Day trip to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay [YQrtw Day 70 Jun 16]

Cars in Colonia

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina; Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

I woke up at 6:45am today to prepare for my ferry to Colonia del Sacramento which required me to check in starting 8:00am. I was kind of excited to head to Uruguay because I could get a new stamp in my passport as well as have my Argentinian visa extended.

The hostel receptionist helped with calling a cab while I tried to gobble a medialunas. Medialunas is a Argentinian croissant. Unfortunately, the one served at my hostel is usually slimy and cold so I do not have a very good impression of it.

The taxi fare from the hostel to the port was cheaper than I thought. It was only 37 pesos after the phone booking charge.

The streets were empty at 7:30am and the only taxis I saw were all heading to the port.

The port for Colonia Express was in front of the casino. I’ve seen advertisements for the casino on a large screen in the middle of the city. It showed a rather ridiculous ad of a man winning loads of money and marrying Lady Luck who just happened to walk in while he was gambling.

Puerto Madero Casino
Puerto Madero Casino

Quick immigration process

The immigration process at the port was really fast. First you go to a counter where the Argentinian officer stamp your exit stamp. Then the passport is passed to the person in the next cubicle who happens to be an immigration officer from Uruguay.

The Uruguay officer didn’t even asked where I was staying and I was the proud owner of an entry stamp for Uruguay.

Before we were able to head to the immigration counter, we had to scan our luggage. The customs officer had a rather sweet looking golden retriever with him. The dog looked mostly bored with his tongue lolling out.

The dog had to sniff at all sorts of different luggage. My water bottle was repeatedly waved in front of the dog, as if it might contain something dangerous.

Unlike the ferry I was on in Greece, the boat was rather small. All the seats were taken and I sat with a family of three.

During most of the journey, I was napping with my mouth open. Oops.

Pretty little Colonia

The sky was gray and the clouds looked swollen when our ferry arrived at Colonia. Worst thing was that the town was next to the sea so the wind was very cold.

Luckily, the town was so pretty that I didn’t mind being outside.

Abandoned building wasting away gracefully with a veil of vines.
Abandoned building wasting away gracefully with a veil of vines.
This wall of green and red leaves looked like it popped out of some story book.
This wall of green and red leaves looked like it popped out of some story book.
There seems to be a lot of unused vintage cars in Colonia.
There seems to be a lot of unused vintage cars in Colonia.
This car even has a plant growing inside.
This car even has a plant growing inside.
Grafitti
Grafitti

Random stuff in Colonia

Most of the shops at Colonia were closed. I couldn’t figure out where the museums were so I walked into random streets.

Even though the place looked deserted, I felt rather safe and was (kind of) sure that no one would pop out of nowhere and mug me.

I love the painting on this Uruguay 200 pesos.
I love the painting on this Uruguay 200 pesos.

I was lured into a restaurant for an expensive cup of not so good coffee with milk. I sat there for more than an hour reading to take advantage of their heating.

I also tried to se if the ATMs in Colonia could give me US dollars. I seemed to have terrible luck as all of them said U$, and not US$.

I chanced upon the tourist information center, was given a map and walked around in the center to look at the rather small exhbition.

I couldn’t have a nice lunch since the bad coffee ate up about half of my Uruguay money. But I did have a rather good sandwich with a sausage in it.

Yummy chorizo
Yummy chorizo

At about 2pm, the sky looked like it might rain any time so I head back to the port to do what I do best…reading.

The immigration process in Colonia was the same as in Buenos Aires with two immigration officer sitting side-by-side. I read a little more before the ferry was about to leave.

When we got back to Buenos Aires, it was really dark. The guy at the taxi stand recommended those who were heading to the city center to take the bus instead of wait for a taxi that might take about 20 minutes.

Since the port was in the “bad” part of La Boca, I trailed one of the ladies who asked about buses. She led me to the right street and I eventually found the right bus back. I still had to take a short subway ride back since I wasn’t sure of the bus would stop in front of my hostel.

Still, all is well and I was not mugged. Three cheers to that!

Where have you recently been to for a day trip? Share your comments below.

Preparing for my visa run/ Streets of Buenos Aires [YQrtw Day 69 Jun 15]

papa francesco in argentina

[I wrote this yesterday but forgot to click on Publish. Doh]

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

This is the first time during the entire trip that I’m conscious that it is a weekend. Usually everyday jumbles up together since I do not have a routine separating the weekdays from the weekends.

