There is nothing better than finding a quiet place to kick your feet up and relax. Uruguay has this wonderful laid back feel which you really get a sense of the moment you leave the hustle and bustle of Montevideo. The country, in particular, is all about the slow life, living off the land at your own pace and snoozing the afternoon away during siesta time. There is no reason to hurry here, there really isn’t much to do. We came in search of serene beach villages to relax in, and to travel cross-country from the Atlantic coast to the border town of Salto, observing the peaceful country life amongst the rolling green plains and farms of central Uruguay along the way.
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.