Uruguay in Photos: Blog http://uruguay-foto.com/blog en-us (C) Uruguay in Photos info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Sun, 24 Jan 2016 17:56:00 GMT Sun, 24 Jan 2016 17:56:00 GMT http://uruguay-foto.com/img/s/v-5/u597245642-o1047796328-50.jpg Uruguay in Photos: Blog http://uruguay-foto.com/blog 96 120 Exclusive dining at Bodega Garzón http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2016/1/bodega-garzon The vineyards of Bodega Garzón extend into the distance illuminated by the moon.MoonlitThe vineyards of Bodega Garzón extend into the distance illuminated by the moon. If you would be cruising the highways of Uruguay, you would not know it exists. However, hidden inside the hills around Pueblo Garzón at about one-and-a-half hour driving from Punta del Este of which about 30 minutes will be spent on dirt roads that zigzag through the countryside, lies a beautiful and exclusive restaurant located in the middle of Bodega Garzón.

Entrance to Bodega GarzónEntrance to Bodega Garzón The New York Times placed the vineyard Bodega Garzón on the 22nd position of a list of 52 places to visit in 2016. It's an incredible place indeed. Luxurious, beautifully designed and with beautiful views that extend kilometers into the distance, overlooking the vines. One can only guess at the amount of effort and funds that have been poured into this place, but it must have be mind-blowing.

Kitchen of Bodega GarzónKitchen of Bodega Garzón The kitchen is being supervised by the Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann, and our experience there was as fantastic as his name promised it would be. The kitchen is beautifully designed with a big fireplace to roast meat on, and can be seen through the glass walls that separate it from the restaurant. We enjoyed what was labeled as a "Sunset Wine Dinner" there, with excellent courses accompanied by the different wines the vineyard has to offer.

Bodega Garzón at nightBodega Garzón at night Although at the time of this writing the vineyard has not been officially opened to the public all year round, the restaurant can be visited already. I would suggest making a reservation first; it's a bit too far away to risk ending up before closed doors. You can contact Bodega Garzón via their website.

More photos can be found here: http://uruguay-foto.com/bodega-garzon

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Bodega Garzón Francis Mallmann Restaurant Uruguay Vineyard http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2016/1/bodega-garzon Sun, 24 Jan 2016 17:56:01 GMT
Birds of Uruguay: white-throated hummingbird http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2015/8/birds-of-uruguay-white-throated-hummingbird Docked 1Docked 1A white-throated hummingbird (Leucochloris albicollis) drinking while hovering. As might be clear from the amount of photos of that specific subject I take, I like birds. And sometimes, when I research the backgrounds of birds, I become more interested than other times. So I thought, why not share? Take the case of the white-throated hummingbird (Leucochloris albicollis). This species is one of the two species of hummingbird that can be found all-year round in Uruguay, the other species being the Gilded hummingbird (Hylocharis chrysura). Like all hummingbirds, this is a small bird that hovers in front of flowers to drink their nectar. In Uruguay, this bird is called "Picaflor garganta blanca". "Picaflor" is the generic Spanish name for hummingbird and means something like "flower pincher". I think that name is quite apt. Although the necessary energy for flying is obtained mostly from nectar, they do in fact eat other food like small insects to obtain the necessary proteins.

SplendourSplendourA white-throated hummingbird (Leucochloris albicollis) showing off its pretty wings.

Hummingbirds belong to the family trochilidae, which only exist natively in the Americas. Being amongst the smalles of birds, they are capable of hovering with incredible precision in front of the flowers from which they suck their nectar, their wings beating around 70-200 times per second. To sustain the incredible amount of energy needed to be able to do this, their metabolism is fast. Very fast. In fact, they have the highest metabolism of any homeothermic animal. Their metabolism is in fact so fast, that they would die from starvation if they would sleep like other animals do. To conserve energy, hummingbirds go into a special state called torpor when they sleep. This is a state similar to hibernation, where their metabolic rate drops to around 1/15th of their normal rate. Although I couldn't find metabolic information specific to the white-throated hummingbird, measurements in other species have measured heart rates of up to about 1.250 beats per minute (!) with breathing rates of about 250 per minute, even in rest! So even when in torpor, they have a heart rate higher than a human being in rest. They still lose about 10% of weight per night! These birds don't have any risk of becoming obese.

WingsWings The wings of the white-throated hummingbird, and in fact all hummingbirds birds, are true pieces of art. Small, light and strong. A hummingbird's wings are unlike any other wings found in birds. Hummingbirds can do things no other bird can do. Apart from the hovering, they can fly forwards, backwards, sidewards en even upside down for a short while! They are true acrobats. The reason a hummingbird is capable of these remarkable feats is in their special anatomy. Unlike other birds where the shoulder is a normal joint, the shoulder of a hummingbird is a ball and socket joint that allows them to rotate their wings. They don't "flap" their wings as other birds do: they rotate them. When flying, their wings move in an oval pattern, and when when hovering they move in an "8" pattern, or "∞" if you will.

