Monday, November 11, 2013

To the Lighthouse! II

Faro de Punta Brava
The Faro de Punta Brava, a.k.a. The Punta Carretas lighthouse, is about a quarter-mile, half-mile back from the Rambla.  It seems to be a very popular "hang out" point for Montevideans on weekends, as I saw lots of people parked along the road, playing soccer with their children and dogs.

And when you get to the end of the trail, theres's a fantastic view of the downtown and Ciudad Vieja.

View of Montevideo from Punta Carretas
I could make out the shape of the Palacio Salvo in the hazy skyline.  I also note for the record that this is now the farthest south I have ever been in my life.  Before this trip, the farthest south I had made it was Foz de Iguacu in Brazil.  Punta Carretas in Montevideo is the new record-holder, although it should give up that title in a few days when I pull into Punta Del Este, a few hours east.

Besides the great views, the area around the lighthouse also seems to be home for a colony of stray cats.

Cats at the coast

Stray cats strut
Like most of the population of Montevideo, these cats looked well fed.

The lighthouse is rather small.  It's not the Buxton lighthouse as far as "landmark lighthouses" go.  And apparently, from the family at the top when I shot that picture, you can go up to the top.  Well, if little children can do, I can, too!

Closer to the Faro de Punta Brava
I pay my $20 Uruguayan fee (about $1.00 U.S.).  And only then do I realize I don't like heights and I don't like tight enclosed stairwells.

You can see the look of trepidation on my face
But I paid my money and I have to go through with it.  I climb the stairs as fast as I can, not pausing for even a second.  It's just easier and less stressful that way.  Fortunately, it wasn't a tall climb, so I'm not winded when I get to the top.

And the views are nice: 

The view toward Centro and Ciudad Vieja

The view out toward the Rio De La Plata

And back to where we started

There.  I don't look too stressed being up in open air heights, do I?
To add insult, as I am climbing down, there is a father and young daughter -- I'm bad a judging ages, so I'll say she was 4 -- and the kid was giggling as she climbed.  Giggling!  Didn't she realize that open air heights and tightly-enclosed stairwells are STRESSFUL!  So stop with the giggling.

Actually, given how tiny each step of the staircase, you could argue that the stairs were easier for a child- sized foot rather than my size 11's.  So no wonder she's giggling.  That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

The sign says, "Visit the Punta Carretas Lighthouse every day"
And speaking of stress, I also just realized that the true "vacation magic" happens when the work stress has completely left your body.  I'm now at that point.  So if that cab or guide is a no-show -- even if they try to serve me an all-gristle steak hot off the grill -- this vacation has served its purpose.

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