Today’s Montevideo weather forecast was for a maximum of 14 degrees and min of 9 degrees, so I left ‘home’ with a warmer layer, hoping it would be enough. It reached 18 degrees this afternoon, but the wind was straight from Antarctica and I wished I had taken my beanie. I do like the humidity here which is apparently more or less standard throughout the year – not too much and not as dry as Tasmania. I used the umbrella yesterday, but it wasn’t needed today.
This morning I travelled again on the hop on /hop off bus. The distances it covers are vast and way outside walking distance unless you simply walked in one direction only for the entire day and then back, at great cost to feet, legs and hips. This is why I believe this service is excellent – it provides the best coverage of any city that I have been to. Time did not permit me to get around the entire circuit again before my ticket expired, however it was useful to be told the same information again on the headphones – yesterday with an English speaker who sounded like their first language might be something from northern Europe, but today with a Spanish speaker doing his best with English pronunciation. There is so much to see and to appreciate. There is a great deal of dilapidation, deterioration, detritus, dirt and freely roaming dogs (compared with Buenos Aires where perhaps a dozen animals are on leashes attached to a dog walker – small dogs with one walker, large dogs with another walker).
I alighted at stop 2 because the indications were that a great number of museums were situated nearby– I could never find them. I walked into the imposing building known as Intendencia having no idea about its function. I learned it is a national government building where residents pay for various services; perhaps a bit like Service Tasmania but on a much larger scale. I was given directions to go down into the bowels along a corridor then up; I really didn’t understand but followed the suggestion. It was to a Mirador Panoramic. I took the lift to the 22nd floor and went outside. Around the edge of the building was a viewing platform from which visitors can take in views of the sprawling city of Montevideo. Photos of key landmark buildings, with information in three languages, are systematically set on the edge wall. This morning was one of blue sky with intermittent white cloud puffs, and the sun sparkled across the landscape. The wind found every crevice and, when standing in the wrong place, almost cut me in two. But it was very well presented, and I loved it. I was at the top of this building:
An example of what I read and saw:
Then later I found this but wasn’t allowed in – it’s a private building.
A city view:
Some port and river views – note that the port in the 2nd photo is where my ship to Antarctica will leave from (and no, the ship wasn’t yet in; my hotel is in walking distance from that departure point so many kms from this viewpoint):
When I left the Intendencia I plodded over to a church I had seen nearby but it was not open. Wandered a few blocks to the main drag – Av 18th Julio – and found another that was open and active; loved the painted ceilings.
Then I returned to the main Avenue 18th Julio and studied the architecture and tried to find some museums. Unsuccessful.
Gave up and settled into a café where I ordered Cannelloni with vegetables. Two pancakes wrapped minced – was that filling silver beet – vegetables, and the whole bowl was covered in Bechamel sauce and melted mozzarella. I ravenously gulped the greens.
I realise the photos make this dish look like a bowl of congealed fat – but the innards were hot and delicious.
I noted I had the time to race to the hop on/hop off bus again, and I arrived just in time before my early afternoon ticket expired. For the next hour and a half, I saw the same views seen yesterday, but by returning for a second look I felt more comfortable with the city and the options for sightseeing.
To Parque Rodo for the national Museum of the Belles Artes. Of course, of course, of course after making the effort and walking more kms – most of the gallery was in shut down in preparation for a massive new exhibition and there were only two small spaces to look at the work of one Uruguayan artist whose prime was the 1960s-70s. Non-descript building and I didn’t take any photos.
Took a local bus to the river edge for the Castille Pittamiglio and found it wouldn’t open until after 5pm. But did learn that the eccentric building contained only alchemist symbols not masonic ones that the guide books claimed – thought this might have been interesting because Dad was a Mason.
Wandered along the river foreshore after watching a small two vehicle accident. Prime real estate with expensive high rises lining the river ‘coastline’.
Walked to the large modern Punta Carretas shopping centre but couldn’t think of a reason to enter. It was all built on the land where the main gaol used to be but there were no historic remnants. Continued beyond until I caught another local bus back to the central area near Independencia Square. Looked for and found the Korean restaurant which I had noted from a bus earlier in the day – and thought maybe I might get some not-barbequed nor grilled food there. Of course, of course, of course – I found it shut and that it wouldn’t open until later this evening. May try for lunch before 3pm tomorrow.
Walked back to the old city and looked for vegetables. Not many in sight. Uruguayans seem to eat lots of fruit.
Wandered into a butcher to have a look at the meat.
Once opposite my hotel went into the Cabana Veronica restaurant frequented last night; ordered a Morcilla Dulce which may disgust most if not all blog readers. It is a local delicacy so I thought to give it a go in the absence of a bowl of vegetables.
Rich and cholesterol packed with a creamy texture from all the fat, but eminently tasty. Especially with the chimichurri spread across. Still had the half bottle of wine from last night to finish it off. Can you think of a less healthy ‘meal’?
Once back in my room I surprised a mosquito; when I squashed it, blood smeared the walls. Whose blood? Not the Morcilla Dulce’s!