White-throated hummingbirdWhite-throated hummingbirdA white-throated hummingbird (Leucochloris albicollis) taking it easy in an Aloe Vera. These little birds can be seen everywhere in Uruguay. It defends its territory quite aggressively and can often be seen chasing hummingbirds of the same or other species.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Animalia Apodiformes Ave Aves Bird Chordata Fauna Hummingbird Kolibri Leucochloris Leucochloris albicollis Maldonado (departamento) Picaflor Picaflor Garganta Blanca Punta Ballena South America Trochilidae Uruguay Vogel White-throated Hummingbird Witkeelkolibrie http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2015/8/birds-of-uruguay-white-throated-hummingbird Mon, 10 Aug 2015 23:27:54 GMT
Copa Corona 2015 Finals http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2015/1/copa-corona-2015  

On Friday January 16th, the finals of the Copa Corona 2015 were held at Montoya Beach in La Barra, Uruguay. La Barra is a quaint little village near Punta del Este. Although the waves were not the best, it was still a nice spectacle. The beach was packed with people enjoying the sun, water and of course, the action that was played out in front of their eyes. 

I saw the following finals:

Copa Corona 2015 Sub 16

Copa Corona 2015 Sub 16 Finals 25Copa Corona 2015 Sub 16 Finals 25

The first final I saw was the sub 16 final. Winner here was Tomas Migues, who showed some impressive moves. Interestingly, there was a girl in this final as well: Delfina Morosini. Only 14 years old, she is being hailed as Uruguay's best female surfer. She landed the 3rd position in this group. In the photo above, Tomás is riding the wave while Delfina is watching him from her surf board. The number 2 position went to Agustín Seanotta. See here for more photos.

Copa Corona 2015 Sub 19 Finals

Copa Corona 2015 Sub 19 Finals 21Copa Corona 2015 Sub 19 Finals 21

The winner of the group with surfers of 19 years or younger was won by Santiago Medeiro, in the photo above. Second place went to Francisco Morosini, the brother of Delfina Morosini. Surfing runs in the family, it seems! Third place went to Nahuel Cardona. See here for more photos.

Copa Corona 2015 Longboard Finals

Copa Corona 2015 Longboard Finals 14Copa Corona 2015 Longboard Finals 14

The longboard finals were won by Juan Malek, who can be seen in the photo above. Second and third place went to Ignacio Pignataro and Julian Schwiezer, respectively. See here for more photos. 

Copa Corona 2015 Women Finals

Copa Corona 2015 Women Finals 6Copa Corona 2015 Women Finals 6

The finals for women was won by - not surprisingly - Delfina Morosini, who is shown in the white lycra she wore in this round in the photo above. The second place went to Maite de Alava and the third place to Camila Meana. See here for more photos.

Copa Corona 2015 Open Finals

Copa Corona 2015 Open Finals 97Copa Corona 2015 Open Finals 97

The final of the finals was the "open" round. Here the best surfers or Uruguay competed. Uruguayan champion Sebastián Olarte (see photo above) won the first price, followed by Lucas Madrid in his black lycra. The third place went to Julién Pérez in his yellow lycra. Francisco Morosini, whom we already saw in 2nd place in the sub 19 class, won the 4th price. See here for more photos.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Agustín Seanotta Copa Corona 2015 Copa Corona 2015 Finales Open Delfina Morosini Finales Copa Corona 2015 Franciso Morosini Juan Malek Julian Pérez Julién Pérez La Barra Lucas Madrid Maldonado (departamento) Montoya Santiago Medeiro Sebastián Olarte South America Surfing Tomás Migues Uruguay http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2015/1/copa-corona-2015 Mon, 19 Jan 2015 22:52:41 GMT
Hotel Carrasco http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2013/5/hotel-carrasco Hotel Sofitel Carraso at dusk.Side

Hotel Carrasco is a historical building on the rambla (coastal road) of Montevideo, Uruguay. The name Carrasco refers to the neighbourhood it is built in. The building is from the beginning of the 20th century, and has recently been restored. The photos in this article are from April 2013, after the restoration was completed.

The main hall of the hotel.Hallway (1)

It was built by Alfredo Arocena, who was the main owner of the land in this area since 1907. In 1912 he created the Sociedad Anónima Balneario Carrasco, a company dedicated to convert the zone of Carrasco into a beach resort. One of the first activities of that company was the start of the construction of the original building, which also started in 1912. The hotel was designed by the French architects Jacques Dunant and Gastón Louis Mallet. After 9 years, and being interrupted by the World War I from 1914 until 1918, the building was inaugurated in 1921.

A beautiful oval salon in Hotel Carrasco in French style.Lounge (1)

Over time, the hotel started to lose popularity. The facilities couldn't live up to the expectations of more modern times, and the building started to deteriorate. Eventually it was left abandoned. In 1975, the building became a national monument.

In 2009, Carrasco Nobile S.A. won the bid to carry out renovations on the hotel. In March 2013, the building that was declared a national monument in 1975, opened its doors to the public again. It now has a casino, which I haven't visited myself. I'm personally not too fond of the modern additions in front of the hotel (the glass entrance and the modern staircase), but the majority of the building and the inside of the hotel is absolutely stunning.

