Today we are up at 5am and a taxi collects us at 5.30 to get to Puerto Malderno to catch the ferry from Buenos Aires to Montevideo Uruguay. Our ticket say that we should be at the Port 2 hours before and we get there 1 3/4 hours before and someone forgot to tell the Burqueue staff because there were some passengers there but no staff. After about 20 minutes the check in staff wander in and we can then check in and then go through immigration and finally we can get a coffee while we wait to board. The ferry is only 1/4 full if that. It is a nothing boat ride as it is fully enlosed so there is no opportunity to go on deck and the windows are sort of frosted so you can't see anything much. Two and half hours later we arrive in Montevideo. There is no immigration this side as we did the 'left and entered' stamping of our passport in Argentina. We get in a cab and it's quite a long ride to Punta Trouville Hotel as the esplanade is closed for walking and cycling. Our room is ready which is great and so we check in and then decide to go walking along the rambla which is basically the esplanade along the sea front. This 'road' along with the wide footpath for walking goes from one end of Montivideo to the other. We walk for quite a few kilometres along with families, joggers and cyclsits all enjoying the sun and the beach. We do find it hard to get a taxi. We haven't seen many so we head inland and come across one and he is able to take us to Mercardo de Puerto, a market that turns out to be close to the ferry terminal we just arrived at. Oh, well!! We enter the market which has some lovely shops and all sorts of restaurants that have lots of meat (Uruguay has 11.5 million cows) and seafood, because we are, of course right on the coast. We find a money changer so we have some more cash and decide to eat at one of the restaurants. The meat dishes are enormous. Meat is cooked over the coals so there is a real smoky bbq flavour. We opt for a shared seafood paella and a glass of Tannat wine. We sit at a bench in the form of a square. Our end overlooks where the chef and the dishwasher work. Both tiny places and the opposite end is the bbq where they cook all the meat. The other 2 sides are for deepd fryer and serving. The meal is okay. Paella is tasty but there is not that much seafood in it for A$58 and, only one prawn. However, watching the kitchen and the whole ordering, serving and cooking including placing about 10 X 5kg bags of chips into the deep fryer in about one hour, is pure entertainment. Some of the meals are huge and we watch several people devour all this food while we are sitting there.
After we go for a wander around the shops. A lot of the stores here have hand made Uruguyan products, beautiful jewellery paintings sculptures etc. Next to the market is the museum which displays some of the costumes from the Carnaval which is held for 40 days in Jnauary/February each year. Some of these are works of art, so colourful and detailed.
After that we go over to the port area as earlier we had seen a tall ship moored there and we thought we might see it up close. As we got nearer we discovered we had stumbled on Uruguay's Naval Day. The port area is full of people. The tall ship is open to board and have a look around, however, the queue is huge. It would take hours to get to the front. There are also battle ships to look over. A helicopter that the children can sit in for a photo. There is even a naval boat that takes people out for a cruise. Some guys are abseiling down a building and the naval band is parading up and down the wharf area. The place is buzzing. All the ships and equipment looks a bit old and tired but apparently they haven't been at war since 1870 so I guess they don't need to uodate too often.
We finally get a cab back to our Hotel and decide to eat snacks that we bought from a supermarket near the wharf as we had such a big lunch. We go down to reception as we had a brochure in our room advising that they could book tours. We arranged, even though it was late notice, to go to Punte de Este tomorrow as it is going to be 26C. The guy behind the desk books and tells us to be at Reception at 8.10.