Originally we had planned to continue from Montevideo onwards to our next destination. For some reason we had thought it was a good idea to phone ahead and book accommodation, something that wasn’t a normal working practice for us. Good job we did as it seems the whole town was sold out! We took the time to go back to Mercado del Puerto and got lost in the best steaks in the world before finding ourselves accommodation for the night (it seems that Uruguay is popular tonight!). It didn’t bother us to stay longer in Montevideo, it’s a great city with a charming centre. It also gave us the opportunity to go to one of Montevideo’s original and traditional tango clubs. As this is Gardel country (yes he is Uruguayan, not Argentinean) it is an opportunity not to be missed. We found our venue the Fun Fun, packed to the door. This small and intimate club had a local, authentic feel coupled with the same atmosphere to match. After we enjoyed a drink on the house we watched the maestro’s at work. Males and females commanded the floor singing the powerful lines backed up with a traditional five piece. The feeling
and passion was incredible, with the crowd’s reaction just as impressive.
Instead of rushing away from Montevideo we sorted out the particulars for our last part of our journey, enjoyed the cafes, meat and decided to take the opportunity to watch Penrol. With the sun shining Montevideo displayed it ‘liveableness’ as we made our way over to a part of football history. The national stadium is shared by some of Montevideo’s teams and the biggest being Penrol. Its one of Uruguay’s oldest teams, set up by British railway workers, they almost always play in the Estadio Cenaterio. Uruguay was the first country to host the world cup and has won it two times, so sport in Uruguay means football. The Cenaterio is where the world cup was born and held the first final. As ever it’s a unique experience to sit in a venue with so much history. Moderately updated, the roofless stadia is the perfect place to soak up an atmospheric sunny Sunday afternoon. Penrol won 3-1 Watch Video creates and although the Cenaterio wasn’t full, the crowd’s atmosphere gave us a memorable afternoon Watch Video . Ok not as ‘samba’ as in Rio but
We left Montevideo after the game and travelled to Colonia del Sacramento. The town was quite empty after the weekend rush so we were able to take advantage of the empty restaurants with their weekday menus. The seafood was yet again very impressive. We took the chance to walk over to the estuary edge where the imminent glow of Buenos Aires could be seen lighting up the night sky. With only a week left, we are starting to sadden. We have been on the ‘road’ for nine months and it’s as if it becomes your full time job. The planning and organisation is at times, as time consuming as seeing what you’ve actually come to see. Not to mention getting to grips with the language. We sat and looked out over the water admiring the call of a massive city on a more tranquil stage, thinking about the adventures we still had left to live and the start of those stomach woes signalling the beginning of the end.
Colonia del Sacramento is a place steeped in pirate and smuggling history. It’s a port which was fort over by several sea
faring European nations (France, Portugal and Britain to name a few) before Spain managed to keep hold of the town during the juggling of the conquistadors. Unofficially the port was in the hands of the other nations. So why was this place so important? Being about 100km over the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires, means that it’s ideally placed to smuggled tax-free into Argentina’s capital. This continued for some time until tax reforms allowed foreign goods to arrive straight into BA. The historic centre is compact and full of the architecture from the different land lords. It’s a charming mix of cobbled streets, old fortress walls, colonial architecture, naval bases and classic churches. Some buildings are in ruin, others house museums displaying artefacts (old sea faring maps from Portugal and Britain particularly interesting) from bygone era’s and street side cafes. Just outside the fortified gates the style of architecture has remained creating an extremely quaint environment. Tree lined cobbled streets coupled with classic but modern housing styles accommodate classic North American 1950’s cars. An extremely relaxed place!
After we had finished with the smuggling atmosphere of Colonia we continued on our journey back to Argentina. Our final
stop in Uruguay would be the small town of Carmelo and the easiest place to cross the Rio Plata to Buenos Aires. Carmelo is a very sleepy town (there isn’t an ATM), not much to look at but just one of those places which is a joy to visit if only for two hours. We boarded our catamaran and left the picturesque port and started our journey through the river delta of the Rio Uruguay. It’s a much more serene journey than the other options available straight over the Rio Plata. The green islands of the delta and the entry into Tigre was a relaxing way to hit another capital of South America. We docked in Tigre (a BA suburb), dealt with immigration (my passport is now full…) and caught a bus into the centre of Buenos Aires. Cramming to the last we took an overnight bus to Mendoza with the intention to return to BA. This would free up some time for a chance to see one of the great sporting spectacles of the world. Full Montevideo Photos on Flickr Full Colonia Photos on Flickr Full Camelo Photos on Flickr
A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement, the Tupamaros, launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay's president to agree to military control of his administration in 1973. By yearend, the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand i...more info