In the States we are often so desperate for a sense of history and culture, and yet everywhere you turn in Uruguay is another example of beautiful old architecture – without anyone to see it! Nowhere is this more evident than in the sleepy coastal town of Piriapolis. Quite empty during our visit, its grand name hints at its grand history: developed around the 1920s by Francisco Piria, it was the original “it” resort destination in Uruguay before Punta del Este. With its wide beach promenade and Belle Epoque-era buildings, it was known as the Cannes of South America. Even more interesting: Piria was an alchemist who designed the town based on precise geometric principles to properly align energies. Or something like that. While I didn’t feel “reenergized,” I did enjoy the palatial Argentino Hotel, a throwback to a much more glamourous time.