Our Uruguayan New Year – Montevideo

with 12 Comments
In Bulgaria we meet the New Year with full bellies, dressed formally in the center of a mix of alcohol, traditional dances and so on… Montevideo has such a party planned for the night, but in daytime things are different. The locals are armed with water bottles, buckets of water, hoses, water balloons and similar things. This way they bless each other and wish a Happy New Year. It sounds exciting but through the eyes of a foreigner it looks like the beginning of a war.
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay

 

In the central market (Mercado del Puerto in the Old City) we found a crowd of old and young smiling people who bathed each other in water and cider. At some point a band of samba drummers came around and lifted the spirits even more. Even the foreigners got swept up, whoever entered the square left it soaked to the bone.

We carried a considerable amount of gadgets and documents with us so we had to avoid the excitement and had to pass through the back alleys in order to get to our apartment.

exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay

 

That wasn’t even the safest of routes because the rooftops and the balconies were full of people who threw balloons or whole bucketfuls of water at the pedestrians below. There was one guy who had come out in the street with a hose and blessed everybody enthusiastically. Thanks to a little jog we got away with only our feet wet. The neighbors also had come out and showered everyone without mercy. Somehow we escaped and went inside unscathed. Our room had an amazing view towards a pedestrian street and we had the pleasure of observing these weird and especially entertaining New Year’s celebrations.

Let the journey take you to  Brazil – let’s go to the waterfalls

 

 

exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay

We were wondering how they’d keep up at this rate of showering and running around and took a delightful nap. Around 21:00 we decided to go grab something to eat, to buy a drink and celebrate with our hosts on the rooftop around the grill and the fire. If you’ve seen the movie “The Purge”, that is what the streets resembled. They were empty, full of flying pages from old calendars (another tradition in Montevideo) and all the shops were closed. We got worried that we’d have to greet the New Year on empty stomachs.

 

exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
Luckily we stumbled across a small shop and managed to buy wine, bread, yellow cheese and canned vegetables. Humble but hearty meal.

Our hosts turned out to be vegetarians and had prepared a delicious salad. We joined forces and organized a great party on the roof early in the morning. At midnight the purge begins. Fireworks were flying everywhere for about an hour. It seemed a bit excessive to us and as we were told that there were fireworks-related incidents every year. For the locals it is a question of honor to buy fireworks for New Year’s. The impression of a battlefield was further enhanced by the songs of several ships anchored nearby.

exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay

 

 

The next day the streets looked no different, but were perfect for sightseeing.

We only passed by foreigners with cameras like us. After taking a walk of 2-3 km we found an open restaurant and ordered some cooked food. For dinner our small shop was the only option again. Was Purge 2 about to start soon?

Let the journey take you to  Buenos Aires – the fresh reality

As a whole we liked Montevideo. It is big, but not huge town with large squares and parks, a delightful alley for walks along the river and famous harbor where cruise ships from all over the world drop anchor. The traditions are entertaining. Maybe this is what people mean when they say they are going to bathe on New Year ’s Eve. However, on January 1 it looks like a bomb has been dropped. Long live the local shops, you know who you are!

exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay

Some things we left for the next visit. For example, in the market in the Old Town there were very appealing bars with huge appetizing grills. Sadly, we didn’t try them.

exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay
exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay

At Montevideo we arrived smoothly after 2 hours with a comfortable bus from Colonia. We are leaving here on a ferry to Buenos Aires, full of nice memories and experiences. Bye, Uruguay, see you again.

 

exciting celebration of New Year's Eve in Montevideo in Uruguay

 

This article was brought to you in English by Marta Petrova.

 

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12 Responses

  1. Sabs
    | Reply

    What a fun celebration New Years was! I also loved the view from the rooftop – perfect for viewing the fireworks!

    • Bistra Yakimova
      | Reply

      Being on the rooftop just opened new perspectives to us, towards the fireworks, the “singing” ships in the harbor…

  2. 33andfree.live
    | Reply

    Now this looks like a really fun New Years Eve! I have always wanted to travel here and it looks like it should be over the new year!

    • Bistra Yakimova
      | Reply

      In case you wonder where to spend New Year 2018 – Uruguay is just a great choice!

  3. It sounds like a real fun way to spend New Years – very South American: knowing how to enjoy life.

    • Bistra Yakimova
      | Reply

      At first we thought it’s a bit hostile but later we realized it’s a game and everyone means only good. South Americans are just lovely people!

  4. Looks like a wet and wild time! Never seen a new year celebrated with water guns and balloons, but I like it.

  5. John
    | Reply

    This looks like so much fun! I would love to ring in the new year like this!

  6. Stuart Forster
    | Reply

    I like the way your blog integrates video and photos. Nice work!

    • Bistra Yakimova
      | Reply

      Thank you, Stuart! We’re doing our best to present the amazing places we’ve been to! And the memorable experiences as well! 🙂

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