A pedestrian street next to the main plaza
The bus ride getting here was a tad long at 5 hours, but this is our second to last bus so that knowledge made it more bareable. What did not made it more bareable was the movie "A Good Year" with Russel Crowe being a jerk running around the south of France ("making movies, singing songs, and fightin' 'round the world!"). Luckily for D he slept during the second half of the movie. Finding a place to stay was a chore since most places were booked, and thus we had to choose between an expensive institutional hostel and what looked like an ok hotel. So as usual we steered away from the HI (Hostelling International - very institutional) and went to the other place. Getting to the hotel was actually quite easy as Montevideo
is a pretty small capital city of 1.
Montevideo's first skycraper is either really interesting or horrendous, probably both
3 million people. The first night, and every night as it turned out, we went out to see a movie since Montevideo is famous for its cinema scene. We watched quite a depressing Argentinian film called "Nacido y Crecido" (Born and Raised), at a really old school cinema. Here we got our first hint of the aging population of Montevideo, as pretty much the entire theater was filled with gray hairs. For dinner we got some pizza which was actually quite good and we were off to catch some sleep. On Saturday we walked a bunch, pretty much covering the old city by foot. We hit the artisan market, the port, and a really nice coffee place located in a very hidden location. There we had a delicious tortilla and pita sandwich and an awesome spice cake (something with pepper and other unknown ingredients).
Cool 20s or 30s building
Then we went to relax at our hotel and resumed our walking around the city, headed back to the artisan market and bought a few things since now we are close enough to the end of our trip that we can carry stuff, and then headed to a cinema that was playing the film Zodiac. By the way, we had been trying to see this film for at least a month now, and as expected it was a grand old Hollywood time, really well filmed and edited (its over 2 and a half hours long, but it doesn't feel like it), and as usual we were youngest people by at least 20 years. The movie theater itself looked as old as the people. This is an aging city in every way. After the movie, we had heard that there was going to be love music and tango at some restaurants above the artisans market.
We went to check it out, picked the restaurant with the biggest grill, ordered the "youngest" meat on the menu, and drank a lot of house wine. All the while listening to live tango music and watching the locals (again all older people) dance beautifully and a little stiffly to the tango. In addition to the live band, there was an old school female singer, and a Spanish male singer that looked like a cartoon character who sang about "Viva Espana" - quite weird. After all the live music ended, some hip hop/regaee music came on and all the old people started grinding. Check please! We should mention that our hotel looked like it was built in 1968 and has not been touched or probably cleaned since then. When we arrived to the hotel late on Saturday night, our suspicions that the hotel was a bit seedy were confirmed as many "couples" were checking in at 1am (this place was dirt cheap). Also we noticed a sign on the door of our room that asked guests to keep their intimacies quiet in respect for the other guests. Niiiice. On Sunday, as expected everything was closed, so we went for a walk at a street market that took place in the new city. Instead of being a nice artisan´s market of antiques it was more of a market for odds and ends (read: 98% crap), but there we had some nice greasy food such as empanadas and choripan. We topped it off with a couple of sweet clementines to feel better about ourselves. Then we walked for a while through old houses and barroque buildings and decided to take a break at an internet caffe. When we got out it was cold, as in: I'm at the top of a snowy mountain, the wind is unbereable, and I'm naked - kind of cold. Well, we run to a cafe where we had "once" (eleven un Spanish, or snack time) and when we went outside again it was even worse. People running places trying to survive this polar BS. So we go looking for a movie theater, where we take shelter quickly, and we watch a Hollywood musical from the 50s called "An American in Paris." It was good old fashioned fun even though it was a bit cheesy at times. After the movie, we walked in the freezing cold and found a restaurants serving chivitos. We thought they were just beef sandwiches but as we came to find out later, they were actually baby goat sandwiches. Yummy. We went back to the hotel for what would be our last night at the seedy hotel. On Monday morning, we packed up and went to eat breakfast at this Irish cafe we had been dying to go to but was closed all weekend. The guy who owned it was a Uruguayian who had spent several years in Dublin. The coffee was amazing and we were not dissapointed. We hopped on the city bus to make our way to Colonia.