Even without Luis Suárez, whose biting ban from the last World Cup ended in March, the current national team have been near the top in South American qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Football tourism has taken off in Argentina, with a Boca Juniors game often featuring on must-see lists.

The highest point in the country is the Cerro Catedral (Mount Cathedral) at 1,685 feet (514 meters). Prominent bodies of water mark its limits on the east, south, and west, and even most of the boundary with Brazil follows small rivers.

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I facilitate and coordinate Wake Up Montevideo in Uruguay since a year and a half ago.

I started this group in 2014 with a strong determination to create space for the practice of mindfulness, a place to be ourselves and share with loving speech and deep listening because this is missing these days.

This provides for a respect for religious freedom and diversity nurturing a character of open–mindedness, for which Uruguayans are known.

The landscape features mostly rolling plains and low hill ranges (cuchillas) with a fertile coastal lowland, most of it grassland, ideal for cattle and sheep raising.

“Uruguayan football is a miracle”, my guide Nacho tells me, “we have less than three and a half million people and 15 Copas América – more than any other country – two Olympic titles, two World Cups… Brazil alone has over three million registered footballers… ” And it’s true: Uruguay is without any challengers the most successful footballing country in the world, per capita. OK, its last World Cup win was in 1950 – the Maracanazo, when it inflicted a Brazilian national disaster by winning in Rio – and the national team failed to make it past the group stages of last month’s Copa América (the Americas’ version of the Euros) when they were beaten by Venezuela.

But Uruguay has continued to produce great players, and has never, ever been a soft touch.

Fanáticos Fútbol Tours is currently the country’s only specialist tour agency, run on a suitably Uruguayan personal scale by Nacho Beneditto and Franco Pérez.

With the aid of friends and local journalists, all football nuts, they provide a great insight to Uruguayan football culture.

It was a beautiful experience to be able to sit together and breathe together in the midst of the commotion at the time…