Ready and packed Tessa and Jan drove us to the bus station in Porto Alegre. Well prepared against the fridge like temperature on night buses, I took my sleeping bag with me. Very quickly I figured out that there was no need for it. Even our water, which was perfectly placed above the heater, was ready for tea.
Another surprise were the formalities at the border. We calculated to get up at 3 am in order to get our stamps but the bus operator had collected all our passports. While the passengers slept through the whole process, the bus driver organized everything at the Brazilian and Uruguayan border.
Arriving early morning at the bus station Tres Cruces in Montevideo we hopped on the bus CA1 which brought us into town. Those big bags are a bummer in overflowing busses and we were happy to get off again.
At the hostel another surprise awaited us. While we were waiting at the reception I saw a familiar face working in the kitchen. When he looked up he had the same quizzical look and we had to laugh. No way, we had met Andrew in Santa Clara (Columbia) and agreed to do the 4 day tour on the Amazonas together. So we met up weeks later to swing our way down the Amazonas in hammocks. And here we are, running into him a third time. How funny is this?
The first day we walked around town, passing the Puerta de la Ciudadelain into Oldtown (Cuidad Vieja) with its book stores and artisan galleries. Along the Avenida 18 de Julio were many parks - Plaza de Cagancha, Plaza Fabini and Plaza Independencia where only a few we passed through. All those parks and beautiful avenues lined with big trees give the city a green touch.
This, the lack of fences and security guards as well as the helpful and smiling people where a big difference to Brazil. We felt safe and welcomed from the very first moment. We are still very alert after our robbery in Brazil but this feels already way more relaxed.
In Brazil we got the advice not to show that we are tourists, also means not talk too loud to each other in German or English. Here it didn’t matter and people where very quick helping us with directions.
The next day we explored the coastline with bikes and since this city is very flat, it didn’t matter that we had totally rusty bikes without gear shift. Despite the name “Monte”video the biggest hill is 132m which probably gave the city its name.
Tuesday is a great day for museums since most of them offer free entrance. This said, we had a glance into the Museo de Artes Decorativas, situated in the Palacio Taranco in Ciudad Vieja. The old, decorated furniture was beautiful. From the Palacio Municipal we had a fantastic 360 degree vista.
Since Montevideo and its main attractions are close together you can easily explore this city in two days. So after exploring most highlights of Montevideo we decided to follow the footprints of my father’s uncle – Padre Karl Zangerle.
Accommodation: Willy Fogg Hostel - Calle Maldonado 977, Montevideo
Price: from 10 US-$ in a 14er dorm, shared bathroom, WiFi, incl. intercontinal breakfast
Comment: Spanish run, could be cleaner and better organized.