On 20th January 2020 in Buenos Aires we boarded our fifteen-day cruise on Azamara Pursuit to Chile.
The next morning we arrived in Montevideo, Uruguay. Uruguay has Brazil and Argentina as neighbours, is 70% the size of the UK and has a population of 2.2 million of which 70% live in the wider Montevideo conurbation. The economy is dominated by agriculture with the largest exports being wood pulp (16%), beef (16%), soybeans (8%), rice (5%) followed by other agricultural products. We did a 3.5 hour walking tour of the low level, slightly run down city, which had it’s’ heyday some while ago.
The experience included a tasting of mate. (Wikipedia: Mate is a traditional drink in some countries in South America, especially in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, and Brazil. The drink, which contains mateine (an analog of caffeine), is made by an infusion of dried leaves of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis). The gourd is known as a mate or a guampa.) We were assured that after repeated tastings we would grow to love it as all Uruguayans do. We did not have enough tastings to achieve love.