We crossed the high bridge over the Uruguay river into Uruguay. The first stop was just a bit down the road: Fray Bentos. This town was home to the largest meat factory in the country. They slaughtered up to 2000 cows per day and transferred them into corned beef. These were exported all over the world and sustained the troops in WW1 and WW2. Now people like more fresh meat so the Anglo Meat packing plant was closed down in 1968.
We followed the road south and free camped along the shore of the Uruguay river just far enough down a sand road so we did not have too much noises from the beach visitors during the evening.
The next day we visited an old Portuguese colonial town. Old Colonia still has a section of defense work along the waterfront and an entrance gate. The streets in the old center are lined with plantain trees and paved with cobbled stones. Some old buildings could do with a bit of maintenance. Despite that it is busy with groups of Argentineans dropping over by ferry from Buenos Aires.
Montevideo is some 150 km further down the coast. We drove to the south side of town and camped along the boulevard near the marina. All along the city waterfront there is a modern, wide 10 km long boulevard where many locals walk, run or fish. The following day we drove along the coast north to the remains of the old city on a land spit sticking out into the Rio de la Plata. Also here the old part of the city could do with an upgrade. Since all the museums and shops were closed on Sunday there was actual not much to do. We strolled the length and width of the old city and attended Mass in the Iglesia Matriz (1799). The most interesting building is the 26-story Palacio Salvo. Was the continent tallest building when opened in 1927. Original it was built as a hotel but later converted into apartments. We took a guided tour and admired the marble and granite decorations inside and the bronze ornaments on the outside. In the evening we drove back to our previous campsite near the marina.
By the way we are still struggling with our camper battery. On the first night it dropped down to 11.5V. Clearly it is still not being charged by the camper dynamo but only by the sun panel. Since it is overcast and raining, there is not much charging going on. Tomorrow we will be looking for a replacement dynamo (if possible).
Shopping for food here is not a problem. Enough supermarkets to buy stuffs from and since it is spring time, lots of fruit stalls along the road, especially strawberries.