Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Hola Uruguay! Part 2: The Streets are Alive

Plaza Independencia, Montevideo

 You can learn a lot about a certain place just by walking around.  That is what I did, together with my three colleagues.  I really enjoyed my 4 days stay in Uruguay.  The hotel where I stayed was in Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city and I had the chance to wander thru its exciting streets, specifically Perez Castellano and Sarandi.  I think these are the main tourist areas near the port.  The temperature was around 13 degrees Celsius, not too cold, good for strolling.

That is 25 Uruguayan peso, not US dollars.  They have the same symbol.

All kinds of boutiques, stores and restaurants are lined up at the sides.  Because the weather was nice, people prefer to stay outside the restaurants and enjoy the ambiance.

What was interesting about the buildings is that some of them are very old and the architecture is very intricate.  One of my colleagues explained to me that he can see Roman, Neo-Roman and Gothic influences.  I must admit the old buildings look really classy but some of them also look haunted. 

Upon walking farther, we encountered a weed shop.  Yes, marijuana is legal in Uruguay.  Two years ago, the government legalized growing Cannabis at home.  However, there is a registration process before you can grow the plant.  Marijuana is also legal in Spain, Czech Republic and Switzerland but of course, this has restrictions.  You have to review the law carefully before you smoke pot in those areas. 

Moving on, we also went inside a huge Catholic church, Catedral Metropolitan de Montevideo.  When I entered the church, it made me feel like I’m back at home.  Everything is the same, from the design to the arrangements.  I should have attended a mass, it would have been very interesting to listen to the whole service in Spanish.  The main language in Uruguay is Spanish.

Catedral  Metropolitan de Montevideo

 The church was situated beside a park (Plaza Constitucion).  The park looks very alive with all the small stalls spread at the walkways.  Most of them were selling antique stuff and souvenirs, some of them were selling old books.  A fountain is situated in its center.  The park was a very good place to spend an afternoon with your loved ones.  A nice beat of the drums can be heard from the performers a few steps away.  Along with the Spanish language, from all the chatter around, makes it a perfect background soundtrack.  I find the language very romantic thus making the place romantic or maybe I just miss my wife too much (wink).  As what the Brits usually say, it is a very lovely place!

Plaza Constitucion
The streets ahead were also filled with small market stalls of varied items, just about anything.  There were many tourists from different parts of the world.  We also saw some cool graffiti along the way.  All the different colors around make the streets alive!  

Annang and Ove, desperately trying to be "boys in the hood"

 We also reached the Plaza Independencia (independence square).  A large statue of Jose Artigas is located in the center, he is a national hero and his remains is stored in an underground room underneath the statue.  The square was surrounded with important commercial and government buildings.

While we were walking, a fellow approached us and asked if we were all seamen.  I didn’t answer because I was already laughing inside, I had to spell the word to erase the other word that popped out in my mind hahaha.  I’m a doctor and not a seaman.  But I have a seaman’s book, does that make me a seaman?  So yes, we were all seamen.  Anyway, he called out to us because he was promoting his upcoming pub for seafarers (that would be the appropriate word, don’t you think?).  Now, I wonder how he knew that we were all seamen (there's that word again hehe).

Going up north, we encountered another park (Plaza Fabini) and stopped there to have some coffee.  Two little birds came near our table and I was lucky enough to have taken their photograph.  It was quite refreshing and relaxing just sitting there and enjoying the surrounding flowers and trees in the middle of a busy city.  After the coffee, we decided to find a good restaurant to eat lunch, all the walking made us quite hungry.  When we settled in the restaurant we heard a nice kind of rhythm from the beat of the drums.  We ignored it at first but it was getting louder.  I was curious, so I went to the direction of the sound.  I got excited with what I saw!  See what it is, read Part 1 of this series.  I promise, it’s also a fun read.  Take care.

This is a relaxing spot in the middle of the city.  Having coffee with these birds.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hey there, thanks for reading. Let's share ideas, leave me a comment.