The museums Ruth & I visited in Uruguay tended to be small, neglected, and have odd hours. We were there during early summer and some of them were not opened much. For example, we went to the town museum in Colonia del Sacramento in the morning. It was closed and only opened for a few hours in the afternoon. We went back and found it not worth the effort. It had old swords, a colonial parlor, parts of insects, etc. Two Uruguayans in Montevideo told us that their favorite was the Museo de Artes Decorativas. Although it was far away, we went there at its opening time, 10 am. It didn’t open until 2 pm. We went back and it wasn’t worth it. There were only a few decorative pieces out. It was mostly paintings. Below is one, “La Muerte gorda” by Hugo Longa.
We did see some fine museums. The best one was Montevideo’s culturally significant Museo Torres Garcia. I’ve blogged about it and the others that were worthwhile, like the new tango museum. Dancing is in Uruguayans’ blood. It wasn’t unusual to see citizens spontaneously start dancing in the street. Little known fact: the tango was invented in Montevideo.
The streets of Montevideo often don’t have naming signs so a map is only partially helpful. Also, some streets have more than one name. We found ourselves wandering a lot and guessing. Wandering becomes fun but could be dangerous. The people of Montevideo tend to be descendants of Europeans, and a lot of their architecture was Italianate, French, Art Deco, etc. There’s a wealth of really old buildings in varying stages of decay. I was stopped more than once and told to put my camera away. This wasn’t suggested. I was told. There’s a lot of clever graffiti, some of it political.
Wine is becoming a bigger lure. There are currently 3 or 4 wine regions with tours. Winemakers specialize in an unusual varietal, tanat. Both Ruth & I learned to like its unmistakable taste. I also found Patricia beer excellent. Other tourist attractants are stays on estancias, sunning on super beaches stretching all the way to Brazil, and riding horses.
El Fútbol is incredibly popular. Like Super Bowl 2017 will still be talked about in 65+ years, so will the 1950 game in which Uruguay won the World Cup in Brazil. The game was similar to Tom Brady’s team’s triumph but, of course, not American-style football. That Uruguay finished in 4th place in the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 is still being discussed and written about.
The best way to get around Uruguay is by bus but it’s difficult to book one unless you know a local who is willing to help. Future opera singer Gonzalo Lodeiro was our mentor.
Below is a carnival mask in Montevideo’s Museo del Carnaval.