How Uruguay Became the Place I Will Always Visit

January 26, 2016
uruguay
Uruguay

As a huge fan of the Uruguayan singer Jorge Drexler, I always wanted to know more about the country he sings of the song “Uruguay no mas” (Uruguay no other one).

In October 2015, I was able to discover Uruguay not through the songs of Drexler but with my eyes, feet and heart. I started traveling in 2012, but only in 2015 was I able to visit another country for the first time.

As I’m from Brazil, my best option for traveling outside the country was to visit Argentina. It’s next to Brazil, cheap for Brazilians and is one of the places that I had always wanted to go. After months of searching, I discovered that if I added Uruguay to my trip, it would cost just 30 extra dollars.

Uruguay
My first time abroad

A friend ended up coming on the trip with me, and we could not have visited a better country than Uruguay on my very first time abroad. People are polite, the food is great, there is a lot of history, culture and, let’s be honest, very cute guys too.

As a huge fan of the Uruguayan singer Jorge Drexler, I always wanted to know more about the country he sings of the song “Uruguay no mas” (Uruguay no other one).

From the beginning of the trip, I experienced how polite Uruguayans are. In the Carrasco Airport, we took a bus to Montevideo. In the bus, my friend and I were worrying (in Portuguese) that we didn’t know where the bus station was. After some minutes, the people who were leaving the bus started saying: “You have more 30 minutes until the bus station”, “Just 7 more stops and you arrive” as others started telling us how much further the bus station was.

Ramblas in Montevideo
Ramblas in Montevideo

Others started talking about trips they took in Brazil. When we arrived at the bus station, a lot of people wished us a good trip, and I was amazed at the way they treated us. This situation put a huge smile on my face in my first hour in Uruguay.

I spent my first hours in Uruguay walking the ramblas. The city of Montevideo is surrounded by sidewalks called ramblas, and they are an amazing way to discover a lot of places in Montevideo as well as a good way to people-watch. At the end of the day, a lot of people go to these rambles to talk to each other, to walk, to run or to just watch the sunset. Most of them drink mate, a kind of tea made with a herb called mate and hot water

Uruguay
Plaza de la Independencia

When walking in the ramblas, you can visit the famous inscription of Montevideo, in the beach of Pocitos. By the way, Pocitos is the most beautiful beach in Montevideo.

From the beginning of the trip, I experienced how polite Uruguayans are.

As a huge soccer fan, it was my duty to go to the Stadium Centenário. It was the stadium of the first final of the first world cup. There’s a soccer museum there too which is open all week. On weekends, you can just enter and see the stadium. On Sundays, there is a street market called “Tristán Narvaja” that is full of colors: fresh food, a lot of old books and used goods, musicians, and everything else a good street market should have. You can spend hours walking in the mix of locals and tourists. If you are in Montevideo in a Sunday, you must visit this area.

Soccer stadium
Soccer stadium

Moving along, the Ciudad Vieja is the oldest part of Montevideo where it all started. Here, you can find some squares (like the most famous one the Plaza de la Independencia), some museums, some restaurants, some street markets selling imitation jewelry and old coins and the famous Teatro Solis. I went to Solis on a guided tour that cost just 20 pesos (less than 1 dollar), and the guides were two girls who told us a lot about it. There are guided tours in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

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I spent four days in Montevideo, and with a broken heart I went to my next destination: Colonia del Sacramento. The trip from Montevideo to Colonia takes two hours on a very good road. Colonia was a city that was coveted by Portugal and Spain during the American colonization. It’s a small city with amazing, lovely and polite people (I know, how repetitive—but there’s no better way to talk about them!)

In Colonia, you can simply walk around all day, go to the lighthouse or visit one of the five museums. There’s also a famous restaurant called “El Drugstore” that is very colorful and has awesome food.

El Drugstore restaurant
El Drugstore restaurant

Some people say you just need one day in Colonia to know the city well. I disagree. The most beautiful part of my trip wouldn’t have happened if I had followed this advice. The sunset on the bank of the Rio de la Plata (River’s Plate) was so beautiful, inspiring and emotional that I always talk about that experience as one of the best moments of my life as a traveler.

It made me feel that I have a lot of sunsets left to see around the world.

All that nature makes you feel so small and at the same time so powerful. It made me think about God, about the power of South America, about how amazing the world can be. It made me feel that I have a lot of sunsets left to see around the world. It made me feel like there’s no better thing in life than traveling and that for the first time in my life, I was in the right place.

I think that’s why I want to go back to Uruguay so much: because it made me feel like I was in the right place.

Uruguay
Sunset in Colonia

About Ana Claudia Guimaraes Santos

Ana Claudia Guimaraes SantosAna is a twenty four-year-old brazilian who is totally in love with South America, Beatles and traveling. Someone who found in traveling a way to discover not only the world, but herself.

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