It's a small world


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Published: September 30th 2017
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Some say Montevideo is a dump, but not in areas with architecture like this.
Geo: -34.8939, -56.1568

Another bad sleep - these beds are so short! The worst part is that because it's a bunk bed, my feet couldn't even hang off the edge of the bed. It was also hot, and when you shut off the light, it would continue to flicker every so often - pretty annoying when trying to fall asleep. One of the showers is also broken - so far, I'm not digging this place. The bar downstairs is kind of neat and offers free internet, but there aren't many places to sit.

Breakfast - stale bread, bad coffee, and some kind of spread that looked like messed-up peanut butter. I avoided it, because it looked quite sketchy. They did serve some pretty tasty gruyere-like cheese, but that was about it.

Off to the old town to sightsee - Montevideo is an interesting place, because there is a mix of beautifully restored and maintained buildings, with some dumpy ones. You might see a gorgeous example of architecture, and right next to it will be a condemned building ready for demolition. It's a little bit odd, actually.

I wanted to see the Contemporary Art Museum, but it's not open until the
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Palacio Rinaldi - a little Art Deco.
afternoon, and I will be leaving for Punta del Este by then. They say that Uruguay is the most European of the South American countries, and so far I believe that - the number of hotties out today reminds me of Spain! Ah, Spain ... how I love you ...

The Museo Torres Garcia was a bit disappointing - apparently, he had worked with Antonio Gaudi, but I thought Garcia's work was pretty blah. There are some decent walking areas around Montevideo, the best being Puenta de la Ciudadela, a pedestrian street, with quite a bit of interesting architecture. Some of the buildings remind me of what you might find in Valencia: http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/pwong/euro-2007/1188353880/tpod.html#pbrowser/pwong/euro-2007/1188353880/filename=img_4046.jpg

There are a number of historical houses you can visit - I popped into the Casa Rivera, which wasn't all that interesting, but it was free! However, there was an exhibition on the indigenous people of Uruguay, which wasn't too bad.

I wandered down to the port for lunch, then started making my way back to the hostel. I wanted to see the Casa Lavalleja, but couldn't find it, and it was too hot to linger too long looking for it. I popped into the Museo Gurvich
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Palacio Salvo - they say it's visible from Palacio Barolo in Buenos Aires, also designed by the same architect. I can't see how that's possible.
- worth it just for the A/C! He was a disciple of Torres Garcia, but I found Gurvich's art to be much better. There were a few sculptures that can only be described as twisted, and in general, the exhibits were decent. The museum is worth a quick look, but not much more.

It was HOT walking back to the hostel - I detoured down to La Rambla, hoping that there would be a nice breeze to cool things off. There wasn't much, but at least it was acceptable for me to walk around without a shirt in that area.

I picked up my bag, and used the free internet to book a return ferry to BA, from Punta del Este. Unfortunately, all the good departure times were gone, so I'll be having to get up quite early when I leave Uruguay. This early-morning ferry was also one of the most expensive ones.

The bus station was packed - a lot of people head out to the beaches east of Montevideo for their holidays. It's a short bus ride to Punta, and the time passed quickly while I wrote in my journal. At the Punta bus station -
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Mausoleum of Artigas, an independence hero, in Plaza Independencia.
there was some promising talent! Spanish, perhaps?

The hostel gave instructions to take a bus from the station, and said to get off at stop #6. I discussed this with the driver, and he kind of nodded in agreement. Well, I expected the hostel to be quite far from town, but it turned out to be relatively close. None of the bus stops were actually numbered, and the bus didn't seem to stop at any of them, so I wasn't sure where the heck I was. I finally went up to the driver and asked, and he told me "Oh ... we passed that stop a while ago." Thanks!

A couple of old ladies that were also getting off told me we were at stop #11. As it turned out, it would have been a shorter walk from the bus station to the hostel, than the walk from where the bus let me off! I wished that the hostel had included a map of the area - from the bus station, it was maybe a twenty minute walk, and had I known, I probably would've just gone by foot.

I finally arrived at the hostel, called Roger's House. Another
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La Puerta de la Ciudadela - the last remaining part of the citadel that surrounded the old city.
lie - no A/C! And it was HOT inside. They also advertised as having lockers, but it was just a big armoire, with a couple of latches, one on each side, that you could potentially put a very small lock on. Rather useless, because my room slept 4-6 people, and there was only the one armoire. They probably put those armoires in just so they could say they had lockers on the website. At least the beds were pretty solid, but the mattresses were garbage. There was a nice Argentinean couple in my room, and they were absolutely freaking out about Iguazu falls - they sound pretty amazing!

I headed out to check out the town and the beach - it's pretty touristy and is a bit over-developed, but I kind of need a vacation from my vacation, and this will be a decent place to relax for a couple of nights, and maybe catch up on my sleep. I need some alone time, so a touristy place like this might actually be good for me, as I can just hide in a corner and do my own thing.

In town, I found a good-looking bakery and a
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Plaza Constitucion.
gelato shop - for future reference! I grabbed a meal at Vizio, having another chivito, and an OJ. I skipped the fries today, because things were a bit pricey. You can tell this is a tourist town, because the chivito cost a lot more than yesterday's, and wasn't even half as good.

