Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Montevideo, the places you'll see.

There are many things to love about Uruguay. For one thing, the capital city is mostly safe, very pedestrian-friendly, pretty easy to get around by foot, bus and taxi (and the taxi drivers are unerringly honest).

Montevideo captured my heart, but I already knew it would, especially since I'd been there once before, in early 2005. I have a thing for architecture, and for snapping pictures of people walking in the street. Montevideo delivered on both fronts. You've already seen my favorite here, but here are just a few more shots of Montevideo on the "they built it" front. I have often lamented that I don't record sound (though this may change) and that the computer is not scratch-and-sniff. In this case, you can pretty much imagine the sounds, small city rustle and grind, with not a ton of horn-honking, but more than you'd get in Santiago, which is relatively silent on this front. What you will not get, due to the smell-lessness of the computer is the colossal stink of urine that followed us down most minor streets. Uruguay's been in drought conditions, and let me tell you, they could really use a good, pee-cleaning rain in Montevideo. Sorry Monty, you know I love you. But the eau-de-human voiding? It reeks.

So, with no more blasting of the city that drank too much mate, here's some of what you're "supposed" to see when you go to Montevideo. And which I felt lucky to catch glimpses of, this time with MamaJ in tow.

Palacio Salvo, the most photographed building in montevideo!
Palacio Salvo, a private office building, and probably the most-photographed building in all of Montevideo.

suspension bridge, montevideo
This is technically not on the must-snap list of Montevideo, but it's a suspension bridge we went under on the way from the airport to the city, and it's a gorgeous example, in my humble, non-bridge expert opinion. It also looks alot like this famous bridge I made my friend in Sao Paulo crazy about until she took me there to take pictures of it.

streetscape, Montevideo, with McDonalds
streetscape, complete with actual Uruguayans, and a McDonald's installed in the lower level of a beautiful building

Artigas' tomb
Artigas' tomb, across from the Palacio Salvo, in a plaza. Artigas is Uruguay's hero, and you can see they take him very seriously. The underground mausoleum was creepy and reverent at the same time. It was, thankfully, odorless.

Mercado del puerto
Here's the mercado del puerto, or port market, where you're supposed to eat when you're in the old town. Dutiful tourists that we are, we complied, and were stuffed to the gills with delicious nibbles. I had a cazuela de pescado, which is a fish stew, cooked together with onions, tomatoes and the ubiquitous (in Uruguay) red peppers, and it was delectable, and enormous. But I'm pretty sure you're supposed to eat meat when you go here. I hope I, a pescavarian for the last couple of decades (except when I was vegan) will be forgiven.

museo de la moneda y del gaucho
This is one of several free museums in the old town, El museo de la moneda y del gaucho, or the coin and cowboy museum (They should totally hire me to do their translations, look how cute I made that sound, I could have said "museum of money and cowboys, or any of a number of other things). Here I have to make an excuse. I'm not a big fan of taking pictures in museums, but this one kind of passed muster. The collection of mates (mate-drinking gourds, in this case, silver-plated) on the second floor was amazing, but owing to a tired mom and middling indoor photography skills, you'll have to trust me on this one or go see it yourself.

rambla before sunset
This is the rambla, or riverfront, a 22-km stretch of pedestrian-friendly concrete walkway next to the river, before sunset. If I lived in Montevideo, I hope I would be one of those people that made it a priority to walk out on this piece of urban heaven every single day.

Tomorrow: the side of Montevideo you'd have to go there (or read this blog) to see. People 'n stuff.

6 comments:

Nightcruzer said...

Very beautiful and interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Katie said...

Very nice photos. I particularly liked the one of Artigas' tomb. You captured the mood nicely.

Margaret said...

So, are you getting a commission from travel agents? I'd never given much thought to going, but I think you just convinced me!

Eileen said...

@ Margaret, nope no commission, and not really a photog, either (in response to your previous comment). It's pretty much a complete change of pace from Santiago, very different look, very different people, etc. It was hard to put my finger on the pulse, we mostly just skimmed the surface of the place, though we did (well I did) talk to lots of people on the street. It's taken me five years to know what I know about Chile, and I wanted that level of understanding instantaneously about Uruguay. No such luck though. More to discover later!

Kim said...

Have been to Montevideo once but look forward to a more leisurely visit in July. I love the idea of some fresh fish. Not getting any here, as far inland as we are (province of Cordoba) and one DOES get tired of beef. *sigh* Enjoyed your photos and now have an idea of some places to check out :)

Eileen said...

Kim, for even more seafoody delights, I definitely recommend Chile, especially if you like shellfish. There's some wild stuff over here. But Montevideo's much cheaper and more manageable than Santiago. Sadly it seems the whole time I was in Córdoba province all I ate was cheese sandwiches and some fruit, but that is often the case when I travel and can't find vegetarian-friendly nibbles.