After a couple of hours on a bus we arrived in Montevideo, in the middle of what appeared to be a monsoon! The torrential conditions continued for nearly all of the time we were here, however we did manage to find a little window of time for some frantic exploring in between!
The nation’s capital is home to nearly half of Uruguay’s population and it stretches out for about 20km from it’s busy central port area. We were staying in the beachside Pocitos area which is apparently supposed to resemble Miami or Copacabana (clearly not during torrential rain). The beaches that line the coast around Montevideo are stunning, even in the rain. Apparently Argentinians, Brazilians amongst other south americans flock to Uruguay in the summer months to make the most of their numerous fantastic beaches.
During our short window of time with no rain we attempted to walk the 8 mile round trip along the seaside rambla trail from Pocitos to the city centre. A beautiful walk and only one or two torrential downpours along the way!
The architecture in the city is an intriguing juxtaposition of stunning art deco and neoclassical buildings alongside gigantic, old, worn out 60s office blocks. Crumbing Portuguese and Spanish colonial buildings next to modern skyscrapers!
Some beautiful graffiti art and tiling thrown in for good measure! Particularly along the rambla.
The central square – Plaza Independencia – is a good example of old world glamour mixed with more modern imposing architecture.
During some of the rain we managed to visit a couple of the city’s free museums, one focussing on government and politics and the other on the gaucho lifestyle.
Other must visit locations were the Mercado de la Abudancia, where food is served all day but weekend evening tango shows are the main draw. Also the Mercado del Puerto where meat and Parillas are king!
It was a shame about the weather when we were there but Montevideo’s charms were evident.
The people in Uruguay are very friendly and both the country and cities are beautiful and intriguing in equal measure – shame that for some reason everything in the country is pretty expensive, even by South American standards!
It was time for us to start an epic over 1000 mile journey south from Montevideo to northern Patagonia… taxi, bus, ferry, overnight bus and over 24 hours before our next proper bed! Wish us luck…