Ken Rees shared much about Montevideo and Buenos Aires, in his presentation “It takes two to Tango”. We docked early this morning in Montevideo, in warm, humid conditions. This city holds much appeal, partly being easy walking distance from the ship.
In the cool of morning, having enjoyed breakfast and handed some tips to members of staff, mindful of just how much tips are appreciated in hospitality, we disembarked and walked into the city. Most shops were closed, and we enjoyed the old architecture, squares and narrow, cobbled streets. The balconies, facades, doors and chandeliers certainly are reminiscent of a grander, bygone era. Whilst we love dogs and cats, there are many roaming the streets of Montevideo, and their calling cards make walking the side-walks somewhat challenging, and at times unpleasant, sadly. The locals are very friendly and seemingly laid-back. I enjoyed seeing so many people wearing shorts, feeling right at home. Street vendors sell all manner of goods, the most interesting being woollen gloves and hats – in this climate! We failed to find little sun hats for Luke and Nicola, who we hope will join us for a trip to the bird park for my birthday next week.
I was lucky enough to join some of the senior officers for a meaty lunch at the Port Market. It is fascinating to hear the backgrounds of some of these “men of the sea”, and conversation flowed easily. South America is re-known for its meat, and rightly so, but we have fantastic quality and value back home. It is certainly not cheap down here! As Karen reminds me often, it is quite a shock to get off the ship and have to pay for anything. I noticed a young couple from Brazil, also struggling in the heat, which was comforting. Another couple had the South America Rough Guide, and were looking at the Iguazu chapter – we may see them there?
Setting off from Montevideo was exciting. The Captain did not have much space to move within, yet carefully reversed 70 000 tons from the quayside, swung the ship around in a stiff breeze, and moved out of the harbour through two narrow exits. The mud being churned up would suggest fairly regular dredging being required. The Rio Plata seems more ocean than river, as we make our way towards Buenos Aires – our disembarkation point off this beautiful ship and experience.
Karen has loved every moment on board, as have I, and we fervently hope to be invited back on board one day. Bags are packed, and excitement mounts as we set off for Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls and São Paulo, for the flights home next week.