San Francisco de las Sierras
Ruta 12 - Km 347,500
I love the address!
To be alone in nature, quiet, cool, relax ..........only a few days for me, but it is really peacefull. Surrounded by cows, horses and many many birds, you feel good after a stay in a stone house with rough and basic wooden furniture, a huge fireplace and a pile of good books.
Its in Fray Bentos, about 4 hours by bus outside Montevideo. Its not to be missed if you care about animal liberation, or you just want to see how all of this occurred up close. It is now marketed as a Museum of the Industrial Revolution...which is true enough.
THe slaughterhouse was opened in the 1860s, and eventually experienced huge booms as a result of the Boer War, as well as WW I and II. Surely Fray Bentos was modeled after the industrial abattoirs in Chicago and the like...the stuff that made up Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.
But no where I know in the world, today, can you visit such a place that is no longer in operation. (Of course, slaughterhouses are still to be found very commonly, and ought to be visited by anyone who still eats meat and poultry!) Its ironic that this huge killing complex was to be established in a town named afetr a reclusive monk--Fray (Friar) Bentos.
I went in Aug. 2005, just shortly after it opened. Much is well preserved, such as the company offices and the huge harbor sign that reads, ANGLO. The tour guide will point out the tinning rooms, and the packaging rooms, and the refrigerator areas.
But I had to press to see the killing floors. The numerous school tours that come through are not shown, alas, the rooms where the slaughter occured.
We were permitted to see one of them...the ramps where a Judas animal (in some cases) led the rest to their deaths...the stalls for the cattle where men stood, hour after hour swinging sledgehammers...the wheel for the pigs and sheep, where their legs were hoisted in the air and their throats slit...you get the idea.
Our tour guide became quite animated once we reached the killing rooms. She said--When the work was at its busiest, metaphorically interesting at times of European war, when the work went on without stop day in day out, the workers just took a break by sitting on their haunches and closing their eyes. One can only imagine the bedlam--the noise of the animal agony, the smell, the blood all over the floors...and yet, somehow, the workers could find peace sufficient for a nap.
The town itself I found rather ordinary. It is on the water. Argentina is just across the river.
Here is some background detail:
The original company--Liebig Extract of Meat Company--produced a molasses-like black spread packaged in an opaque white glass bottle, which contained only reduced meat stock and salt (4%). It takes 3 kg of meat to make 100 g of extract. It was promoted in Europe as being invaluable not only as a supplement for the malnourished but also in the kitchen. The product enjoyed an immense rise in popularity. By 1875, 500 tons of the extract were being produced at Fray Bentos plant each year. It became a staple in middle-class European households and for soldiers, including the Allied forces of World War II. It was even used by European adventurers such as Sir Henry Morton Stanley on his trip to Africa. It is still sold by Liebig Benelux.
In 1873, Liebig's began producing tinned corned beef, sold under the label Fray Bentos. Later, freezer units were installed, enabling the company to also export frozen and chilled raw meat.
The works and yards at Fray Bentos ranked among the largest industrial complexes in South America and helped usher in the industrial revolution there. The plant played a major role in the development of Uruguay's cattle sector, which is still one of the country's main sources of export products. It attracted many European immigrants and, in its heyday, had 5,000 employees. It is said that an animal was processed every five minutes. Every part of the animal was used...but the squeal (to paraphrase Sinclair).
I am listing the Salto de Penitente in off the beaten path because of the road that you must travel to get there.
A few miles to the east of Mines City there is a rough gravel road that leads to Salto de Penitente (the Penitent's Walerfalls). The gravel road is 18 km long so it says but seems longer.
This fall is located over a rocky backdrop covered in wild vegetation.
When we were there it had not rained for awhile so the falls were not as large as we had expected.
There is a nice lookout platform, some little shops, and a restaurant overlooking the falls.
You can swim at the bottom of the falls, look for birds, or Rappel.
A visit to The Historic Museum "Casa de Rivera" in Durazno is a delightful break from running around Uruguay. Look for it on one side of the main plaza. (C/Brig. Gral. Oribe 775, Durazno) If you speak Spanish you will enjoy meeting and talking to the curators. They reminded me of the dedicated enthusiasts of my hometown local historic society.
