Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Our meal last night at the Narbona Winery was fantastic. We were in the oldest part of the restaurant, built in the early twentieth century, with rough brick, unclad walls giving it a genuine rustic feel. The food was great, the wine too. It rounded off a lovely stay at Four Seasons. The hotel only has 48 rooms and most of them must have been empty because everywhere we went we seemed to be the only people there. But then again, that's how you feel about Uruguay. So much space, so few inhabitants. No wonder the animals look happy. Even the cows.

And we know where they're going.

This has been our last full day in Uruguay. It's somewhat sad to be leaving, given how friendly everyone has been; not to mention all the good food and wine we've had but Alan assures me it will be even better in Argentina.

We'll see.

It was a fairly short drive from Carmelo eastward to Colonia del Sacramento. Obviously the countryside was the same as before, so rural, and spacious, and full of cows.  See what I mean:

Believe it or not, this is the most crowded we've seen Uruguay. And these black and white persons probably had hundreds of acres to choose from.

We took a slight diversion and went to the little village called Conchillas.  A British company established a quarry here in 1887, then around 1911 another Brit settled here and built up a large import-export business. There are streets of identical stone houses as well as warehouses, an old hotel a former Anglican church and a cemetery.  According to the guides the place is much the same now as it was a century ago.

So, on to Colonia del Sacramento.  This place has quite a history and as you can read about it yourself in any guide book or online, I'll keep my description brief. It was founded in 1680 by Manuel Lobo, Governor of Rio de Janeiro, to be a Portuguese rival to Buenos Aires, directly across the River Plate. It was fought over by Spain and Portugal for almost a century, changing hands seven times. Not to be left out of things, the British attacked it in 1763.

In 1750 it was awarded to Spain but the British, being British, tried again in 1807 to recapture it.  In 1818 the Portuguese seized it from pro-independence Artiguistas, and in 1826 a squadron drove off what were now Brazilian ships and bombarded the town but was unable to capture it.  Until 1828 when the Brazilians left this was a centre for smuggling, backed by the British, into Buenos Aires.

The town's trials and tribulations didn't end there but let's skip a few battles, skirmishes, bombardments and uprisings and let sleeping dogs lie.

In 1995 the town was addd to UNESCO's World Heritage List.  The old city is a gem with cobblestoned streets, stone buildings, boutique hotels and chic restaurants. We plan to see more tomorrow before we set sail for Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Meanwhile we have a nice room with a balcony with a splendid view of the River Plate and, so close you could just about swim the distance, Argentina.

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