Montevideo and the Uruguayan coast – 7 days – 43 metres above the sea level

Version française disponible ici. 

It was after crossing the bridge spanning the Uruguay river that we entered in the last country of South of America for this trip. After a few kilometres, it was lunch time. We stopped in the small city of Dolores. We opted for a sandwich in a little shop. We met Zuleika, the beautiful young lady working in a snack shop ; and Bruno, a true character, who was living here or there, we are still not too sure. With passion, he told us the stories of his trips by hitchhiking in Uruguay and in the adjacent countries. At the time of departure, he offered us red ribbons that he tied up around our wrists which were supposed to avoid jealous people.

We arrived in Colonia del Sacramento at the beginning of the afternoon, a city is famous for its disconcerting tranquility. Located by the Rio de la Plata, in front of Buenos Aires (that we can reach by boat in an hour), this old bastion was founded by the Portuguese in 1680. During almost one century, the Spanish people were fighting against them to take the city. Finally after one century of fights, the Spanish won. The promenade with the nice little paved streets, in the old citadel, allowed us to discover the nice treasures of the historic borough and the old colourful houses, the exotic plants and the seawall where many fishermen were fishing. A place where we enjoyed relaxing, having a break on a terrace of one of the several little squares, and watching the ocean next to the Uruguayan teenagers who were sat down on a bench with the maté under the arm.

We continued our trip until Montevideo, a cosmopolitan cry overlooking the ocean. The following day of our arrival in the capital, we popped by the offices of Wave VS, the company taking care of the shipment of our sidecars to Latvia. We took this opportunity for walking in the adjacent streets offering a nice preview of the old historic town centre.

However, the following days, it was mainly the opportunity to prepare the vehicles for this long trip. Days were organised with the different sessions of: laundry, cleaning the bivouac equipment and mechanics.

Three days after our first steps in the capital, it was time to load, which actually changed our status from bikers to pedestrians in only one instant.

We enjoyed the end of the afternoon to visit by foot, helmets under the arms, the surroundings of the port. We walked up to the huge square of the legislative palace, impressive building with an architecture inspired by the Ancient Greece. It was on the square of Juan Pedro Fabini that we ended our walk and went back by bus to the place we rent.

The following day, after a lie-in, we continued our visit of the city from where we stopped the previous day. We went to the same bus stop. We explored by walking the historic area and discovered the street-art of the city. We began our exploration by the main square of the Independence, before to adventure in the nice street of Sarandi and to discover the market of the port. These old storages have kept their industrial architecture and became a nice place for great local food. They contain many huts where you can have tasty Asados. A delicious smell usually escapes from these buildings where there is a popular and festive ambiance all the day along. Once we passed the point symbolising the beginning of the Montevideo’s Bay, we continued to walk along the seawall before to climb up to the 22nd floor of the municipal palace to enjoy the panoramic view over the city.

For our last day in Uruguay, we decided to go the airport to rent a car and to visit the coast located at the North of the capital. We left to go towards Piriapolis, a little seaside city without a lot of charm but with a beautiful sandy beach.

We saw the arrival of the last cycling competitors of the Tour of Uruguay. A competition more accessible than our Tour of France, where the simplicity is a keyword and the winners are interviewed on the sun loungers. Looking these sportsmen made us hungry. Alongside the sea, we were tempted by tasting a Chivito (a generous local sandwich made with beef, bacon, cheese, roasted peppers, tomatoes and a fried egg) in front of the ocean. 

Back in the capital, we saw the sunset from the top of the lighthouse of the Punta Carretas before to go packing for our tomorrow’s flight. A new chapter will begin. 

Where to eat?

The market of the port

The Mercado del Puerto, in its original version, is a foodie stop for all the meat lovers. Very touristic due to its location in the old city, there is still a popular and festive atmosphere. Take a seat at the couter, in front of the barbecues and enjoy generously delicious meat.