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Montevideo

April 12, 2018

I hadn't really planned to come to Montevideo on this trip. Frankly I knew basically nothing about the city...much less Uruguay. But, it's just an hour by ferry and two hours by bus from Buenos Aires, so what the heck, why not? I spent a week in the "Old City", which features the most beautiful buildings from the colonial era (although Montevideo is a relatively young city by South America standards, being founded in the early 1700s).  More specifically, I was staying in "aduana", or the port area.  This area swells visitors during the day, followed by a mass exodus of those same visitors at night.  By 8 pm, the streets are quite lonely, with perhaps 50% of the people you come across being homeless (interestingly, one homeless guy in particular had a birthday on back to back nights! I did not buy him a beer lol).  

 

There's a great market near the port. You can always find sailors dining here.

 

As in Argentina, beef is king here.
 

This is the chivito, Uruguay's national dish.  It's a sandwich containing a thin slice of tender beef steak, along with mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, ham, and a fried egg.

 

Montevideo, and Uruguay in general, has one of the highest standards of living in South America. It's also one of the most expensive.  As a measure to attract tourism, there is a law here (ley 18999) which eliminates the value-added tax (18% here) placed on most goods if you pay with a foreign credit card. However, only 50% of shops will accept credit cards, and often they don't give the discount regardless, relying on accounting gimmicks to reclassify your purchase to a category that's exempt. Every now and then you get lucky, but I found it frustrating to be effectively robbed on a daily basis here.

 

Much like Cartagena, Montevideo used to be a walled off fortress (most of the walls have been taken down).  My question: why is the cannon pointed at the city and not the sea?

 

Not much remains of the old fortress, this is a recreation.

 

This is the old entrance to the fortress. Today it's the gateway to Independence Plaza (see below).

 

Independence Plaza. There are several cheap AirBnBs in that tall building in the background, but they don't have kitchens so I passed.

 

There are some nice parks here, a few of which even have exercise equipment.

And on the weekends you might catch a show there.

 

I guess this is making some statement about how we can't just immerse ourselves in a moment and enjoy it.

 

 

Ciudad Vieja has been on the decline for several decades, though the city is starting to turn it around by turning the area into a nightlife hotspot.  For now, some of the buildings are in disrepair.

 

 I can't recall seeing sponsored street signs anywhere else in my travels.

 

Teatro Solis. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sex sells.

 

 

You can see the sea in the distance.

 

 

 

Communist propaganda, something I only saw in this one spot.

 

Stumbled upon an air show while walking around.

 

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