Christmas In Uruguay!!

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Mar 10, 2008

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Where I stayed
Posada Del Siglo

Flag of Uruguay  ,
Friday, December 23, 2005

So it was on to Uruguay for Christmas, a place that neither of us had ever imagined we would be in, especially for that time of the year. The only thing we (well Conor) knew about the place was that it hosted the first World Cup. Not too much to go on. But we had decided to head to a thermal resort called Posada Del Siglo XIX for the festive season. It looked nice, was on the way, and most importantly was dirt cheap.

Our time there didnīt get off to the best start when we rolled into Salto (the town in which the resort was based) very early in the morning, with not a penny of Uruguyan money on us. Trying to get directions from the Tourist Information to a cash machine proved difficult -not only could the man there not speak English, it transpired he couldnīt speak at all. There was not much else to do but sit on our rucksacs and wait for somewhere to open which we did, for an hour and a half.

But upon arriving at the resort it seemed everything was to be ok. The website had not done it justice - it really was lovely, with beautiful, old-stone buildings, lovely big rooms, 3 pools (inside and out) and a hydro massage "area" where really strong sprays of warm water were shot at you from all angles. There was even a sauna and steam room, but after a token 2 minutes in each we decided it was far too hot weather for that. But more importantly, the place was far from being empty and was infact teeming with Uruguasian and Brazilian families who had decided to take the pressure off Christmas.

All was going well - too well infact, as Conor realised he had left his i-pod on the bus we ahd come in on. Without much hope, the gallant staff telephoned frantically round various places before finally discovering that said i-pod was sitting safely in Lost Property. The hotel even sent someone to pick it up for us, so as that we would not be disturned from a momentīs relaxation. You wouldnīt get service like that in Linton Travel Tavern.

All too soon Christmas Eve was upon us, and in trying to find a phone that you could make international calls on so we could phone home, we became acquainted with a Brazilian lady, who lived in Australia and thus spoke fluent English. She insisted we join her family for Christmas Dinner (they celebrate at midnight on Christmas Eve)and after a few half-hearted refusals on our part (we were starving,a nd only had a cold lunch in our firdge that was for Christmnas Day and nowhere was open) we did just that. The only problem was, she was the only one of her family to speak English, and being Brazilian they all spoke Portuguese rather than Spanish. So all communication either had to be done by her or else in v-e-r-y s-l-o-w Spanish. As neither of us is what one would call fluent in the mediterranean tongue, conversation was stilited to say the least! But my midnight we were all too pissed to care,and the appearance of the wierdest looking, female Santa caused much amusement to all, no matter what their native tongue. Whilst I think he/she (Santa that is) was there more for the children than the adults, we saw this as a photo opp too good to miss, and for the first time in about 20 years had our photo taken with Father Christmas. Didnīt get to sit on his knee though, i think that might have been taking the festive spirit one step too far.

Christmas Day was beautiful and sunny and, after opening presents and speaking to our families we set about drinking in earnest. We had been to the local supermarket to make sure we didnīt go dry, and in fact, by the time in came to eating our refridgerated Christmas Dinner, neither of us fancied it much and chose instead to stick to Pringles and Cadburyīs chocolate eclairs. Not quite turkey with all the trimmings but it did just as well. All in all it was a really good day, even if it was a bit odd to be spending it in our swimsuits.

Our lack of food and over consumption of alcohol had itīs revenge on us the next day when, unsurprisingly, we both woke up feeling slightly delicate. But determined (on my part) to make the most of the sunbathing on offer we whiled away the day by the pool, testing out some of Conorīs presents - Finding Nemo goggles and a beach ball.

The next day it was time to move on again - whilst we could have happily spent a few more days in the resort we had decided that a trip to Uruguay wouldnīt be complete without visiting the capital. So, reluctantly we dragged our rucksacs onto our backs and caught the first bus we could to Montevideo.
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