Uruguay, located between Argentina and Brazil, is one of the smallest countries in South America. Its geographical size is slightly larger than England and Wales combined, with a population of just over 3 million people (2 million of whom were on the white sand beaches today). Its coastline is beach lined, with rolling hills and grasslands in the north, similar to those in the Argentina pampas and southern Brazil. Long considered the most “European” of the South American countries, most of its people are of Spanish and Italian origin. Founded in 1726, Montevideo served to secure the area against Portuguese infiltration from Brazil. Large numbers of Spaniards and Italians migrated to the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, greatly influencing the city’s architecture, music and food.
I started the morning with the sunrise stretch program, followed by a 30 minute cardio session, and then joined Wayne for a 3 mile walk along the sixth deck of the ship. After our walk, and a late breakfast, we got off the ship and followed the little walking man and the green path.
As we entered into the city proper, the Uruguay tourism board had people to welcome us and give us a walking tour map of the city. We checked out the map, and it essentially mirrored our desired walking tour, so off we went. We started out on our walking tour of the old city by heading to Plaza Zabala. There was a magnificent statue honoring Bruno Mauricio Zabala, who founded as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento. Not only was there a wonderful statue, there was also a hair coloring ad featuring McDreamy himself...
From there, we headed through the Sarandi Pedestrian Street Shopping Mall to the Plaza Constitucion. The plaza, filled with dozens of vendors stalls, is surrounded by the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Gurvich Art Gallery, and the Town Hall Museum, which was the governors old house. Also known as the building of the Kabyle and Royal Prison, it is one of the most representative colonial monuments of the country, declared a historical monument. It houses a collection of documents and period furnishings.
From there, we continued on to Plaza Independcia, which was surrounded by magnificent architecture, with the exception of the ugly, red Radisson building. The plaza is entered through the gate of the original citadel of Montevideo, Puerta de la Ciudadela. It is flanked by the Solis Theater, the Torres Garcia Museum, and the Museum of the Presidents of Uruguay (also known as the Former National Government Office “Jose Artigas”).
From there, we headed back down to our point of origin, a street filled with vendors, restaurants, and people. We had an absolutely lovely lunch at Don Tiburon in a converted former railway station, some of the best squid and kabobs we have ever had, and then headed back to the ship, setting sail with happy tummies. Mac lectures start tomorrow whilst we are out at sea!