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MONTEVIDEO AND THE ATLANTIC COAST (Jan 2005 + Sept 2007)  photos

I spent only 2 weeks in Uruguay.  First was the capital, Montevideo.  One strange thing I noticed were people carrying thermoses in the street.  As it turned out, they needed hot water to make mate de coca.  It's prepared by steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in hot water.  Drinking mate with friends from a shared hollow calabash gourd (also called a mate) with a metal (traditionally silver) straw  is an extremely common social practice in  Uruguay.  Even if the water comes in a very modern thermos, the infusion is traditionally drunk from mate.

After Montevideo, I decided to check out the coast.  As I like walking, I set out from a town of La Paloma at night and walked along the never ending beach for 3 days.  From time to time I went in the water fighting huge waves.  It was scary at times when I lost control because the force of the wave was just too powerful.  Also coming out was tricky.  I was wearing nothing and without my glasses I had no idea if someone was approaching.  Another attraction were dolphins jumping out as if inviting me to come and play.
On the 4th day I arrived in Cabo Polonio, where I met a great family.  Camping was not allowed in the village, but they let me pitch my tent next to their holiday home.  I spent a few fantastic days there.  Especially good company was what I needed after 3 days alone.

Uruguay reminded me of Argentina, but a smaller version.