Alarm rings to wake us up at 5:30 AM in the morning, quick shower and Uber to Buquebus to catch our ferry to a new country and the most southern Capital of Latin America: Montevideo, Uruguay!
Immigration was quite unique, same booth there was someone from Argentina checking you out and Uruguay to check you in.
Once entering the ferry we needed to put on lab socks for our shoes, it was like walking into a big clean room. The ferry is quite huge, with a bar, a duty free including Victoria Secret, cafeteria and two floors. After a 2,5 hours boat ride, and a comfy nap, we arrived. There is an ATM at the station, so no need to exchange at the ferry itself.
We took a cab to Plaza Indepencia, which was very expensive (200).
We were just on time for the free walking tour. Out of 3.4 million people living in Uruguay, 1.5 million live in Montevideo. Most important export is cows, 12 million of them who are grazing the lands of Uruguay! The city was created by the Spanish to control the river plate river
in the year 1724 , seen as the entrance to the continent. In the year 1810 the revolution started for independence, after Napoleon invaded Spain. Jose Artigas has his statue is on the plaza in memory of this event. 18/7/1830 was the constitution of independence after several wars.
The old government house (now a museum), the presidents building, and salvos palace (used to be just a coffee shop with one store, but they made a hotel which created this building which was the tallest building for seven years in Latin America) are all located next to the plaza.
Underneath the 1923 statue, ashes of Arigas are stored since 1977 and open for public since 7 years. There are two guards guarding the ashes, guard change every hour and open until 18 pm.
We walked through the old city wall gate that remained to the old town. The gate got moved a bit, and only middle part is original. Used to have a draw bridge, that is why the lines which was place for the chains. The street has tiles with a sun on it and mames of famous football players and other celebrities. Just two suns are not Uruguayan, Nelson Mandela and the Rolling Stones because they visited the country three years ago.
The museo torres garcía is located here, who helped the Sangrada familia. A lot of souvenirs in his style can be found here.
The first square of Uruguay is Iura de la Constiution, or Plaza Matriz, named by the church next to it. A former prison and law building is also located there, now a museum with free entrance. You see some spelling mistakes on the fountain (indipendiente and costitucion). You see a lot of birds drinking straight from the fountain.
88% of the people have european ancestors, 1% native rest African. Lot of Italian immigrants explain the Italian style building.
Cathedral of Montevideo changed throughout the centuries. Only 50 percent is catholic, lowest in Latin America, around 40 percent is atheist. The cathedral is also quite nice inside.
Next stop oldest coffeeshop of Montevideo, cafe brasilero dating from 1877, named after Brasilian coffee when Uruguay experienced coffee. Writer (Mirra) wrote book here who predicted a lot about the effects of dictatorship. There is a coffee named after him. Atmosphere is from that time.
Next square is Bruno Maurico de Zavala, founder of Montevideo. His statue is in the middle of it. After visiting Europe he made a lot of things, like the port, public. Adjusted rights for holidays, insurance, retirement, rights for women etc, 102 years ago. He separated state from church. Public was forbidden to have religious images, state doesn’t teach religion. Public education free, that is why Catholics are not present that strongly here. Three laws that have been made in the past years, legal abortion, gay marriage, cannabis legal, makes Uruguay a very free minded country.
Last stop, the market of the port building from 1868 used to sell stuff for laborers, no fish everything meat. Can buy souvenirs here, built from metal coming from Liverpool.
The Curioso free tour ended, and we said goodbye to Florencia and the rest of the tourists.
We decided to eat at the market, El Palenque. Here they smoke the meat with the ashes of wood. You see different barbecues like that in the whole market. The meat was a bit more expensive, between 500/1000 depending what you want, but worth it! I had the Picanha (620 pesos), piece of meat with fat around it, Sam had Asado de Tira (620 pesos) which was a huge rib steak.
After that we walked to La Rambla, the boulevard next to the sea for a great view on the city. Passing the holy trinity church and a reconstruction of a canon and walked up to the Mural del Dique Maua, a large graffiti art covering an old building near the port portraying sea life.
Got to a local pastry shop and ate some Alpino cakes, sweet cake with cream around and I had peach, Sam chocolate strawberry. Was good and just 70 pesos for a good piece of cake. Also bought two empanadas to go.
After that watched champions league in Baika craft beers bar, with a lot of variety of special beers from Uruguay!
After that a short walk to the port, same idea again getting exit stamp Uruguay and entrance Argentina there, 2,5 hours of ferry ride before we were back to Buenos Aires for our last night there. Tomorrow, Iguazu!