Friday, 27 December 2013

Praça da República

The Praça da República is located smack downtown Sao Paulo and has a Metro station (subway) located on, and named after it. During the business week, it can be a spooky experience to visit, but on Sundays you will find that the city and the park itself wind down to a more human pace.
On its premises you will find an assorted variety of kiosks that sell all types of souvenirs like fancy rocks and beautiful birds carved in stone. Also some really nice paintings sold by the very people that created them.
Considering the high cost of living in Sao Paulo, the prices are not that bad, and you can buy very descent paintings for under 50 bucks.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

O Orelhão

I´m amazed at how some people can be colourful (in a good sense) without effort. In more boring places you would need to hire a model an set up props to get a scene like this. Cheers to Brazilian originality.
By the way, these ubiquitous phone booths in Sao Paulo are called Orelhao, which translates roughly to Big ear.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Chilling with green coconut water

Over my many trips to Brazil and other tropical countries I have come to appreciate the benefits of fresh, cold green coconut water, served at many roadside barracks all over the country, in some cases the vendors will knock off the top of the coconut with a  single machete blow.
Besides being refreshing and rich in potassium etc. its something natural and a local fruit that only grows in tropical places. I laugh at people that travel half the way around the world and only drink coke, when you have dozens of tropical fruits with plenty of juice and exotic flavours that you will not find elsewhere.

Now here´s something that you might not know, and it is that on chopping the coconut open (done free of charge by the machete welding vendor), you can spoon out a white jelly , that is the coconut´s pulp  that´s also yummy to eat by itself or with sugar.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Colonia del Sacramento

Colonia del Sacramento is located roughly 200 clicks southwest of Montevideo, by the River Plate facing Buenos Aires, and also closer to it than Montevideo. Being one of the oldest towns in Uruguay, I was surprised by the small size of the original Portuguese settlement, since according to the tordecillas treaty, signed by Portugal and Spain, this town was founded by the Portuguese and later handed over to the Spanish.

The cobblestone streets are adorned by stategically placed old cars like this 48´Studebaker champion coupe, that reminds me of a composition I made in grade school that was titled " the Little red Broom Broom car.
Be advised that this is probably the most photographed car in the town, Ive seen it even in a bill board in Buenos Aires.
See the PDF

Sunday, 1 December 2013

From the Past: Villa Ojo de Agua

Some photos from a very picturesque small town in Santiago del Estero province in Argentina.
See the PDF

Monday, 25 November 2013

the Soneira Castle

This Neo Gothic mansion located at Av.Joaquin Suarez in el Prado is one of the nicest buildings in Montevideo.Built by the Soneira family in1861. Its regal interior boasts a neo Gothic mantelpiece, stain glass windows ans several Gothic corridors filled with life size statues of renown people of the 19th century, like Watt.
Its now being renovated to be a School. I tried to take some interior pics, but unfortunately got caught in the red tape with one of the top dogs that run the place now.
You can see its exterior and are allowed to peek inside if your discreet.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

El Jardin Japones

Come springtime in Montevideo its nice to get out and about. A nice place to visit on the weekends is the Japanese Garden, located on the grounds of the "Museo Juan Manuel Blanes" on Avenida Millan 4015 .
Even dough it is´nt very big its a nice place to chill out.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The keeper of the Tomb

Several times I´ve visited Montevideo´s RC Cathedral on Plaza Matriz. On the left back side facing the altar you´ll find the tomb of the first archbishop of the city Mariano Soler. Is was sculpted by Zorilla de San Martin and represents the prelate flanked by 4 figures. I liked the knight that seems to be respectfully guarding the tomb.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Montevideo vs La Habana

Never mind the photos of La Havana with colonial buildings and old cars in post Communist derelict state. Here you can see classic buildings and vintage cars in nice shape and in a preserved state. mind you most of the cars are new here, many of Chinese origin, but that´s another problem.
There are certain neighbourhoods of Montevideo that look identical to La Havana, they even rolled some films here making believe it was Cuba.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Cruzin the Rambla

One of the nicest things in Montevideo is its riverside walk or "La Rambla". Its 25 km long and is great to Drive, bike or Jog. The locals have the habit of going there on the weekends to drink mate and watch the sunsets. I like to bike there and when I find a nice spot sanp some sunset shots.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Día del Patrimonio

El día del Patrimoni in Uruguay, is the local Heritage day, on which all museums and public buildings are open to the public, some of which are normally closed like the Ministry of Foreign affairs, pictured above.

there´s a whole list of very interesting places to visit in Montevideo. the one I liked the most was the Ministry of foreign affairs on 18 de Julio, and the Museo Historico, whose staircase we see above.
Most of these buildings are former residences of important figures of the county´s history. 

Monday, 23 September 2013

The alchemyst

Humberto Pitamiglio was from an Italian family that moved to Montevideo at the end of the 19th century. being an architect he amazed a great fortune and owned around 400 properties at the time of his death in 1966. before dying he left most of his properties to charities including his own house, the Pitamiglio castle.

Located on Rambla Ghandy and 21 de Septiembre and boxed in between two buildings, this mix of Medieval castle and haunted Victorian house was Pitamiglios residence and was built originally in 1910,but was constantly being renovated and expanded till his death in 1966. The Place is full of alchemist symbols and abounds with passages and doors that lead nowhere etc.
 It has two fronts and the one that faces the river has a sculpture with bow of a ship combined with a Greek mythological figure.
Today it houses a museum and a restaurant, and can be visited. Unfortunately the rooms are empty since after his death the house was plundered, and also its not allowed to take pictures inside, but its certainly worth visiting.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The pigout guide to Montevideo - La Balanza

Pardon my geography, this restaurant is actually in Maldonado, but since its 1hr. and a bit away, its still in reach of someone in Montevideo. Located at 25 de Mayo in Maldonado, this place is simple and cheap, serves good meat and is frequented by locals (always a good indicator of non tourist ripoff place). they have some deals for parrilladas, but I recommend choosing your cuts individually, so as to eat only what you like, if you do the math it comes to basically the same price as the combos.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Expo Prado 2013

Went to see a Little action at the agrarian expo in Montevideo last Sunday, this exhibition is done yearly in Brazil and Argentina as well. They show off their finest livestock champions and do equestrian demos.

