Day 19: Montevideo, Uruguay

Tuesday, 1 May 2018 – Day 19: Montevideo, Uruguay (34.9011° S, 56.1645° W)

Ahh, Montevideo…fresh sea air. Beaches for days.

Hyatt Centric Montevideo view

That’s in the summer…today it is May 1st…think November 1st in the Southern Hemisphere.

And speaking of May 1st, that means it is the almost universal celebration of workers solidarity, aka May Day. Parades will take place, most will not work today enjoying family and friends, BBQing and having fun. For the traveler it is a day when not much will happen that does not include your feet and patience, as services will be limited and few things will be open as normal. The challenge of the day…

Montevideo is the biggest city in the country, roughly 1.3 million thermos-carrying, maté tea drinking, stylishly-dressed, pot smoking, smiling, dark-haired inhabitants reside here—almost 80 percent of Uruguay’s entire population.  The city is ranked as the Latin American city with the highest quality of life/livability ranking (79 overall); and you can see why. They are big on meats, chivatos (crazy-ass big sandwiches), lot’s of pizza and pasta (the influence of a 19th century wave of Italian immigrants. The streets are broad and hardly a horn is heard. The people are very civil. The buildings are great, 1930’s and 40’s built colonial and neoclassical, Art Nouveau and Art Decó-styled in architecture, with wrought-iron balconies of the Ciudad Vieja full of narrow alleys, museums, cafes and outside restaurants that bring Paris to mind. Damn Paris…always on our minds describing cities. (Although along the waterfront near our hotel I feel like I am in a typical corniche area, could be: Alexandria, Miami, Tel Aviv… Yet Montevideo could be North American…Canada for instance with its boulevards lined with enormous trees, shopping malls everywhere…but the imported Starbucks get a run for their money with seemingly everyone sucking on a silver straw, of obviously addictive, maté tea. Which Makes Montevideo distinctly Uruguayan. And the music of candombe makes it so.

It is peaceful and calm. And the sun is out…

All the teams have been accounted for and are in Montevideo. The plan is to spend one more day until we head for our last international stop on the 2018 edition The Global Scavenger Hunt travel adventure. One more new destination…which we we will learn about tonight when we meet at 7:00PM.

Leafy streets

Havana-like buildings

Fishing at the breakwater

Again, Havana-like…

Surrounded by ocean…

I’d say eclectic…

But oh so cosmopolitan.

Until next time…just 5 days to go!