Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay...Doors, Windows and Passageways

I took a little trip across the Rio de la Plata to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. Uruguay is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to about 3.3 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo. An estimated 88% of the population are of European descent.
Colonia (formerly the Portuguese Colónia do Sacramento) is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a population of around 22,000.

It has an interesting history. Founded in 1680 by Portugal as Colónia do Sacramento, the colony was later disputed by the Spanish who settled on the opposite bank of the river at Buenos Aires. The colony was conquered by José de Garro in 1680, but returned to Portugal the next year. It was conquered again by the Spanish in March 1705 after a siege of five months, but given back in the Treaty of Utrecht. Another attack during the Spanish-Portuguese War, 1735-1737, failed.
It kept changing hands from crown to crown due to treaties such as the Treaty of Madrid in 1750 and the Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1777, until it remained with the Spanish. It then transferred to Portuguese control again, being later incorporated in Brazil after 1816, when the entire Banda Oriental (Uruguay) was seized by the government of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves and renamed the Cisplatina province. 
Now part of the independent country of Uruguay, Colonia del Sacramento has expanded to the north and east, but the original Barrio Histórico (historic quarter) retains its irregular, terrain-fitting street plan built by the Portuguese, contrasting with the wider, orthogonal calles in the newer Spanish area. 
The town has some colonial style buildings like the municipal hall.
And the cathedral
With a rather simple interior.
It has a waterfront that runs along the Rio de la Plata.
But, what I really enjoyed about this town was walking around the old town and viewing the doors, windows and passageways... they are simply beautiful.
Many of the doorways were quite ornate.

And the windows, as beautiful to look at, as to look out.

 And the cobblestone passageways were quite inviting.

 This little corner garden hid a secret.
 A little nook for San Francisco.

I walked down by the waterfront.
 And spotted these two fishermen enjoying the afternoon.

 The town seemed to have an appreciation for old cars.

 And a few old motorcycles as well.

 Little details

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Adventure Touring Motorcycle Review

Here is a video reviewing adventure touring motorcycles including the BMW R1200GS, Yamaha XT1200Z Super Tenere, Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200 and KTM 990 Adventure. Pity that they left out the Suzuki DR650... they don't know what they are missing.

Husqvarna TE310 bike review

Here is a review of the Husqvarna TE310 dual sport bike. I'm liking it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Buenos Aires... Tango

On my final night in Buenos Aires I went to watch Tango.
I visited dance hall called a Milonga. There was some pretty serious dancing going on.
A band called El Afronte was providing the tunes.
Here is a short 4 minute video of El Afronte.

Buenos Aires... El Ateneo Bookstore

I visited El Ateneo bookstore.
It is a pretty normal bookstore from the outside, although it has a fancy facade.
Inside there are shelves of books.
A typical section with travel books.
A typical section with cookbooks.
A typical cafe.
They do have some art on temporary display.
And the bookstore has five levels
But, the amazing thing about this bookstore is that it is built within an old opera house.
There are rows of books on the floor and throughout the balconies.
These nooks used to be balcony seats.
That now serve as reading rooms.
There is still a chandelier.
And frescos painted on the ceiling.
A nice place to browse for a book or two.

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