Hidden restaurants and reunion dinners in Uruguay
During our visit to Uruguay, we joined a Ship-organized tour to Colonia del Sacramento which is located about 110 miles west of Montevideo. Founded in 1680 by the Portuguese but fought over for years between Spain and Portugal, it was finally awarded to Spain. For years it was a sleepy town inhabited by locals in small homes. After being designated a World Heritage Site in 1995, prices rose and unfortunately many people could no longer afford to live there.
It is really charming and the cobblestone streets are reminiscent of days gone by when there were no cars. The trip had taken us a little over two hours and our guide walked with us a few minutes explaining things before giving us free time.
A sign on the Street of Sighs which has been used in several films
The Lighthouse behind the remains of an old convent
An original tile map of the town
There are old cars parked all over town – kind of a museum
Iglesia Matriz, the country’s oldest church
Too soon it was time to leave this lovely spot. Our lunch venue today was a small lodge overlooking the River Plate. Unfortunately, our guide had never been here and even with GPS it proved a challenge to locate. Eventually a call was made to the owner and he drove out to find us or we would probably still be in the middle of nowhere. It was actually a little difficult for us to believe that there was anywhere to eat in this area of farms and dusty roads but a surprise was waiting for us.
Rio Ancho is housed in a beautiful contemporary building with glass walls facing the jungle and river beyond. It is also a guest house but has only three rooms. The main attraction is the restaurant. We were a group of 18 and nearly filled it. There were two courses and plenty of Uruguayan wine.
Everything was locally sourced and delicious, from the tomato appetizer to the main course of lamb and vegetables. Dessert was a type of chocolate mousse and served on the beach which was a five minute walk from the lodge. It is still strange to see these large bodies of water that are so brown but that is from the silt and not pollution. It was pretty windy but with the last of our wine and chocolate, what could be better?
On the way out of town we circled the abandoned bullfighting ring,
appropriately dubbed “the keyhole”, built in the early 20th century
It was another bumpy two-hour ride back to town and we arrived about 5:00. But, the day wasn’t over. We had plans that night for a “Namibia Reunion” dinner for the seven of us who had enjoyed that trip so much in March of last year. Our friends come and go on the Ship constantly and this is the one night everyone was available. So, we soldiered on and had a wonderful dinner outside on East Terrace. Then it was off to bed.
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