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Published: November 27th 2009
Uruguay: Colonia, Montevideo, Punta del Diablo and the Friendliest People in the World?
So...after Patagonia, we were back in Buenos Aires - our favourite city of the trip! We weren't here for long this time, though, as we had decided to head into Uruguay for a week or so.
However, whilst in BA we did take the chance to visit the hospital as Ben's thumb was still playing up from his fall in Colombia 4 months ago! The doctor was a little surprised that we hadn't had it checked out yet and sent us off to the hospital to have x-rays taken. Things are a little different here than in the UK - after blundering around the hospital trying to work out where we needed to go, Ben had two x-rays taken. We were confused when the nurse re-appeared, presented us with an envelope containing the results, and then walked off! We had been expecting some comment on the results and so went running after her, only to be told that we would need to go downstairs and find the relevant doctor! Eventually we found someone who told us that there was a small fracture in the thumb and
Clare celebrates Uruguay's World Cup qualification!
that it should heal okay if looked after but to ensure we get it looked at when we get home, which eased Ben's worries.
The next day we were off to Uruguay, taking the Colonia Express ferry across the Rio Plata to Colonia del Sacramento - a small Portuguese colonial town that was seized by the Spanish in the 18th century. It took around an hour of rocking up and down but then we had arrived in country number 8. Colonia is a very pretty little town with some lovely colonial architecture and cobbled streets lined with classic cars. In the evening the quiet streets were completely changed after Uruguay defeated Costa Rica in their World Cup Qualifier and everyone in the town grabbed their Uruguayan flags and took to their cars, motorbikes, and cycles - beeping their horns, screaming with joy, and riding/driving up and down the road for hours on end. It was amazing to see everyone so, so happy to be going to the World Cup - from tiny kids, to young men, to grandmas and grandpas!
After a day wandering around Colonia, we caught the bus to the country's capital - Montevideo. Here we
spent the day wandering the old town, which has some nice buildings but sadly many of them are starting to crumble, which is a shame but these things do cost money. We had a fun, if slightly expensive lunch, in the famous old port market. We went for a huge barbeque of various meats that we struggled to finish, especially the blood sausage! In the afternoon, Ben took us to the Estadio Centenario - the scene of the first ever World Cup final. There is also a really good football museum there, with a very kindly security guard who let us spend ages wandering around even though it was past closing time! After that, we had a wander along one of the city's beaches in the sunshine.
In both Colonia and Montevideo we found the Uruguayans to be exceptionally friendly. From the security guard in the football museum, to the bus drivers checking where we wanted to go and shouting to us when we reached the stop, to the hostel owner that talked excitedly to us about football and was even excited to hear that Ben supported Exeter City as he knew them from the PC game Championship Manager!
Our last stop in Uruguay was Punta del Diablo - Clare had been keen to visit somewhere by the sea and, from the descriptions we had seen, it sounded like a lovely unspoiled spot with some great sandy surf beaches and we weren't to be disappointed! The town is fairly small and there are no high rise hotels, just lots and lots of cabanas. We managed to find a lovely wooden two-storey cabana with a sea view for the same price as two dorm beds in a hostel. It was bliss to have our own space and to be able to cook all our meals, as well as having the rare luxury of a TV. Whilst we were there, the weather was pretty mixed but we did get to see some sun, build a sandman, and go for a swim in the sea. We stayed for 4 days and were really sad to leave our little house and the lovely chilled-out feeling of the town. Again, as with the rest of Uruguay, there were hardly any backpackers to be seen and most of those we did see were holed up in an American run hostel in the town. We
popped in there to ask about hiring a wet suit and surfboard but were shocked that together they would cost 35 dollars for just 2 hours - that's more expensive than in the UK! A shame, as the waves here were really good and we had hoped to put what we'd learned back in Peru into practice.
Now...back to Buenos Aires, for one last time, and then onto Igauzu Falls and our last country - Brazil!
Hostels; in Colonia we stayed in Hostel Colonia, which was a large hostel in an old colonial house with a nice big patio to relax on. In Montevideo we stayed in Pocitos Hostel, which was a lovely little hostel with very friendly owners and quiet rooms.
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