A Travellerspoint blog

Last group game and The Amazon!

sunny 30 °C

Curitiba

20 June

We are staying in a gorgeous apartment with our host Luciano who is so, so nice! We are on the 22nd floor and have an incredible view of the city! We had an awesome sleep last night and lazed about this morning doing washing and catching up on emails.
Luciano had coffee and biscuits waiting for us when we woke up this morning even though he had left for work - so sweet!
Caught up with Athena, Benny and Alex around lunchtime and walked around the city of Curitiba which is really pretty, so much graffiti about the place making it really vibrant.
We walked and walked and ended our night at a churrasco restaurant called Jardim Grill. Man it was crazy. There is a buffet of salads, cured meats etc and then waiters come around with delicious meats for you to try. There were about 5 people at our table at one stage and we had to flip our traffic light to red so they would stop for a bit as we needed a break! Needless to say we rolled out of there!

22nd June
We spent today with Benny, Athena and Alex. We started at the Museo de Oscar Niemeyer (Brazilian architect) and then headed to the Jardim Botanico which was really lovely! We headed back to a market we had been to a couple of nights ago as I had to exchange a dress I had bought. I managed to change my dress for a different size in Portuguese! How I did that I don't know!?! We then met up with Rolo, Pat, Ian and David who had just got into Curitiba for dinner and watched the USA v Portugal game.

23rd June
Game Day!!!!
Today was jam packed but we had such an awesome day!
We met the gang early and headed to the stadium. This was by far the easiest walk and entry into a stadium we have experienced since being here! We were lucky enough to be sitting in the same row as Benny and Athena (that's 3 games in a row now) and they managed to swap seats so that we were sitting next to each other!
The game was terrible. We were seriously missing Cahill but we are still proud of the boys and their performance throughout the Cup. It's a little sad to think that the 3 games are already over...
After the game we headed to a restaurant to watch Brazil win over Camaroon which was awesome!
For dinner we all headed back to the Churrascaria we had been at a few nights before for a final family feast. After tonight most of us go our separate ways. We will catch up with Rolo, Pat, Ian and David in Rio for 1 day an we will also spend another 5 days or so with Benny and Athena but for now that's it folks...

24th June
Last day in Curitiba. We've really enjoyed our time in this city and Luciano (our host) has been really amazing. He has prepared coffee and biscuits for us every morning for us to have when we wake up. I just think that is so sweet!
We are now at the airport waiting for a flight to Brasilia and then we fly up to the north of Brazil (Manaus) to the Amazon! Apparently it's ridiculously hot and humid so let's see how we cope!

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Manaus

We arrived in Manaus pretty late. It was stinking hot and we got to Hotel Colonial only to have them put us in the one next door called Hotel Magnifico. Magnifico it wasn't. It was horrible but the guy on duty spoke no English and couldn't understand our Spanish so we had to put up with it for the night....

25th June

So we managed to sleep but got up really early to complain. We are paying a ridiculous amount ($200 a night) and the hotel they have put us in is pretty horrible. So we complained and they apologised and moved us back into the original hotel and also gave us a discount - phew.

After that was all sorted, we took a walk around town. Visited Teatro Amazona and had some lunch. We then caught a taxi to Praca El Dorado to watch the game (can't remember which one now) and have a couple of beers. It's so hot here that we have not stopped sweating since we landed!
Praca El Dorado was pretty cool. A whole street of outdoor bars set up with TV's hooked up so patrons can watch games outside - they have the right idea! We had a delicious Amazonian fish dinner before having an early night.

26th June
Amazon Day!

We were picked up at 8 am and taken to the tour office. From there, 10 of us were driven to the port when we jumped in a boat which took us to another little town. On the way there we saw 'the meeting of the waters', black (Rio Negro) and brown (Amazon River). For 6 km these rivers run side by side without mixing - that was very cool to see! From that town we drove into the jungle for about 40 mins, and then we hopped into another boat and headed into the 'Amazon'!
After being in the boat for about 30 mins, we arrived at the lodge which is 10x nicer than the hotel we stayed in the first night! We have a room and a hammock and we are with 10 or so other tourists that are all really lovely! The eclectic group consists of tourists from Denmark, the US, Canada, Iran, Dubai (UAE) and Australia!
We had a delicious lunch and then I had a snooze in the hammock while Yuri watched the game with the boys. Yes, they have cable in the middle of the Amazon! It kind of ruins the illusion doesn't it? There is no wifi though so that very cool status update I was going to post will need to wait a few days ;-).
This afternoon we are going piranha fishing and then Cayman spotting tonight. This is so freaking cool!
Oh and it's wet season and there is thunder going off in the background as I type - it's going to be an interesting nights sleep!

