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Is 5 days in MV too much?

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Haliburton, Ontario
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Is 5 days in MV too much?

We are renting a house near Punte del Este, and our time here ends two days from now (Easter Monday). We are heading toward Montevideo where we have a hotel booked but not until Wed.

We've driven east up the coast, we've done a bit of "beaching", we've done day drives into the country, we've lunched at Hotel del Lago and Las Cumbras - all very low key and thoroughly enjoyable.

I can't see that there's 5 days worth of things to do in Montevideo - walk the boardwalk, do some shopping, maybe do The Wine Experience, poke around the Old City, do the pedestrian shops, and a museum or two but ...

Hubby's been in the country for a month now, so he's been to Colonial de Sacramento and doesn't really want to go back (I may insist).

Can anyone suggest some plans, places or "best kept secrets" in and around MV?

Thanks for any and all suggestions.

Philadelphia...
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1. Re: Is 5 days in MV too much?

Go tango dancing in Plaza Fabini.

Plaza Fabini, named after the engineer and politician Juan Fabini (1876-1962), is situated in the Centro district of Montevideo and is widely considered to be the most beautiful park in Uruguay’s capital.

In the center of the square is the Monumento del Entrevero (“the Monument of Disorder”), a large sculpture about the horrors of war by José Belloni (1882-1965), depicting gauchos, criollos, and native Uruguayans in battle.

The park, which is sometimes referred to as the Plaza del Entrevero because of the famous sculpture, is also noted for its impromptu tango dancing.

(The links below are best seen in full screen.)

Panorama of Plaza Fabini:

http://bit.ly/o2ro4g

Videos—Tango in Plaza Fabini:

http://bit.ly/nrwKZV

http://bit.ly/r39Ufu

Punta del Este
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2. Re: Is 5 days in MV too much?

Yes, 5 days in Montevideo is too much.

Before getting to the capital why not spending some time in Minas, Villa Serrana, Buddhist temple, Parque Salus.

Tell your selfish hubby to take you to Colonia! and go to Carmelo to do something else. The oldest winery is Los Cerros de San Juan. And visit the Estancia Anchorena, the presidential residence.

Montevideo, Uruguay
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3. Re: Is 5 days in MV too much?

I´m agree with Uruguayan, 5 days in MVD is too much.

Some ideas to spend thats days:

--I recommend too you visit Minas city, with Villa Serrana, Parque Salus & Parque de la Ute http://www.parquedevacaciones.com.uy/

--Are you interested in a different tour in MVD? you may visit the west of the department offering a wide expanse of nature: Start at the Cerro de Montevideo, where you can visit its Fortaleza (fort) and enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Then visit Vaz Ferreira´s Park which is a large green area conducive for recreation.

Follow Santiago Vázquez, only town of Montevideo, located on the mouth of St. Lucia in the Rio de la Plata.

It is highly recommended lunch at the restaurants overlooking the river Santa Lucia and navigate the river

In the afternoon you can visit the residential El Prado where few blocks have emblematic constructions of nineteenth century aristocracy and public spaces as the Prado Park, Botanical Garden, the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden.

--About wines, you can visit for your own way, different bodegas located in Montevideo, here the list of it: bodegasdeluruguay.com.uy/esp/bodegas-resulta…

Enjoy Montevideo mydogspud!

Edited: 12:19 pm, March 31, 2013
Haliburton, Ontario
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4. Re: Is 5 days in MV too much?

Thanks for the replies. We've already done the Minas route and it was great.

Thanks for the suggestions. Perhaps we'll go north from CdelS, stay overnight somewhere(?) and head into MVD for Wed. We fly out 9:30 Friday night. Would that be enough?

Thanks again.

Montevideo, Uruguay
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5. Re: Is 5 days in MV too much?

Maybe stay in Mercedes (soriano) and navigate through the Río Negro (Negro River) in catamaran (boat) is a good idea http://www.soriano.gub.uy/www/catamaran.html

Dallas, Texas
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6. Re: Is 5 days in MV too much?

Well, for starters ... I disagree with five days being too long.

The above are all good suggestions, but I'll try to add on.

If you are a history nut like I am, Montevideo is an amazing city. It became known as the "New Troy" in the 19th century. During the Uruguayan Civil War (which was also a conflict involving Brazil and Argentina as a lot of folks wanted to get their hands on this little piece of land) the city was surrounded for NINE YEARS and never fell. In fact, because the port was never shut down, the economy in the city actually grew during that period.

Read up on it here:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uruguayan_Civil_War

You can visit the "Adelante de Oribe" on the Rambla and find a map of where the front lines were (on the river it was just up the hill from Parque Rodo). From the "front lines" you can look down toward the old city and see how much the city has grown since then. There's also a small museum at the Fortaleza del Cerro that's worth a visit (bear in mind, these are very small collectons, but they give an insight into the past of the city and country). It is amazing that Uruguay is not part of Argentina or Brazil today, find out why.