Find Wally in Hotel Carrasco.Find Wally

Click here for more photos.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Hotel Hotel Sofitel Carrasco Montevideo Sofitel Uruguay http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2013/5/hotel-carrasco Sun, 05 May 2013 23:10:36 GMT
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2013/4/torres-del-paine-national-park-chile Cuernos del Paine, Torres del Paine and Cerro Paine Grande.Lakes and mountains

Torres del Paine is a national park encompassing mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers in southern Chilean Patagonia. It was declared National Park in 1959, and UNESCO declared it Biosphere Reservation in 1978. It has a total surface of 242.242 hectares. The park is most famous for the mountain peaks it is named for, the Torres del Paine ("Towers of Paine"). The Torres del Paine are the three lighter grey peaks to the right of the centre of this photo. The Cuernos del Paine ("Horns of Paine") is the light grey mountain on the fold, with the black mountain tops. The mountain at the right is Cerro Paine Grande, and it is the highest mountain here. Its height is said to extend 3.050 metres above sea level, although apparently that is disputed; some observations apparently lead to measurements of 2.750 metres.

Laguna Amarga with Cerro Paine Grande and Torres del Paine in the background.Laguna Amarga 8

The park offers various beautiful spots. One of those spots is Laguna Amarga ("Bitter Lake"). This lake has a special colour, due to the stromatolites living in the lake. In the photo above you can see the lake, with the Torres del Paine in the background (they are the grey peaks to the right of the snowy mountain on the left).

Guanaco in Parque Nacional Torres del PaineGuanaco 7

Within the park (and around it), you see lots of Guanacos (Lama guanicoe). It is a camelid native to the arid, mountainous regions of South America. It stands between 1 and 1,2 metres and weighs about 90 kilograms.

Cascada del Río PaineCascada Paine 9

The Cascada del Río Paine (cascades of the river Paine) are beautiful cascades in the River Paine. The colour of the water is caused by glacier flour, which are silt-sized particles of rock. Because the material is very small, it becomes suspended in river water making the water appear cloudy, which is sometimes known as glacial milk.

Salto GrandeSalto Grande 3

Salto Grande is a waterfall on the Paine River, after Lago Nordenskjöld. It exhibits tremendous power as it drains the Lago Nordenskjöld and feeds Lago Pehoé.

Río SerranoValley

Spending only one day within the park left us wanting for more. There are so many beautiful spots, like the Río Serrano, which meanders through the countryside as can be seen in the photo above. We had to leave out quite a few interesting spots, such as the Grey Glacier. I hope to return here some day to explore the rest of the park.

More photos from Torres del Paine here.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Chile National Park Nature Parque Nacional Patagonia Torres del Paine http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2013/4/torres-del-paine-national-park-chile Sun, 28 Apr 2013 17:06:41 GMT
Flamingos in Arroyo Maldonado http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/12/flamingos-in-arroyo-maldonado Chilean FlamingoChilean Flamingo (3)

Uruguay is home to Phoenicopterus chilensis, or as it is called in English, the Chilean Flamingo. I had seen flamingos before, but normally only in the Laguna de José Ignacio. A while ago, I spotted this solitary flamingo while kayaking in Arroyo Maldonado, near La Barra. I was intrigued, and at first I thought it probably had lost track of its flock.

A few days later I decided to explore the Arroyo Maldonado a bit more deeply than I had done before. A few kilometers in, I found a colony of flamingos. I was quite surprised, because I live less than 5 kilometers from this spot, as the crow flies. Who would have known...

Conversing flamingoConversing Flamingos

There are six species of flamingo in the world, of which 4 live in the America's. The plumage of the Chilean Flamingo is pinker than the slightly larger Greater Flamingo, but less so than Caribbean Flamingo. It can be differentiated from these species by its greyish legs with pink "knees", and also by the larger amount of black on the bill (more than half).

FlamingoFlamingo

The reason why flamingos stand on one leg is apparently not fully understood. There are several theories, ranging from exotics ones as the supposed ability of flamingos to let half their body sleep to more down-to-earth ones where it would conserve body heat, but none has been proven.

Flamingo in flightFlamingo in flight

The color of flamingos is greatly influenced by the food intake. The pink color is obtained from carotenoid pigments. However, a Chilean Flamingo is pale pink and will never be as brightly colored as the much more spectacularly colored American Flamingo.

See here for more photos of flamingos.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Animalia Arroyo Maldonado Aves Chilean Flamingo Chileense Flamingo Chordata Facebook Fauna Flamenco Austral Flickr La Barra Phoenicopteridae Phoenicopteriformes Phoenicopterus Phoenicopterus chilensis South America Uruguay http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/12/flamingos-in-arroyo-maldonado Fri, 07 Dec 2012 01:48:21 GMT
Laguna del Diario http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/11/laguna-del-diario Laguna del Diario from a kayakPeace and quiet

Laguna del Diario is a small lake in Punta del Este. It's about 4 hectare (about 10 acres). It's located at the entrance of Punta del Este (actually officially Maldonado still), and about 50 meters from the Rio de la Plata, only separated by from that by the beach and the highway. The lake is accessible for water sporters such as kayak and wind surf. As is the case for all fresh water lakes in Uruguay, the use of motorized vehicles is prohibited.