Our tour guide is Kenny and he is pretty awesome and speaks English. He says he has been working back to back since the World Cup started. The lodge we are staying at is owned by Nelson. He and his family live here and run this amazing lodge. Nelson is taking us piranha fishing soon!

We started out to do some fishing but came back 15 mins later as it started pelting down with rain ?. We are lazing about in hammocks waiting for the rain to stop before heading back out.

I was the only one of the group to catch a piranha! We spent about an hour doing that then came back to the lodge for dinner. After dinner we headed back out in the canoe to do some Cayman spotting. It was pitch black and pretty scary but Nelson caught a small one for us to all have a look at and then released the little guy back into the river. All in all a fantastic first day in the Amazon!

27th June
Up at 5:30 am to see the sunrise. It's so lovely and peaceful out in the water. Back to the lodge for breakfast then back in the canoe to semi dry land for a 3 hr trek through the jungle with Nelson. He made me a bracelet, fan and a crown from palms in the jungle. We had such an awesome time! We got back to the lodge to find a whole group of new tourists who had arrived while we were out. It's a little crowded here now and I wish they would go away ?.

In the afternoon we cruised around the Amazon for about 3 hours and what a crazy ride we had! We spotted birds and monkeys and then towards the end of our cruise Nelson spotted a sloth in a tree and climbed up to bring it down to the boat. Man that is one unattractive animal! I totally freaked out but Yuri held it. Nelson then put it back in the tree. We then went out to open water to watch the sunset and spotted some dolphins swimming about. Man I love it here!

We have both made some new friends here which has been loads of fun. Yuri has befriended 2 Dutch guys that are as passionate about football as he is. There is one guy that I have been calling Iran because I don't know what his name is and that's where he is from. He is hilarious. 60 years old and still going!

28th June
Last day in the Amazon ?.
We went to visit a local family today which was just incredible. 15 people live in this tiny little shack in the middle of nowhere. You know what though? They are incredibly happy.
When we got back Nelson managed to hook up the TV in the dining area so we could all watch Brazil v Chile together. What a terrible game. I'm so glad Brazil are through but boy are they lucky.
After that it was time to say goodbye to our new found friends and the Amazon. What a wonderful few days it has been!

We are now back in Manaus and fly out to Rio tomorrow ?.

29th June
We have finally arrived in Rio! We landed about 9:30 pm and headed to our apartment that we will call home for the next 2 weeks. I t's a cute little 1 bedroom, 2 blocks from Copacabana beach!
We caught up with the gang (Benny, Athena, Rolo, Henry, Romina, Pat, Dave and Ian) for a couple of drinks before calling it a night.

30th June

Happy Birthday Sandra!!!

We took it easy today. Went out for breakfast then dropped off some laundry and went for a bit of a walk. We caught up with Steph from work which was great and then had a final dinner with Rolo, Pat, Ian and Dave. It's a little sad that this part is over. It's just Yuri and I for a little while now till Benny and Athena get back to Rio!
So much to do and explore here. I can't wait ?.

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Posted by sandyandyuri 09:59 Archived in Brazil Tagged curitiba rio socceroos good_times Comments (0)

BRAZIL!!!!!!!

World Cup 2014!

9th June - Rio de Janeiro
For some reason Yuri and I were nervous and anxious about heading to Brazil - we just want to be there already!
We spent the better part of 2 days in airports making our way to Cuiaba. We flew from Buenos Aires direct to Rio. By the time we got to the hotel it was pretty late so we grabbed a quick dinner before having an early night.

10th June - Cuiaba
Back to the airport the next day where we flew from Rio to São Paulo then onto Cuiaba. By the time we got to Cuiaba it was quite late but we were greeted at the airport by Igor! I gor and I have been corresponding by email for months and it was really great to meet him in person! He organised for us to stay with the most amazing host family during our time in Cuiaba!

