Uruguay – the flatland of South America

Our route in Uruguay led us through the coast. Starting in Chui at the north-east boarder with Brazil, all the way through via Punta del Diablo, Valizas, Cabo Polonio, La Paloma, Punta del Este, Monte Video and Colonia del Sacramento. We catapulted ourselves into Argentina in Fray Bentos. The flatness of the route, though easy on legs, made it quite a dull cycling experience.

Uruguay has a reputation of the most European country in South America. Whatever that means, it may have something to do with the first president of the country ordering the slaughter of all indigenous people. The fact that the locals often mention with their eyes fixed on the floor. Dark moments in the country’s history aside, I found the people of Uruguay very welcoming and simply kind.

There seems to be a strong alternative culture stream, especially on the east coast, where people often build their own houses out of straw and clay. These DIY homes can look anything ranging from constructions that look as if they are going to fall apart any time to true works of art that just make you stand and look in amazement. So inspiring and so different from the European way of ‘take a mortgage and pay for the next 30 years’. These places sprinkled along the coast have the feel of ‘hippy towns’ where people find a refuge from their lives they had in cities. I could almost picture myself living there, going every morning to check my fishing nets… if only I didn’t find the sea so immensely boring. After learning that this region has the highest rate of suicides in Uruguay I decided to look for happiness elsewhere.

You cannot mention Uruguay without mentioning the custom of drinking mate. And although south of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina share the same tradition, Uruguayans take it to the next level. Mate is everywhere and all the time. You can spot people riding motorcycles with a thermo flask under one arm and mate in their hands. Same goes for cyclists, bus drivers, taxi drivers and I am sure airplane pilots too. Although technically it is banned to consume mate whilst driving (not because of it’s influence on the body, which is similar to coffee, but because you need two hands to serve yourself the bitter potion which may be quite problematic when you have to drive at the same time), nobody really cares and everybody is enjoying their mate… driving or not.

Here’s a selection of pics from Uruguay.

A stunning sunset

The coolest owl in town.

Mate is everywhere.

Spanish lesson time! Dandelion supposedly comes from distorted Spanish ‘diente de león’ (teeth of a lion). Not sure if it’s true, but it makes such a great linguistic chat up line :).

I see a little silhouette of a man… and woman ( I am really bad at captions)

Maldonado fishermen’ boats

Mandatory picture with ‘los dedos’. What a pose!

And just to make it more challenging.

Valizas. A home made home we had a pleasure to stay at for a few days

Cabo Polonio. The sea lions striking their best pose for the snap.

A sand dune in Valizas.

Random place with random beauty.

3 Responses to Uruguay – the flatland of South America

  1. Lucas says:

    The last caption is great :D

  2. Miriam Costi Ribeiro says:

    Wonderfull pics.

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