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No Worries 'Mas o Menos' 2 years on the road, travelling South East Asia, China, South & Central America and who knows where after that... Photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dojo77/collections/

Uruguay the Underdog

URUGUAY | Saturday, 6 March 2010 | Views [3059] | Comments [2]

We left Buenos Aires by ferry and spent 4 hours sailing across the Rio de la Plata to Uruguay to the cute little town of Colonia del Sacramento. We had planned to spend two days sightseeing but after an hour of walking around we realised we had pretty much covered the whole town, it really was that small. But what it did have on offer was pleasant little cobblestone streets within the well preserved UNESCO world heritage area.

Colonia is perhaps a great place to pick up a classic car as the streets are full of run down ancient relics of yesteryear. We even considered buying one to get ourselves around the country, but we thought it would probably break down after a day.

Montevideo (killed the radio star)

The good thing about Uruguay is that it’s a small country. The capital Montevideo is only 2 hours away from Colonia by bus, so not one of the long journeys we're used to. Montevideo is considered to be the safest city in South America with only 1.1 million people in the capital, so we enjoyed a few days wandering around the centre and historical parts of town taking in the sights and museums.

The best place to head for dinner was the Mercado del Puerto where you have 'muchas' parillas competing to tantalise your tastebuds with all the succulent meats they have on offer.

Montevideo definitely stands apart from its neighbour Buenos Aires as it’s much more laid back with no one rushing around the capital and the people were all very friendly towards us. However, it highlighted our lack of Spanish as we couldn’t communicate back as well as we wanted leaving us frustrated. So we took the plunge and contacted a Spanish teacher to arrange lessons for the next week. With a few days to wait until we headed back to school for the first time in ten years, we decided to give ourselves a break from the city.

Punta del Este

While heading over to Punta del Este on another short bus journey we found that the surroundings started to look very familiar, long coastal roads, wind swept beaches and eucalyptus trees lining the way, the only thing that was missing was a koala. It looked just like the New South Wales coastline and on further inspection of a map we realised both Uruguay and NSW sit on the same latitude and are so similar they could be twins!

Punta del Este is Uruguay’s equivalent of the Gold Coast in Queensland, a weekend play area for the rich and famous of South America. We didn’t recognise anyone, although Shakira is known to have a penthouse in the region but the only thing we spotted was a giant hand in the sand.

Along with a great idea on how to avoid embarrassing towel moments on the beach...changing rooms!

Ryan decided to take up surfing, well just body surfing, and of course he was the first to succeed in catching a wave that day showing the locals how it was done in style. Just don’t ask him how he got all those grazes on his chest! Did the waves dump you under a few times Ryan?

Back to MVD

Back in the capital we located ourselves at the beach side suburb of Pocitos rather than in the centre of town. It was nearer for us to walk to our lessons and meant we would have somewhere to unwind if school was too stressful.

So with first day nerves we headed back to school armed with our new notebooks and pens and to meet our teacher Anna. She was very kind and showed a lot of patience with us both. We had three hours a day for five days, and after each lesson we needed a siesta and a beer before tackling the homework that we had to do! I don’t know how we will ever cope working 8 hour days again, but at least we made it through without dropping out!

By the end of the week I think we both had improved greatly and had definitely learnt the importance of pronouncing the funny squiggle accent over the n, as in años and anos. Hearing Anna say “No Ryan you are 32 years old, you do not have 32 assholes” was the funniest moment!

And that was our time in Uruguay...short and sweet. We only spent time in the three most touristy areas of the country and to be honest I don’t think there is much else on offer here apart from a few more beaches and farmland, but it is certainly a great country for it’s attitude, people and way of life, even if the national dish, a Chivito (very hearty steak sandwich), nearly gave us heart attacks.

And with that, armed with our new Spanish phrases “Mi español es terrible” and “No entiendo nada” we are now heading back to Buenos Aires to start making our way to the End of the World..via Wales perhaps?

Jo & Ryan

Uruguay Highlights

Favourite Place - Pocitos (Jo) Montevideo (Ryan)
Favourite Attraction - Montevideo Parks (Jo) Running along the Rambla (Ryan)
Food -  Chivito (Jo) Meat Stuffed Pumpkin (Ryan)
Beer -  Patricia (Both)

LowLights None (Both)

For those of you thinking of possibly travelling to the region: Costs in USD

Accommodation - $30-40
Restaurant meal  - $10
1 litre of Bottled Beer - $2
500ml Soft Drink - $1
1.5l Bottle of water - 50c
Bus - $4 / hour

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dojo77/collections/72157623489813654/

Tags: chivito, colonia del sacramento, montevideo, punta del este, spanish lessons, uruguay

 

Comments

1

Looks great, guys. Good on you for learning the language, as well! I imagine differentiating between arseholes and years is fairly important...

  Liz Mar 14, 2010 9:37 AM

2

When you guys finally get to America I will give you some lessons as well. :)

  Holmy Mar 15, 2010 7:54 PM

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