As mentioned before, we had to have our vehicle out of Brasil before 28 February. So after leaving Foz early morning on the 24th, we contemplated staying at a Jesuit mission area around San Miguel, or going to the wine area of Caxias do Sul... But began to get nervous of unexpected problems at the border, especially with our papers stamped CANCELADO! Brasil is such a huge country that we needed time to find another border, or make another plan, if necessary! So we hotfooted it for 2 days to the Uruguay border! We stayed overnight at Federico Westphalen, at a hotel, and then camped in a small run-down town at the sea, near Rio Grande, called Cassino.... What a dreadful place to end our absolutely fantastic stay in Brasil! The camping was too awful for words... So bad that we just couldn't even shower there. So far, camping has been with fellow travellers, but this place seemed to be just a place where all the homeless gathered.... A kind of mini circus was camped on one side
! The beach was overrun by vehicles whizzing up and down, and litter/builders rubble was just dumped in the roads all over the beach and town...Not going to say anymore.... ! So we crossed the border into Uruguay at Chuy - the southernmost point of Brazil and all went very smoothly..... So now we are in Uruguay....and its main attraction seems to be the coastline east of Montevideo to the Brasil border. Uruguay is a small country by S.American standards and the interior seems to be rolling hills with lots of agriculture. In the west, on the border with Argentina, there are thermal springs which we will visit, and a town called Fray Bentos! (It was a meat extract producing place!) Pity that our Fray Bentos is now called Oxo!!! Our first stop, quite close to the border was a campsite in a park called "Parque Nacional de Santa Teresa". It is a huge park area on the sea with lots of campsites under tall trees. The building of the big fort (much like the castle in Cape Town) in the park was begun there by the Portuguese in 1762 , but seized by the Spanish 30 years later! The whole area including the park is run by the military. The ablution blocks on first sight didn't look too good, but an attendant, who was on duty from 7:00 - 19:00, kept things very clean. (The gas was only turned on for the showers at certain times!) But it was perfect for us. The little green parrots chattered away noisily in their communal nests above our vehicle, and the little shop provided necessities. The beach was just a walk through the trees, and we slept very well in the quiet surroundings. After a night there we moved on down the coast, and camped for 2 nights at a little place called La Pedrera. What a beautiful little town at the sea. It is obviously a good surf spot as the surfers were all very busy. Andy had a lovely swim there. The beach only comes to life after 11:00, and then people stay until the sun goes down. Most people on the beach had their mate in their fancy cups, with a thermos flask..
. In fact in Uruguay it is common to see people all over with their cup, and a flask tucked under their arm. Hot water is for sale everywhere, especially for their flasks.... It was interesting to see youngsters playing rugby on the beach. Had forgotten that it was members of the Uruguay rugby team that were involved in the plane crash in the Andes and who had to resort to eating human flesh to survive. The beach was just down a little path down from the campsite, and again it was lovely to go to sleep at night with the sound of the sea.... It has been quite cool at night, so after all the past humidity, we are now back to using duvets! And today we are at Punte del Este at a very nice campsite. This whole area is really upmarket. It is an affluent playground for people from Uruguay, Brasil and Argentina.The houses and shops are all very smart, with art galleries, golf courses and yacht marinas. We crossed a very interesting undulating bridge ( actually 2 bridges side by side) coming into the town. It was designed by a Uruguayan called Leonel Viera. The locals call it "the Sophia Loren bridge"! Tomorrow we will probably go in to Montevideo.
(Donatella, I see in the map that we are very close to Rosario now.... Are your travel plans in order!!!)