Great Egret making a getawayGreat Egret

Especially outside the holiday season, this place is a wonderful quiet place to enjoy nature. The lake is host to a big variety in birds. Great Egrets, such as seen above, make their nests at the shores of the lake. You can see lots of Snail Kites (see below), and while you're on the water alone they hunt right alongside you. 

A snail kite catching somethingCatch

Along the borders of the lake, there are almost swamp-like conditions. Very little depth, and lots of birds foraging for food, such as this Snowy Egret.

A Snowy Egret (Egretta Thula) foraging for food in Laguna del Diario.Snowy Egret (1) The lake is has a dense population of water plants, and when kayaking through the lake in this time of year, you often find yourself surrounded by vast expanses of water flowers.

Water flowers in Laguna del Diario.Flowers (1) If you want to visit Laguna del Diario yourself, you can find it here:

Map of Laguna del Diario

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Ardea Alba Birds Egret Egretta Thula Great Egret Kayak Laguna del Diario Maldonado Pinares Rostrhamus Sociabilis Snail Kite Snail kite Snowy Egret Uruguay Water birds http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/11/laguna-del-diario Thu, 01 Nov 2012 02:07:00 GMT
El Ateneo Grand Splendid http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/10/el-ateneo-grand-splendid Interior of the bookstore El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires.Interior of El Ateneo El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a bookstore in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The bookstore is a branch office of the book chain El Ateneo, and it is located in an old theater called the Gran Splendid. In January 2008, the Guardian called this bookstore the 2nd most beautiful bookstore in the world. The building was designed by the architects Peró and Torres Armengol for a businessman called Max Glucksman (1875-1946). It was inaugurated as a theater in May 1919.

In the year 2000, work started on transforming the old theater into a bookstore. Bookshelves outline the walls of the galleries and the main arena. The former stage has been transformed into a bar, where one can eat and drink something while reading a book from the bookstore. Nowadays, El Ateneo Gran Splendid is the flagship bookstore of the El Ateneo and Yenny bookstore chain, receiving over a million visitors every year.

The bookshelves in the galleries of Al Ateneo.Interior of El Ateneo (2)

The ceiling in itself is a work of art. The dome measures 20 x 19 meters, and was painted in 1919 by Nazareno Orlandi. The painting is an allegorical representation of peace, and was painted to commemorate the end of the First World War. Peace is represented by a feminine figure, surrounded by representatives of the world.

The dome in the ceiling of Al Ateneo.Ceiling of El Ateneo (2)

The front side of the theatre, which was formerly the lobby, is also used as part of the bookstore.

Downwards view of the front part of El Ateneo.Interior of El Ateneo (7)

For more photos, see this gallery. The bookstore can be found at Avenida Santa Fé 1860, in the Recoleta neighborhood. 

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Aires Argentina Bookstore Buenos El Ateneo El Ateneo Gran Splendid Gran Splendid Recoleta Santa Fé Theater Theatre http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/10/el-ateneo-grand-splendid Mon, 01 Oct 2012 22:01:24 GMT
Puro Verso http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/9/puro-verso The floor level of libreria Puro Verso in Montevideo.Puro Verso bookstore in Montevideo In the old center of Montevideo, there is a beautiful bookstore called "Puro Verso". It's a bit difficult to translate, because "Verso" means several things in Spanish. It means "verse", but it also means "story". I think it's best translated as "Pure Poetry".

Puro Verso is located in an old building in Art Deco style. Although not as spectacular as El Ateneo in Buenos Aires (a topic for another blog post), it's still an impressive place. Originally, this building wasn't a bookstore. It was built in 1917 by an architect called Leopoldo Tosi for an optician called Pablo Ferrando, which closed its doors in 1999. It was subsequently bought up by a Spanish investment group called Estudio De León-Berro-Alvarez. The building is considered national heritage.

Art Deco architecture in Librería Puro Verso in Montevideo.View from upper floor

The great thing about this concept is that it's a combination of a bookstore, music store and a restaurant. As you can see below, the restaurant is located at the upper floor (you can see the lamps hanging from the ceiling). The restaurant is called "Más Puro Verso" ("More Pure Poetry"). 

Looking at the street from the inside of Puro Verso.Bookstore Combined with the classical music they play, the books that you can just read at your leisure in the restaurant and the nice view from the restaurant at the "Ciudad Vieja" (Old City) below, this is one of those "Zen" places where you can escape the noise of the city. A bubble of culture and peace.

