Saturday, 23 April 2011

Ugly, Uruguay? Not at all!

In our newly acquired tradition of adding countries last minute to our plan, and upon the insistence of Nuno2, we decided to take the boat from BA across to beautiful Uruguay on our way to Brazil.
A fairly small country, nestled among its giant neighbours, it does not seem to appear on most backpackers itinerary, but perhaps it should as it really is a lovely country, one where I could again imagine living (these liveable places seem to add on quite quickly during this trip... how will I ever be able to chose?).




The fact that many backpackers fail to make it down here, doesn't mean that he place is void of tourists as Uruguay does rank as one of the favourite destinations for the Porteños as it has the closest, good beaches from Buenos Aires. A fair amount of Brazilians also make it over, as well as quite a few backpackers. I guess it just feels a bit off the gringo trail.

Like most people travelling from BA, we landed in Colonia del Sacramento and spent a beautiful, but heavily windy, afternoon exploring this small town. And I am yet again in love! It's small, next to the river (it is not yet the sea up here), with beautiful old buildings and ruins. It is filled with quaint small restaurants, and all this just an hour away from cool, bustling, fun BA. Lovely!

As we were famished, we started the tour by attacking some very Argentinian-looking food and soon realised that not only the food was very similar to BA, but so were the prices. Regretfully. Although considered the placement of Uruguay between the most expensive country of South America; Brazil, and the most expensive city of Argentina; BA, this did not really come as a big surprise.
When we tried to pay quickly to make it to a museum in time, the lady in the restaurant looked at us doubtfully, just to let us know that she was fairly sure the museum had already closed as it was in fact 5pm and not 4pm as our BA time watches were telling us. We had in fact completely failed to realise that the 1h boat ride over to Uruguay meant that we had to change the time forward one hour. Nor did we really grasp why we, a couple of hours more to the East when we entered Brazil,  had to switch the watches back an hour again.

It seems that Uruguay lives after its own time. Perhaps as a small revolutionary step against its big and invasive neighbours...

Whatever reason, it meant that we had missed the museum visit (which I was actually fairly happy about as I much preferred to walk the streets of the town), and instead we climbed up a light house and pretended to be in a remake of Titanic, as the wind up there was strong enough to make a sacred cow fly.

The next day we moved on to Montevideo, a place high up in the mountains where everyone plays video games? Or rather, a nice capital, down by the sea, with a lovely sea promenade, but not that much to actually see in the city. We therefore decided to make the stay short, walked around for a couple of hours, checked out the free view from the town hall, and then rented some bikes and took a long, nice ride down by the sea.



a fountain covered in locks, for 'locking' lovers


In the evening we ventured over to the market, which is more a tourist place with restaurants, but where there was to be a free tango party that night. The perfect place to test our newly acquired skills from BA!
"look mother, now without teeth"

Except that we quickly realised that what had seemed as high tango sophistication during the class and among our fellow students, was rather like Bambi on ice among these people that actually knew how to tango. We tried a couple of dances, and then decided that we had made enough fools of ourselves to be allowed to take a taxi back to the hostel in preparation for our early bus to the beach the next day.

Nuno2, who was sitting in the front seat next to the driver, later told us that not only did the driver have a big gun that he was happily displaying to N2 while warning him of walking the streets at night, but also that they could hear us perfectly from the front seat, although we could not hear anything they were saying from the back seat as there was a big plastic wall protecting the driver. And supposedly they were having quite a lot of fun listening to our conversation... Very good information for future reference.

The next day we took off to the lovely, and in no way devilish, beach town known as Punto del Diablo where we spent two days lazying about before continuing on to Brazil.
trying to make an assado (barbeque)
waiting for the bus

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Last stop in spanish speaking countries... Look forward to the next chapter: Brasil!

Daniel "Bro"