Though we’ve been planning for quite a while, I haven’t mentioned yet that we’ll be spending a week in Uruguay beginning this Friday. We chose Uruguay for several reasons. Back in 2002, I read a fascinating article about this virtually-unknown place in National Geographic Traveler magazine, and that stuck in my head. And last year, my company began representing a winery from Uruguay (which is known for a full-bodied wine called Tannat). Finally, since both Brooke and I have only ten days of vacation per year, we wanted to pick somewhere small enough to explore in a week. As an added bonus, we were able to use airline points accumulated over the past two Christmasses (my company gives us points as gifts!) to purchase what would have been very expensive tickets.
We leave on Thursday and fly to Miami, where we have an eight-hour layover. Then we take a night flight to Buenos Aires, and then the short hop to Montevideo. I’m hoping to be able to blog while we’re away, but I must say, once again, God Bless the Internets. There is very little tourist information available in English about Uruguay, but through a great site called Virtual Tourist, we were able to make contact with several Uruguayans who were gracious enough to offer to show us around. We’re even planning to take in a football match, hopefully in the historic Estadio Centenario, where the first World Cup matches were played in 1930, and where, just this past weekend, Uruguay defeated Australia 1-0 in the first leg of their playoff for a spot in the World Cup finals in Germany next year. (16/11/05 UPDATE: This morning, Australia beat Uruguay in the return leg 4-2 in penalty kicks after the match ended 1-0 for the Australians. So, I hope the country isn’t too gloomy during our visit.)
The internet was also instrumental in helping us plan a short escape from the Miami Airport on Thursday afternoon. We arrive around 3:00pm and leave again at 11:00pm, so our options were limited, but we’ve decided to take a cab to Ocean Drive, stopping at the News Cafe for some food before joining a walking tour of the Art Deco district put on by the Miami Design Preservation League. The tour should end by 8:00pm, giving us plenty of time to get back to the airport.
I’m very excited to be travelling to some places I haven’t been before, and Brooke and I have even been taking Spanish classes in preparation. One interesting hiccup, though, is that in Uruguay, the common “ll”, which is pronounced “y” everywhere else in Latin America, becomes “zh”. This should make our language adventures even more interesting.
Wikipedia entry on Uruguay
Virtual Tourist pages on Uruguay