Friday, August 22, 2014

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A day trip visiting Montevideo, Uruguay




I even can't remember when it was the first time I travel to Montevideo, but every time I visit the city I can't avoid the sensation of arriving at a city that maintained its history. The very old buildings are the common view of this part of Montevideo, specially in the old town, where most of the architecture was built during the last decade of the XIX century and the first three decades of the XX century, pedestrian streets without any or very few shops are the sight that you have in the old town, but it is also very common to see art galleries, bars, and some restaurants.
Mercado del Puerto
Montevideo is the biggest city of Uruguay and it is its capital city, I visited other cities in Uruguay before like Punta del Este and Colonia, other two interesting but very different cities than Montevideo.

This last trip to Montevideo I wanted to know a little bit more about the city, as I always visited the city for work and had little time to move around, I decided I would take a day trip to walk around and visit some more places I didn't know.

The first thing I did when I arrived was to walk around the old town, I arrived at the city by ferry from Buenos Aires, so I went directly from the port terminal to a pedestrian street called Perez Castellano, just in front of the terminal, it's incredible how this part of the city looks like a ghost town, the very old buildings and almost no people in the streets made me wonder if I was going the right direction, I think this part of the city is undervalued by the people of Montevideo as it could be a very interesting tourist destination if there was more movement, you don't see much shops and people walking around although you have some pedestrian streets.
Perez Castellano pedestrian street

What surprised me was that you can find art galleries in this part of the city with some interesting works of local artists. There are also some restaurants and old bars, but it didn't feel safe to get inside those places, so I decided to continue walking. In this part of the city you will find some interesting old buildings like the Mercado del Puerto, I continued walking through Perez Castellano and found another pedestrian street called Sarandi, I walked along this street that takes you directly to the Plaza Independencia, and I can say this street is much more interesting, more markets and shops and nicer cafes and restaurants are in this street and you can see much more people walking around.
Sarandi pedestrian street


Before I reached the Plaza Independencia I stopped in the Plaza Constitución, I found a nice bar and had a nice cold local beer there, in this part of the old town I have to say you feel more safer, you have the old buildings but the place seems to be more attractive to the tourists and locals.
Plaza Constitución

Once I reached Plaza Independencia I knew I was in the city center, there are some interesting buildings like the Palacio Salvo here, a building that has the amazing story of having a twin building in Buenos Aires. Passing the Plaza Independencia it starts the 18 de Julio Avenue, a more commercial avenue, I got into a shop and while I was buying some souvenirs I asked the person in the shop what place I should was worth to visit, I told him that history and architecture are always interesting to me, so he told me to visit the old Carrasco Hotel, it was a little bit far from where I was, almost 15 km, but I decided to go, I took a bus that leaves you just in front of the hotel and has the advantage that you can know and see more of the city during the trip, besides it takes you only 30 minutes to go from the city center to Carrasco, the part of the city where the hotel is.
Palacio Salvo

Plaza Independencia

The Hotel is a very old building, nowadays it is a Sofitel Hotel, but it did not lose it charm and style, it was a very important Hotel and Casino in the old days, it remained closed for several years until the Sofitel Group bought it and reopened it. The Hotel is very luxurious and to stay there you have to think to spend almost 300 dollars per night. But the part of the city where the hotel is located is very nice, you have the hotel with a great view of the beach, you have restaurants, bars and in the summer it is a very populated part of the city.
Hotel and Casino Carrasco

Unfortunately the weather was not good and I didn't have more time to visit other locations in the city, but the trip was good for me to know a city that I have visited in several times and I really didn't know how beautiful it is, a city that preserves its history and deserves to be more known.

2 comments:

  1. How lovely it must be to be able to pop over to Uruguay just for a day! I've never been to anywhere in South America yet but would love to do so one day.

    I like architecture and history too. I think I would have enjoyed your whole walk.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment Mandy, Montevideo is a very nice city, it has its magic, like many other cities, and I think it is a totally different experience for someone used to travel to European cities. I love both, I visited European cities and also South American cities, and both have a lot to offer. I am sure you would have enjoyed the walk.

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