Stories

 

Uruguay - April-May 2011


From April 18th to May 6th, 2011

At the Frey Benito border, the Uruguayan Customs officer informed us that it was forbidden to enter the country with our extra 20 liters gasoline tank. After explaining that we did not have large fuel autonomy and used it only in case of emergency, he agreed to let us go through with no problem. We already heard this comment when crossing one of the Chilean borders. The reason was simple, in Argentina a liter of gasoline was about 0.80 USD, while it was about 1.60 USD in Uruguay and 1.50 USD in Chile...

In the central square of Mercedes, the local where enjoying the sunshine with a thermos of hot water in one hand and a Mate in the other. The next day we wandered in the streets of the charming historic center of Colonia del Sacramento. Although touristy, this small coastal town has kept its charm and it was very pleasant to have lunch on a sunny terrace. Leaving town, we meet Franz & Brigitte, from Bern (Switzerland) newly arrived on the American continent with their brand new Mercedes.

    

For the first rainy day in Montevideo, we decided to get up-to-date and relaxed in a small hotel. That said, we did not choose the best time of the year, because even with clear sky, there was not much happening in the city during Semana Santa (Easter). At the hotel, we met Delia & Mauro, a Chilean and a Brazilian living on a beautiful beach in southern Brazil. We were invited to visit them if passing by.

    

We continued our journey along the coast and strolled around Piriapolis, a nice beach where people were swimming, playing volleyball or sunbathing. Nearby, we visited the SOS Rescate de Fauna Marina, where marine mammals were fed and cared for before to be ready to return to sea. A small orphan sea lion needed to gain weight before joining a colony. A Magellanic penguin was left alone while his friends left for migration. Some turtles were slowly recovering after having swallowed plastic bags in the ocean or being caught in fishing nets. This visit remembered the rescue of a sea lion we assisted near San Francisco. You can visit their website explaining why and why all those marine mammals need to be rescued. www.marinemammalcenter.org

      

We finally arrived in Punta del Este, the Saint Tropez of Uruguay. Despite the tall buildings, they have kept a very nice waterfront with walkways to make beautiful walks along the beach without being disturbed by cars. After a stormy night, we arrived near a Lagoon where we met Carole and Franck, From Vaud who left Switzerland many years ago. We decided to stay here and chat for a few hours. Why not stay here for the night. Ok, will stay one more day. We would leave the following day. After three days, we drove the 120 kilometers to the next town and back to get some more food and water. At the end, we spent one and a half week together, Aless and Franck playing Backgammon, Bowls and Golf, while Carole and I walked, chatted, read and created friendship with the horse.

    

It was hard to leave as our two batteries were completely empty. But with a hand to push the car, everything is possible with those old combis…

We made it to Punta del Diablo, a small holiday town with colorful rental houses and shacks. At the small grocery store we saw Franz & Brigitte who found a nice place a few kilometers away.

The problem was that despite the few hours of driving, we could still not start the engine. Was it because the batteries were definitely dead ? Was it AGAIN our starter ? Was it the dynamo which was not charging the batteries ? In the border town of Chuy, we have been sent from one electro-mechanic to another as they were all busier than another. Problem solved ! It was the starter…

Click here to read the following story in Brazil.

See the album "Uruguay - April-May 2011"