Country #29 - Uruguay

The Ferry

It was another really early morning - I was up before breakfast at the hotel even started, which is never a good sign in terms of if I got any sleep. I had the hotel call a taxi instead of taking an Uber because I had some extra cash to spend. The taxi ride was quick as there was no one out on the roads, and within minutes we arrived at the end of Puerto Madero at the ferry terminal. A company called Buquebus runs daily ferries between Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay, which is what I was going to take.

 After picking up my ticket and going through security, I waited in a departure lounge similar to that of an airport until boarding. Boarding was interesting because you have to wear little slip on things over your shoes to help protect the floor of the ferry. It was not a hassle, just funny to watch everyone walking around in the awkward foot covers.The ferry itself was so nice! It was really fancy and had really nice seats and even duty-free shopping and room to walk around. It was definitely a nice change of pace from all of the flights I have taken so far! Thanks to the size and spacing of the countries I have been to so far, as well as logistics, this was the first time I have been able to enter a country using a method other than an airplane.

I grabbed a window seat (there was no assigned seating) and the ride itself was smooth. It was really pretty to watch out over the water, and apparently, it was pretty soothing - I fell asleep within ten minutes. Before I knew it a little over an hour later we were arriving at the Buquebus terminal in Montevideo, Uruguay. I deboarded and then attempted to walk to my accommodations for the day, Montevideo Chic Hostel. There is not a clear exit by foot from the terminal, but a few other tourists were walking out as well and we eventually walked out of the car exit. The heart of Montevideo’s Ciudad Vieja, or Old Town, is not very big and right next to the ferry terminal, so it was very easy to walk to Montevideo Chic Hostel.

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I soon discovered how strange Old Town Montevideo could be, though. Within five minutes of walking, I stepped in dog poop on the sidewalk. I then obviously became more aware and noticed that there was dog poop literally everywhere on the sidewalks. I don’t know what this was about, but it was a mainstay throughout my day and was pretty gross honestly. I found Montevideo Chic Hostel and checked in. I had a big room to myself which was nice. The accommodations themselves were definitely dated, but if you need a place to stay overnight near the ferry this fits the bill. Also, the people in charge were very kind which was nice after my already long morning. Thanks to Montevideo Chic Hostel for sponsoring this night of my trip! 

After checking in I headed out to explore the town. It didn’t take long for my second strange discovery - there was literally no one out walking anywhere in the heart of the city. I don’t know why, other than it was the weekend so people were not at work in the old town, but it was still very strange. I was actually okay with it though because I felt very safe and it was enjoyable to see the city from that unique perspective. I walked first to Mercado Del Puerto which is a local meat market in town filled with restaurants. And good news, I found the people! Mercado Del Puerto was packed, and with good reason.

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I decided to eat at El Palenque, and it was one of the best steaks I have ever had. You watch them make it, along with all of the other meats, right in front of you. It was a very enjoyable lunch followed by a walk through the rest of Mercado Del Puerto. After lunch, I walked more through the streets of Ciudad Vieja before heading to Montevideo Metropolitan Cathedral. It was not open but had a beautiful facade.

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From there I walked to Plaza Independencia. Plaza Independencia seemed to be the heart of the city. There were actually people out, and there were a few sights to see in the area. The first was Puerta de la Ciudadela which is a stone structure that is what is left of the original gate to the city. I made a new friend, originally from Venezuela but currently living and working in Switzerland, when I asked him to take my picture with the gate. It was interesting to spend a few minutes talking with him about the region, Venezuela specifically, and he was really interested in my trip.

Next, I visited the Artigas Mausoleum, which was really unique. Artigas helped found the country and is a very important figure. So much so that he has the most unique grave that I have ever seen. On the outside, you see a giant statue of a man (I assume Artigas) riding a horse. You then see steps to go down, and there is a giant tomb-like area that is dimmed. There are quotes around the wall and it is guarded at all times.

After walking through I headed to look at Teatro Colon, the main theater in town. It was beautiful on the outside but unfortunately was closed on the weekend. I then headed to a local grocery store to stock up on water and a few snacks. I headed back to my room really early from there and laid down for what I thought was a nap. I guess I was really tired though because I ended up sleeping through the night! Looking forward to Paraguay tomorrow!

29 countries down, 168 to go.

To learn more about Montevideo Chic Hostel click here.