Meandering around Montevideo
Montevideo Travel Blog› entry 90 of 177 › view all entries
Had a great day today, wandered around much of Montevideo and caught up with a dear friend. We caught the bus into the centre, to a couple of blocks from the Plaza Independencia, and then walked up the last couple of streets to the Plaza along Av. 18 de Julio. This is the main commercial street of Montevideo, and is home to every sort of shop you can imagine, plus some nice little plazas. The plazas in South America are always very well looked after and a lovely place to take a break from the hustle and bustle. We stopped for a coffee in a little cafe, and got the biggest fruit and milk smoothie we´ve ever seen. It was for one, but the tall glass came full and then you got the rest of the jug - in all, we got over 4 glasses out of the serve, so very good value at around A$3! Also looked at a couple of the nearby tourist tat shops, lots of ideas for our souvenirs.
We then crossed onto the Plaza Independencia to have a look at the Mausoleum of Artigas, which is built underneath the huge statue of him on a horse. The mausoleum is a big cavern with very low lighting, with a large urn in the centre rear containing Artigas´ashes which is flanked by two guards. It is quite a solemn place.
Passed around the gate into the Ciudad Vieja (which is being renovated and therefore covered in scaffolding) and ambled along the pedestrian street which runs quite a few blocks down towards the port. The street is lined with beautiful shops and art galleries, and lots of very nice looking restaurants. This looks like quite an expensive area, but very nice to wander through.
By this time, we were ready to walk back up to the Plaza to meet Melissa´s dear friend, Ignacio, from 21 years ago. It was wonderful to catch up with him again, and we spent much time reminiscing and laughing about old times. Luckily Ignacio speaks very good English so Noel didn´t feel too left out! We went to a little bar/cafe, bought a bottle of wine (OK, two!) and a platter of food and spent the next 3 hours remembering the exploits of our younger years - fantastic afternoon.
We then walked further down 18 de Julio, past little antique shops and big department stores and caught the bus home. We had a very helpful driver who spoke a little English and dropped us off right in front of the apartment we are staying in. He slowed down on the Rambla to see the numbers so we would get off at the right spot - people here are so friendly and helpful, it really is just like coming home.