After visiting Punta del Este and relaxing on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, we decided to go searching for a genuine colonial colour that we missed in Montevideo so much. We heard a lot about a special place called Colonia del Sacramento, which is probably even more famous than Montevideo. We wanted to see this small old town with our own eyes. Colonia Suiza (Nueva Helvecia) We were driving to the west of Montevideo and decided to drop into another interesting place—Colonia Suiza that was renamed Nueva Helvecia (New Switzerland) some time ago—on our way to Colonia del Sacramento. The [...]
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Montevideo is a city with nice beaches, but the water there is dirty, which makes it totally unfit for bathing and water amusements. We started to miss classic seaside holidays, so we decided to go to Punta del Este, the most popular resort in Uruguay. According to tourists’ reviews, fabulous beaches, warm ocean waters, and a peaceful atmosphere were awaiting us there, so we rented a car and went exploring a new city. Punta del Este: History and Geography Punta del Este is a resort city located 140 km away from Montevideo. It’s Uruguay’s easternmost point whose long spit projects right [...]
Carnivals in Uruguay We arrived in Montevideo right in the heat of the carnival that is, by the way, the longest one in the world and lasts 45 days. First street performances started to be organized in the country in the 19th century. Dark-skinned slaves were given a few days off in the middle of February, so Africans dressed in colourful clothes, went out to the city streets, and danced to rhythmic drum beats. https://youtu.be/oaMfZlXGHuw The citizens often joined the slaves’ processions—first, as spectators, then as active participants. The Uruguayan carnival gradually became a mix of African culture and Spanish [...]
Montevideo Beaches Montevideo is located near the place where the La Plata River flows into the ocean. A beach line of over 20 km stretches along the estuary. The nearest beach was just a five-minute walk from our house, so we often spent time there. https://youtu.be/80IoQQxceAs By the way, the river waters were not suitable for swimming. The water was murky, thick, and full of seaweed and sand lifted from the bed by river currents. However, the beaches themselves were clean and had soft, yellow sand that the boys adored so much. Equipped with sticks, spades, and toys, Michael Jr [...]
It was still warm in Buenos Aires, but winter was coming, bringing the first cold days in early February, so we decided to go further. The capital of Uruguay was chosen for a reason. Travelling around Malaysia, we noticed that wealthy citizens often move to Singapore. The same goes for Latin America. Many rich people living in Buenos Aires move to Montevideo. So going to Uruguay, we knew we were going to stay in a city with a high—at least for Latin America—quality of life. Ships regularly sail from the capital of Argentina to Montevideo, so we bought tickets to one [...]
Colourful Houses of La Boca La Boca is considered to be one of the brightest and memorable districts in the city. That’s where de Mendoza created the first settlement in 1536. After the reconstruction of Buenos Aires, the area was built up with shacks where black slaves were kept. In the 19th century, deserted La Boca became the refuge for thousands of European immigrants (mainly Italians). New citizens turned the former shacks and warehouses into houses and painted the walls, roofs, and windows with different colours. By the way, the reason for choosing such a colour palette is prosy: poor migrants [...]
Puerto Madero There was another reason to hurry to get to Buenos Aires by January: Helen dreamt of celebrating her birthday in the capital of Argentina. We chose Puerto Madero, the old port district, for our celebrations. Today the area is considered one of the most prestigious and expensive in the city. Looking at its wide avenues and glass skyscrapers, you can hardly believe that several years ago Buenos Aires’ authorities thought about razing the entire district to the ground. The idea came up once a new port was built, and Puerto Madero got deserted and became one of the most [...]
Safety in Buenos Aires During our stay in Argentina, the boys still stuck to their usual schedule: they went to bed well after midnight, therefore, as a rule, we explored the capital in the evening. Buenos Aires is far from being the safest place for evening walks. The expats that we had a chance to communicate with warned us away from walking in the city in the dark and recommended us to be cautious, to leave expensive devices and jewellery at home, to dress casually, keep a low profile, divide money and cards into two wallets (to give the thieves the [...]
We chose January, the hottest month in Argentina, for our visit to the country. The region is famous for its natural wonders, and we certainly dreamt of going to Patagonia, wanted to walk around its national parks, admire the huge breathtaking waterfalls, and see glaciers. However, we realized it was quite impossible to try to accomplish that with two-year-olds, so we decided to stay in Buenos Aires during our first visit to Argentina to explore the country and its culture from the capital’s perspective. History of Buenos Aires Buenos Aires — one of the largest capitals in the world — is [...]
Orosi Heading southeast of San Jose, you can find yourself in a small village - Orosi, hidden amid green hills. It’s one of the oldest settlements established by the first Spanish settlers in Costa Rica. The valley’s climate and soil were perfect for agriculture, while River Reventazon provided the locals with freshwater supply. Orosi is still inhabited with a population of around 5,000 people. It’s a very quiet place with a calm atmosphere - it feels like time here is frozen. In fact, this is where you can find Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi - the oldest still-active Catholic church, [...]