wall hangings by a local artist
An old car, with even older trees
Bougainvillea shades a narrow street leading to the waterfront

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