A long time ago, back in the 16th Century, when the great powers of Europe had set their sights on South America, there were never-ending disputes and battles over the diverse lands of this great continent. The Spanish eventually conquered the south, what is now Argentina and the Portuguese the North, what is now Brazil. In the middle of these two great nations lies a lesser known country named Uruguay. Almost entirely surrounded by water, Uruguay is strategically positioned on the Atlantic Coast to the east, and along two great rivers to the West and South separating it from Argentina. The Portuguese first claimed Uruguay, and to fend off the insatiable Spaniards, constructed impressive fortresses in tactical locations along the extensive coastline. The on-going battle between the Spaniards and Portuguese for this nation went on for almost two hundred years, with each, at various times during the conflict, defeating the other to lay their claim. What remains in Uruguay today are wonderful historical quarters with strong influences from both European societies and remnants of the great defensive structures used to guard this land. The most historically significant places being Colonia del Sacramento, the country’s oldest city, and the capital Montevideo – our first destinations as we discover Uruguay.
South American cities are renowned for their magnetic atmospheres, diversities and exotic cultures. One such city is Buenos Aires, the culture capital of the continent, the city that has it all; a rich history and architectural fabric, old world glamour, an abundance of food to try, music and tango in the streets, passion, romance, drama and so much more. Born and raised in this great city, Ale and Mariana so kindly accepted our request to Couchsurf with them in their apartment in one of the most eclectic neighbourhoods of them all, San Telmo. This visit was going to be different, we were excited to be experiencing, and learning what this city has to offer through those that know it best, the local residents.