Today we had a private tour set up with Jaime the tour guide we met in Montevideo. He took us driving around Punta Del Este. The first place we visited was Casa Pueblo, the residence, atelier, and museum of late internationally-renowned artist Carlos Paez Vilaró. After visiting this unique home, we drove around and saw some neat houses with thatched roofs. We also stopped and looked at a hotel called Hotel L’Auberge. We decided to treat Jaime to lunch since he gave us another fantastic tour of Uruguay.
We went to Montevideo for two days flooding kept us from Punta Del Este. Before we arrived in Montevideo Terry Bishop the lecturer on the ship told us all about the saga of the famous WWII German warship, Graf Spee, whose sunken remains rest on the floor of the ocean a short distance outside the harbour. John and I decided to walk to the pier and get a cab to drive us around. We were lucky to meet this guy named Jaime he was such an excellent guide he was very knowledgeable and spoke perfect English. The first stop on our tour with Jaime was Battle Park named for Jose Battle y Ordonez, Uruguay’s president from 1911-1915. We also saw the monument dedicated to the Fallen Soldiers of the Navy.
We visited the nicest hotel in Carrasco called Hotel Sofitel Casino Carrasco, an imposing building which overlooks the coast and is full of Uruguayan tradition and history.
Jaime also took us to this neat building which was the Gaucho Museum. The inside of this house was fabulous. To end a great day we had lunch at the famous meat market. It’s this big building full of different restaurants that all have tons of meat being cooked on spinning grills.
December 21, 2016 – Second time to Montevideo (back to back cruise)
Today we drove north to the Carrau Winery, a major exporter of Uruguayan wines located in the Colon residential area. Situated in a park-like setting, this winery was constructed in 1894 and is the site of an ancient granite cave. We were treated to a tasting of fine Uruguayan wine and champagne, accompanied by a light snack of cheese and ham. The only problem we had with the winery was the room was too big, and it was full of people, and you couldn’t hear the sommelier explaining the wine even though he had a microphone.
After the wine tour, we took a steam train ride and took some photos of the landscaping of Uruguay.
Our tour ended with a visit to Casona Mauá for a Tango Show. Casona Mauá was built in the 1870s and has an outstanding architectural and heritage significance. The venue belonged to Baron and Viscount Mauá, an influential businessman, visionary, and entrepreneur who founded among other things, Mauá Bank, the first bank in Uruguay which opened its doors in 1857 and the first one to print currency within the country. Nowadays and after an excellent restoration process, Casona Mauá maintains its original beveled glass, Carrara marble, floors, ceilings, skylight, and moldings, making it a bastion of Montevideo’s historic Old Town.
John and I had such great lunch the last time we were in Montevideo at the meat market that we chose to grab a bite to eat there again today and once again it was great.