13.03.2006 28 °C
Uruguay might just be my new favourite country in the world! I don't know why, it may be the beaches; never-ending, wild and just absolutely beautiful. It might be the people; smiling, easy-going and crazy about their mate. And after travelling South America for more than six months, I realized that I can still be surprised over the tranquility and relaxation that saturates it all. I thought Chile, Argentina and Peru were laidback - and then I get to Uruguay and realize that there is one dimension more to it, at least! Everything is just a little bit slower and a little bit easier, and you can't do anything about it but enjoy it.
House with a view - Punta del Diablo
We came with the catamaran from Buenos Aires to small Carmelo, where we the traffic constituted of nothing else than horsedrawn carts, mopeds or shiny, wellkept cars from the 50's or earlier. The pizza was good and cheap, the beer was ice-cold, and in the evening we had picnic down at the canal, watching the locals hanging out at the rowing club. Coming from Buenos Aires, which is a cool place but huge, Carmelo had that super-cozy feeling that we were looking for.
Fruit store in Montevideo - yes, we went there too.
Even more cozy, I dare to say, was Colonia del Sacramento, our next stop along the Uruguay coast. It's an old smuggler´s port, with irregular, cobbled-stone streets and it's absolutely charming! Since we realized that it was Valentine´s day (we´re usually not into that sort of stuff) we treated ourselves to one of the super-funky restaurants that you can find all over the town. At this one, we actually got to sit in one of the 50's cars, with the interior replaced with chairs and table. Exept for the awesome food, good wine and cool atmosphere, we got loads of attention from people passing by, wanting to take our picture etc. A lot of fun!
This is the car, from the outside
However, most of the time in Uruguay we spent on or close to the beach, in lovely little Punta del Diablo. It's not a lot more but a small, colourful fishing village, but recently it has started to attract surfers and other beachbums, and the fishermen have added "renting cabañas" to their business. But it's not touristic (yet) and it has got a good vibe. We tried to surf one day, but most of the time we just spent reading, swimming in the waves, horseback riding over the dunes, and having ridiculously good fish for dinner. There were a few party opportunities, but most of all we just wanted to relax - that's what you do in Uruguay.
Beachlife - Punta del Diablo
I could easily have spent more time in Uruguay, but unfortunatelly we didn't have the time. After 11 days we jumped on a bus taking us all the way up to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil (that's 32 hours on a bus, no piece of cake, I tell you!) for the carnival. And it's The Carnival. Even though everyone we met before told us that there are other carnivals in Brazil that are cheaper, safer and more fun, we still wanted to go to Rio. Because that's what you have heard of since you were a kid, isn't it?! It's world famous, The Carnival in Rio!!! And now, looking back, we don't regret it. It is splendid! Colours, caipirinhas, and samba on the street. Everyone is just happy, 24 hours of endless joy and party (unfortunately we don't have too many pics from the carnival because we didn't want to bring the camera unless we felt it was safe). It was almost surreal; sleaping all day, drifting down to the beach for an hour or so, back to the hostel for showers and a few beers, and then it all started again, partying all night uttil sunrise over the beautiful Ipanema and Cobacabana. And this was going on for almost a week - and we have hardly been partying at all during our travels!! (Exept Christmas, New Year's and that sort of stuff) I totally enjoyed it though. Despite the burdensome hangover that tortured us for several days afterwards...
We have also seen the Iguazú Falls, both from the Argentine and the Brazilian side. Very, very impressive. I mean, I was actually enjoying looking at a waterfall for two days! It's huge, it's remarkable, it's dramatic and extraordinary - there's just no end to all the synonyms... If you have a chance, go there!
Iguazú falls - Argentine side.
And go to Uruguay, too.
Right now we are in Parguay, which seems to be the least visited of all the countries in South America. Everyone is really friendly, but slightly surprised to see tourists. Makes travelling a lot more interesting, and a bit harder... Tomorrow, we are going by boat up the river Rio Paraguay towards the Brazilian rainforest. A five day trip to the middle of nowhere, I suspect. More about that later!
Lots of love to all