Thomas: Uruguay: world’s best kept secret

October 4, 2011

Another great weekend getaway to the very peaceful nation of Uruguay. Last Friday, my class boarded a ferry and crossed the Rio de la Plata to the historic town of Colonia del Sacramento. The town of about 22,000 people was founded in 1680 by Portugal. Since then, the country has gone back and forth for centuries between Spanish and Portuguese rule. In 1828, Uruguay became an independent nation, with Spanish as it’s official language.

Colonia, the oldest city in Uruguay, holds much historical significance and the city itself has been very well preserved. So much so that it has become a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site. This rare classification will preserve the historical parts of the town for a very long time.

Colonia, and Uruguay in general has more charm than it knows what to do with (see photos below). It’s people are some of the nicest and most peaceful in the World. The stone streets and colored houses in the historic district of Colonia take you back in time. Uruguay is one of the greenest, most livable, and least corrupt countries in the world. In Colonia, there is little to no crime. Uruguay was the first country in South America to allow same-sex marriage and civil unions. It was also the first country in the world to give every school child a laptop and access to the internet.

In terms of food and drink, Uruguay is well known for it’s consumption of Mate, dulce de leche (which was way better than it is in Argentina), and their weighty steak sandwich called the Chivito. I got to try a Chivito Completo, topped with egg, bacon, ham, lettuce, tomato, onions, mayonnaise and cheese. Probably not the healthiest sandwich in the world, but it sure was tasty. Of course one must wash it down with Uruguay’s finest beer, Pilsen. For dessert, a traditional charred pancake filled with the dulce de leche. You can’t go wrong in Uruguay. I will definitely be back.

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