Hitchhiking in… (8) Uruguay

Team Traktor Vorwärts in einem Pick-Up
Team Traktor Vorwärts in einem Pick-Up

Introduction

Uruguay, this small and unimpressive country between Brazil and Argentina, which branded by meat and rich water reserves. Very expensive and at the same time self-proclaimed developing country. No problems but also no demands. But especially one thing: „Tranquilo“. A little bit like Belgium but worser. I was asked by a driver how long i have been in Uruguay? „Six weeks!“, i answered. „Six weeks and yur not bored?“ Legit question.

Stats

Hitchhiked distance: 2689 kilometer

Number of lifts: 88

Average waiting time: 19 minutes 42 seconds

Waiting time total: 28 hours 54 minutes

The log you can download as always here: Log Uruguay

My Route

Okay, there was no real route, but we really run riot in Uruguay in case of hitchhiking. We hitchted up the east coast once to all the Hippie-Tourist-Places. Another time we did a complete round through Mercedes, Bella Union, Artegas and the interior of the country. And of course i went once from the north all the way through Uruguay till the Argentinien border. In total we did alot of kilometres.

People

Libertad o Muerte. Freedome or Exitus is the official Motto of the country Uruguay. It includes something anarchistic and someone told me once, that the Uruguayans are a mixture of bourgeois and anarchists, Pretty funny description, but somehow true. I had often the feeling the people don´t give a shit in Uruguay. Whereat the border between serenity and casualness pretty small was. While hitchhiking we met most of the time interested, friendly and helpful people. Aalso the whole coastline is flooded with toruists from Argentina in the beginning of the year. They like to stop.

In the east i met more hitchhikers than in any other place in the world. Nice experiences. We had most of the time a good drive, especially if you go as two, there is always a Pick-up-Truck that still has some space in their platform. Soince Syria i hadn´t been in so many Pick-Ups and i loved this. Pick-Ups are the best for hitchhiking. Moving with fresh air.

But Uruguay has also another face, which i dont really understand. Hitchhiking was easy most of the time, but then there appeared some days, where nothing worked. Waiting for 4-5 hours at the main road with alot of traffic and no one stops. Still dont get this. In Brazil i knew it is shit and i could set my mind for it. But in Uruguay you think youre in hitchhikers heaven and then suddenly you experience total casuality and die a slow dead beside the street. And nobody understands why.

Roads

Traffic rather slow. Street quality is good. In the north is Ruta 30 which is absolutely marvelous. Endless grasslands, some cattles who take their lunch. Only few people. Some mines. Apart from that more grassland, cattles, Gauchos. I really liked that.

Through Uruguay lead some Highways, all are most of the time one-lined and you can hitchhike directly at the side of the road. Only in direction Montevideo the road gets faster and bigger. Especially in the suburbs it is very difficult to make some distance. Much, fast traffic.

A problem is definitely, that some of the main roads lead directly through the cities, often directly through the market square. Ring road? Never heard in Uruguay. It is a bit exhausting, because for hitchhikers it means mainly one thing: walking.

Beside that you have in Uruguay unpectacular, appeasing landscapes. Much fields, warm roads and alot of old cars.

Tactics

Somehow i had the feeling, that you get easier lifts as two in Uruguay. Definitely more Pick-Ups are stoping.

Tactically it is very worth to ask the drivers, if they can bring you to the end of the town, so that you don´t have to walk too much. At the end of towns i did sometimes the same like in Brazil: Walking into the middle of nowhere. Playing the pitful-card. If this works better or worser, can´t really say. I just felt better with it and was also studying more roadkills along the way.

You have alot of roundabouts, but beside that Uruguay has nothing special to give for positioning. Normal streets, normal keeping areas. All in all not very spectacular. Pretty usual…Uruguay. Therefore my standart recommendation: Find a position with good keeping area, enough visibility and the most slow traffic. Standard.

Which should be mentioned: Motorbikes hitchhiking is working pretty well, if you are alone (and sometimes even as two). Many cyclists carry an extra helmet and once i even got the helmet of the driver. Try it, it works!

Photos

Specifics

In Uruguay yu will meet alot of old cars. It is almost impossible to import cars into this country. I don´t know the exact laws, but on the streets are either Cheap Chinese Cars or junkers. You can buy a 2er VW Golf for around 10.000$. Not too bad for a 20-30 year old car. Is somehow funny to hitchhike with those junkers, but definitely not Kuba here.

NOOO! The goverment enacted a law, that prohibites to pick up people on the load area. Propably the most hitchhiker hostile law i ever heard since they prohibited hitchhiking in several US States. Therefore i am very happy to had this extensively Pick-Up-Experience in Uruguay. But probably nobody will give a shit anyway and still hitchhikers will get lifts on the back of a Pick-Up truck.

Chivito. Somehow a deluxe Sandwich. With some nice piece of meat, which is covered with tomato, salad and mayonesa. But as this is a little bit boring you also get on the meat an extra portion ham (finger thick), cheese and on top of that a fried egg. I loved it. We did some culinary excursion and tested all Chivitos in uruguay. The best was in Tranqueras on the market place in some silver fast-food trailer. Completo with fries for sure!

Take care if you cross the street in Uruguay. People will yell at you, if your crazy and wanna kill yourself, cause you enter the street, like you ever did in Europe before, allthough there is a car 50m away coming towards you. Even my friends got infected by this mass hysteria. In uruguay never ever someone stops for pedestrians and youre for sure dead if you cross the street with arriving traffic. Of course it is not like that, but thats not the point. The people have just a big fear crossing streets. Somehow funny.

Alfajores are another culinary sensation. It is a little cake (crispy or soft) filled with a big load dulce de leche. Finding the right Alfajores is almost as difficult as studying the Art of Chivito. But its worth. Energy bombs and a good hitchhiker breakfast.

Between Colonia and Buenos Aires it is possible to hitchhike with boats. I did not do i by myself, but i met two argenitinian hitchhikers who did it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *