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.



“Meat” Me in Montevideo

A Parilla

Today was the official first day of our 2nd episode featuring Uruguay and Argentina. We start things off in Montevideo, Uruguay where Renzo (Supervising Producer) and I (Executive Producer/Host) have been pre producing for a couple of days now.

Moses (Cameraman/Editor) arrived around 6AM Montevideo time after an all night flight from Bogota. I’m sure he’s exhausted so we arranged for him to crash at the hostel in an unused room where, selfishly, he wouldn’t disturb mine or Renzo’s beauty sleep!

The Famous Parilla Restaurants @ Puerto Marqueta

Still, at 9AM Montevideo time (6AM NYC time) it’s a pretty early wakeup call and Renzo and I head out the few blocks down from our hotel, the Posada Al Sur, to shoot at the famous Puerto Marqueta. We quickly spotted the incredible Parilla restaurants that have been featured in every travel show I’ve ever seen on Uruguay.

Alas, we won’t win any awards on originality on this one, as we too will be shooting me stuffing my face with all different types of meat at the famous Parilla. After the BBQ last night at Peyo’s (Rudos Wild) house and the gigantic parilla lunch today, I vowed once again that I’m going vegan just as soon as I get out of Uruguay/Argentina!

Plaza Independencia & Palacio Salvos

We headed back to the hotel to grab Moses and to meet my friend Camilo from Rudos Wild who had graciously agreed to show us around El Ciudad Vieja (the old city) a bit.

We hit all the hot spots of Ciudad Vieja. In addition to Puerto Marqueta, we shot  Plaza Independencia, Palacia Salvos  and a few artisan shops . We learned about Mate From some of the local vendors, the ubiquitous tea everyone in Uruguay seems to be drinking, brewing or carrying around.

Radical Vegans in Montevideo!

We had some technical issues with the audio on the camera in downtown Montevideo and I think it was a result of the signals in the air down there being scrambled because this particular issue didn’t pop up again the entire trip.

Nonetheless it forced us to cut our shoot short so we bid adieu to Camilo and headed to one of the city beaches to get some B-roll (footage) of me soaking up some rays and ingesting some much needed Vitamin D! I’m telling you, this hosting stuff is really hard work!

Not your typical Uruguayans but these Vietnemese enjoy a nice picnic in Plaza Independencia

Then it was off to rehearsal for Rudos Wild where we interviewed the guys and helped them shoot a music video for “No Toleramos” (We Won’t Tolerate”), one of their best known songs and one of my favorites of all time. Luckily I didn’t have to hold the camera steady and could rock out right along with the guys.

Rudos Wild Video Shoot

As a matter of fact, I did, this time I had the words to Social D’s “Cold Feelings” printed out, so no forgetting the words this time. We had a little extra time so we did a version of “Don’t Drag Me Down”.

Hard to believe but I sound worse than I look!

It’s late when we finished and we had another early start so we headed back to hotel for a quick bite to eat. We stopped off along the way to pick up a big old drum Renzo had specially made by a local, world famous percussionist. How the hell is that going on the trip with us I’m not sure.

Local Kids of Montevideo's Ciudad Vieja

The next day we were scheduled to shoot some more Montevideo footage and then catch a bus to the lovely and historic town of Colonia del Sacramento but I took the camera and shot a few stills of some of the kids hanging out in front of our hotel in Ciudad Vieja. I’m pretty sure they do this every night!