Uruguay - Sorry we're closed

Trip Start Jan 12, 2011
Trip End Jun 02, 2011

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Friday, May 20, 2011

We started our brief tour of Uruguay with a visit to Punta Del Este. Montevideans flock here in the summer, they leave the high rise apartments of Montevideo to come to the high righ apartments of Punte del Este. Talk about a busman's holiday! We didn't hang around long here, we were headed up to Pedera for a week's R&R on the coast. Trouble was, when we got there, it was closed. The whole town was closed. I'm sure there were places to rent, but the estate agent was closed, so we headed further north. Apparently there are some real bargains to be had here in low season, but the trouble was, we couldn't find anywhere open to get them. We ended up driving back to La Paloma where we booked into a cabana that looked just like something Bilbo Baggins would live in. When we checked in, Mrs Miggins asked us if we wanted a TV, when we said yes, she went to the back room and brought us one out. I have often checked into a place that gives you a remote control, but never anywhere that gives you a TV set! Makes you wonder how many tellies she had back there.We had made another ricket with the currency situation. We hadn't got enough cash for the week, if we could find somewhere we wanted to stay we were going to need cash. Tried the cash-points, no luck there, so we ended up in a city on the Uruguayan/Brazilian border called Chuy. Our card wouldn't work there either so I tried the bank itself, Success, they ran my card and gave me a docket to get some cash and told me to take a ticket for service. My ticket was 64 and they we currently serving number 24! During my long wait I noticed they were offering bank accounts in Uruguayan Pesos paying 9% interest and accounts in US dollars paying 1% interest. Just about everyone was either paying in or taking out US dollars. Now, I'm no economist, but surely thats no good for a nations economy. Eventually we came to Cabo Polonio which is an amazing place. Only authorised  vehicles are allowed on the peninsula so we had to leave our car and get on a 4WD lorry. 20 minutes later, we arrived battered and bruised at one of the most amazing places I've seen. The houses on South Beach side are brilliant white, like Greece, and the shacks on Skull Beach side are all colours where the hippies live. We had checked with the tourist information to see if anything was open, the places listed in Lonely Planet were all closed! Basically, there was one hotel and one hostel open. We checked into the hotel, our room was right on the beach but then we were the only guests there! It really is an incredible place, no roads, just shacks dotted here and there, the odd horse or dog wandering about, and at night a fantastic star show due to the fact that there's no electricity here! You feel you have been transported back to the middle ages and it feels like you are a million miles away from civilisation, not just a 20 minute truck ride. We had a lovely three days there, totally relaxed, in fact we would have stayed longer but Mrs Miggins had to be the worst cook in the world, she couldn't even warm things up properly! So for three days we strolled along deserted beaches, wandered amongst the sand dunes, climbed the rocks to look at the sealions and spoke Spanglish to Mrs Miggins next to the fire whilst seeing off a bottle of Uruguayan Tannat. We decided enough was enough, it was now getting too difficult. When we found somewhere open , there wasn't anything to eat and vice versa, so we decided to give the car back a day earlier and go to Colonia del Sacramento, which is supposed to be Uruguay's no 1 place to be.It is beautiful, it was an old Portuguese town. Trouble was, it is so small you can see it all in a day, and we were now booked in for three days! Ho hum. What can I tell you, if you are ever in the area, save yourself a day to look at it, it really is worth it. Do not, however, save yourself three days to look at it! We stayed in a beautiful Posada, as it was my 50th birthday, and we went to a lovely restaurant that served tasty steak. But as someone on our travels said, its nice, but it ain't Argentina! Back to Buenos Aires and the last leg of our journey.                         Here's a footnote to travelers, don't get your ferry tickets from Buquebus, wander into the ferry terminal to SeaCat to get you tickets at least 30% cheaper. Even better, get on T'internet and book through Seacatcolonia.com and get them for half the price.


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