Friday, January 6, 2012

Montevideo -> Buenos Aires on New Year's day

On New Year's day we checked out of Montevideo's Austral Hotel (highly recommend, soft pillows, Internet in room) & taxied to Tres Cruces, the Montevideo bus station qua mall, which two days earlier had been a hive of travelers & shoppers, on this day though, deserted, the shops closed. We were relieved to find a staffer at the counter of Colonia Express, with whom we had tickets for the bus & ferry ride back to Buenos Aires.

display in Montevideo bus station

No problem. We checked in, checked our email (free slow wireless @ Tres Cruces), then hiked a few blocks with our heavy rollers & backpacks to one of the few restaurants open on New Year's morning. Unfortunately, they had not much more than mediocre empanadas. Back at the bus station, we checked our bags for Buenos Aires & climbed to the upper story of a large bus for a two-hour ride to the city of Colonia, which is west & a little bit north of Montevideo. Not much to see during the ride. Rolling green hills. No traffic.

Colonia ferry waiting area

Colonia is said to be a beautiful old city, but the bus passed through none of that on its way to the port. The ferry was due to depart in an hour. We watched it arrive in plenty of time, a much smaller boat than we expected, but, no surprise in Latin America, we all stood in line for nearly an hour waiting for an official to allow us to board. No explanations, just waiting.

entering the port of Buenos Aires

The ride was brief & eventless. A small ferry on a brown river. A can of Quilmes beer. Then lots of boats in port at Buenos Aires, including a huge casino boat. We disembarked, collected our luggage, & walked out with a large crowd of people all looking for taxis. Not a single taxi. Most folks queued up. We headed out to the avenues & flagged a taxi within five or ten minutes for the ride to our Palermo Soho hotel (will remain nameless, a hotel to forget). Also a quiet city on this holiday. Fortunately, we later found a local neighborhood parilla where we ate good steak & salad for cheap.

The most difficult thing about walking in an Argentine city is dog shit. It's every few feet on every sidewalk. You watch your step. You try not to notice the stench. In spite of the fine weather, we ate dinner inside the restaurant.

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