Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Long Drive Homeward

Montevideo skyline, viewed from the north
500km (or 300 miles) from Salto to Montevideo.  Because I decided to take the direct route, right through Montevideo to Carrasco International Airport on the other side of the city, it was more than seven hours of driving time through the Uruguayan countryside.
Special aside to my friends from New Jersey:  you would find driving in Uruguay surprisingly similar to the Garden State.  Lots of rotaries, jug handles and full-service gas stations only.

One crucial difference -- from New Jersey and any of the other 49 states -- is how incredibly polite Uruguayan drivers are.  (Well, except for the woman in the Chevrolet Spark who flipped me off driving through Montevideo.  I just smiled and waved.)  They will often get over into the shoulder to let you pass.  They yield at the rotaries.  Drivers don't respect the sanctity of lanes, but they completely respect other drivers.  It was surprisingly easy to drive here.

I got into Montevideo when the sun was still out.  Since I was coming in from the west, and heading southward into the city, I got to see a different view of Montevideo.  For example, I saw this building.  The Telecommunications Tower, also known as the Torre Antel, or Torre de las Telecommunicaciones.  It's the tallest building in all of Uruguay.

Torre de las Telecommunicaciones
I also found out that when the weather is warm, and sun is shining, Montevideo is a beach town.  The Rambla along the Rio De La Plata was packed its entire length, including cars parked in the right lane of the Rambla which was supposed to be a traffic lane.  The beaches and the grassy areas near the beaches were packed with people.  This would be a great city to spend a warm sunny weekend day.

This was a great vacation.  It was not packed with nonstop action and sun-up to sundown sightseeing of incredible sights.  But if a successful vacation is discovering a new place, experiencing a new culture, getting out from the stress of ordinary living, and recharging the mental battery, then this was a successful vacation.

I also finally got to snap a decent picture of the signature building of Montevideo:  the Palacio Salvo.

Palacio Salvo, viewed from Plaza Independencia
And with that, the Vacation Blog is closed for another vacation.  It will re-open for my trip to the World Cup in Brasil next June.  Or maybe I'll take a shorter trip somewhere interesting before then.  Good-bye from Uruguay.  Good-bye to Uruguay.

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