Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Montevideo, Uruguay

Normally, I would spend the morning of December 31 sleeping in, and preparing to be up late that evening. in 2010, however, I was climbing into a taxi at 4:30am and on a plane by 6am. Obviously, I slept for most of the 1.5 hour flight to our connection Sao Paulo but was unable to do so for the 2nd half to Montevideo (I hate being in the middle seat!). As we arrived in Uruguay's capital city at noon and would be staying for only one night, we tried to make the most of our time and dropped off our bags at the hostel and went straight to the local bus station. While mostly all of our trip was planned and booked, there was one element I couldn't book ahead of time: the bus from Montevideo to the southern beaches. As I know that New Years is usually a very busy time to travel, I was quite worried that we wouldn't be able to get a bus to our destination and therefore cause us to miss out of a great vacation spot and loose a lot of money at the same time.
The bus station was a mad house! People everywhere! We went to the first ticket agency and asked for tickets for the next day. They had no availability. Same thing at the second. At this point, I started to panic. The one thing that I couldn't control during this trip's organization seemed be unravelling before me. As they say, though, third time's the charm and we were able to get tickets both there and back. I was relieved to say the least!
After my heart pace slowed to a normal rate, we decided to wander the city aimlessly. It's a good thing we didn't plan to visit any specific museums as most places were closed for New Years. It would seem to me (and I could be quite wrong) that a couple of New Year's traditions in Montevideo is to throw out pieces of last year's calendar onto the street (like confetti) as it was every where, and also to throw water onto people as they walk unsuspectingly below your balcony. As I was unaware of these things when I first arrived, I initially thought the city was just really dirty as it was covered in paper, and I gave the finger to the guy who doused me with water. I feel bad for both things now, but they seemed justified at the time.
After avoiding the crowds celebrating in the streets (have you ever seen Matthew in his tourist garb? Tilley hat, water bottle and giant camera. It screams "please rob me!"), we came back to the hostel to relax for a few hours before the festivities and dinner of NYE. We opted to attend the small party the hostel was having for guests as we didn't know where else to go. We met a few other American tourists from Colorado and spent most of our evening with them. It was a really nice time. Good conversation and laughs. We went to the roof of the hostel to ring in the new year. Unfortunately we were too low to see what sounded like many, many fireworks going off around the city, but we got to see a few nice ones. When things failed to pick up at the hostel after midnight, our small group decided to try to find a real party at a local bar. After that bombed, we decided instead to finish off a bottle of champagne in the main square of Montevideo. Not a bad way to start the new year.
After sleeping for a few hours, we awoke to journey to our next hot spot and one I had been looking forward to for quite sometime, Punta del Diablo in southern Uruguay.


  1. Perhaps Andrea is getting a little bit disorientated after all that rush to go to Punta del Diablo, since somewhere in her mind located it in "southern Uruguay" instead of eastern Uruguay, you can't go in Uruguay anywhere further south from Montevideo, unless you are planing a visit to Antarctica!!

  2. You're right! I guess the map in my head had it a bit further north. But don't worry, I will get to Antarctica one day! :-)