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The Uruguayan Civil War brought about an end to slavery because they needed soldiers. The freed slaves formed a force of around 5,000 soldiers in Montevideo. Having come from Africa, these soldiers brought along their war drums. This evolved into Candombe, which you can catch on just about any weekend night. Ask around for where the good "comparsas" will meet up on a Saturday night (Mi Morena is a good one and they meet in the Tres Cruces area. Bring a few beers and follow along. Its a fun time, but still ... there's a very serious undertone to the tradition.

Then on Sunday, go and find La Melaza, the female drumming group that meets just a block or so north of Parque Rodo. This group was formed in 2005, so they're kind of new, but their style is a little bit different and once again, it's a good time.

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Parque Rodo itself is charming. It's kind of reminiscent of the days in the USA when there were still small family-owned boardwalk amusement parks.

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If there's a football (soccer) match going on while you are there, you HAVE to go and visit Estadio Centenario. It is the site of the first ever World Cup. One suggestion though, ask which side of the stadium is the "calm" side (the other side can get kind of rowdy). I think there's a museum there too, but I didn't see it.

Scenes from the 1930 World Cup:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjIyZi8wOzU

Incidentally, it was also the site where the largest flag ever was unveiled. Penarol fans are CRAZY.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Yv5NDEIkL0

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If you like music, Montevideo actually has a bit of a scene going on. Now at this point I must admit that I wasn't paying much attention to addresses, But I know there was a cool bar that had some GREAT improvisational jazz going on (you'd have to ask around). Tango music is, of course, all over the place.

And if you like rock, and are lucky enough to be there at the right time, You might try to catch one of the following groups if they are playing somewhere (these are the local folks):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2BAXAQTuw8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30oa0b2mdUo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8F9Qvror6g

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1kuBidSaFc

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I'm not usually one to suggest shopping spots, but the Feria Tristan Narvaja on Sundays is just amazing. It's kind of a "flea market," but I found it an amazing time. WHILE YOU ARE THERE, look for the national headquarters of "Frente Amplio" the ruling national party (it's very close). Inside you can learn the story of how the current president was once a prisoner (during the military dictatorship) and was part of the very famous escape (they dug their way out through an underground tunnel). There's a little model of it inside, and they love to tell the story. Incidentally, the former prison is now an upscale shopping mall, so you could visit that too.

A glimpse of the flea market:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkxelvkJfkw

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Eat at a good parrillada. The ones at Mercado del Puerto are good, but I preferred Varelita (in Barrio Malvin) it's a tiny neighborhood joint, the kind of place I dig. Chiviteria Marcos is the best place to catch the "King of All Sandwichdom" (according to Anthony Bourdain).

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Now, somewhere north of Colonia they do have some natural springs to visit (somewhere near the city of Salto, but I can't remember if it was north or south of there).

I quite enjoyed Paysandu, but then again my travel habits are a bit different than most folks. More or less, it's just a very calm and much smaller city than MVD on the Rio Uruguay with interesting architecture and a nice Plaza where the local folks gather for different and interesting events.

Hope that helps. :)

Haliburton, Ontario
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7. Re: Is 5 days in MV too much?

Thanks for your wonderful suggestions but we left yesterday...

Las Vegas, Nevada
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8. Re: Is 5 days in MV too much?

WQst: Your long post was not in vain, despite it being too late to aid the original poster. I will use this information in planning out my four days in Montevideo later this year.

Wilmington, New York
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9. Re: Is 5 days in MV too much?

Me, too! We'll be there in March. Not sure yet whether we'll be there 3 days or 4 or 5, but your suggestions will certainly be part of our planning! Thanks.

Daytona Beach...
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10. Re: Is 5 days in MV too much?

5 days in MV is definitely too much... unless you include a side trip to Colonia del Sacramento or Punta del Este. I was just there three weeks ago for 6 days and that was a mistake although I did visit Colonia and Punta and that was wonderful. To me I think two days should be enough for sight seeing the city, the first day you can cover Ciudad Vieja and its Mercado de Puerto which offers excellent grilled meat cooked right in front of you on open fire, and within walking distance from Ciudad Vieja is the Plaza Independencia in Centro District, day two can include a walk (or bike ride) along the Rambla (boardwalk that runs along the water) and visit the Punta Carretas and Pocitos area. After my second day in MV I started walking (for miles and miles) through different barrios (Aguada, Goes, Cordon, Tres Cruces, Jacinto.....) and what an eye opener! The further north (away from Palermo and Pocitos barrio) the more run-down the place. Old and dilapidated (not maintained and some abandoned) buildings, lots of graffiti, un-kept neighborhood, there are trash (and dog poops) on the sidewalks (watch where you step), but the people I interacted with seemed genuine and content. My guess is when travel it's good to see how the other half lives, not just the all-nice-and-rosy places that tourists most often visit.