First up, a confession. Our Lego photo here is not in Uruguay. We couldn’t find a decent spot to take a photo of them so instead this is our Lego guys getting serious suntans in the dunes of Florianopolis. I’m sure you don’t mind. Read Part I or check out Sadie’s Instagram to see more photos.
After a cracking few days in Floripa (or Flo, as we took to adoringly calling it) it was time to cross over the border into our second South American country – Uruguay. It was another pretty comfortable bus journey (albeit a 19 hour one) to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay and as we now dub it, the MOST OVERPRICED CITY IN LATIN AMERICA (thus far). Now don’t get us wrong, we generally enjoyed our 3 days here, in large part because we had an absolutely wonderful Airbnb stint in an adorable apartment with an equally adorable Grandma, Marisa. (If you stay in Montevideo we would highly recommend her place as your homely port-of-call, which can be found here). Incidentally, Airbnb has been a lifesaver on this trip, it’s often cheaper than hostels and so much better. If you haven’t signed up do it through this link to get discount off your first booking (in fact, even if you have, use a different email address. They make enough money, right?)
Montevideo is a nice enough city, with pretty good crime rates, a decent night life and a nice little old town and promenade. Like its neighbour Argentina, it also does two things very well and affordably – cows and wine. If man could live on steak and merlot alone, he would do so very contently in Uruguay. The real problems arise when you want to do anything else. Despite a perfect agriculture climate, Uruguay grows very little and imports expensively. At a supermarket, mushrooms cost £3, peppers were £1 each and god forbid you even look at beansprouts – £4 a packet. Tampons were £5 for a pack of ten and even a bottle of coke (the universal budget standard) was £3. Likewise, a meal out would typically cost around £15pp just for a main course (typically consisting of the aforementioned red meat), with a small can of beer setting you back £3 a go. Everything we read likened Uruguay’s cost of living to that of Brazil, but whether it is the Real’s continuing instability or Uruguay’s continuing economic recovery, it was a real shock to our purse strings.
Despite this, and a few extremely grey weather days, we had a nice enough time in the little capital. We spent our eighth Valentine’s Day together eating (guess what?) red meat and drinking (guess what?) red wine, and soaking up the baking hot Uruguayan sunshine, in between the torrential downpours. The next day, today in fact, we headed off to Colonia, a little colonial (duh) gem of a town 3 hours down the coast. We get the ferry to Argentina at a godless hour tomorrow morning, and we can’t wait. Steak and red wine await. Oh, right. Well, I’m sure they do something else well, too.