Somewhere down the lazy river

Carmelo Travel Blog

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There. You are holding my whole country. Now, can YOU see the airport?

“Senoras, you hop in while I stuff your cases in the nose.”


And with that we were on our way across the Rio de la Plata, to the Four Seasons Resort Carmelo.


Of course Captain Ramon had flown this path so often that actually watching where he was going was completely unnecessary. He seemed to do it on a telepathic version of cruise control …. with one hand on the wheel and the other waving this way and that to direct our attention, and his head turned around to talk with us the entire time.

He operated the aircraft with knowing ease.

The wide angle lens distorts the edges, but it is the only way to get all of the suite in one shot
On a voyage of only 20 minutes he managed to enthrall us with the entire history, geography and love of his home country, Uruguay.

In no time at all we had been lifted out of the bustling metropolis of Buenos Aires to a dirt runway among ranch fields which he called Carmelo’s International Airport. The horses in the adjoining field watched us deplane. A short ride later we arrived at the wooded paradise that was to be our home for the next three days . Lying along the broad bank of the great ‘river of silver’, shielded by sky-high stands of pine and eucalyptus is this wonder. This lodge of soaring ceilings, sensuous aromas and expansive views was ours to explore.  Sipping on cups of chilled lemongrass, lime and mint lemonade, we were taken down an open air corridor to our jaw-dropping bi-level suite made of polished wood floors, soft granite walls and those ‘oh-so-glorious’ Four Seasons beds.

dried pine needles cover the whole of the forest floor
The lower patio opened out to a sweeping vista of the beach. And that is where we headed first.


A walk in the woods, a visit to the paddock and a long cool drink by the pool got us into the mood of resort living, while Andrea put together a suggested activity plan for the next few days. We reviewed, we dined, we let the evening light sink into the sparkle of the stars.


Day 2

This pastoral state has a colourful history. Lying, as it does, within the delta of two great continental rivers it was tossed back and forth between the endless tummults of the Spanish and Portuguese over the centuries ��" with an occasional British respite from time to time.

the resort pool sits between the lodge and the river beach
And the historic town of Colonia shows the marks of every occupier’s intent in its interweaving architecture. A hacienda begun in the low frame, stone and tiled roofs style of the Portuguese ��" then finished with the Spanish style brick, flat tops and towering doors of highly polished wood.. Within each close fitted neighborhood the streets would alternate  between the endless argument of concave versus convex, stone versus brick, walled in or opened up … … The  resulting joy of this dispute is the fact that neither thought to tear the others work out, rather they just continued with what they ‘knew’ was the right way . And about ten years ago UNESCO stopped the argument and any possibility of alteration by declaring this a ‘world heritage site’. It shall be preserved forever more as it was created.

And that is just fine with us.


This journey into history was hosted by Fernando in his vintage Lincoln limousine, ( one of his four antique cars),  and his larger than life personality.

the afternoon sun hits a modern sculpture
A fascinating man who, six years ago on a trip from his home in Montevideo, saw the potential of bringing the magic history of this rural eden to life for visitors. He brought  the caravan of cars, the energy of an entrepreneur, and the history of European conquests right next to the Four Seasons ��" and the guests have been the beneficiaries ever since.  Oh, and he also knows the best places to shop, and shop, and ��" you guessed it  - shop. WE didn’t disappoint him, or us for that matter.

The afternoon was spent touring Irurtia, a private winery, resting for severa wine l tastings ��" and samples of their home made cheeses. Both of which were bloody fantastic. And after meeting Dante, the eighty year old founder, and still hands on operator ��" who looked half that age ��" - they were obviously damn healthy too! We resolved to eat cheese and drink wine with religious discipline.

down in the caves of the wine tour, in their private tasting room
 Wow a day can really fly by when you are hanging out with Fernando. It hardly seemed possible that it was time for dinner ��" and our last adventure of the day…  a private feast at the nearby farm of the Narbona family. Dinner from the garden, cheese from the goats, wine from the vines and dolche de leche from heaven itself… all served under a bouganvillia trellis, on the tiled verandah of their home.  


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photo by: jthreasher