Across the Rio de la Plata to Uruguay

The Hard Way

There are a myriad of options for getting from downtown Buenos Aires across the Rio de la Plata to Uruguay. starts with three ferry companies leaving from two different areas of BA’s Puerto Madero to two different Uruguayan ports of call. Next, decide on either a one or three hour travel time before tossing in the option of a ferry/bus combo direct to the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo. Mix it all together with the sort of wildly fluctuating, nonsensical ticket pricing of a major airline and you’re left with this: none of your options are what you’d call particularly cheap.

In the end, we’d finally decide on the slow, three hour boat ride across to Colonia del Sacramento. There, the plan was to stash our luggage, have a look around its cobblestoned streets for a few hours before continuing on to Montevideo later that same afternoon via a two and a half hour bus ride booking of our own doing.

And yet, still, my wife and I knew this was the easy part. The real challenge we were confronted with was getting Kaia to the boat. To the boat, that was, without having to deal with the sort of ongoing public meltdowns that have left me very glad we’re carrying our daughter’s birth certificate. This piece of paper, along with her passport, being proof the tantrum underway is not that of a child doing its best to prevent an abduction.

With such concerns in mind, we planned on giving ourselves an extra hour and a half buffer. Early enough for whatever may transpire but, also, so early, that our host’s facial expression gave himself away when we informed him of our plans.

It was, without a doubt, the face of a man yet to be shackled with a temperamental child and, as such, we pushed on accordingly.

Which is a good thing since, after an uneventful and enjoyable ten minute walk to the train station, that invisible personality switch whose whereabouts neither mommy or daddy have yet to pinpoint, would be flipped. Gone in an instant would be Kaia, replaced with a pedantic, blonde haired lunatic with no apparent method to her madness.

It would be a madness that, in this particular instance, involved (among other things):

  • The need to re walk a single set of crowded, rush hour steps three times
  • The changing of her pants twice
  • And numerous bouts of impossible to comprehend ‘instructions’ to her parents; directions whose sole purpose seemed aimed at only creating more strife with each passing minute.

Of course, during all this we’d see two trains pull in, load up and, who’d a thunk it, depart without us. It was a perfect good I-told-you- so-moment, wasted…due to there being no one there to tell.

But, I reasoned, at least we were getting better. Not so good as to head off such incomprehensible BULLSHIT, but good enough, at least, to correctly factor it in to our scheduling.

As such, we’d be left with plenty of time on our side. Time enough that we could’ve walked to the Buquebus Ferry Terminal quicker than via the unnecessarily circuitous taxi ride we opted for instead.

Time enough to clear immigration and take a deep breath, before suddenly being left to ponder why our hard headed daughter now felt it necessary to depart Argentina minus pants. time enough, eventually, to enjoy our slow cruise across the muddy waters of the Rio de la Plata to Uruguay. During which time, I’m happy to report, Kaia managed to find the ship’s lone soot covered walkway before falling face first into it, only once.

The clean-up would prove effortless, though. Much easier than the one and a half hour process of trying to find a Uruguayan bank or ATM to accept our Mastercard for some badly needed cash. A week in Uruguay later, I still don’t understand what that was all about.

But then, these days, there’s a lot I don’t understand.













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