It was nice to sit outside and people watch - the women here are bit like the women in Spain. In other words, the people watching was VERY enjoyable 😊 Pretty much everyone here is a tourist, but I wondered - are these Uruguayan tourists, or are they from BA? Most affluent people from BA come here for the holidays, while the blue-collared types stay in Argentina, and hit the beaches at Mar del Plata, instead. But either way, I don't care - some of the most beautiful women I have seen on this trip are here now, so no complaints!

It's quite windy and chilly here in the evenings, especially if you are walking along the ocean - I really could've used a jacket this evening. Walking along the main street here reminded me a bit of Los Cristianos, in the Canary Islands (see blog entry
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More architecture, this time from Montevideo's pedestrian zone.
entitled "Beautiful Torture: Almost as sweet as angel hair" http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/pwong/canaries-2007/1199575320/tpod.html ). But I like it here better, because instead of being full of pasty-white Northern European tourists, it's full of South American Tourists.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Northern Europeans - but when I was in the Canaries, there were more Northern Europeans than Spaniards around. I don't mind a touristy place so much, if it's full of tourists from the region. But of course ... I do have one exception - I'll take female Spanish tourists in any country, whether it be in the Baltic States, Scandinavia, or anywhere else in the world!

Heading out of the city centre, back towards the hostel, I noticed a couple of cute females walking along - I wondered if they were from Uruguay, or perhaps even Argentina, since they had more of a European look to them. This required further investigation ...

I walked past to get a closer look, and heard them speaking North American English - they were a bit lost, so being a gentleman, I offered to help 😊 Turns out we were all staying at the same place. Even more of a coincidence,
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Some art displayed around the old town, as part of an art walk.
they were both good ol' Canadian girls, and actually from Calgary!

I can't remember meeting any one from Calgary during my travels, before. If it has happened, it can't have been more than a couple of times. Of course, both girls live in the deep south, and I live way up in the north, so we might as well be living in Lethbridge and Airdrie.

Sara and Sam (hereafter referred to as the Calgary Cuties) have just started out their travels through South America, which should last about 6 weeks. Their plan is to finish up in Rio de Janeiro at the end of February, just in time for Carnaval.

We arrived back at the hostel, and I kid you not, the Calgary Cuties were hit on TWICE by hostel staff, during the time it took us to walk from the sidewalk up to the hostel's front door. Well, technically three times, if you count when I first talked to them, but that happened a five-minute walk away 😊 But with cuties like that, can you really blame a guy?

Back at the hostel - even more of a coincidence, as I was unpacking my bag in
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Some of Montevideo's dumpiness.
my dorm room. I hear "Well, it's a small world ..." and turn around to see Colin Mackay standing in the doorway! WTF???!!?? We used to work together at Tri Ocean, and a few months ago we had briefly discussed each other's itineraries, knowing that we would both be in South America at roughly the same time. Though we never discussed anything in detail, lo and behold, we run into each other all the way down here.

Colin was traveling with a few buddies, and they were headed out to the backyard for some beer but I declined, as all those recent bad sleeps were catching up to me. However ... I couldn't sleep since it was so hot in the room, and the room's window opened up to the noise of the backyard. After trying for quite some time, I said screw it, and went out to the backyard.

There was a pretty big group out there, with some Americans, some Argentineans, and group of Chilean girls that was traveling together. I wondered ... where were Chilean girls like THAT when I was in Chile??? We hung out for a while, then everybody decided to hit up
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Plaza Zabala - it was a nice spot and I wanted to relax there for a bit, but I saw the annoying Brazilian dude from the hostel. I snuck away from the plaza, and a friendly lady started chatting with me. I would've stuck around to chat with her for a bit, but was afraid that the annoying dude would spot me, so I left.
the bars - apparently, Colin and his crew have been lighting it up pretty hard, so far on this trip. This was my time to finally get some sleep, as it had cooled off enough to do so, and with everybody leaving, there would finally be some peace and quiet.


Additional photos below
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Palacio Taranco, which houses an art museum.
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Mercado del Puerto - they say that if you're in Montevideo, you need to come here and eat a grotesquely-huge steak. Pretty much all the restaurants there are of the BBQ variety - it's quite touristy, but they say the food is quite good. I came with intentions of gorging on a giant steak, but wasn't hungry enough.
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I spotted a lone empanada joint and decided to grab lunch there, since it had a big lineup of what appeared to be locals. Buying lunch here was funny - empanadas are 25 pesos each (about $1.25 CAD), but a Coke costs 55 pesos! I had two empanadas for lunch and the coke ended up accounting for half the cost of my meal.
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The empanadas were decent, but I still miss the dough that the old lady from La Serena made - still the best! The empanadas were fried, and one was filled with chicken, ham, and mushrooms. The other was ground beef, cheese, bacon, and egg - this one was the best of the two. Overall, a cheap, decent, and fast lunch.
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Bas relief outside of the BAnco La Caja Obrera - the banks are quite beautiful here, and are kept in mint condition.
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Another beautiful bank.
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Interesting - abandoned, boarded up, and covered in graffiti, this building would be magnificent if it was restored.
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Teatro Solis - I tried duplicating a beautiful picture in my guidebook, but it didn't turn out :(
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Painted slabs of concrete, along La Rambla.
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Montevideo's bus station - notice the girl with the net? Maybe she was trying to catch a Spanish senorita, like I was in the Canary Islands: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-photo/pwong/canaries-2007/1198797120/p1010748.jpg/tpod.html
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On the way to Punta del Este - Uruguay seems to have a lot of lovely young ladies handing out flyers and such.


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