We got to the house to find Chris waiting for us - so bloody good to see him! We also met our host family Tania and Jesus (mum and dad), Heliza (daughter) and Julio (the brother). To describe this family as hospitable is not a generous enough word. They were absolutely brilliant and went out of their way to make us feel welcome ?.

We stayed up for a bit catching up with Chris then slept like babies.

11th June
It's so bloody hot here - it was 45 degrees today!
Benny and Athena joined us as Tania's house today and we had a pretty cool day (Chris was on a tour).
We had a very relaxing morning catching up over the magnificent breakfast spread that had been laid out for us by Tania and Heliza (they really are awesome)!. In the afternoon we headed to a shopping centre to get a Brazilian SIM card - boy that was an experience! Portugese is hard! We got there in the end though by playing charades and using google translate!

We then headed out to Mercado do Porto - we arrived to a market just selling produce - very different to what we were expecting! We needed beer stat so we walked around the market and found a little local "rancho" (outdoor, rustic restaurant) that we sat at for a couple of hours whilst drinking beer and eating some delicious fish. When Heliza picked us up and we told her that we had eaten there, she was shocked - she said "I have never eaten there! You are only supposed to buy produce from there." Oh well it was delicious and cheap ?
That night one of Heliza's friends Ariana came over who is also very lovely and can speak English. She runs a salon so Athena arranged for us to go and get manicures the next day!

12th June
The World Cup begins!

Athena and I had a crazy experience at the salon today. Through speaking several different languages and also using sign language we managed to get some awesome artwork painted on our nails! The girls there were fantastic and our hands were celebrities afterwards with several people wanting to take photos with is!

When we got home we got ready to go to the bar to watch the opening ceremony and game. The bar is literally across the road which is very convenient! The cost to get in is 150 reals for women ($75) and 200 reals for men ($100) for all you can drink and eat from 2 - 10 pm with a band after the match - crazy right?
Yuri and I had such a fun day with Chris, Athena, Benny, Heliza, Ariana and Liddy! The caipirinhas and beers were flowing! Yuri made friends with one of the waiters, Dede and he looked after us all night by replacing our drinks before they were finished because he didn't want us to have warm drinks, filling our food with snacks and organising a good spot for us to watch the band afterward - he was awesome!

13th June
Game day!!!!!

So the morning started with a camera crew at Tania's house wanting to film us!!! The link is on Facebook if you want to check it out! Heliza organised all of this for us! She told some poeple that she has some Aussies staying with her and all of a sudden we are being filmed!

Rolando, Pat, Ian, David, Manuel and Leo all arrived at the house just after that and the guys had arranged to play a game of football with some of the kids in the street so of course another film crew arrived to capture the game - hilarious - we are now famous in Brazil! The link to this is also on facebook!

We left for the game pretty soon after that, each of us wearing our australia colours and excitement in the air. We managed to get 2 tickets for Heliza and Liddy which was awesome and they were so appreciative! All the Brazilians we passed seem to be wanting Australia to win which was very sweet! So we all walked the the stadium together and then split up as our tickets were randomly allocated but coincidentally we were sitting in the same row as Benny and Athena - awesome!
We were devastated when Chile scored 2 goals within the first 10 mins or so but the boys came back and fought and did us proud!

After the game we all headed back to the house, had a few drinks and some dinner. Yuri and I needed to stay up all night as we had to leave for the airport at 3 am for a 5 am flight to Porto Alegre.
So sad to be leaving Cuiaba as the experience has just been amazing and the people here are just so generous and kind.

Here are some pics, our experience in Porto Alegre is below these pics....

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14th June - Porto Alegre
Porto Alegre is cold and raining but I'm kind of relieved as the heat in Cuiaba was insane. We arrived at the airport to meet Rosa and her mother Isabel who we are staying with. They are both lovely and speak English very well.
We were walking zombies but headed out to the shops to grab some food. We headed back home after the watched some football and then headed to bed.

15th June
First full day in Porto Alegre. Benny and Athena landed pretty early so we caught up with them around lunch time. We walked for a whole before we found a restaurant targeting tourists but we were too hungry to care. While we were there, a large group of people walked past protesting about FIFA and the World Cup. They hurled abuse at some Aussies in their jerseys which wasn't very nice. It was all in Portuguese so we didn't catch it all but we got the gist... We then spent the rest of the day walking around one of the markets where Benny found a couple of records. We ended the night at a cool little restaurant in the heart of the city to watch the Argentina v Bosnia game.

