25 February 2017- After our trip along the Uruguayan coast it was time to return to Montevideo. That night we were headed out on a tour with Christine at Uruguay Autentico to see some of the local Carnaval performances. Christine had told us that it would be a late night, so obviously we napped as soon as we checked into our hostel. She was taking us to a local tablado to watch 5 different stage groups perform. Prior to commencement of the show, we finally got to try some Matte tea. Matte is consumed by everyone in the country and we were excited to see what all the fuss was about. We first learnt about a lot of strange traditions that must be followed when drinking matte, such as everyone must drink from the same cup and once you have finished the cup it must be handed straight back to the person whoo brewed the tea. Jen didn’t particularly enjoy it and opted out after the first round. Tristan and Christine continued to drink it throughout the night.
The first performance was by a murga which is arguably the most popular category. We obviously had no idea what they were singing about but we were mesmerised by the originality and colour of the costumes and their amazing, strong voices and the way they moved on stage. Christine did an amazing job trying to fill in some blanks for us throughout the night for some of the more odd performances we saw. Although the performances were fabulous what was also amazing to watch was the crowed. The people absolutely loved them, they had their favourite murga’s shirts on and people were trying to high five them from the crowds. It is said that more people watch these performances during carnival then watching football games. After a very entertaining night we were in bed at 2am.
Needless to say the next morning Jen was grumpier then ever at breakfast with her 5 hours of sleep. Luckily things were looking up for her when she realised there was a cinema displaying the English movies. That night much to Tristan’s dismay they were off to see 50 Shades Darker.
To make up for our lazy day the day before we decided to do some “touristy” things. First stop Palacio Salvo, which is the most emblematic building in Montevideo. We completed a tour learning about the buildings origins which was interesting. Then we headed over to the Mercado del Puerto, a marketplace down by the docks filled with traditional steakhouse restaurants. Finally we ended up at a wine bar to taste Uruguay’s famous Tannat…. Delicious!
Our last stop in Uruguay was Colonial Del Sacramento, a small city across the river from Buenos Aires. The historical part of the city was filled was some old-style cobbled streets and its location on the banks of the river made for some beautiful sunsets. We spent our last days in Uruguay wandering the colonial town, drinking wine and eating cheese. After a couple of days it was time to jump on the ferry and head back into Argentina!