It is impossible to buy a guide book for Uruguay in English. We went blind & loved it. Montevideo is a sleepy friendly city with beautiful European Architechture and the nicest people. Our Hotel in Pocitos was $70 including breafast & had a inddor pool & jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. Meat & dairy are divine there & cheap.
Uruguay is cattle country; one of three countries of Gauchos. But it seems that Gaucho history and life has more impact on Uruguay because percentage wise it represents so much more of the country. At least in November, traveling upcountry excluding Colonia and Carmelo seem off the beaten path.
An estancia owner told me that Europeans in particular are impressed by the open spaces of the Uruguayan countryside. (North Americans are more impressed by the relics of history.) Estancia visits are often recommended as a way to experience a little better this part of Uruguay, but some of the small upcountry towns have their charms as well.
A tour of these towns and the countryside by bicycle, car or bus offers neither great risks nor fantastic sights, but the people are friendly and the costs of food and lodging are low even by Montevideo standards.
Carmelo and the Nandu nursery...Uruguay's national Symbol
the Nandu is the smalles of the Family of Oistriches, more a mine Emu then a big bird.. the flightless birds, where the male looks after the offspring, while mama is having a good time.
here in Uruguay and Argentina, the Nandu is breet for consumption, national symbol in Uruguay or not. like the Springbock in South Africa or the Kangoroo in Australia, what a way to deal with your national symbol..here speaks the vegetarien
southeast of Colonia/Rio de la Plata..on the beautiful River Tigre..
you also can take a boat on the Rio Tigre from Buenos Aires, travel have a look at the webpage
Uruguay's countryside is very bucolic. Once you leave Montevideo, whether you head west towards Colonia or East to Punta de Este, you will see the idyllic countryside of Uruguay, full with meadows, horses, cows. and cute little houses
Unlike in the U.S., most country roads in Uruguay aren't all mapped out and leading from town to town. They'll take you to gurgling creeks, abandoned Indian cemeteries, tops of hills from which you can overlook planted fields, large eucalyptus woods with loud wild parrots...
As kids we used to love to pack up a picnic lunch and start driving, picking roads at random until finding a pretty spot to spend a few hours.
If you are in Punta Del Este, you MUST go down to the pier to see the seals. There are all these fishermen lined up on the dock fileting fish from the day and these huge seals climb up and sit right next to them to get the scraps. Its so amazing. The seals are completely unafraid and you can almost touch them-- although I wouldnt reccommend it, they are rather large.
Termas del Dayman is quite popular with Uruguayans and Argentines but that's about it. Just a few kilometres south of Salto it is easily reached by local bus. It is a large thermal springs complex where the water is a hot 38 degrees celcius. The public baths is a well taken care of facility right next to a spa for those who want to be pampered. There is also a waterpark close by for those who are looking for some sliding action.
A rich business man from Argentina, Don Nicolas Mihanovich built this Plaza de Toros and invited very famous "toreros" from 1910 to 1912, then all the "corridas" were forbidden by the Government. No more then 10 corridas in total for this huge place where 10 000 spectators could shout "Olé"!
Damaso Antonio Larranaga Museum
Very very surprising.........
A building obviously built around 1920 as a mosque in Montevideo : mosque shape and minaret, tiles, door with arabic words, floor with "Allah Akbar" around the rooms! Very strange!
Anyone could tell me more about the history of this?
Difficult here to gather information, the guard told us the minaret was built to be a chimenea!!!!! cough cough.............
Anyway it is a zoological museum since 1956.
If you love books as I do, Montevideo offers a lot : around the area of Tristan Navaja, you 'll find marvelous old bookshops and also around the old city.
One : Palacio del Libro
25 de Mayo 577
We were lucky enough to get to go to this small winery near Rivera, in the northern part of Uruguay. It's a very small winery and I don't think it's yet producing much wine for sale. We had lunch here; the food and wine were delicious!
I fell in love with this nice hotel, in the heart of Montevideo. It's located right behind la plaza...more
It is situated at the waterfront, not far from the historical part of town and very close to the...more
There are so many words to describe this hotel. Romantic. Peaceful. Serene. Pristine. Quaint. ...more
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