Today, I planned to finish at least 2 days of revision in the morning. Sadly, I had to deal with printing my documents for the US visa application and that took up half of the morning.

I spent another half of the morning reading up on Veelas in the Harry Potter world (I’m now at GoF!) which led to more useless web surfing.

In the morning, I also booked ferry tickets to Colonia del Scaramento, Uruguay, for my very first visa run.

Wait, YQ, you can’t just drop new vocabulary like that into your post and expect us to Google it.That’s just lazy.

Probably not how the Argentina-Uruguay ferry looks like
Probably not how the Argentina-Uruguay ferry looks like

OK OK, I’ll explain. Long term travellers do visa run to extend the length of their visa. The do this visiting another country and coming back to the country of their choice in a short period of time.

Take me for an example, when I arrived in Argentina, the immigration officer gave me a 30-day visa. (I seriously thought it was 90 days. Damn you VisaHQ.)

That 30 day deadline is coming up in 2 week’s time and I will become an illegal alien if I overstay.

However, since I’m applying for a US visa, I suspect that my passport would be kept with the US embassy for at least a week since next Thursday and Friday are public holidays. If I have terrible luck, I might even overstay.

So to extend my visa, I will visit Uruguay. I will get an exit stamp at the Argentine side and a new entry stamp when I come back in the evening.

Thankfully my visa run is just a ferry ride away. I’ve read horror stories such as Juno from Runaway Juno who had to do a 573km visa run.

After concluding my affairs of the morning, I decided to take a walk and visit the second hand book stores my teacher told us about.

Streets of Buenos Aires

Luckily, Ave Corrientes, where the bookshops are, is very near the hostel. I only had to walk about 3 blocks to get there.

Along the way, I snapped a few photos so you can see how Buenos Aires looks like.

Street of Buenos Aires
Street of Buenos Aires
Not so busy street in Buenos Aires
Not so busy street in Buenos Aires
Vandalism or smiley street art?
Vandalism or smiley street art?
Buenos Aires back alleys
Buenos Aires back alleys
Head's up on Buenos Aires's street
Head’s up on Buenos Aires’s street
I spotted this map of Westeros but I do not think the story universe actually looks this neat.
I spotted this map of Westeros but I do not think the story universe actually looks this neat.

Poked fun by a jerk

I browsed through one of the second hand bookstores. It didn’t look like the usual second hand bookstores crammed with books from top to bottom shelf. Instead, the books were arranged in stacks on tables.

There were a lot of interesting books around. I was tempted to get a Book of Myths for Children which had Greek legends but 22 pesos wasn’t something I wanted to spare.

At last, I found a Sweet Valley Twin book. I’m more attached to the Sweet Valley High series but that book was only 3 pesos so I bought it.

At the cashier, I made a language mistake by saying, “Good.” when the cashier said, “Good day.” The other person at the cash register was unkind and asked his friend repeatedly if he asked “Good day” and laughed.

I was rather upset about that. When I left the shop, I kept imagining that I knew enough Spanish to retort, “Well, at least I’m learning another language. What about you?”

Alas, I do not know that much Spanish.

On Ave Corrientes, Ave 9 de Julio

Enough complaining, let’s get back to sightseeing Buenos Aires.

Metropolitan
Metropolitan
Newstand. I'm very scandalized that they display X-rated books publicly here. Mostly they have covers of half naked women with large breasts.
Newstand. I’m very scandalized that they display X-rated books publicly here. Mostly they have covers of half naked women with large breasts.
La Americana, an empanada place.
La Americana, an empanada place.
Pizza place
Pizza place
From the poster, Camila looks like a scandalously good show.
From the poster, Camila looks like a scandalously good show.
obelisco de buenos aires
obelisco de buenos aires
See that big poster of an Argentinine flag and the pope? It's from the city, to celebrate Papa Francesco's new job.
See that big poster of an Argentinine flag and the pope? It’s from the city, to celebrate Papa Francesco’s new job.

Dinner was another nice meal of home cooked steak with mushrooms. It’s strange that the mushrooms were more expensive than my two rather large pieces of beef.

How was your weekend?