Well, 30 hours of plane flights is rough. 30 hours of flying on a budget is even rougher.
I won´t bore you with the details. We had to make a lot of connections, and one of them was in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Our bags were checked through until this point, where we were suppose to go through customs, get our bags and re check them in.
However the customs wouldn´t let us through without a travel visa.
So we were forced to just take the flight with out checking our bags. We arrived in Montevideo, tired, bagless and hungry. Ben got a sandwich from a McCafe. We put in our lost baggagae request and waited for the sun to rise.
We took the first bus into Montevideo. The walk to our hotel was a little less than two miles, but we decided to make it to kill some time. Our first impression of the city was not a good one. It looked a bit College Hill at WSU after a game weekend with all the post-party litter in the streets and yards. It was like the whole city partied until 5 am and we were walking through the aftermath that Sunday.
Actually, that is exactly what happened. And on Sundays, the whole city shuts down. This posed a problem when the hotel´s check in time wasn´t until noon. We finally found a place to eat though, a little italian cafe. Ben had milanesa, what is best described as a breakfast burger: Fried steak, lettuce, tomato and a fried egg between a bun. It´s not actually a breakfast burger, it´s just what we had for breakfast. I had Ravioli, which was the cheapest thing on the menu. Neither were anywhere near great, but filled our bellies.
When we finally got to check into the hotel, we immediately passed out. Four hours later, a miracle: the telephone rang. Ben answered and spoke for a bit in Spanish. ¨Our bags are here!¨ He said.
“In the Airport? Great!” I said.
“No, they´re in the lobby of the hotel waiting to be picked up!”
Wow, what a great stroke of luck, to have the bags sent to our hotel the next day. With that off our minds, we went back to sleep off the jet lag.
The next day, Monday, we went out to see the city. Montevideo is not a tourist city, which has its ups and downs. The up: it´s not touristy. The down: it isn´t very tourist friendly. We soon found out that there were three main attractions to the city.
Old Town and the Market. Old town is the Western part of the city on a small ´cape´ like land feature . It features some cool old colonial style buildings, street shops and the most incredable central market barbecue. Called parillas these are open-pit wood stoves on which they grill every kind of beef and chicken imaginable. There´s a whole dictionary of Spanish words for each cut of meat on the cow´s body. I will most likely learn them soon.
Rambla. This is the walk that goes around the coastal areas of the city. It´s pretty nice, featuring a wide walkway that looks over the mouth of the Plata River and the Atlantic. Because of the river, the ocean tides aren´t really prominent and the water is a bit silty.
Tomorrow we head to Buenos Aires via bus and ferry.