World Cruise with Bridget & Ian travel blog




Still quite windy and it is impressive to see the crew steer a 90,000 ton cruise ship up a narrow passage before mooring sideways to the quay without the help of any tugs.

We get off the ship just after 11am. The first thing Ian sees is the range finder and anchor from the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee, he gets very excited and I can only get him to walk on by promising he can spend as long looking at it all as he wants when we get back from our exploring.

The hop on hop off bus is full and we are going to have to wait an hour for the next one to become available so we look to the private tours which the guides are trying to sell. We find one just a little more than the bus, covering the same route but giving us time at various locations to stop and examine the buildings, parks etc first hand.

The first stop is the Metropolitan Cathedral, 200 years old and while perhaps not much to look at from the outside, internally it is a dazzling display of marble, statues, paintings and ornate decoration. Quiet church music is playing in the background which helps with the overall impression.

Next stop Independence Square, dominated by a statue of the country's founder General Artigas, his mortal remains are in a mausoleum underneath the statue guarded by two soldiers in period uniform. All black marble and dimmed lights it is a solemn place.

After a stop at a local covered market we see the stadium where the first ever World Cup final was played and a huge bronze monument to the people who settled the interior (8 life size bulls, a wagon and a Gaucho riding a horse). Seems they don't have metal thieves here or it is just too big to steal. The monument is sited in a park above a small reflecting pool and is really impressive. We realise how bad the storm was last night when we see all the trees pulled up by their roots and branches strewn all over. Flags have been shredded.

After being returned to the dock gates we amble into another market. Stalls selling trinkets etc but we resist. Of interest however. Also present are numerous representatives of the local constabulary, some of whom are riding Segways. Most look quite professional, but it is difficult to say the same of the 2 female officers smoking and texting on their mobile phones as they walk around. Still given the guns they all carry I don't suppose anyone criticises them to their faces.

Just opposite one group of police is a small shop advertising a wide range of cannabis seeds and "all you need to grow your own". Immediately outside the shop is a man standing stock still carrying out a very animated conversation with thin air. I assume the two events are in no way related.

Regardless, Montevideo is a pleasant city without the underlying threat of menace which was present in Brazil.

Going back to the dock Ian spends several minutes walking around and photographing the range finder, peering into holes (which he tells me used to hold the magnifying optics), it is all he can do to not stroke it!

It has been a good day.

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