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    Day 21 - Montevideo

    January 19, 2019 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We docked as schedule in Montevideo. Today dawned grey and rainy as we looked on the port area.

    We met our tour at the port entrance and went for a city highlights tour on a 45-passenger bus. We drove out of the port along the "Ramblas," the coast highway along the Rio de la Plata. The river is over 140 miles wide at its mouth, the widest river in the world. The Ramblas is lined with beaches most of its 400-mile length to Brazil. The tour stopped briefly at several pull offs.

    Uruguay has the highest standard of living in South America and is also the safest country so it attracts many American retirees. Our tour wound through several upscale neighborhoods with homes from $700,000 and up. Our guide mentioned that all large purchases (homes, cars, major electronics and appliances) are made in US$.

    The name of the city comes from the Latin, "monte vid eo" - "I see land," which is what the first Spanish explorers said when they arrived. In addition to the Spanish, many migrants came here from Italy, as well as sizable Jewish population, during WW1 and again in WW2. Home to almost half the country's population, it was established in 1724.

    Our tour continued past the soccer stadium, which hosted the first FIFA World Cup in 1930 (in which Uruguay defeated Argentina for the Cup). We stopped at the carters monument, a nod to the toils of the first settlers. We stopped at the old executive palace and at Independence Plaza. This Plaza has the statue of the country's liberation leader, Jose Artigas, and has the new presidential building (with a glass facade) alongside the old one (in yellow stucco). Underneath the Artigas statue (below ground) is his tomb, which is open for visitation.

    Our tour took us back to the dock. We got out and walked through the Mercado Puerto (Port Market), a bustling place with many parillada restaurants. Parillada is the open grill, all meat barbeque for which Uruguay and Argentina are noted. We had a chorizo sausage and fries with a beer as we watched the griller cut and throw large chunks of meat onto the wood-fired grill. A little shopping and we walked across the street to the dock and boarded the Eclipse. The weather had cleared up and the sun was out. We soon sailed out of the harbor, heading to Buenos Aires.

    The show was fantastic! The performance troupe put on a spectacular song and dance story with full staging and props. It used a reinterpretation of pop songs. The production was of Kennedy Center or Broadway quality. Throughout the cruise, the quality and variety of the live music entertainment has been superb, I can't say enough to praise it.

    At dinner we learned that one of our table mates, Silvia, had come down with the flu and was quarantined- a major bummer.

    Tomorrow Buenos Aires!
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