Before leaving the region we headed into Salto and cruised it’s range of rough to picturesque streets and gazed across to the other side of the river at Argentina. This was the furthest place in Uruguay that we reached and after a brief look around it was all south.
Again it became pretty unsufferable in the car (clocked 42 degrees at one stage) and we decided in no uncertain terms that airconditioning would have been a great option. Eventually we reached Fray Bentos which is one of the crossing points to Argentina and found an area, frequented by locals who want to cool off.
After a refreshing swim we went for a cruise past the local camping spot and promptly keep driving. Hoping that the next camping spot was in a slightly less dodgy part of town, we found ourselves back near the river but far away from the shops and restaurants.
Oh dear…we would have to stay in a hotel again with airconditioning! We found an alright looking place that was going for about $50 a night (there must have been something on as everywhere was booked out and expensive) but were told by the stern woman that breakfast would be an extra twelve bucks each. We declined that delightful offer and bought some milk to have with our cereal.
Dinner consisted of the best pizza in town, although the owner was quite put out when we arrived ten minutes before his opening hour of 8:30 (Uruguayans eat late). After an alright pizza (it would have scored more if it didn’t have pickled vegetables on it) we retired to our room to watch the impressive oncoming thunderstorm.
After cereal for breakfast we again headed south, watching the tourist traffic getting heavier and heavier. By mid afternoon we had reached the wine region and Colonia de Sacremento - the other reknown tourist haunt of Uruguay.
Colonia has all the great tourist attractions - expensive shops, restaurants and hotels, cobblestones, old houses fixed up to house historical items and golf buggies for hire in case you do not like using your legs (and instead would rather have your spine shoved up through the base of your skull - gotta love those cobblestones).
As we were running out of clean undies by this stage, I suggested we drop off a load of clothes and look for somewhere to stay. The local campsite seemed to be located on the unused part of a sporting oval and was either 1. closed or 2. an illegal operation that the local government was unaware of. Either way it was situated in a pretty rough looking part of town so we followed the Garmin to the nearest campsite which was 20 kms away.
Eventually we found a campsite in a small seaside village that seemed to be mostly made of tourists but relatively quiet, relaxed ones. We fronted up to the front desk to sign in and were told that there was another Australian staying in the park. Can’t have everything I guess.
Then it started to rain. Torrential rain. We desperately tried to put up the tent without being washed down the river which cost us our dryness. Eventually it was set and still under torrential rain we headed for the undercover bar part of the park. I had beer on my mind while Frank spotted the other Australian in the park.
“Hey Tril look at this:” Frank pointed out the Australian we had met on the boat to Santarem and then again in Belem. You know when you are travelling and someone says do you know Helen from Australia and you say, “no, Australia is a big country, gosh!” well this wasn’t one of those times. We went over, said hello and sat down. The cards came out and we knew entertainment was set for the evening.