16th June
We discovered the Mercado Publico today and the best coffee I've ever had at Cafe do Mercado. We all went nuts over the "pingado" which is an espresso with a splash of milk - delicious! We then were reunited with Chris, Romina and Henry who coincidentally, were staying at the same hotel! We did a bit of walking around the city and ended up at the same restaurant as the night before for dinner. Miserable day weather wise but still a great day!

17th June
We all met at the Mercado Publico for a pingado before heading off for a massive walk along the water towards the fan fest and stadium. We were all getting a bit hungry about 3 hours into the walk when we passed the "Internacional" (Brazilian football team) training facilities. We saw a sign that said steak so Chris and Athena went to investigate! That restaurant was too expensive but they mentioned another place still inside the grounds and it turned out to be the best move ever! We ate lunch where the players do! We met some of the chauffeurs for FIFA and had a delicious lunch for $6! They invited us to come back the next day after the Australia match to watch Spain v Chile ??.
We then tried to get into the FIFA fan fest but it was way too chaotic and I started having a panic attack so we decided to find a bar somewhere else. BEST MOVE EVER!
We found this place that is usually a health food store who were charging 50 reais ($25) for all you can drink Caiparinia's and beers during the Brazil match! We all got pretty wasted and had the most amazing night! After the match there was dancing in the street and just happy people everywhere!
AWESOME DAY!

18th June - GAME DAY!
Watch a match! Bloody Timmy Cahil is a superstar and the whole team should be congratulated for a stellar effort. The atmosphere in the ground was electric and you should have heard the deafening cheers when we scored the 2 goals! There is a video on facebook that is very coool. Benny videoed out reaction after the penalty shot and it is gold!

After the game we headed back to the Internacional clubrooms for some food and to watch the Spain v Chile match.
one of our best days here!

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Posted by sandyandyuri 13:43 Archived in Brazil Tagged porto_alegre cuiabá wc2014 Comments (0)

Hasta Luego Argentina, ha sido impresionante!

See you later Argentina, it has been awesome!

sunny 15 °C

5th to 8th June
Our week in Buenos Aires has been amazing!
So much exploring and we have discovered so many different adorable nooks and crannies in this amazing city and this is our third time here!

We walked and walked and walked, ate meat, drank red wine, enjoyed a cafecito (coffee) and media luna (literally means half moon and is a croissant) most afternoons, ate more meat, visited San Telmo and Puerto Madero, drank red wine, ate pizza and pasta, visited Recoleta and La Boca, ate empanadas, ate meat and drank red wine - get the picture?

Everything is so cheap here and we have really lived like kings....

8th June
We have had a perfect last day in Buenos Aires!
We started in the suburb of La Boca - Caminito which is one of our favourite places here. It's a colourful place, full of life and of course the Bombonera stadium. We had a delicious lunch (of meat) and watched a Tango show before heading off to Recoleta - another favourite suburb of ours. On Sundays they have a funky market and street performers.

Today we have made sure to have all of our favourites from here - meat, empanadas, sweets and most importantly WINE! Man the wine is insane over here and I'm really going to miss it!

4 weeks in Argentina have flown by and we have enjoyed every single second! We started at the end of the world where we saw the Perito Moreno glacier and were totally in awe! We then made our way up north to Salta which totally captivated us and we then worked our way back down by bus stopping in Cordoba and Rosario before arriving back in Buenos Aires - sounds exhausting but it wasn't - it was freaking amazing!

And so the first chapter of this crazy adventure ends, we now have the World Cup ahead of us and we are Brazil bound tomorrow! Cannot wait for the craziness!

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Posted by sandyandyuri 17:19 Archived in Argentina Tagged wine meat malbec Comments (0)

Uruguay!

sunny 15 °C

We had just arrived in Uruguay when I last wrote and I had no idea what was ahead of us. What an amazing country! Yuri and I fell in love with this place - hard!

30 May
Pocitos (where we are staying) is pretty great! I liken it to St Kilda in Melbourne. We woke up refreshed and energised today and headed out for a walk along the beach. Gotta keep moving to keep all the wine and food off our hips - lol!

