Our first port of call was Montevideo, Uruguay. Susy and I know Montevideo very well because it is where we were married. We also know Uruguay very well because we honey-mooned at Punta del Este, a small, but beautiful resort on the Atlantic, east of Montevideo. The beaches between Montevideo and Punta del Este are beautiful and the area is like the French Riviera of South America (drawing a lot of jet-setter during the season). Uruguay is a small country (3.2 million people) nearly half of which live in Montevideo. Its history from the 1600rds is one of a struggle between Spain and Portugal, then Argentina and Brazil. It finally became independent in 1828, acting as a buffer state between the two largest South American powers. The people are mostly middle class, not having the extremes of rich and poor like most other South American countries. It has been referred to as the “Switzerland” of South America because of its neutral status during WW II and its banking institutions. It became, around 1900, a model social-welfare state, and though it had some bumps in the road during the 60’s and 70’s by 1984 it held free elections and since then has resumed its economic, political, and social progress.
Onward to the photos, please look above at the photo album “Montevideo, Uruguay” (and if you missed yesterdays “Buenos Aires Departure” read that blog first). My first photo is of my traveling companion on this trip (don’t tell Susy I said that) standing next to the “World Cruise sign”. In case I didn’t mention it, our ship the Amsterdam is on a 115 day round the world voyage. We have taken the Pacific and South American segments of that voyage, so we’re just hopping on for the African/India 32 day portion. The second photo is of Susy leaving the ship for our short walking tour of Montevideo. The third photo (remember I always try to include a port sign photo) is the Montevideo port sign. As we walked around “Ciudad Vieja” (Old City) which was right outside the port, we again, as in BA, were struck by the view of so many old town-house mansions. The fourth photo shows one of these mansions and the fifth is a close up of the mansion’s door, a magnificent work of art. Another mansion is shown in the sixth photo, you can imagine what these places were like when they were new and kept up, probably around the turn of the 20th century. We came across a mansion that had been turned into corporate offices and the seventh photo shows the stately entrance, while in the 8th photo you see Susy standing in front of one of the doors to that entrance, just to give you a sense of the height of the floors. As in BA I took a street shot in the ninth photo to show how similar the cities are in architecture. We turned on to one of the open air market streets and in the tenth and eleventh photos you see Susy at her happiest, “shopping”. Turning the corner after many blocks of stands we found the fresh goods open air market. In the twelfth photo you see Susy looking over the fruit (but just looking). As we continued on our journey back to the ship we passed a beautiful park with its statue (shown in the 13th photo), again very similar to BA.
I have to stop here because some of you may be questioning why there are no photos of where we got married, etc. The reason we didn’t do the “marriage” tour is we just did it in December of 2006 when we sailed around South America. I pulled two photos from that “tour”, so in the 14th and 15th photos you see Susy and I in front of the church and then in the church (Dec. 2006). We had a civil ceremony first in front of a judge, and then went to this church to get married by a priest. Afterwards we had a small reception (8 of us) at a local country club, and then off to Punta del Este for our honeymoon.
We finished our day returning to the Amsterdam (which you see in the 16th photo) and what a relief after walking the city for hours to see the “Welcome Home” sign (17th photo) , walk aboard, go to your room for a hot shower, and be ready to sail off for the next port.
I’m finishing this Blog on Thursday, February 11, but want to regress for a minute to yesterday, Wed. Feb. 10. It was our grand-daughter, Theresa’s seventh birthday. Susy (alias Misu) and I (alias Gagu) spent a lot of time remembering Theresa’s birth and the happiness our daughter brought us, both from allowing us to be there at the birth, and for the beautiful baby that came into the world that day. We thank the Lord (or who-ever is watching over us) for those/these moments and can only wish Theresa a Very Happy Birthday, and send our deepest Love to her, Gigi (mothers should get some kind of gift or reward on their children’s birthdays), and, of course, Nicholas.
We are sailing for Africa, our first stop Walvis Bay, Namibia on Feb. 18th. If anything interesting occurs during the 8 day sail I’ll let you know, but if not look for my next blog around the 20th or 21st.
Love You All
Gary (alias Gagu)