Two Days in Montevideo
Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd November
Nestled between Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay is the second smallest country in South America. More than half the population live in the capital Montevideo. The city is full of colonial Spanish architecture and miles of lovely beaches.
Welcome to Montevideo……
We set off on a coach trip and steam train ride.
The coach trip around the city was a bit disappointing. There were some lovely parks and some interesting statues, but the coach didn’t stop, and took us around various residential areas. This trip would have been great if it was 2 hours shorter and we had got time to explore the parks!
The tourist train station was very close to the old main railway station, which is sadly now closed and sliding in to disrepair. Its such a shame when buildings like this are left to rot and decay, but I suppose they just don’t have the money to spend on their upkeep.
Graffiti gets everywhere, we passed these carriages on our walk to the steam train.
The train ride was very comfortable but it took us through some very uninspiring areas, mainly the back of factories!
However, we were lucky (or unlucky, depending on which way you look at it) as the next day there was a national strike and none of the trains ran, not even the tourist train, so that particular trip was cancelled.
At the end of the line we were picked up by our coach. Apparently it’s not advisable to do this trip without a guide as it ends in a less than desirable area!
We did get to stop at this statue which depicts the struggle that the early settlers had. It was close to the football stadium which held the first ever world cup in 1932. This is now a UNESCO protected site.
The troops were in town today, not sure if they were ceremonial or that these were actual combat soldiers!
So after a slightly disappointing day around Montevideo we were pleased when Kev came up with a plan for the next day.
He had been chatting with a young lady in the tourist office and she suggested a visit to a local fruit farm, La Macarena (the farm was here before the song!) which was on the edge of the wetlands.
We were picked up on the morning by the farm owner himself, and before setting off to his farm he took us to one of the great view points in the city. He told us that coaches no longer feel able to venture to this part of town for security reasons. Tourist coaches mean easy pickings for the local rogues but local cars have no such problems. So we got to see some sights our fellow passengers missed.
Looking at the cars on the road it appears that they don’t have such things as MOTs. This old Ford Escort had definitely seen better days!
The farm was 1/2 an hours drive from the centre of the city and it could have been a million miles away. The roads were far quieter and it had a far more relaxed ambiance.
The first thing we met on the farm were a pair of Capybara. They are the largest rodents in the world, the two you see here are just babies!
The next part of our trip involved a ride around the estate in the back of an ancient jeep.
You can see Janes hands holding on for grimm death! It certainly was a great way to get around, although Jane and Val might tell you different!
Jane looking cool after part one of her journey through the undergrowth !
Part two took us on a boat ride through the wetlands
Kevin was looking very nonchalant about the whole thing
The farm owner had previously been an executive with Sony before taking on the family farm, and he was very passionate about his farming methods which concentrated on biodiversity. He invited local school children to come and learn all about the eco system.
We were the only people for miles around and it was so peaceful and tranquil.
He was telling us of the wide variety of wildlife in this area when a fish jumped out of the river and hit me on the neck, much to the amusement of everyone! Here’s the little blighter in the boat afterwards before we threw it back in to the river!
This beautiful plant is the national flower of Uruguay it is called Ceibo.
I don’t think this landing jetty would pass UK health and safety requirements!
Or the jeep…..
Mind you , it did the job!
The next leg of the journey to the fruit orchards was incredibly bumpy!
… as you can see from Jane’s expression!!
Meanwhile back at the ranch…..
A fantastic meal was being prepared…
Whilst we were waiting for the meal I had chance to take this picture of a humming bird. I’m so pleased with this photo as they move around so quickly!
Above our table was the humming birds nest and you can just see the beak of the baby awaiting its next meal.
Its amazing that he can run a farm on this scale with such an old tractor!
On the way back to the ship we were informed that this wreck of a ship was involved in the Battle of the River Plate (look it up, I can’t remember all the details)
So all in all a great day, probably one of the best on the trip so far. Well done Kevin!!!