Artigas, Uruguay - Polarsteps
Artigas, Uruguay, has a population of about 41,000. It is located on the border with Brazil. Between Artigas and Quaraí, Peru, is the Cuareim River which forms the border between the countries in this region. The city was founded in 1852. Here they speak with a particular dialect called portuñol - a mix of Portuguese and Spanish, which explains why I couldn't understand many of the people I spoke with, and some of them, one man in particular, did not understand my Spanish from Colombia. That particular man was rather rude and even said, "No entiendo nada de ti" and ended our attempt at a small conversation. I was simply asking about a restaurant.
The Artigas region is the second largest producer of cattle and sheep in the country, and rice is the most commonly grown crop. The city has many free-trade stores which receive a large number of customers from Brazil. One of the churches, the San Eugenio Temple, was completed in 1880, in the photo album look for the white church with two bell towers. The city has many homes and other buildings that date back to the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th century. There is a big park on the river that runs under the international bridge. The park is quite nice, very peaceful, and there are many Green Parrots in the trees and those birds can make quite a racket. It's almost impossible to see them because they are the same color as the tree branches and leaves.
So, my impressions: Artigas is a nice town, I liked my visit here, but the Spanish-Portugese mixed language used by some of the population is difficult to understand. I saw no cyclists here, and only a few people riding bikes in the city, but I did see a few people out running. Now that I think about it, there are no "good" bike shops here in Artigas. All throughout the southern half of South America, in particular, on Sundays, these towns are basically closed, as probably 95% of the businesses are closed. The only places I could find open on Sunday were ice cream shops, bakeries, dessert shops, and a few pharmacies. Finding lunch and dinner proved to be quite challenging. I finally simply bought a couple of arepas in a bakery and for dinner, well, it wasn't much, but I found a chicken leg and thigh in one shop that was primarily a dessert shop. Being this far south, the climate is now one that has four seasons, like North America. That means the nights are quite cold now because it is Fall here in the Southern Hemisphere, and virtually nobody and no businesses/hotels, etc have heaters. Hopefully, that will change as my journey continues a bit further south.
My South America Journey