Trip Start Sep 11, 2008
87Trip End Jun 05, 2009
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Where I stayed
The catamaran over to Carmelo in Uruguay went through the islands of the delta of the Rio Parana and then across the Rio de la Plata formed by various large rivers. We arrived after dark and stayed at the first hotel we found. Next morning we went for a walk and saw some wildlife in a reserve from outside the fence as it was shut
The only reason we went to Fray Bentos was so Lucy could get a pie. The famous food of students and pensioners the pie-in-a-tin originates from this very backwater of Uruguay. You can imagine how disappointed she was when we found they donīt serve pies anywhere in town, and even more so when we found out they had selfishly stopped production there 35 years before we were able to visit. Then we read in the Lonely Planet that the Museum of the Industrial Revolution, the ony tourist activity was closed on Sunday, the following day. In the morning we had checked what time the buses go to Argentina in the bus station and the Lonely Planet, so we went for a walk for a walk to the Barrio Ingles anyway. The area is a small self-sufficient town built for the workers of the beef extraction plant in the mid 1800s and was pretty cool.
Instead we had to wait 3 1/2 hours for a bus north to Paysandu a couple of hours to the north and have a crack at the simple task of getting a mile or so across the river to Argentina tomorrow. Paysandu was, like the other towns, completely average, not nice and not nasty. Again we arrived after dark and found a random hotel which was OK, grabbed some fast food and beer and spoke to some of the thousands of crazy kids sitting getting drunk in the square and riding around on noisy mopeds. Unlike British kids they were all well-behaved, drunk but not wasted and around 11 they all started packing up and going home. Next morning we finally got a bus to Argentina!
Uruguay was not very exciting but certainly not dull. It was worth visiting, even if it was a pain in the arse getting round on the two buses a day, and even more of a pain in the arse to leave again. The land is flat and grassy, lots of cows and really nice people. I wouldnīt advise travelling to South America specifically to visit Uruguay though. This is probably all you need to know about it.