There are many Spanish words I love. Suspiros is one of them. Suspiros. I like all the “S”es and when I say the word slowly I can feel the air in the “oo” roll up from my chest as if I am exhaling. It reminds me of the word’s meaning, sighs. On Thursday I accompanied two lovely Australians to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay and spent the day walking around the sleepy little town where the Street of Sighs (Calle de los Suspiros) lies by the waterfront. There are several legends as to how this cobblestone street got its name; one tells a story about a young woman who was stabbed in the heart while waiting for her love, one involves ladies of the night who used to lure sailors, and another is about those who were condemned to die being led down this narrow street towards the Rio de la Plata.
A small group of tourists were milling about and taking photos when we were passing by. I had no intention of joining them, but something compelled my feet to move down the wedged stones and steps of the little street to peak inside a small door. Bending down deeply to duck into this wine and cheese shop I found myself smiling, looking at shelves of preserves and dulce de leche. I waved over to my friends to follow me through the dark cave-like house; I knew they’d like what they saw. We tucked into the backyard of Buen Suspiro and there we stayed for several hours, chatting and drinking Uruguayan wine. Maybe it was the silent suspiros in the walls and the stones that cast a spell over us, but I felt safe and content sitting there in the shadows. It was a wonderful way to spend a quiet afternoon away from Buenos Aires.
The murky brown waters of the Rio de la Plata is not very picturesque but the Barrio Histórico (old town) is full of charming houses and tree lined streets.
Old houses and ancient buildings: flat roof means it’s Spanish, angled roof with tiles signifies Portuguese colonial style.
Buen Suspiros: Calle de los Suspiros 90, Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
A former Portuguese settlement, Colonia del Sacramento is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Aboard a high speed ferry, Colonia Express from Buenos Aires takes you there in an hour (~$60 USD round-trip).