Notes of a traveller

Alan Dodds – photographer (among other things)

Notes of a traveller

Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Punta Del Este and Rio de Janeiro

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 at 8:47 pm

Montevideo, Uruguay.

The first port on our way north is Montevideo. We have been looking forward to this city … everybody tells us it is beautiful and very walkable. It is quite cold so we rug up. Mmmmm. It seems to be raining.

We decide to wait for the rain to clear, but as the day goes on it all gets worse and the wind comes up as well. What to do?

In the middle of the afternoon, we decide to go anyway even if we get a bit wet so off we trot, but only get as far as the port entrance. We stand at the corner of a building with the rain and wind howling past. A couple of people gasp around the corner, soaking wet and with their umbrellas turned inside out. Maybe we have to give this a miss!

Rain on the deck in Montevideo, Uruguay

The day starts with rain on the deck
The harbour in Montevideo, Uruguay

Jacqui looks stressed as we fight our way back to the ship through the wind and rain.
Wrecked ships in Montevideo, Uruguay

This ship graveyard sums up our day in Montevideo.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

After yesterdays hiccup we have high hopes for Buenos Aires as we approach the harbour in the early morning sunlight. It looks like a clear day ahead.

Footsteps on the deck in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Footsteps in the early morning dew as people try to get the best shots from the top deck!
Harbour in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Take your large cruise ship and park it here please. No tugs allowed!

We get out of the port on the free shuttle bus (can’t have all these people wandering around unchaperoned) and begin our usual stroll around the city with no clear idea of where we are going. Let just see what turns up. There are those who plan every minute of their time ashore to make sure that they don’t miss anything. This doesn’t seems to be quite our style!

Chevrolet bus in Buenos Aires, Argentina

This looks like someones pride and joy!
Railway station in Buenos Aires, Argentina

The impressive railway station.
Falklands memorial in Buenos Aires, Argentina

There were two sides in the Falklands war of 1982. This is the memorial for those Argentians who lost their lives.
Torre Monumental (British Clock) in Buenos Aires, Argentina

This used to be called the British Clock (or Little Ben by some), named after it’s doners. After the war it was renamed as the Torre Monumental
Morten Bay Fig Tree in the Plaza San Martin Buenos Aires, Argentina

This huge Morten Bay Fig Tree stands in the Plaza San Martin
Florida shopping area in Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Florida pedestrian street is a main shopping area. They are all here … MacDonald’s, Starbucks, Burger King et al. Love the butterfly!
Street vendors in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Here we see the three main consumer items – sunglasses, hats and selfie sticks!
Presidential palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Yet another statue of a Spanish horseman in front of the presidents “Pink Palace”
Eva Peron balcony, Pink House in Buenos Aires, Argentina

This is the balcony from which Eva Peron made her speeches.
Statue in Buenos Aires, Argentina

This is now mine, whatever you have to say!
Sunset in Buenos Aires, Argentina

As we sail away, the outline of Buenos Aries fades into the sunset.

We really enjoyed our day in Buenos Aires. The streets were wide and open and the public building impressive. The old port area has been renovated or torn down and is now a fashionable area of shops and restaurants. And we felt safe at all times.

Punta del Este, Uruguay

We have no expectations for Punta del Este, as it feels rather like a fill-in on the itinerary between the great cities of Buenos Aires and Rio.

It turns out that Punta del Este is the holiday resort which services the wealthier people from Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina in particular. It is a beach resort of apartment blocks and more substantial houses and one can imagine that there are many holiday homes here.

As we walk off the tender pier, we are handed an excellent walking tour guide which takes us for four or five kilometres along the Atlantic coast and back along the sheltered bay-side beach.

First thing, of course, is to get our coffee.

Artico restaurant in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Coffee at the Artico restaurant.
Houses in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

On the headland stand some more up-market houses overlooking the atlantic ocean.
Public art in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Along the way we come across some interesting public art!
Shop sign in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Didn’t know they had Roos in Uruguay …
Buried hand sculpture in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

This buried hand gets everyone excited.
Sculpture for sale in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

I can’t quite work out who would actually buy this.
Sculpture in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Time to walk back along the bay and a tender to the ship.
Beach in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

It’s easy to see why it’s so popular.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

We have been warned that docking in Rio would be early and so after struggling to wake up we enter the harbour in the early morning light. The statue of Christ the Redeemer shines from the top of it’s hill, with the bulk of the Sugar Loaf in front. It is quite a spectacular entrance and definitely worth the missed sleep.

Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Load, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

What a sight greets us in the early morning light
The bridge in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A mackerel sky over the bridge
Buildings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Behind the modern glass towers sit the favelas on their hills. We are warned that these are not areas to explore on your own.
Port side buildings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Port side buildings sporting street art are in various states of repair
Street art in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Feels like thus guy looks straight though you!

The main snag about arriving in Rio, is that we are about to be unceremoniously kicked out of the comfortable nest we have been luxuriating in for the past five weeks. Our cases were all packed and collected last night, and although we opted for a late disembarkation it has come along all too soon.

Instead of getting off the ship and wandering into Rio, as we have become used to when docking, here we are after a last breakfast, with our suitcases trailing behind, walking towards our hotel and an unknown future. Scary!

Away from the smooth surfaces of the port area, we meet the reality of the pavements in Rio. We plunge straight into the maelstrom of the city and its mosaicked sidewalks. We feel a bit silly dragging our suitcases behind us, but luckily the hotel is only supposed to be 500 metres down the road, so we persist. Not worth getting a taxi. This really is strange!

