Colonia Del Sacramento, Uruguay

4 Jun

The ‘sandwich’ step in Tango is done by the man placing a foot either side of one of the woman’s. She often then does some tricky manouvre with the other leg. With just a few days of our South America trip remaining we decided to make an Uruguayan sandwich. Three nights Buenos Aires, two nights in Colonia de Sacramento, Uruguay, and another night in Buenos Aires.

It’s easy to take a one-hour ferry ride across the muddy brown Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires to Colonia, a favourite of Porteños for a romantic weekend and a change of pace. In fact to us, apart from golf buggies driving around the streets (and who doesn’t love golf buggies?), the town seemed trapped in a time warp circa 1940.20140604-121757-44277790.jpg


The Barrio Historico on the promontory is UNESCO heritage listed for its Portuguese and Spanish colonial buildings and cobbled streets. Even in winter the waterfront restaurants did brisk Sunday trade.






The African influence is strong in the music in Uruguay, this was a samba band drumming and dancing through the streets.



Our hotel was Posada del Virrey, converted from a gracious, old family home some 21 years ago and run by two sisters, Mariella and Claudia. Our favourite spot was the roof terrace. We used one section for practicing yoga as the sun set into the river and another for picnic lunch.





The unforgettable meal of this trip came on our final night in Colonia. We’d wandered by a tiny corner restaurant, Gibellini, in the afternoon. It looked interesting but completely empty. We inquired if we could book for dinner and the chef assured us he would be happy to see us at 8pm.

Come 8pm we returned to find this gorgeous thing parked outside.

20140604-122517-44717467.jpgJust four dining tables occupied a room the size of a regular lounge room. Two tables were taken by young couples. Candlelight lit up the old black and white photos and memorabilia ranged around the walls and on shelves. Soft piano and double bass jazz music played. We really had stepped into the best part of the forties.


Chef Alejandro appeared in his chef’s hat and apron and we embarked on a fascinating evening of food and wine and company. Alejandro had been running a restaurant in Colonia for twenty years and had been in this spot for the past eight. There can’t be too many places in the world where you can make a living off just four tables but apparently he is and very contentedly at that!


5 Responses to “Colonia Del Sacramento, Uruguay”

  1. mnet2 June 5, 2014 at 1:40 am #

    The drummers on the picture are playing candombe, not samba. Candombe has african root and was brought by african slaves back in the times of spanish and portuguese domination. The drummers on parade in the picture are doing a “llamada”. a call. Calling other drummers to join, calling the spirit of the lost land, Africa. You will not find candombe outside of Uruguay. But if you like jazz, google Hugo Fattoruso, Ruben Rada, Opa, Golden Wings…jazz plus candome fusion.

    • Sharon Tickle June 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

      Wow, thanks so much for putting me straight mnet2. I saw the girls dancing what looked like a samba step and guessed the rhythm. I will look up those names. They looked like they were really into the music, it was a pleasure to see young peole so engaged. Thanks again for taking the time to write. ST

      • mnet2 June 11, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

        Well, samba has african roots too and is only one of the many rythms of Brasil, that giant country…but I couldn’t resist the impulse to comment…mine is a tiny country, and we are very proud of our few, little humble things; like the candombe rythm, some painters like Gurvich, Figari or Torres García, our national soccer team which is now ready to play in the World Cup 2014 in Brazil, our Tannat red wine and our red meat, the best in the world!

      • Sharon Tickle June 11, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

        Well you should be proud of Uruguay, we were impressed with the little bit we saw.y ¡Mucha mierda for the Cup! May the best team win! Sharon

  2. Heather watt June 5, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    Safe journey home to both of you.

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