Last November, my mother and stepfather flew out to Argentina to see me which, after almost a year apart, was a very welcome visit. I had composed a three-week itinerary for us which included a weekend in Colonia, Uruguay, as it’s such a charming little town and is just a stone’s throw from Buenos Aires. Our first full day in Colonia consisted of exercises on the beach (the mother’s request) followed by a bike ride along the road adjacent to the beach. Back in the centre, we had the pleasure of stumbling across a small and very homely restaurant owned by a delightful old man, who presented us with an equally delightful menu featuring mouth-watering fish and seafood dishes. As we sat back in our chairs on the cobbled stone streets and chinked glasses of crisp white wine, we all agreed that coming to Colonia had been an excellent choice.
The day only continued to get better; lunch had left us more than satisfied, though we couldn’t resist the urge to buy a cheeky ice-cream, just to top it off. We browsed the town some more before returning to the beach, where we sat and drank mate, enjoying the slightly cooler temperature of the late afternoon. There was a bar, situated right beside the beach, which we decided to stop at as the sun was setting. It was there that I spotted a young man with a t-shirt that read ‘Pugs Not Drugs’, which instantly made me burst out laughing. I approached him and asked if I could take his photo, explaining that it was because I enjoyed his t-shirt’s slogan, not because I was some sort of creepy tourist. The man, whose name was Sebastian, willingly obliged and then we began chatting, together with my mum and stepdad and Sebastian’s wife, Andrea. After a while, they informed us they had to return home, but left us a piece of paper with their addess, along with a casual invitation to join them for a glass of wine later on.
That evening, we made our way to the historic centre of Colonia and followed the directions to Sebastian and Andrea’s house. Upon arrival we literally gawped- the place was huge. As they welcomed us inside and began to show us around, our mouths only grew wider, for this was one magnificent old building. We then followed them out on to the patio, where a small, beautifully presented table, which not only consisted of wine, but a wide array of Argentinean tapas, awaited us. My eyes eagerly passed from a bowl of olives to bread, ham, sardines, roasted vegetables and a plate of mini milaneses. Everything looked and smelled delicious. Sebastian poured the wine into four large glasses and we each took seats before toasting to the lovely couple and thanking them for their hospitality. Hours passed as we talked, ate and drank into the night, not what I was expecting after Sebastian had simply said “Drop in, if you feel like it” earlier that day; thank goodness we did ‘drop in’, or all that lovely food and the time taken to prepare it would have gone to waste! Eventually we decided to make our way back to the hotel, smiling all the way and discussing what a wonderful evening it had been. It’s people like Sebastian and Andrea that really make travelling on this continent such a pleasure.