Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Montevideo, Uruguay –February 21


It is early and we are coming into the harbor, we are docking at an industrial port and pull along side the pier at around 7:00.  The buses are all lined up beside the ship waiting for those passengers to get on.

We ordered room service this morning and Bernie is feeling much better after a good night’s sleep.  I on the other hand know I have a bladder infection, I am prone to them and silly me I do have a supply of antibiotics at home just in case but didn’t bring them on this voyage for some silly reason.  It has been four days that it has been bothering me but this morning it is much worst and I know I have no choice but to head to the medical office – this will be my first visit to the medical clinic in 28 cruises so I am curious to see it in action (although I have seen it when I have done the Ultimate Ship’s Tour).

It opens at 8 am and I arrive and I am greeted by a nurse who tells me it is $60 for a doctors’ consult – no problem right now I would pay anything to get rid of this.  There are a few other people waiting, a woman with a nasty cough, another lady with a tic bite (she has no idea when or where she got bitten) and a husband who is waiting for his wife she is not feeling well either.  I wait maybe five minutes and the doctor confirms the bladder infection and gives me my prescriptions and the nurses fill them out and I am on my way with two prescriptions and a huge relief.  In total the bill came to $182 but our insurance will cover it all.  And I am happy to report I am very very impressed with the medical service I received on board the Star.

market that has tons of food stalls, and some shops right across from the pier

Once I am back Bernie and I make our way ashore, it is 10 am and we don’t have any formal plans in Motevideo, the skies are a little overcast but nice and it is rather windy.  We head out and follow the path to the street and cross the street to the market that was suppose to be a train station but was never used for that, now it houses mainly barbecue restaurants and since it is early the cooks are busy getting their grills fired up with food and getting the coals just right to start cooking all that meat.  We will stop by later.

We walk down the streets checking out the little shops along the way, lots of places are closed since it is Carnival.  We walk all the way to Rambla Gran Bretana and the water at Rio de la Plata and the wind has created strong waves that are hitting the walkway.  We head back in land for shelter.  We walk thru the lovely Zabola Square and are amazed at all the parrots!

parrots everywhere in this square, so neat
We head down Avida 18 de Julio towards the Plaza Independencia and visit the beautiful Metropolitan cathedral.  The square is beautiful, lots of little café and people selling stuff, the wind has picked up I think it might rain, but we keep walking.  Bernie buys a beautiful local scarf from one of the street vendors for his niece and just then the skies open up and we take shelter in Torres Garcia Art Gallery.  The rain stops and we are back out exploring and walk thru the Gate of the original Citadel of Montevideo.  For some reason they built the new gate attached to the back of the old gate which really takes away from the structure of the old gate.  When we walk thru the gate we arrive in Constitution Square which is a large square surrounded by beautiful buildings with one being the former National Government Office but is now a museum. 

beautiful architechture

Bernie bought two scarfs
the old gate you see in front and the new gate is the ugly wall right behind it

We are now walking down the 18th of July street and this is the main shopping area, lots of different stores but lots of familiar ones too – Urban Outfitters, Levis etc.  We take refuge in a café and order an espresso and a sandwich.  The sandwich is large and it includes a large roll with ham, steak, cheese, tomato, olives, lettuce and leek, it is served with French fries but these are homemade French fries – oh my god they are soooo good!  The bill comes to about $17 total – the exchange rate currently in Uruguay is around 19 Uruguay Pesos to $1 US.  We paid with our credit card.

We decide to start walking back towards the ship since we have been walking away from it for such a long time. We stop at a small convenience store to pick up some sprite and local soda to try, this time we pay in US dollar cause Bernie wants some pesos back for his collection.

When we get back to the port the market restaurants are busy, not many seats to be had and people are crowding around trying to get seats or take pictures. The cooks are busy turning meat on the open fires while patrons are sipping wine and chowing down on huge plates of food. We are not hungry but looking at the servings one serving could easily serve three people!

Bernie had bought two postcards and was wanting to mail them.  There is a place right at the dock that sells postcards and stamps…. It was pricy to mail from there I am sure it was a rip off but I am not going to fret over $3 for two international stamps and lets cross our fingers they get the cards.

We are back on board the ship just before 3 pm, I feel we could of seen more but we are both tired and feel we could easily come back here again.  We enjoyed exploring on our own and it was quite easy to do, it appeared easy to hire a tour guide too but every place we went by foot there seem to be guides showing people the same place.  Note it is easy to pick up a walking tour map right at the tourist stand right at the gate that you exit to leave the pier.

We haven’t been up to the Platinum Elite lounge on this voyage yet and today it is the mojito as the drink special (note the price for some reason is now $5 per drink, up a dollar since December).  It is held in skywalkers and the place is full but we find a spot on one of the couches and we meet old and new friends and watch the very interesting sail away from Montevideo.

Tonight we are having dinner with Sue and Tony from Toronto from the roll call, lovely couple and a great meal.  I had the eggplant in puff pastry as my appetizer a nice salad then the turkey scaloppini for my main entrée with the crème Brule for dessert.

Back to the room to change and up to the deck party to dance a few calories away.  It is cool and windy and  a bit of light rain, certainly the coolest deck party we have been too but still quite a bit of fun.

Tomorrow is Buenos Aries and we have a very early start.

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