Published: December 24th 2008December 24th 2008
It was only a short hydrofoil across the River Plate and Monty needed a postcard from the epicentre of Mont world. Colonia was the initial destination, almostly directly across the River Plate. A world away from Buenos Aires, the town was asleep in mid-morning as we arrived. If venues such as Cafe Tortoni were trapped in Edwardian Britain, Colonia was somewhere in the middle of the 17th century - a mix of old colonial buildings established as a smuggling port and a US car museum. However, the cars were displayed on the street as everyday motors in direct competition to the streets of Havana. There were a lot more apparently a few years back, before the said US car museums bought them back. We left the following day on a rather swish bus for Montevideo.
As Buenos Aires dominates all things Argentine, Montevideo with half the country's population does the same for Uruguay. Av 9 Julio is replaced here with the not so grand or wide Av 18 Julio, which is intersected by Av Libertador General Lavalleja leading to the Palacio Legislativo. The city gives off a less confident appeal than Buenos Aires.
After the packed crowd and electric
The final venue for FIFA World Cup 1930
atmosphere of one World Cup Final stadium in Buenos Aires, things were a little less hectic as kick off approached at the Estadio Centenario. The occasion was the Uruguayan league play offs between the top eight clubs with double headers all seemingly being played at the Centenario. The public imagination did not seem to have been captured on this occasion, as the first game between the mighty Liverpool and Rampla Juniors kicked off in front of three men and a dog. In order not to be out done by the vast array of vintage motors on display in Colonia, a rather smart looking vintage ambulance was on hand to cater for the victims of any crowd disturbance or player injury. The founders of Liverpool apparently decided that their Montevideo club should be named after a port city in the home of football and decided that Liverpool was the best sounding name - their research didn't quite run to copying the red in the strip. A bruising encounter resulted in two red cards and a 2-1 win over Rampla Juniors, which left them top of the mini league. The crowd had swelled to 7,100 by the time Nacional surfaced for their
Liverpool 2 Rampla Juniors 1
The Estadio Centenario was not exactly bursting to capacity
game against Huracan Buceo. Whilst the entire 7,100 seemed to be from the Nacional cause, it semed a bit of a disappointing turn out by one of the so called big two of Uruguayan football. However they knew better than us and had wisely stayed away from this tepid 1-1 draw. The red card total only reached one on this occasion, as Huracan made a concerted effort to kick Nacional out of their stride. A youthful Alvaro Recoba en route to a transfer to Inter Milan danced his way round most of the challenges as though it was a 5 a side exhibition. The tickets were a bargain compared to the games in Argentina and presumably in some attempt to encourage family attendance at matches, ladies were admitted half price. This had no significant impact on the size of the crowd, as Miranda seemed to be the only one taking advantage of this generous offer.
Punte del Este is a sleepy beach retreat for most of the year, that comes alive as Argentina by Sea for those with enough funding. We were there at the beginning of the season and it seemed that the town was not yet open
Punte Del Este
The marina at Punte del Este
for business - awaiting the rush from the west. There were some expensive yachts in the marina, the obligatory old cars to draw attention to various shops and restaurants and a bitingly cold wind that made relaxing in the sun a bit difficult. It was time to head back across the water for some more football.
There are more photos below