We headed to the Mercardo del Puerto for lunch today. Yuri has been wanting to come here for years after hearing about it from Marcelo and also seeing it on one of Anthony Bourdain's shows. It did not disappoint!
It's a madhouse full of different meat stalls/restaurants and it's pretty amazing! We headed to 'Estancia del Puerto' which was the place featured on the Anthony Bourdain episode from Uruguay. Yuri was in heaven and had no idea what to order! We asked the waiter what to get and we had the best piece of steak we've ever had - yummo! I have a feeling we'll be heading there a few more times before we leave ;-).
After the market we walked around the Ciudad Vieja (old town) - all in all a great first day here!

31 May
Today was an awesome day! We got up early again and took a walk along the beach which has been so soothing! We then hopped on a bus and headed to Colonia del Sacramento which is a 2 and a half hour bus ride from Montevideo.
What a picturesque little town which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and simply breathtaking! I hope the photos do it justice!
When we got back to Montevideo we headed out to have a birthday celebration dinner for Yuri at La Estada. It's not his birthday here yet but it is in Australia so why not!?! The food was amazing. Yuri had fish and I had raviole - delicious!
The waiter kindly informed us when we were ordering drinks that as an election was being held the next day, they weren't allowed to serve alcohol - crisis averted when he said that he would serve us and then keep our bottles behind the bar - classic!

1st June

Happy Birthday Yuri!

We woke to a glorious day and headed out for a brisk 7km walk. There is something about being by the water that has totally rejuvenated us!

We then headed back to Mercado del Puerto for a feast of meat at La Chacra del Puerto! Gosh it was delicious (fun fact: there are 3 times more cows than people in Uruguay!) It was election day and it seems that the no serving of alcohol alcohol rule doesn't apply to the mercado ;o)

2nd June
Out and about for another walk/jog along the beach. Yuri is teaching me how to run :-). Today is our last day here which is really disappointing as we are loving being by the water. We really did not expect to be so taken by this unassuming little country.
We spent the day exploring the suburb of Pocitos which was really nice. We acted like the tourists that we are posing for photos everywhere! We have been so lucky with the weather as the sun has been shining since Sunday!

3rd June
Sad to be leaving Uruguay as we have immensely enjoyed our time here!
Time to head back to BA though. 2 hr bus ride to Colonia then a 1 hr ferry ride over and we'll be there :-).

4th June
Back in good old Buenos Aires and I must say it is good to be here - feels like home! We are staying in a crazy apartment (the most space we have had since we left) in Palermo which is one of our favourite neighbourhoods :-). Went for a run this morning and then just roamed the streets after lunch. It's pretty cold and overcast here but somehow doesn't feel gloomy. Should be a great week!

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Posted by sandyandyuri 17:04 Archived in Uruguay Tagged meat Comments (0)

Salta, Cordoba, BA and now Uruguay!

sunny 15 °C

Last time I wrote, we were in Salta. Such a magical place that I would go back to time and time again if I could. We were only supposed to spend 2 days there but ended up staying a week! From Salta we moved onto Cordoba which was very underwhelming and not a single photo was taken there. It was nice enough, just no wow factor. After 4 days in Cordoba, we moved onto Rosario, the hometown of Che Guevara and Lionel Messi. Very beautiful city! From Rosario, we headed back to Buenos Aires for the night and now we are here in Uruguay - just like that!

18 May
Rest day in Salta, staying at Bloomers again. Not much to report.

19 May
Took a walk around this beautiful city. I love it so much here! Went to the bus station to check prices for Cordoba. They have what's called a "suite" which is pretty much a flat bed and food included for around $60 for a 13 hr bus ride - crazy huh? Guess which one we picked !?!?
We tried our first "panchos" today. Hot dogs with sauce and potato chips - very yummy! It cost us $3 for lunch!
Yuri went and got a massage in the afternoon and I had a siesta!

20 May
Today we spent some time visiting the sights of the city of Salta itself. We took a walk to the teleferico (cable car) and took the ride up to soak up the sites of Salta.
I'm loving the siestas here but Yuri almost had a panic attack when he couldn't find a pancho stand open! Crisis averted as we did find one. Yuri's goal is to have a pancho a day till we leave ;-).

We got over eating out about a week into the trip so we are incredibly lucky that the place we are staying in has a kitchen. We having been having steak and salad each night with wine and beer all for a total of $13!

