I took a ferry across the Rio de la Plata to visit Uruguay! Here are a few things I saw while I was there.
The ferry, which was surprisingly prompt, took me straight from Buenos Aires to Colonia, Uruguay. This small town is walkable in a day, and mostly laid out for tourists. There's a cute lighthouse you can climb, and plenty of shops; I bought some art while I was there. I went by myself, but luckily there were a lot of people touring alone so it was easy to ask people to take pictures. There were old streets, antique cars, and the view of the ocean was breathtaking. I made sure to have some mate before I left. I saw even more people carrying around a mate and a thermos than in Buenos Aires. Just carrying around a mate in a holster with a thermos like, no big deal. There were lovely park areas and I saw a group of candombe drummers and dancers parading down the street. It was quite a pleasant day trip.
Then I took a bus from Colonia to Montevideo. On the ride I could see a cross section of styles – very high end, expensive houses, and then shanty houses a few blocks down. We passed vineyards and more open country, it seemed more green than BA. There was a short distance between the ocean, the old town, the center of town, and the country. There were also areas with a more suburban feel.
Once in Montevideo, I stayed with some new found friends at the hostel Posada del Sur, which was absolutely adorable. It's in an older part of the city so the building was quaint, and they put out toast, jam, & juice for breakfast.
Montevideo seems a little less "in your face" than Buenos Aires. I had a conversation with a Montevidean about how Porteños are very chatty and make a lot of gestures. In Montevideo there was still a bustle, but it wasn't as congested or overwhelming. Buses were not nearly as crowded or various, they looked more like busses I’m used to in the states. Inside however there was a person to take your money, separate from the driver, who was able to make change, because the rides cost prices like twenty-ONE pesos or FOURteen pesos. I wound up with a lot of coin souvenirs..
There were more old buildings, and more prominence of graffiti, but the graffiti was very developed as if it were uncommission art. There was less poop on the side walk (you have to watch out in BA) and the sidewalks were in better condition. The river is rrrre linda (quite lovely) and is visible throughout the city, making for superinteresante street views. The boardwalk-like camino winds around the coast and is a great place for strolling; it even has some areas with park and exercise equipment. We went towards the country to tour a vineyard and it was an entire experience. We saw the grapes, the barrels, and had a tasting while watching tango dance.
I saw "McDonalds con Tabasco" advertised and you know I had to try it, especially as there is not much opportunity for spicy food in Buenos Aires. It was spicy-er, but tabasco isn't that hot anyways. Overall Montevideo is a lovely compliment to Buenos Aires, a different feel, and a pleasure to visit.