After our few days in Punta del Este were up, we took the bus to Montevideo, just as a huge Formula E racing event was getting started at the beach. The event was already attracting tourists though it had barely started and it seemed to be prepping the summer season off to a nice start.
The bus ride from Punta del Este to Montevideo took a couple of hours and the price was equivalent to about 4 euros. The bus was extremely comfortable. Actually, I’ve never even seen buses as nice and modern as that anywhere – Uruguay is officially number one on my “country with the best buses” list!
At first glance, Montevideo wasn’t quite as easygoing and clean-cut as the beach had been, but as a huge city some traffic and dirt are of course to be expected. Our weekend visit was short and it felt almost like we were just taking a very sneaky quick peek. We hardly had the time to venture further than the central areas so we started by walking over to the Old Town (la Ciudad Vieja).
On a weekend morning, it felt deserted – until we arrived outside the old market hall, Mercado del Puerto.
There, locals were loudly and merrily socializing over smokey barbecued lunch (which smelled amazing) and those who had enjoyed a bit too much to drink were sitting – or swaying – on the streets nearby.
I love walking and luckily hubby doesn’t mind either. It’s a great way to see a new city. So we walked along the various beach ramblas all the way from the ciudad vieja to a huge “Montevideo” sign on a little hill further away.
Cutting through the residential streets on the way back, it was all in all a 4,5 hour walk at a leisurely pace.
The sun was scorching hot, Montevideo’s beachgoers were sunbathing on the urban sand beaches, and kids were happily swimming in the brown water.
The long beach promenade was a popular hangout, with mate apparently being the preferred drink.
On the walk back through the calm, empty streets, we saw that many, many buildings had artistic wall paintings. Streets were lined with trees, conveniently sheltering against the sun. At times, it looked like Paris or Rome.
I love exploring new cities this way.
Our next stop was Colonia del Sacramento.