It's our last night here which is sad as we have fallen in love with Salta. It was supposed to be only a 2 day stay and we have been here a week!
Salta's slogan is: "Tan Linda que te enamoras!" Which translates to "So beautiful, you fall in love"!

Put Salta on your list of places to see if you ever visit Argentina!

It's now Anna's birthday in Aus so we are waiting to give her a call. Happy Birthday Anna!

21 May
We spent a very cruisy last day in Salta before jumping on a bus to Cordoba that night.

22 May
This bus is amazing! I have just woken and it's the next day and there is only about 20 mins left till we get to Cordoba! These "suites" are amazing!

We are using airbnb for the first time and staying in an apartment! It's in a good location and has a balcony, wifi and cable tv. We are very comfortable! The most important thing is that we have a kitchen as we are very much over eating out.

We took a walk around and so far my impression of Cordoba is that it's just a city. I haven't been wowed yet.

We enjoyed a home cooked meal, had a couple of drinks and spoke to Eric and Anna before watching some tv before bed. Nice relaxing day!

23 May
I'm not feeling so great today so we are going to take it very easy. It's nice that we are in our own place and can afford to just chill out.

24 May
We headed to Alta Gracia today to check out the Ernesto 'Che' Guevara museum. We jumped on a bus and took a 1 hr tide to Alta Gracia. When we got there it was like a ghost town. We walked for about 20 mins to the museum and didn't see another soul or a car on the road. Very eerie. The museum is the Guevara families second home. They lived there from 1935-1937 and again from 1939-1943. It was very interesting reading about a life that I've heard so much of. Yuri had wanted to visit this place for years so I am very glad that we finally got here.

25 May
Last day in Cordoba and I must say I am glad to be leaving. There is nothing wrong with the city and the people are so, so lovely but there is nothing very exciting to do here.

Nevertheless we spent our last day exploring the city. The 25 May is Argentinian Revolution day or May Revolution day. It's tradition to spend the day with your family and eat 'locro' so that's exactly what we did! After about an hour of walking we found a cool little restaurant called La Nieta (the granddaughter) with a beautiful terrace overlooking the city. We spent the afternoon there enjoying some music and of course 'locro'. Locro is a stew of corn, beans, potato and a protein. It was delicious!

26 May
Today we are on the road again heading to Rosario. Only a 6 hour bus ride from Cordoba. Rosario is the home town of Che Guevara and Lionel Messi!

Rosario has been in the news a bit lately due to drug related violence however when we asked around we were assured that this was happening in the outskirts and not in the centre of town where we are staying.

We have only been here a few hours and already love the look and feel of the town. Let's see what tomorrow will bring!

27 May
We walked about 12 kms today exploring the city of Rosario! It really is a beautiful city and we enjoyed our time there. It's a very quaint town surrounded by a river so that's where we did most of our walking. It was actually quite warm so we were able to get the "arms" out for the first time this trip!

28 May
On another bus today to head back to BA for the night. We are staying at Riva Urban Lofts again. We have booked our ferry to Uruguay for tomorrow which is very exciting! It will be our first time there and we will also celebrate Yuri's Birthday whist there - yay!

29 May
We've left the craziness of BA and we are now in Montevideo, Uruguay! We hopped on a ferry to Colonia and then caught a bus to Montevideo - 4 hr trip in total and another stamp on the passport. It's our first time here which is pretty exciting! We are staying in a very cool apartment in Pocitos, just a few blocks from the beach. It's pretty cold so we won't be doing any swimming but just having the water there is kind of comforting.
To say I have been enjoying the Malbec wine in Argentina is an understatement. Now that I am in Uruguay, I am sampling (as I type) a Tannat which is delicious!E8196E492219AC681716E9021CCCD6E6.jpgE818B7F52219AC68177C9B09A377FB56.jpgE817EDB22219AC6817BBE988E9534A8A.jpgE8173AF92219AC68175FD0C35D1D01CB.jpgE8168A152219AC6817EDE3D791513A5A.jpgE815B2FA2219AC6817D53C4239C6A57B.jpgimage.jpg
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We are here till Tuesday, so let's see what Uruguay has to offer!

Posted by sandyandyuri 16:37 Archived in Argentina Tagged salta buenos_aires cordoba rosario montevideo Comments (0)

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