Visiting Colonia and Montevideo
After some amazing days in Fray Bentos it was time to hit the road again. This time the next stop was Colonia del Sacramento. The town was founded in 1680 by the Portuguese to smuggle goods across the River “Rio de la Plata” into Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is one of the oldest towns in Uruguay. In 1681 the Spanish conquered the town, but the year after it was Portuguese again until 1705 when the Spanish returned. For 8 years the Spanish had the control, but the town was given back to the Portuguese in 1714. It continued like this for many years until the country of Uruguay was established in 1828. In 1745 a thick city wall was constructed by the Portuguese, and today parts of it is still well maintained.
We walked the cobblestone streets in the historic quarter, and enjoyed the sunset over Rio de la Plata
There is a really nice waterfront along the river “Rio de la Plate”, and at the northern end of town we could camp for free at one of the many picnic areas
The left picture is symptomatic for how the people follow the traffic rules. This may also be the reason, why there is so many speed bombs. It is the same in Argentina and Chile, though when an Argentinian gets behind the wheel, he turns into a race driver. More focused of driving fast than anything else, there are a massive amount of huge speed bombs to slow everybody down to crawl. In Uruguay we noticed a new thing, all the signs a sponsored – that is a first (right picture).
The road leading out of Colonia following Rio de la Plata towards Montevideo is just beautiful
What is the capital of Uruguay? “Mon-te-vi-de-o” (To the Danes – you know what TV commercial I am referring to… right? The “L’EASY Luffe og stemmestyring”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QI2v5S7iFv8). Montevideo is also the biggest city in Uruguay with 1.3 million people (Source: http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/uruguay-population/). To comparison 1.3 million people live in Copenhagen, but if you count the amount of people, who live in the Capital region it is 2.27 million people (Source: https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%B8benhavn). Sleeping in our van in a big city is something that we prefer not to do. Instead we had contacted a fellow overlander, who live just outside Montevideo.
Meet Miguel and his wife, who invited us into their home (Thank you for your hospitality)
They travel in a purple Mitsubishi. We could park in their front yard. I think Lance enjoyed the company. Miguel also have three dogs, so together we went for a walk on the beach. There was room for everybody.
Enjoying the beach and playing with the dogs
Maté is big in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. BUT, the Uruguayans consume even more maté than Argentines. In average the Uruguayans consume 9.5 kg of yerba maté per person per year (the Argentinian only consume 5 kg of yerba maté person per year). In comparison the Danes consume 8.7 kg of coffee per person per year. Getting a photo of the maté culture in Uruguay . The yerba maté s a grassy bitter beverage indigenous to South America. We have now tried it in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, and it is just not our thing, so we will stick to our morning coffee.
We got a nice warm shower, and went out for dinner with Miguel and some family and friends. Oh, by the way dinner here is not until 9-10 pm, which is a challenge because we are more used to eating dinner around 7 pm. We went to a local restaurant, where a band was playing tango music. Love the tango music in Uruguay and Argentina.
Our first day in Montevideo was on a Sunday. Nothing was happening, everything was closed, even the ATM. It was like the city was dead. Not even on a Sunday in Copenhagen you will see streets this empty.
Walking the empty streets
Heading into the more touristy area, a few people were on the streets walking or sleeping
Anyway we are in Uruguay, we are in Montevideo
Compared to the size of Montevideo, the city only have a few tourist sights. One thing on my list was the museum “Museo de los Andes”, which documents the 1972 Andes plane crash that cost 29 Uruguayans their life. It tells the story of the 16 survivors, who battled harrowing conditions for 72 days during the winter in the Andes Mountains. Well it was also closed, so you have to wait until the next post.
So we left the empty streets of Montevideo behind us for now