Having ticked Brazil off the countries visited list, it seemed wrong not to make the effort to explore Uruguay. The only problem was that time was against us. We had a maximum of 5 days before we needed to be in Buenos Aires, Argentina ready for our flight to Ushuaia.
We entered the country via Paysandu in the north and were immediately shocked by the steep price increase on everything from buses and beds, to food and beer. Our general $50 a day budget (USD) was not going to be sufficient and because we’d already walked 20 km just to get to town, we needed to recover some energy before continuing on to the capital, Montevideo.
In Paysandu, there isn’t much going on. We’d read the main attractions were a cemetery and the hot springs. The hot springs were actually 57 km from town and the cemetery was nothing extraordinary. The river however, did look nice from the back of the van that we hitched in, we just didn’t have the energy to walk back down for a better look.
Then, it was on to Montevideo. We checked into the cheapest hostel we could find and it was bustling with activity. We hadn’t slept in a dorm room for months but, we didn’t have much choice and the hostel was comfortable despite the crowd so it was ok. We spent some time in the city wandering the streets in search of urban art and participated in a free walking tour of the city.
The buildings in the older part of the city hold a strong resemblance to those in France so it was like stepping into Europe. The guide for the walking tour was very knowledgeable and worked into most of his talk something to do with cows. We even learnt that the head coach of the national soccer team is more highly revered than the President…
We celebrated Justin’s birthday a day early by taking ourselves on a wine tour. The organised variety, like most other things in this country, was well and truly out of our budget so we just visited the supermarket and bought a bottle or two there instead. Marijuana is also legal in Uruguay so, Justin had the chance to share a joint with a fellow traveller which isn’t something you get to do every day!
Before we knew it, it was time to head to Colonia del Sacramento. This little town with a population of 200,000 was simply gorgeous, just a little bit sleepy and steeped in history.
I left Justin to his dreams (he really likes to sleep – a lot!) and I headed down to the Information Centre where I had the opportunity to delve deeper into that history with an interactive digital library full of information. I also watched a short film highlighting the different regions of Uruguay (50 Pesos) before I went in search of coffee.
By this time, Justin had dragged himself out of bed and found me in the old city enjoying my cuppa. We decided not to visit the museums (50 pesos for a combination pass) or to climb the lighthouse (25 pesos), and instead we continued to wander the streets marvelling at the architecture and enjoying the warm weather.
The following day, we waved goodbye to Uruguay after a short but enjoyable visit as we boarded the ferry to Buenos Aires.
Travel safe x
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