Uruguay – A beautiful oasis

Buenos Aires just didn’t click for us in our first few days. It was just too big a city, with lots of homeless people and police everywhere. So we took the buquebus, a high speed ferry, to Montevideo in Uruguay. This is not a cheap way to travel as it cost $688.35CAD for all of five of us. They had half of the boat dedicated to duty free sales in USD. Some good deals but none that we could partake as you had to buy 3 or 4 items to make it worthwhile. It was a great destination and lots of fun.

Flag of Uruguay

Montevideo

We arrived in the early evening just before sunset. Pelted with sand and grit as we walked through a wind storm to our hotel.  We stayed the two nights at the Holiday Inn Montevideo which was a charming hotel with breakfast included. Ben and Emma were not hungry so Colleen, Hannah and I went out for a quick bite at the Dabubio Azul restaurant right next door. Very friendly waiter who helped us pick our meal. Just think grilled meat, Russian potato salad, French fries, beer for me and wine for Colleen.

The meat cooked over a wood fire grill and tasted awesome.

 

A veritable feast of meat – chicken, steak, sausage, blood sausage and tripe

Two days later we moved hotels to the Four Points by Sheraton to take advantage of our platinum status (suite upgrade).  No lounge but the location and the staff were equally good including the restaurant waiter who lived twenty years in Brampton.

Key Sites to see in Montevideo

Plaza Fabini, or Plaza del Entrevero, is a square of the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo. The main fountain has a big bronze sculpture of José Belloni called El Entrevero (the Struggle)
General Artigas (1764-1850) considered the Father of Uruguay. Buried in the Plaza Independence which is below this statue
Where there is a hawk there are no pigeons. The artists at the Museum of Decorative arts combat pigeon poop old style!
Canadian Embassy off of the Plaza Independence
Palacio Salvo designed by Italian Mario Palanti and finished in 1928. Originally designed to be a hotel it is a mixture of apartments and offices. Looks to me like they better call – Ghostbusters?
Police in Montevideo riding the Segway
Holy Trinity Church, Anglican Church, built early 20th Century on the Rio de la Plata
Ben along the boardwalk of the Rio de la Plata
View of the Downtown area from the boardwalk. Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters …
Every 100m on the boardwalk they have these metal signs on the ground that show prehistoric animals, shells, birds that were indigenous to the area with a brief description. Great idea for keeping tired ten year old kids engaged on a long walk …
Colleen and Hannah hamming it up in our suite at the Four Seasons. Lunch is deli meat on a baguette with cheese

 

Where are we?
Capitan General Bruno Mauricio de Zabala (1682-1736) fought against pirates along the Rio de la Plata and established the fortress that would become modern Montevideo

 

Playa de Los Pocitos – We took a morning to walking through the city and stroll along the beach. Beautiful little houses and condos including the Russian embassy

Colonia Del Sacremento

Founded in 1680, Colonia Del Sacramento, is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay and it’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We took the bus from Montevideo to Colonia for $81.45CAD in a very comfortable bus.  Stopping everywhere, the milk run, including picking up little kids going home from school.  It was neat to see the local side of life.

To maximize our platinum status we stayed at the Sheraton Golf and Spa Resort.  The rooms (suite upgrades for both rooms) and the view made up for the 6km walk into town.

Enjoying a break in the walk into town
A neighbour at the Resort. Stay off the grass …
El Palacio Restaurant – Chivitos – a local dish wish consists of french fries, Russian potato salad, cheese, onions, pickled vegetables, steak and a fried egg – very tasty so we went back for a second time.

 

Inside El Palacio – License Plates from around the World – Can you find Canada?

The Old Quarter

A wall mural showing both sides of the River de la Plata – Buenos Aires on one side and Colonia Del Sacramento on the other
Colonial house in the old city
Hannah with flowers in bloom
Hannah, Emma and Ben enjoying a brief rest
Emma trying to pose naturally
One of the original streets
house on the corner of the Calle de los Suspiros from the first colonial time period
Original Street with drainage down the centre. Called Calle de los Suspiros or the Street of Sighs – named for one of two reasons – the wind makes a sighing sound when it rolls through the street or it could be the sighs from the customers when the street housed brothels
Colleen and Ben stand on the original wall
The original gate to the City rebuilt in 1971
Rob in front of the rebuilt City Gate
Original lighthouse built in the 1850s
Walking down the cobbled streets …

Back to Argentina

We loved Uruguay and would stay longer but it is a little more expensive and we saw what we wanted to see. Colleen booked the buquebus (high speed ferry) back to Buenos Aires but a combination of errors like the system only allows booking four passengers at once meant that we had to split up, or so we thought. When we arrived at the ferry terminal the buquebus agent had no issue in selling us another ticket so we wasted the ‘just in case ticket’ from another ferry line which was the equivalent of two cases of beer off my allotment when I return to Ottawa – ouch!

We walked to the bus station from the marina to pick up an overnight bus to Cordoba.  But that is our next post ….

 

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