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, a private office building, and probably the most-photographed building in all of 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, complete with actual Uruguayans, and a McDonald's installed in the lower level of a beautiful building
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.
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.
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.
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.