Relaxing at Más Puro Verso in Montevideo.A bar in a bookstore

More photos here. You can visit Puro Verso at Peatonal Sarandí 675, from Monday to Saturday from 9 AM to 8 PM.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Art Deco Bookstore Estudio De León-Berro-Alvarez Leopoldo Tosi Librería Montevideo National Heritage Pablo Ferrando Patrimonio Nacional Puro Verso Uruguay http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/9/puro-verso Sat, 22 Sep 2012 16:51:42 GMT
Whales in Punta http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/9/whales-in-punta-2012 A whaleTail Every year, between July and November, groups of southern right whales (Eubalaena Australis) visit the coast of Uruguay. They can be seen in several areas, such as José Ignacio, Cabo Polonio, and Punta del Este. The maximum size of an adult female is 15 m (49 ft) and can weigh up to 47 tonnes. Maldonado Bay allows the whales to come really close to the coast, so they can easily be observed from the beach. It is an incredible privilege to be able to sit on the beach and just watch at whales playing only tens of meters away.

Whales in Punta del Este, September 2012

The southern right whale is a migratory species, exclusively distributed in the Southern Hemisphere. During summer, they can be found at feeding areas in high latitudes. In early winter, the whales migrate to Peninsula Valdes in Argentina where reproduction and birth take place. On their way to the South, they pass by Punta del Este and often take a break here. Although advised against, some people also try go get real close and personal with the animals. Although I've never heard of agressive behavior, one can only imagine what happens if 15 tonnes decide to play with you or just doesn't notice you when rolling over...

Up close and personalSpray

In 1789, a whaling factory was established in Punta del Este by the Real Compañía Marítima. Whales were caught in Maldonado Bay, the same place were these photos were taken. Whaling was done extensively (not only by Uruguay by the way) causing the population of southern right whales to drop to the point of extinction. In fact, it was considered commercially extinct in 1840. Luckily, due to increased awareness and protection of the species, number have been growing significantly since the 1960's. Around 2005, the total population was estimated at 10.000, but apparently population growth is fluctuating.

A whaleWhale tail tale

Bonus fun fact: the testicles of right whales are likely to be the largest of any animal, each weighing around 500 kg (1,100 lb).

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Ballena Ballena franca Eubalaena australis Maldonado Maldonado Bay Punta del Este Uruguay Whale Whaling right southern whale http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/9/whales-in-punta-2012 Mon, 17 Sep 2012 23:22:20 GMT
Lagunas del Catedral http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/8/lagunas-del-catedral Quiet viewsPatches of light through the fog At 75 km. from Punta del Este and about 200 km. from Montevideo, you can find the touristic "estancia" ("ranch") called Lagunas del Catedral ("Lakes of the Cathedral"). It's located in the department of Maldonado, Uruguay, close to the city of Aiguá. The name of the estancia is derived from the fact that it is very near to Cerro Catedral (the highest point of Uruguay, at 513,7 meters above sea level) and the nearness of some (small) lakes. The property can be explored on foot, on horseback or on mountain bike (which you will need to take with you).

At about 10 minutes walking distance of the estancia, you will find a cute little waterfall. The water flowing here is very clean, since the entire river bed is rocky material. In fact, the water of this river is used as tap water in the estancia. As a safety measure, they advise guests to not drink the tap water, and supply mineral water instead. However, the personnel just drinks this water and claims it's much nicer than the best mineral water.

WaterfallsWaterfalls

A big part of the establishment is a protected nature reserve, where different species of flora and fauna thrive. You can find different species of vultures here, as well as wild goats ("chivos"). The personnel is very friendly and gave us an excellent tour of the property. Derley, our guide, was able to get us to see the elusive wild goats.

A vulture observing some wild goatsThe vulture is probably waiting for one of these goats to die. Friendly birds, they are.

They claim this is the darkest location of Uruguay and it is easy to believe that. There is absolutely no light pollution. We had the bad luck it was cloudy and the moon was above the horizon, but during new moon this place must be an awesome place to do some stargazing.

Clouds covering the starry skyClouds covering the stars

At the estancia they have cattle, such as sheep and horses. When we visited the estancia in August, there were lots of newborn lambs. The one below even has her umbilical cord still attached. She was born not hours before.

Newborn lambJust born Around the estancia, you'll probably also run into the ñandu (Greater Rhea or Rhea Americana), a kind of South American ostrich. 

Ñandu (Greater Rhea or Rhea Americana)Ñandu (Greater Rhea or Rhea americana)

If you want to detach from the stress of urban live and you like getting back into contact with nature, this is a great place to go to. The abundance and purity of the flora and fauna, as well as hospitality of the personnel are sure to make you feel relaxed in no time.

More photos here.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Cerro Cerro Catedral Estancia Fauna Flora Lagunas del Catedral Nature Tourism turistica http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/8/lagunas-del-catedral Sun, 19 Aug 2012 04:25:59 GMT
Recoleta Cemetery http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/5/recoleta-cemetery ItIt's a thin line between life and death Recoleta Cemetery, called "Cementerio de la Recoleta" in Spanish, is a famous cemetery in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It contains the graves of notable people. The most famous person buried here is perhaps Eva Perón, or Evita as most people know her. The cemetery is also known as the "City of the Dead", and indeed one can't escape the urban feel of the place. It has streets and "houses". 

