We are now very definitly under way in South America. We have enjoyed a week in Uruguay, and if the weather was a bit more pleasant we would have stayed longer. It is a very friendly country, and easy to find your way around, through the road signs do not always help!
But that’s not anything that would slow down team Moglander! Onwards and upwards! Yes, Upwards as in North. We decided to head North for a bit as it’s still a little too like winter in the Southern parts of South America. Besides, since we cannot explore every part of the country, we have to pick and choose where we travel to. Going north allows us to see a few things that we could not see elsewhere. However
Our route North brought us through a few towns, and the one we liked most is called Mercedes. We parked up on the side of the town Plaza for 2 days, and got a few bits and pieces sorted out. We sorted out our gas problem. We had no gas bottles with us as we incorrectly understood that they could not be brought on the ship. MISTAKE! When you are traveling with the truck, this is not even checked, and we could have brought a couple of full bottles with us. We could but buy any in Uruguay because their bottles are too physically wide to fit into the Moglander’s gas bottle press. So, we bought a little 3kd bottle and a ring that screws on top of it for about €60, and we used that until we got to Argentina. We will hang onto the Uruguay setup for outside cooking as it’s a handy size, and pretty sturdy. we could not get a regulator to allow the small bottle to be connected to our cooker, that’s not to say there isn’t one, but it was beyond our reach after spending a few days chasing around towns from one gas suppliers to another.
Another job we tried to sort out was to get a local model/usb-stick and sim card. Hah! 9 mobile phone shops and only the last one had such a thing. 3 hours later they finally admitted they could not activate it, so we are still at the mercy of roadside wifi spots. Hopefully we we will a stick soon (or ideally an “open” model that we can use with any sim card). We messed up that we didn’t get our iphones “unlocked” before leaving home, so we cannot put local sim cards into them. Ah well, we live and learn!
In Mercedes, which is a working town, you could see just about anything parked on the streets.
Just outside of Mercedes, there is a shrine to a cowboy, a Gaucho called Gil. We are seeing shrines to him all over the place. He has a place in the heart and soul of the country. Folks from all over the place visit the shrine and leave car number plates, musical instruments, knives guns, saddles and even wedding dresses. Yup, that one got us too. People here believe in him just as much as folks in Ireland are convinced that they have seen statues crying.
And those plates are a close up of this:
The first thing we wanted to see was the “Esteros del Iberá” which is a unique wetland area with it’s own set of wildlife and birds. The boat trips went from the only campsite in town, so we thought that would be a great place to stay, except that we were too tall to get inside the gate!
So, we did a deal to be able to park there, and use the facilities and we did’nt need to move to do the boat tour. Grand. And what a tour it was!
One small moan as a photographer, they only opened access to the park at 7:30am, when the sun was already well up. Other than that, this is a super place for seeing these (And other) creatures. We saw all of the above on one morning.
Anyway, after all this nature, we decided we were ready for some culture, and headed further north to see one of the Missions set up by the Jesuits in the 1600’s.
Till next time..