|Debra and I at the Independence Square|
The clocks were moved forward an hour too last night so that is throwing a few people off too.
In the morning the Captain comes on and says that due to heavy traffic we are delayed getting into the port and our arrival time has been changed again to 11:30. ARGH why does this happen when I am the one coordinating the tour.
I shower and head down to Vines for around 10 am and sit there and as people come up I just say what I know, which is very little but that we will meet here for 11:15 and go off as a group. As the time gets closer the group are all there and they are all very understanding and patient.
We decide to make our way to the forward gangway as a group and we line up so that we can all get off. This worked out great and we managed to be some of the first to get off.
The pier is not that far away from the port building and after we passed all the buses we found Diego very easily. He leads us to the waiting bus and we all get on and we are soon on our way.
Our first stop is Plaza Independence where we get off and Diego tells us a bit about the history of Uruguay and points out the Former National Government Office, the Solis Theater and we then cross the street to the Gate of the Original Citadel of Montevideo.
We then walk into the old town and into the Constitution Square and Diego points out the sights and explains Mate to us. Gayle bought a Matte cup and straw and tea for $11 US, (here is a picture, I cropped out Gayle because her eyes were closed in the pic and she would of killed me if I posted it) a great souvenir I might add. The beautiful Metropolitan Cathedral.
Back on the bus we head drive along the water and the city to see some beautiful beaches and we stop at the monument for the Holocaust. The broken walls represents the injustices of what has happened to the Jewish people, very moving tribute I thought.
We make our way to the Football Stadium (or Soccer) Diego informs us that there are truly only three sports that are played in Uruguay, Football, Football and Football. They love their football and every time there is a game the stadium is packed. It is like a religion to the people.
We are now making out way to a local ranch that is situated in Montevideo. This farm use to raise chickens but has now been converted into more of a social house that is used for public functions. Diego knows the owners and has celebrated here a few times, including his 40th birthday party. The ranch is called Garnja San Franciso and has been in Sergio Delpino’s family for many generations and he seems very proud of it.
The grounds are stunningly beautiful and as soon as we arrive we are offered a cold beverage and a snack of a fried fritter that has some kind of lettuce in it, and is very good. Then they bring around some hot empanadas to eat.
We are led around the grounds and we meet up with a goat and a calf and some horses and a few chickens wandering around. We also are given a tour of a restored building that is filled with antiques from his family. Beautiful.
Myriam the Director kept taking pictures of us and said that they would be in the local paper the La Prensa de la Zona Oeste, and gave us a copy of the paper so we can take down the wesite and check later.
We are dropped off at the pier and Bernie and I decide to just head back on board. We are staying overnight and we will head off and explore some more tomorrow. Since we are so full from the great lunch we skip any food and head down to the coffee bar for a coffee. We catch up with the staff down there and they are excited to be heading off tonight for some time off. We laugh and say that tomorrow they should just have a self serve coffee bar so the staff can sleep in. I hope they have fun.