This is part of the eighth section of our around the
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Argentina
18/6/02 Uruguay is our 127 th country and the last new one for this trip. The motorcycle has now visited 2/3rds of the world's 190 countries. Crossed the border without problems in 10 minutes using the carnet for the motorcycle and no visas for us. The Salto region has hot springs with some economical resorts. We chose to stay at Termas de Guaviyu with about six pools in extensive grounds for camping and motel units and apartments. Capable of accommodating probably 1000 people the place is now deserted but for a few out of season visitors in the middle of winter. Our large equipped apartment with heating, microwave, stove and TV for just $US16.00 includes access to all facilities.
19/6/02 Too busy lazing in the thermal pools to write anything.
20/6/02 One side of the country to the other. On this beautiful winter's sunny day, on roads seemingly built only for us, across flatland cattle properties we headed for Punta del Este, the upmarket Argentinean playground on the Uruguayan coast. Now almost deserted because of winter but equally as much because the Argentineans aren't travelling, no money. What used to be a relatively cheap country, Uruguay, is now much more expensive than Argentina. These effects are being felt in the Uruguayan economy with it needing a substantial loan from the IMF and today the currency dropped by 40% before recovering in wild swings. Prices of local goods in shops are in the local currency, the peso, but imported goods are priced in $US to keep up with the devaluation. Ironically hotel prices are quoted in $US as their main customers, Argentineans, used to have their currency fixed to the $US. Now a seemingly ridiculous practice.
21/6/02 A seafront walk around the peninsula in blustery winter's wind. Most businesses closed for winter or permanently, houses for sale or boarded up against the weather. The seagulls about our only companions.
22/6/02 Just 130 km after a late start and into Montevideo, the capital. The days don't get started early now, yesterday being the shortest day of the year, and with maximums of about 10-12 degrees we are in no hurry to leave a heated room. The city streets deserted but for the hardy walking in scarves and beanies to keep out the wind. The indoor Mercardo del Puerto the only bustling place we could find. Those still with money to spend come here for the open grilled meat, influenced by German sausage and stuffed intestines, and to drink local wines and beer. Buskers move through the crowd and the atmosphere is warm and cosy unlike the outside where street people huddle out of the wind in shop doorways.
23/6/02 The brave few living in the inner city ventured out in the cold. With virtually all shops shut it gave a great opportunity to just look at the many different architectural buildings or sit in one of the many parks.
24/6/02 200 km west to the colonial town of Colonia where we met the first travellers we have seen in a month. If you haven't spoken english to an english native speaker for a month you tend to run off at the mouth. Particularly if they are from your home town in Australia and you have had a few wines.
25/6/02 The historic town of Colonia is a small compact area right on the waterfront. Quiet again, because of winter and the economic climate. A fort, harbour, church and lovely stone streets and houses.
26/6/02 We caught the 4.30 am slow ferry leaving Colonia
for Buenos Aires. $US 15.00 each for us and $US 22.00 for the motorcycle plus
a vehicle departure tax of $US 8.00 and 0.75 cents for us. Apart from the
50 odd passengers on the enormous ferry there was only one car plus our motorcycle
on the vehicle deck, such is the economic climate.
Move with us to Argentina
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