The lighthouse on the tip of the peninsula offers the best view of the town .It is one of the sights I came to see by joining a tour group at a local Montevideo hotel.
The lighthouse stairs are almost straight up and a two hundred and fifty pound man has trouble getting all the way to the top because of the narrowness of the spiraling passage. You keep winding up and up and up, holding to a thick piece of insulated wire threaded through eye bolts anchored in the lighthouse’s interior concrete walls.
At the first landing, you can get out onto a deck and walk around the perimeter of the lighthouse, but I keep moving to where stairs end and the dormant cyclops light sleeps this morning.
There is a 360 degree view of Colonia Del Sacramento with a different vista through each of the windows of the lighthouse.
There is a harbor on one side of the light. Fishing boats are moored there and a long wooden pier juts out into the waters of the Rio Plata river.
Another view from the lighthouse is the city of Colonia Del Sacramento This old city was founded in the late 1600’s by the Portuguese and they and the Spanish fought for several hundred years to see who would control the area and its waters. There is, according to Pat, a World War 2 German ship sunk in the harbor by a Captain who didn’t want to surrender his ship.
It must look like this from the crows nest on pirate ships where a half rum addled pirate with a knife in his belt scanned the seas for big fat merchant ships carrying gold. It had to have been a hard dangerous life to risk yourself for uncertain wages, a bottle of rum and a civilization that only had a curse and hangman’s noose for you when your feet touched dry land.
Our tour operators give us a few hours before we head back to Montevideo, so I go back down the stairway, much faster than I ascended.
This is a World Heritage city that lives up to its press.
There are still sun drenched places in this world untouched by terror and conflict, places where the past and present hold hands and dance into their future.
Colonia Del Sacramento is a place where the best of Europe and Latin America got married and are happy as a bride and groom cutting cake and sipping champagne.