Uruguay travel blog by Mark Berman -
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I crossed the border from Argentina at Colon into Uruguay at Paysandu, it was a quick 45min bus ride across the General Artigas International Bridge,
passport procedures were fast and simple. From the bus terminal I walked to the city center to the tourist office and asked about some budget
accommodation. I stopped at a couple of hotels along the way but their prices were definitely not for backpackers. The tourist office were helpful
but really there is nothing accommodationwise in Paysandu for the budget traveler and I ended up having to spend around $35USD for a room for 2 without
a bathroom. It seems that in Uruguay, if you are not in a touristy town, hotels are overpriced. Excessive hotel prices would be the theme of these
travels of mine in Uruguay. I couldn't afford to stay in Paysandu more than one night so I set out to explore as much as I could in one day.
is the Capital of Artiguismo which apparently is a set of political, economic and social ideas of Jose Gervasio Artigas, sounds quite serious to me.
Plaza Constitucion with the tourist office on one side has a nice open feel to it, there is a big fountain and monument to General Leandro Gomez in
the center, the General lived from 1811-1865. He defended Paysandu against Brazil in 1864, he was executed in Paysandu. The cathedral is impressive
with its 6 tall white columns and stairs leading up, it has a name to match also 'Basilica Nuestra Senora del Rosario y San Benito de Palermo'. On
the other side of the plaza are some colorful flower gardens and a monument to Adolfo Piaggio who directed the 1st performance of the Paysandu Municipal
Band in 1926.
Down the Main Road
From the plaza leading down is the main street Av 18 de Julio which has plenty of shops, a few banks, but not many places to eat. At
the very bottom of the road, about 10mins walk, I came to Plaza Jose Artigas. This is in the direction of the river and beaches, the international
bridge and the Uruguay River Amphitheater. General Jose Artigas stands high in the plaza upon his horse, there are some colorful trees and flowers
and big open spaces to walk around. There are a bunch of bust statues to firstly Juan Escayola (1871-1944) - a legendary gaucho, we have Carlos Gardel
(1890-1935) - singer and tango legend, lastly to Dr Luis P. Lenguas.
River and Port
Heading towards the river and port down a long straight road lined
with big leafy trees, this was definitely the historical part of Paysandu. The square shaped houses with their square doorways and square windows,
pavements with lamps and bench seats, it was interesting. A few streets back from the port I came to an old church called Parroquia San Ramon, it has
a pair of towers and four blue columns at the front. Bordering the port is Plaza Colon, there is an anchor, a cannon and a monument to Jose Bonifacio
de Andrada e Silva (1763-1838) - a Brazilian statesman. I would say the plaza is named after the town in Argentina across the other side of the river.
I now entered the port of Paysandu, the old Navy building is historic and has a small plaza next to it with flag, anchor, an old beacon, a boat and
homage to General Artigas. Some locals were fishing at the rivers edge below the grassy park area, the park has an artwork in the form of a woman setting
a bird free and a photo and newspaper clipping of a special Uruguayan. The photo is of tango legend Carlos Gardel, in 1933 he came to Paysandu to sing
at the theatre Teatro Florencio Sanchez and he visited the park I was standing in. I walked along the road adjacent to the river in search of a monument
called the Obelisco. Once I got there it wasn't really anything great, just a tall yellow column. It was built in 1978 to remember that Jose Artigas
disembarked on this coast in 1811. Across the road there is a small park with water feature, flag and monument to Jose of San Martin.
I was a long way
from the center of town and it was hot. I asked a taxi driver to take me to some nice places to see. We went to Plaza Francisco Acuna de Figueroa
a beautiful shady place, this man was a Uruguayan writer and poet (1791-1862). Next I went to see another nice plaza called Plaza Jose Pedro Varela,
this is a more sunny place and has a group of tall bushy palm trees. It's a nice open space and has an attractive monument to Mr Varela, he was a
politician and journalist (1845-1879).
More Attractions and Things To Do
There's many more attractions in and around Paysandu! There are the thermal areas of Guaviyu and
Almiron with natural hot pools for rest and relaxation. There is an historical site with ruins called the Ruinas del Saladero Guaviyu. Paysandu has a
few museums, Museo Historico and Museo de la Tradicion. There are more plazas - Rivera, Lavalleja and Bella Vista. Paysandu has a zoo park and 2 great
monuments Monumento a la Perpetuidad and the Meseta de Artigas. The annual beer festival is in April, a big event in Paysandu.
Bus 2hrs 40mins to Mercedes
I made my way to the bus terminal where I travelled south to Mercedes
, 2hrs 40mins. I enjoyed Paysandu with the limited time I could stay.