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We left Tacuarembó early, for us. As we left the hotel, Stef saw into some of the other rooms - seems ours was a duffie as the others had better furniture and carpet. Next lesson learned was just to ask for a room for 2 and not necessarily one with a double bed - most seem to be twin rooms.

We had a quick stop at the local supermarket for Stef who, living up to his reputation for last minute things to do decided today that his bombilla (straw through which you drink your maté tea) was no good - yesterday it was the tea itself. We then headed off for the drive down to Treinta y Tres, named after the 33 Uruguayans who, inspired by Artigas, liberated Uruguay from Brasil. Its about 320km (200 miles) - not far in UK terms but the roads here aren't as good and little Chico doesn't have as much firepower as Eddie, our VW golf, let alone Bruiser, our previous car, a Porsche Boxster.

It was a long and somewhat boring drive. The scenery changed and at times reminded us of Scotland and Wales but on a much smaller scale height-wise. There were even some hills which by Uruguayan standards were long and steep, and the odd curva peligrosa (dangerous bend, usually very long and easy by UK standards) which came closer to peligrosa than anything we've seen so far.

The roads are still very quiet (we saw no-one for about the first 160km of route 26) and most of the traffic is trucks. On the west of Uruguay, they were big old monsters, the kind you'd see in 1950's US movies. Here they are more up to date. We stopped for petrol in Melo and managed to get cash out of the bank. Stef went on a hunt for agua caliente (hot water) for his maté and we carried on.

A few miles out of town we stopped on the top of a hill for lunch - bread, chorizo and cheese. The views were beautiful. Some cyclists (the first we'd seen) came past puffing and panting so we knew there was a long downhill stretch to come for us. The sun had finally broken through the clouds and it was pretty warm again by the time we set off again. My siesta in the car was rudely disturbed by Stef nudging me in the ribs and shouting "picture, take a picture" as we passed something interesting (can't remember what so couldn't have been that good!).


Open plains (click to enlarge)

At Treinta y Tres we found our hotel, and sent clothes out to be cleaned. Stef's ego was boosted as he was told his Spanish was "perfecto" by the laundry lady - he doesn't need that sort of encouragement and smirked all night! We had no plans to stay here, other than as an overnight stop, so after a quick meal we crashed for the night.