Colonia del Sacramento

Colonia del Sacramento

Uruguay

May 7, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

I am sitting in the breezy shade of enormous plain trees, nursing my café con leche at El Drugstore Restaurant and Bar.   I have been sitting here for hours.  Hours!    Under the trees, I enjoy the sunny and mild fall weather. 

Listening to the birds. 

Listening to the music.

I am mesmerized by the guitar duo “Dos en Do.”  

Mercedes and Jorge are excellent performers.  Their repertoire includes traditional tunes from Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil.   At the moment, at the request of a couple from Brazil, they are playing “Garota de Ipanima.”    Between their sets they play a CD with the combo of B.B. King and Eric Clapton – “Riding with the King.”

Across the narrow cobbled street is the Basílica del Santísimo Sacramento.

The city of Colonia del Sacramento, or Colonia as it is called, is one of those “must see’’ places.   Well, maybe just one of those “must see – nice places.”

Over the centuries, Colonia changed hands between the Portuguese and the Spanish.  Finally the Spanish took control until Uruguay became an independent country.

The charming “old town” has been restored.  Stone houses sit side by side with colorful shops and outdoor restaurants. 

Colonia is a good place to relax for a day or two.

Colonia sits astride the Río de la Plata.  In my opinion, the river is the most impressive sight in town.  Here, the river is so wide that in daylight, it is impossible to see the opposite shore of Argentina.   Folks claim that on a clear night, a few tiny lights from Buenos Aires are visible.

No wonder the colonial powers fought over this place.   The river is really a tidal estuary that leads to the sea and thus provides an important commercial route.  The name Río de la Plata I assume does not describe the color of the water but the riches (of silver) that are found in the mountains well west of Colonia.

Besides the river, my favorite spot in Colonia is El Drugstore Restaurant.  After I nursed my coffee I ordered a lunch and listened to more of the smooth, delicate yet intricate melodies and rhythms of the guitar duo.  What a pleasure. 

The food was good too: a huge (every portion of food in this part of the world is huge) vegetable salad, several filets of broiled fish, sauce and potatoes, carrots, and my usual beverage – agua mineral con gas.  I finished the water, but the food was overwhelming. 

Colonia is my last stop in Uruguay.   I will take the ferry across the river … takes about three hours to Buenos Aires. 

In Argentina, I expect to see huge sights in a huge country with continued huge portions of food.

Vamos a ver.

Adiós, Uruguay.

Hola, Argentina.

Primo Jan

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