A city that always sleeps within a city that never sleepsThe city that always sleeps within the city that never sleeps Originally, this wasn't a cemetery, but the garden of the convent and the church of the Order of Augustinian Recollects (Orden de Agustinos Recoletos), after which the entire neighborhood was named as well. The church, convent and its garden date back to 1732. The order was disbanded in 1822, after which the garden of the convent was converted into a cemetery (no pun intended). The church, called Nuestra Señora de Pilar, is still there and in excellent condition.

During the day, the cemetery can be visited. At night, the only way to get a view of the cemetery is from above. The photos here were taken from the 11th floor of a hotel on the other side of the street. Only a few lights are on in the cemetery, which gives it a ghosly glow (again, no pun intended).

Reading lights for the deadReading lights for the dead It's intriguing to observe the cemetery from this vantage point. In the morning, people start to walk by, on their way to their respective businesses one supposes. In the meantime, the inhabitants of the cemetery lay undisturbed in their final resting place.

Early morning walkEarly morning walk

For more photos of the cemetery, click here.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Argentina Buenos Aires Cementerio de la Recoleta Cemetery Eva Perón Grave. Graves Graveyard Night Recoleta Cemetery http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/5/recoleta-cemetery Fri, 25 May 2012 03:08:19 GMT
Iguazú Falls http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/5/iguazu-falls The Iguazú falls at the Brazilian side at moonlightIguazú waterfalls during full moon While I originally planned for this site to include photos of Uruguay only, after my recent travel to the Iguazú falls I decided to also register southamericaphoto.com, redirect it to this site and just include a blog post here as well. Why limit yourself? ;-) If you haven't heard about the Iguazú falls, this blog post is for you. If you already know of it, I hope the story and the pictures will bring back nice memories.

The photo above shows waterfalls as seen at the Brazilian side during full moon. The picture below shows a moon rainbow during that same night. Yes, you read that correctly. A moon rainbow. The  photos you see here have exposure times of about 1 minute to capture sufficient light, hence the foamy look of the water.

Moon rainbow at the Iguaçu falls in Brazil.Moon rainbow at the Iguazú waterfalls

The Iguazú falls are located on the border of the Argentinian province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. The river separates both countries here. The part before the waterfall is called the "higher Iguazú", and the part below it, not surprisingly, the "lower Iguazú". The falls are located in national parks on both sides. The Argentinian side was declared a national park in 1934, and the Brazilian side in 1939. In 1986 the UNESCO listed the Iguaçú National Park as Natural Heritage of Humanity. It now is one of the largest forest preservation areas in South America, with a staggering variety of wildlife.

The Iguazú falls at the Brazilian side during daylight.Falls

The name "Iguazu" comes from the Guaraní words y, meaning "water", and ûasú, meaning "big". Legend has it that the god M'Boi planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí ("marrying" meaning here she would be sacrificed by the Guaraní and thrown into the river). However, Naipí fled with her mortal lover, a warrior called Tarobá, in a canoe. In a rage the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall. Supposedly Naipí is now a rock at the bottom of the falls, so she will never be able to leave M'Boi's side.

Depending on the amount of water flowing, the number of waterfalls varies between 150 and 300, some small and some very big. The height of the falls varies between 60 and 82 meters. The normal flow rate is about 1,5 million liters per second, which is already a mind-boggling number. However, in 1992 the flow increased to 29 times that rate (!), completely destroying the tourist infrastructure on the Argentinian side. The best known fall at the site can be found at the Argentinian side and is called "Garganta del Diablo" ("Devil's throat"). The Devil's Throat is U-shaped, 82-meter-high, 150-meter-wide, and 700-meter-long and is absolutely mind-blowing. It's possible to take a helicopter ride and see it from above, to better appreciate the immensity of it.

Garganta del diablo, or DevilGarganta del diablo from the air As you can see in the photo above, a ramp leads up to the falls, allowing you to be almost inside the Devil's throat. We were lucky enough to be the first ones to arrive there. Being there is difficult to describe. The sheer volume of water rushing by and disappearing in the vapors below during an 82 meter plunge is overwhelming, and makes one feel very insignificant. I love it when nature humbles you like that.

The DevilGarganta del diablo

Apart from the Garganta del diablo, the Argentinian park has lots of other beautiful views to offer. There are two main tours one can walk: "el paseo superior" (the upper tour) and "el paseo inferior" (the lower tour). The photo below gives an impression of how many different waterfalls there are. In the lower left corner you can see a part of the "paseo inferior".

View from el paseo superior in the Argentinian part of Iguazú National Park.Lots of waterfalls The waterfalls are not the only thing to enjoy in Iguazú National Park. Nature is abundant, and you can observe lots of different flora and fauna. The South American coati is famous and absolutely not shy.

South American Coatí (Nasua nasua) in Iguazú National Park accepting some food from someoneMaking friends Since these are the subtropics, the birds you can find here are absolutely beautiful. A famous example of a bird you see here in abundance is the Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco). As you can see below, the colors are absolutely stunning. Although they are supposedly poor flyers, I personally thought they actually looked very cool. They typically fly in pairs and to me it looked like a formation of fighter jets passing overhead.

Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) in Iguazú National Park.Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) (3)

All in all Iguazú National Park is an incredible experience. Staying in an hotel in the park itself is unforgettable, giving you the hours outside the park's opening hours to enjoy all this beauty in peace and quiet.

Click here for more photos of Iguazú National Park.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Beautiful Birds Coatí Fall Falls Foz de Iguaçu Igaussu Iguazú Iguazú National Park Iguaçu Iguaçu National Park Misiones Nature Paraná Toucan Waterfall Waterfalls http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/5/iguazu-falls Sat, 12 May 2012 20:57:25 GMT
The old train station of José Ignacio http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/4/the-old-train-station-of-jose-ignacio Entrance to the school, formerly the train station of José Ignacio.Entrance of the old station

The building above is the old train station of José Ignacio. It lies in the middle of nowhere, nowhere near the current resort town that carries the same name. In more glorious times, the train station was one of the stops of the track that connected Montevideo to Rocha. The construction of this track started at the end of the 19th century and was originally exploited by a company called Ferrocarril Uruguayo del Este (Uruguay Great Eastern Railway).

The last time the track was utilized by a passenger train was on January 2, 1988. That day all passenger trains in Uruguay terminated their service. Since 1988, only certain railways are being used, and then only for freight. From the state of the rails near this station, I can safely conclude that José Ignacio is no longer part of an active railroad system.

The rails in front of the railway station of José Ignacio are completely abandoned.The rails in front of the station are completely overgrown Currently, the train station serves as a public school. I've been told there are exactly 2 students. I hope to be able to go back there one day and take pictures when the school is in service. In the photo below you can see the playground with the train station in the background.

The playground in front of the old train station of José Ignacio, currently serving as a school.Playground

The old school, which has been abandoned since a long time, sits forgotten on the other side of the street. Luckily for me, abandoned buildings provide nice photo opportunities.

The entrance of the old school of José Ignacio.Front door of the old school

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) José Ignacio Railroad Railroad station Railway Railway station Train Train station Uruguay http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/4/the-old-train-station-of-jose-ignacio Tue, 24 Apr 2012 02:28:41 GMT
Old farm http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/4/old-farm Doors with a viewDoors with a view (1) Yesterday we visited an old farm what is being restored by two Belgian friends. It is located in the town José Ignacio. Not the José Ignacio on the coast, but more inland, near the train station (one of my upcoming photo destinations for sure).

The building is from 1810, so this is actually from before Uruguay became Uruguay (independence was in 1830).

A nice spot to lounge in the living of the old farm (granja) in José Ignacio.Nice spot to lounge

When our Belgian friends bought the property, it was in ruins. It now looks pretty and homely, and although there's lots of work still to be done, it's habitable and feels like a real escape from modern society and returning to more simple times.

FacadeFacade

More photos of this place can be seen here.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) José Ignacio Old Old building Old farm Uruguay http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/4/old-farm Sat, 21 Apr 2012 21:15:13 GMT
Driving around Punta http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/4/driving-around-punta Driving around Punta Having had fun with my previous time-lapse, last Saturday I went for a drive again. This time I did a more panoramic drive, visiting a few places I like near Punta del Este. The drive takes you from the Mansa beach over the hill of Punta Ballena, then turns right at Ruta 12. We then climb the hill to visit hotel Las Cumbres. We go down again and drive on to Capilla de la Asunción. We then get back and end on the observation platform of Punta Ballena.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Capilla de la Asunción Las Cumbres Punta Ballena Punta del Este Time-lapse Uruguay http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/4/driving-around-punta Mon, 09 Apr 2012 14:24:30 GMT
Punta del Este to La Floresta (or 60 km in less than 5 minutes) http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/4/punta-del-este-to-la-floresta Road trip

Yesterday I mounted my camera to a tripod sticking out of the sunroof, and programmed my camera to take a picture every second while I drove from my home in Punta del Este to a restaurant called Puerto Aroma in La Floresta, a trip of around 50, 60 kilometers. I considered this a busy day (it's Semana Santa, so holiday season), but compared to what you can see in Europe it's empty I guess. The video above is a time-lapse where the photos are played back at approximately 8 fotos per second. Hope you enjoy it.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Carretera La Floresta Punta del Este Uruguay car highway time-lapse video http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/4/punta-del-este-to-la-floresta Thu, 05 Apr 2012 12:16:54 GMT
Alto de la Ballena http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/3/alto-de-la-ballena A sunset over the hills to the west as seen from Alto de la Ballena.Layers (2) Alto de la Ballena is the name of a vineyard near Punta del Este. It's located at the Ruta 12, a few kilometers before it connects to Ruta 9. It means something like "Top of the Whale". It's called like this, because the vineyard is located on the side of the Sierra de la Ballena ("Hill of the Whale"), which refers to the nearby Punta Ballena ("Whale point").

With around 8 hectares it's small, although they borrow some other lands of neighboring friends to increase the grape production. In my personal opinion, Alto de la Ballena makes one of the better wines in Uruguay.