Across the street is the Hotel Sao Francisco … whew! Not far now. Wait a moment! The doors and windows of this multistory modern hotel appear to be boarded up … this can’t be right. But it is. Oh no … what to do now?

After a confused conversation with a man in a small suitcase shop beside the hotel, he confirms that the hotel has closed. Fortunately he tells us there is another hotel a little farther on. To our delight, we soon find the Windsor hotel and book a room for the night. It seems that the Hotel Sao Francisco was shut down by a court a few days ago and none of it’s staff had been paid for the last three months. We gratefully go to our room to digest these events.

Street scene in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Mosaicked pavements and street stalls in Rio.
Cafe in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Not only that, but we have to find our own food! Whatever next! Actually we have a lovely meal at this restaurant in the early evening. Very romantic!
Igraja de Nossa Senhora Candelaria in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Igraja de Nossa Senhora Candelaria is a mouthful, but I like the wind sculpture in front
Museo do Amanha in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This modern museum is right on the waterside.
Buildings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

To the untrained eye, much of Rio seems to be in a state of semi collapse.
Buildings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Just the place to be an air-conditoner repair person.
Mosaic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Even the access covers are decorated with mosaic.
Street scene in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

On a Sunday everything is closed, making it much easier to walk around.
Buildings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Some of the buildings are impressive.
Presbyterian Church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The old Presbyterian church is in front with the concrete bulk of the modern cathedral behind.
Presbyterian Church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In this sculptured sermon, the congregation appears to be looking elsewhere.
Cathedral in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Inside the Cathedral the stained glass panels reach to the sky.
Theatre in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The sculpture on the wall of the theatre seen from inside the Cathedral.
Street art in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Tweetie pie!

Homelessness is rife in Rio and in many of the streets there are bundles of sleeping bodies.

Homeless person in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Homelessness is everywhere.
Homeless person in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Some people just lay down in the street.

We have set out to see the Escadaria Selaron, more commonly known as the Lapa Steps, created over a lifetime by the Chilean artist, Selaron, as his tribute to Brazil. The steps go up into the Santa Terasa area sitting on top of the hill. This was once a very run down part of the city but is gradually being gentrified.

Homeless people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The entrance to the Lapa Area under the viaduct.
Santa Terasa in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The viaduct leads toward Santa Teresa.
Street art in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Jacqui shares a joke.

Now we are approaching the Lapa Steps.It’s quite a scene.
Artist at the Lapa Steps in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A craftsperson stocks up for the crowds.

Suddenly it is crowded, and the taxis and mini buses vie for parking spaces as they disgorge their cargos of tourists. There is a great sense of delight among the crowds as they jostle into position to get that photo or that selfie.

Lapa Steps in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Here we are at the Lapa Steps along with hundreds of others.
Lapa steps in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Amazingly, everybody cooperates to allow the taking of this shot many times over as one group replaces another.
Lapa steps in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This is the story of the Great Madness of Selaron.

Onwards, ever onwards!

So now it is time to leave Rio and South America … but where will we go?

More next time


7 responses to “Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Punta Del Este and Rio de Janeiro”

  1. Lynn Ayiotis says:

    Enjoying catching up with your travels. Really enjoy seeing the usual and unusual tourist sites. xx

  2. Scott says:

    Great adventure youtwo are having.
    enjoying the journal , keep them coming
    xx from down under

  3. Helen Lynes says:

    Love the sky over the bridge! Thanks so much for the fabulous photos. So full of humanity, colour. Love always to you and Jacqui xxx

  4. Jac says:

    SO much to enjoy!! haha Cangaroos! Love love Rio – it looks clean and colourful ☺️ The stained glass looks amazing in Pres Church 👍🏻 Also, that lovely exterior sculpture at Punta, girl on bull – cannot even imagine how many oher gr8 pics u have xx. Reception or no- recep at that hotel a bit rough! But part of the adventure – gr8 recovery or save 👍🏻 Good to hear ‘romance is alive’ 😉 – left hanging…. wonder how u hav come down after that amazing cruise. ❤️🙏

  5. Michael Bobrowicz says:

    Hi to both of you, Many thanks for all these photos and descriptions , its a joy to follow !

  6. Christina McGuinness says:

    Quite a story. Shame about Montevideo, great pic of Jacqui! And really enjoyed seeing pic of balcony/Eva Peron…’Don’t cry for me Argentina’ immediately came to mind. The city very beautiful.
    Punte Del Este beachside…so Gold Coast.
    The pic of entering Rio was really worth the early get up, simply stunning, a winner Alan. Very exciting city. Steps story and workmanship a colourful, positive story. It must have been a ‘funny feeling’ to know you now on your own, with luggage, when leaving the ship, in Rio…good on you both. Seems Olympics didn’t do much for the city, but hey…it’s still Rio!
    Again, thanks for sharing the adventures. Looking forward to next missive.
    Cheers, love, Christina & Richard

  7. Tony / Beryl D says:

    My goodness me ( and all of your friends ) the tale / and trail goes on. my scrap lying in the estuary!!! people sleeping around, but not in that sense and then turning up to find we’ve been locked out. Sooner you than me with that kind of holiday, Beryl would have gone berserk! and me ‘ panic ‘
    We look forward to where next.
    Tony and Beryl xx

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