Our cruise liner left Buenos Aires and headed for Uruguay to the east. We had decided not to take the tour through Montevideo, but rather visit the oldest settlement of Uruguay since 1680, Colonia del Sacramento, World Heritage site of the UNESCO, with a quick peek at the capital.
The tiny town was built as a fortified outlook at the Río de la Plata. It seems to have had a different Spanish or Portuguese governor every 10 to 25 years, depending on who won the last altercation.
After a pleasant walk past the low stone buildings and cobbled streets of Colonia’s center and some glimpses of Montevideo through the windows of the bus, we continued to the small town of Punta del Este with its “wild” Atlantic beach Playa Brava and its “mild” Río de la Plata beach Playa Mansa. The tourists simply love “The Hand”, “La Mano” or “Los Dedos” (fingers) poking out of a mound at the top of the beach by a Chilean artist. We then drove out to the Museo Ralli, of which there are several worldwide. The one in Punta del Este has quite a few lesser known works of Salvador Dalí and many others, drawings and sculptures in nice sunny courtyards. We could also visit the outdoor sculpture garden by a lake where some sculptures are being chiseled while you watch, also a venue for art lovers’ meetings.
We finished the day at the delightful restaurant de Narbona, chatting, eating, looking out over the vineyards and shopping delicacies.