Monday, May 27, 2013

Montevideo & Friends

As mentioned in my previous blogpost Stephan and Laura visited us in Montevideo and we invited our new friends, Misha and Quinnen, that we have met in Colonia to join us on a little city tour.

Left to right: Misha, Laura, Sebastian, Pablo, me, Quinnen and Stephan

The plan was to meet up at 10.30 on Sunday morning to visit one of the most famous markets of Montevideo called “Feria de Tristan Narvaja”. But since being late is a very Uruguayan thing to do, Pablo and I decided to give our friends the whole Uruaguayan experience – and arrived well after 11am.

As it turns out, Sebastian and our German friends Stephan and Laura were even later so Pablo, Misha, Quinnen and I decided to go on and walk through the streets of Tristan Narvaja. At this point I should probably try and give you an idea of what a market in South America looks like but that is practically impossible. Imagine one main street with many side streets full of market stands that sell virtually everything. Amongst other things there were fruits, vegetables, bread, herbs, hygiene products, electronics, toys, clothing, underwear, jerseys, flags, mate-equipment, antiques, flea-market finds, flowers, souvenirs, jewelry, bags, shoes, … Anything from practical to decorative and from normal to extraordinary.

Perfectly stacked everything

After we had crossed the market we decided to wait on Sebastian, Stephan and Laura and Pablo bought us all a bag of roasted peanuts from a man with a “nut cart” that was pretty much an oven on wheels. That alone I didn’t find very uncommon since during winter in Germany they use those to roast chestnuts. What I did however find odd was the fact that the chimney pipe was a cardboard roll. Seriously, hombre?! You use cardboard as a chimney? I mean it’s not like it’s easily flammable or anything… 

Fire hazard on wheels

So after a while the others joined us and we headed towards Ciudad Vieja which is where most of the sights are located. On our way we stopped at the Intendencia (=town hall) of Montevideo where we visited the Museum of Art History. Most of it was about Egyptian, Greek and Roman art, which really isn’t all that new to me. But the basement accommodated an exhibition of Pre-Colombian and Colonial Art which I found pretty cool. There were lots of indigenous pieces of art and sculptures and my favorite, a giant stone that looks like the coin from Pirates of the Caribbean. Better known as “Piedra del Sol” (=stone of the sun). We also had a lot of fun reenacting the battle scene that was painted on one of the walls.

Piedra del Sol

Pablo's new pet-dog-thingy

Walk like an Egyptian

Nose picking

Quinnen and I: "This is Sparta!!" 
All the others: "Let's just smile at the camera"


After the museum we went on towards Plaza Independencia, Plaza Matriz and all the usual tourist sights. I didn’t take all that many pictures because I had visited those places before and taken pictures. What I did take a picture of was the “Locks Fountain” which I had passed multiple times but never really stopped to take pictures of it. Said fountain looks a bit like the bridges with lots of locks that lovers put on them. However, there is no river to throw the locks into. The legend says that two lovers that put a lock with their initials on the fountain they will return to it and live happily ever after. I really like the idea of that. And I liked the collection of locks that had built up around the fountain over the years. Old ones, new ones, colorful ones, simple ones, rusty ones, engraved ones, labeled ones.

Fuente de los Candados - Locks Fountain 

Seems like Pablo's eternal love didn't last... ;)

Our friend Albert is quite the jokester


After that we had some delicious food at a place with the very Uruguayan name of “El Gaucho”. And of course the food had to be Somewhat Uruguayan, so we ordered a “Picada” which is a plate with a variety of more or less typical Uruguayan foods to try, accompanied with some ravioli and fries with mushroom sauce. Need I mention that after that we were extremely stuffed and didn’t think we could ever eat again?

Let the feasting begin!

Yet we made plans to meet up at my place at night in order to have an Asado. Because that’s what you do on a typical Sunday in Uruguay. Anyhow we split up so everyone could mind their own business for a while before the others would meet up to go see Candombe and then come to my house for the Asado.

And because more people means more fun, we also invited Sebastian’s roommates who then brought some friends that were also visiting from Buenos Aires. Then Pablo also brought his sister Lucía and of course my roommates also joined us and we had a nice big group that barely fit into our tiny living room.

Vamos Tricolor!!

Now who can find the mistake here? Of course you don’t have BBQs in your living room. Not even in Uruguay. But since it started raining we decided to cancel our Asado-plans and substituted it with some Chorizos (=Uruguayan sausages) and Pizza bread which was also very delicious.

After that we all hung out at our place, enjoyed some conversations and all the usual. And in the end we decided to convert Sebastian to Nacional-fandom. 

Number One Nacional Fan: Sebastian

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