At dinner last night we met the Classic Journeys country manager, Alberto who has had his hands full of rescheduling and creative innovation with the airline work slowdown. However, we were told that a substitute activity (most likely a trip to Uruguay) would be offered for our last day and we should be ready to board the bus at 7:30.
Uruguay is a short 35 mile ferry boat ride across the estuary of the Rio de La Plata river. We traveled on the high speed ferry and the trip is only an hour to the city of Colonia.
The Buenos Aires ferry terminal is a very modern structure and on this Sunday, it was packed. We had to clear immigration for both Argentina and Uruguay before boarding and that gave us more stampings in our passports. The ride was amazing smooth and noise free. This was not a "fast ferry" (60mph) like the defunct Rochester boat, but a more than adequate 35mph variety.
Upon arrival in Colonia, we met with a local guide and she regaled us with statistics about the country including the high duty on automobiles (105%) and how mopeds are more popular with the population. We also noticed that there were a lot of very old cars and trucks.
While it was warm (mid - 70's) a cool breeze was refreshing as we walked and stopped along the way learning a bit too much (like there was going to be a quiz at the end). After about two hours of this escorted tour, we arrived at a restaurant and enjoyed lunch. Anne had seen one of her favorite yarn shops, Manos Del Uruguay, and we retraced our steps and found it. While the selection of yarn was not exciting, the handmade articles, especially the felted scarfs and stoles were outstanding. She decided on a beautiful stole in rich maroon and brown. The group reassembled in the square near the church with their treasures from shopping and we headed back to the ferry terminal where we reversed the immigration procedures to return to Argentina.
Anne wore the stole to the farewell dinner that night and looked very elegant. We bid farewell to our new traveling friends since the next day we were off in different directions. The trip to Uruguay was a creative substitute, but nothing could have matched the Patagonia experience that we were denied because of labor union disputes.