Wine tasting at Alto de la Ballena.Wine tasting It's possible to do wine tastings at the vineyard. There is a small wooden deck in which the owners will receive you with bread, cheese and of course their wines. They also give you a tour around the vineyard, which offers enjoyable views and an interesting explanation on the entire wine production process.

When doing a wine tasting, you get an informative tour of the vineyard.Rocky grounds

The best moment to start the wine tasting is around 1, 2 hours before sunset. Enjoying the sunset from here, with a view over the Laguna de Sauce and the Rio de la Plata, stretching as far as Pan de Azúcar in the distance, is a memorable experience.

Enjoying a wine tasting at sunset at the vineyard Alto de la Ballena.The tough side of life

For more photos of Alto de la Ballena click here.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Alto de la Ballena Laguna de Sauce Portezuelo Punta del Este Ruta 12 Uruguay Vineyard http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/3/alto-de-la-ballena Wed, 28 Mar 2012 02:14:30 GMT
Capilla de la Asunción http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/3/capilla-de-la-asuncion The light divine - a front view of Capilla de la Asunción.The Light Divine Near Laguna de Sauce, in the provence of Maldonado and at about 20 km from Punta del Este, you can find a small and charming chapel called "Capilla de la Asunción" ("Chapel of the Assumption"). Meant for the people who live in this sparsely populated area, it's very small. The first stone of the chapel was laid in October 1942, and it was inaugurated in August 1943. The chapel was built by neighbors and the priest of this area of that time, called Domingo de Tacuarembó. Apparently he was quite the character, and he managed to motivate the neighbors to donate the parcel, as well as the materials and labor needed to erect this little church. He passed away in 1994, and in the absence of a priest the chapel fell into disuse.

Interior of Capilla de la Asunción.Interior of Capilla de la Asunción

I wanted to take some pictures of the inside of the chapel, so I asked the current caretaker, the deacon, if he could let me in. He let me in immediately and was clearly proud of "his" church. When I remarked upon the well-maintained state of the chapel, he told me that that wasn't always the case. Apparently, after the death of Domingo de Tacuarembó, the chapel was no longer maintained at all. When the current deacon was assigned responsibility over the chapel 8 years ago, bats had taken over the chapel and it had basically converted into a ramshackle. History apparently repeated itself, and again the neighbors helped to restore the chapel to its former state and it now looks better than ever.

The Capilla de la Asunción as seen from the road.Capilla de la Asunción

Click here for more photos of Capilla de la Asunción.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Capilla de la Asunción Chapel Church Countryside Domingo de Tacuarembó Laguna de Sauce Maldonado Uruguay http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/3/capilla-de-la-asuncion Mon, 26 Mar 2012 00:06:24 GMT
El Aguila http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/3/el-aguila-atlantida El Aguila (or La Quimera) is one of the more important landmarks in the resort town Atlántida, Canelones, Uruguay.El Aguila El Aguila (The Eagle), at a distance of 3 kilometers from the city Atlántida in the province called Canelones, is one of the more famous buildings you can find at the coast of the Rio de la Plata (River Plate) and of the most well-known landmarks of the resort town Atlántida, near Montevideo.

"El aguila", or "La Quimera" as it was called originally ("the figment"), was part of a bigger structure. Most of this structure has disappeared over time due to erosion. It owns its existence to two men: the millionaire Natalio Michelizzi (an Italian who lived in Buenos Aires) and the Uruguayan constructor Juan Torres. On August 1st of 1945, Michelizzi, who owned a house at the beach, asked Torres to build a small chapel for him of 2 by 2 meters, where he wanted to place a figurine of the Virgin Maria.

To make sure the room wouldn’t end up too small, Torres decided to make the room larger (4 by 4). When Michelizzi saw the chapel-to-be, he decided to abandon the plan to make it a chapel and to dedicate this place to read, paint and to receive and have drinks with his friends.

Over time, a sleeping room, bathroom and kitchen was added. Torres, without any architectural plan and on a whim, imagined and created the head of the eagle. The eagle was covered with stones from the region to resemble the feathers. Michelizzi liked it so much that he asked Torres to enlarge the structure at the bottom by adding a new part in the shape of a boat. The floor of the eagle was transformed into a roof terrace on top of the boat, and inside was a bar. The prow ended in two concrete “needles” that resembled the open mouth of a dolphin.

Michelizzi died in 1953 at the age of 54, and shortly after the gardens and surrounding structures started to suffer from lack of maintenance. With time the boat part of the structure was destroyed by the Rio de la Plata. Due to the distinct shape of the eagle's head, legends started spreading. It would have served as an observatory for nazi spies, a smugglers headquarter and it would even channel "cosmic energy". Nowadays only the original structure exists, and it is open to the public all year round.

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info@uruguay-foto.com (Uruguay in Photos) Aguila Atlántida Canelones El Aguila La Quimera Quimera Uruguay http://uruguay-foto.com/blog/2012/3/el-aguila-atlantida Fri, 23 Mar 2012 02:48:26 GMT