Colonia Del Sacrament, Uruguay

Today packed up to make our way over to Colonia Del Sacramento by bus (2.5 hours from Montevideo).

But first we took the morning to wind up with a few last shots of Montevideo. We really wanted to shoot this lovely, antique bandoneón store in Cuidad Vieja. We had seen it on multiple occasions but it had always been closed.

This morning we were in luck. The store was open!  Mario, the proprietor has been refurbishing musical instruments for decades, since he was a child. His father began the store in another location a few blocks away.

Mario was very gracious and gentle older gentleman who patiently told us about the history of Tango and the relationship with the bandoneón.  The store had some beautiful, refurbished bandoneóns, some worth over $5,000, as well as accordions, mandolins and other musical instruments.  But all were old and refurbished and the store resembled a museum more than a place of business.

Mario allowed me to “play” a bandoneón. It was very difficult with a lot of hand/eye coordination going on.  After this weak showing I decided to let the experts take over, so Mario and a client who happened to be there  demonstrated for our cameras how a bandoneón can and should be played. Best part of the trip so far.

Carnival was in full swing in Uruguay where we were there and it’s a very unique celebration compared to other carnival hotspots like Brazil and Trinidad, so we hit the Carnival museum as well. Then we headed to the hotel to check out and taxi over to the bus station to catch our bus to Colonia Del Sacramento as we wanted to get there with enough daylight to shoot.

Colonia Del Sacramento has lots of cool antique cars

We had about 10 minutes to choke down a quick lunch at the bus station before our bus left. This bus ride was one of the worst I’ve ever taken and I was not expecting it given the general good infrastructure of Uruguay. .

The bus ride was a non air conditioned, unventilated, stop and go hell ride that made a direct  2 ½ hour trip turn into 3 and ½ hours thanks to so many unscheduled stops and pickups.

Colonia Del Sacramento

This was such the opposite of my ride over from Buenos Aires a few days earlier on the Buque Bus. The Buque Bus had Air Conditioning, lots of leg room and even wi-fi on the bus. Most importantly it didn’t make any stops. Next time it’s Buque Bus all the way for me.

Colonia Del Sacramento is a small but beautiful and very historic town with cobblestone streets, old forts and an interesting if bloody history as the Spanish, English and Portuguese wrestled for control of this little town by the Rio Plata. It was so very tranquil and relaxing with the river beaches and an incredible sunset that it was hard to believe so much blood had been shed here.

You get an idea how life is here when the cars actually come to a full stop for pedestrians in the middle of the street, allowing them to cross first before they carry on their way. Such an incredible contrast with 99% of Latin America (or for that matter the U.S.), it really was shocking at first. We walked our way around town but if you’re tired, in a hurry (why would you be?) or just a little lazy, well then you can rent little golf carts to tool around town and see what you need to see

Later that night I ran along the beachfront road which is really the Plata River, not the ocean and then off to bed fairly early because we had to catch the ferry (45 minutes) to Buenos Aires the next day with a full day of shooting.

Colonia Del Sacramento

Colonial Del Sacramento is a day trip for many people traveling between Buenos Aires and Montevideo but I really recommend you consider staying one or even two nights, so you can really appreciate the beauty of this tiny little gem.

For more pics of Colonia Del Sacramento, visit our FLIKR PAGE.



Montevideo, Uruguay Rocks!

The Ferry from Buenos Aries to Uruguay

I arrived in Uruguay by boat (approx. 45 minutes to Colonia del Sacramento) from Buenos Aires and immediately hopped in a bus (2.5 hours) to Montevideo.

I arrived a couple of days early to do some pre-production for the Uruguay/Argentina episode. My buddies from the band Rudos Wild were having a concert the night of my arrival.  I decided it would be cool to go see it since I hadn’t seen them in over a year.

Renzo (Supervising Producer) was already here as well. He had been in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay for almost a month when I arrived.

Posada Al Sure in Ciudad Vieja

I checked into the lovely Posado Al Sur in Ciudad Vieja  (the old city) which specializes in alternative and sustainable tourism in Uruguay. It was already late afternoon so I grabbed a quick bite (or what constitutes a quick bite in Latin America) and then went for a run along the Rambla just as the sun was setting.

La Rambla in Montevideo

It was a beautiful way to start the trip.

Renzo was staying in the Posada Al Sur as well but his room was an apartment on the roof with a beautiful terrace overlooking the old city. He must be living right!

Fishing in La Rambla

Later that night I hooked up with my amigos from Rudos Wild for the big punk concert which was in downtown Montevideo and thankfully not far from my hotel. The concert got going late (around 11PM) with an excellent surf-punk band kicking things off. Rudos Wild was up next and they are a bit more raucous with a punk-rockabilly sound (dare I say punkabilly?).

Wearing my "Rudos Wild" T Shirt
Montevideo Punks Befor the Show

The boys invited me up on stage to sing Social Distortion’s “Cold Feelings”. I tried to get out of it, but they wouldn’t hear of it so I relented. About 1/2 way through I got a little lost and forgot the lyrics and just started mumbling and humming but no one seemed to notice. It was my first time singing on stage in front of a crowd and I must admit it was a blast.

Rudos Wild Concert

I couldn’t find a taxi so I walked home at about 4AM and got lost in downtown Ciudad Vieja. I don’t recommend you try that. Luckily I made it home safely but I was definitely testing fate with my expensive camera in the backpack wandering around dark side streets at that time of night.

The next day I hit the beach to try and tan my pale skin and then scouted some locations to shoot. I mean I am supposed to be working after all!

Peyo manning the BBQ

Later that night we had a BBQ over at Peyo’s (Lead Vocals for Rudos Wild) house. It was a blast.

When Uruguayan’s have a BBQ watch out, lots and lots of meat involved. I found out Leo 666 (bass/vocals for Rudos Wild) is a vegetarian and I was amazed at his will power to resist the grill full of meat from seemingly all parts of the cow, pig, etc.

Rob & Pey @ the BBQ

Ah but I was out way too late again and our first day of shooting is tomorrow.

Thank God for sunglasses!