The place was packed full, since the previous day it had rained. Quite well organised but a bit expensive for the region.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Montevideo, Where old trucks come to die

It seems that Uruguay has imported over the years a wide array of discontinued vehicles, like this Thames trader truck, made by the British division of Ford. And probably kept them running with "make do" parts, since they were probably one of a kind.

You´ll see a good amount of 50s eras trucks still running in Montevideo. One reason being the high value of overtaxed new units, and the capacity of the locals to fix any type of piece or part that normally would be replaced.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Churros en el Parque Rodó

What do you do in Montevideo when, its darn cold. You go for hot churros at the "Parque Rodó". La Manola is one of the traditional ones.

You´ll find churros in most of the Hispanic countries in many different forms and shapes, but I find the South American version is improved on the Spanish original recipe, cuz they are filled with dulce de leche.
These fried dough sticks dripping in oil , stuffed and some times covered in chocolate will get your internal thermostat up to the highest body temperatures for sure.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Punta del Este

Not more than 2hrs away from Montevideo sits Punta del este, Uruguay and Argentina´s top seaside city, with the best resorts and fine beachfront apartments. This place becomes the playground of the wealthy people of the region during the summer.

I came here out of season and it was deserted. besides fine beaches, the port is small but interesting with the odd sea Lion sitting on the docks.

The lighthouse is another favourite place for nice pics, and  of course do not miss the sunsets.

Saturday, 17 August 2013


About 100 clics East of Montevideo you´ll find the city of piriapolis, named after its creator Piria, its an interesting stop if your going to Punta del este, or just for a day trip. One of its attractions is Piria´s castle, that was built as his residence.
Francisco Piria was a wealthy man of his time that bought some land in the 1890s and decided to create a Summer resort to entice the locals and nearby argies. The place had  a big hotel,casino and all the necessary tourist trap attractions of the time.

On the occasion of the marriage of his daughter Piria built a church for the ceremony, but was never consecrated as a Catholic Temple, cuz of his a affiliation with masons and alchemists, and unfortunately is now in ruins.

Needless to say that the place has very nice beaches, and a breathtaking view of the whole city from the cerro San Antonio.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Sunsets R us

 I do prefer to live in a city that has a sea or lake shore or mountains, or both. Montevideo is located on a hill, but it primes for its Rambla or river shore and its beautiful sunsets that can be enjoyed from the parks situated across the Rambla. Practically everyday people gather to view the daily spectacle and occasionally they even clap at the sunset.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The pigout guide to Montevideo - 2 patos

Having made for myself a reputation as a greasy spoon gourmet, I have to say that I have visited very fancy restaurants in every country I´ve troded. nevertheless I do prefer places where you eat well and do´nt need to pay for the fake smiles on the faces of the employees.
I´ve already mentioned the "Mercado del Puerto" in Montevideo, where you will find more than 10 different meat joints to choose from. deeper into town at the intersection of Av. Luis Alberto de Herrera and Cnel. Justo Arrechaga, you will find the parrillada 2 Patos, where you can enjoy hearthy parrilladas for half the price of the tourist joints.

Just in case you do,nt know, a "parrillada" is selection from the asado grill brought to your table in a coal heated tray, containing a variety of meat cuts, sausages and tripe.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Back to the scrapyard

Yep, if you read my previous posts, you´ll know that this plane is at a metal recycler in Aurora St. in Montevideo.
Last time I passed by, the place was closed, so i decided to drop by again and find out what plane it was that they have on their front yard.
As most of the people here, the owner was very friendly and he told me that it was a Fairchild AT -21 , from 1943 that had been decommissioned by the Uruguayan Navy. we even went inside and saw that it has most of its original equipment, including radio and receivers.

The cockpit still holds all the original paraphernalia. Afterwards the owner showed us some of his other trophies, like vintage radios,irons,typewriters etc.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The battle of the River Plate

German cruiser "Admiral Graf Spee" was a pocket cruiser of the German navy at the beginning of WWII, it had a series of technological innovations at the time, like being made of welded plates as opposed to bolted plates, which made it much lighter an faster than its opponents. At the onstart of the war the Spee was assigned to "commerce raiding" thus pestering the Brits by sinking cargo and war ships as well. After sinking around 40 vessels the Spee was cornered in the Montevideo Bay, and scuttled by its Captain, to avoid it being captured .

In February 2004 a Salvage team raising the ship, and finally recovered several artifacts of the ship. The vessels telemeter is displayed at the Montevideo Port and a Gun Turret sits in front of the Naval Museum at the Rambla.
For a more complete account of the Battle go to

Saturday, 13 July 2013

The State apparatus

If you come to Montevideo, you´ll certainly stroll through the 18 de Julio Avenue, and on it you´ll find the Intendecia or City Hall building, a true monument to State apparatus.
Standing in front of it you ca´nt avoid feeling like being in Berlin or Beijing in the 60s, in spite of its retro looks (as in retrograde), its worth visiting, since it has a "Mirador" where you can see the main buildings and monuments in the city. Be advised that you have to get a little slip ,outside the building, at a tourist info booth, that's located at one of the intersections, just to have that feeling of bureaucracy...

Thursday, 11 July 2013

El Mercado Agricola de Montevideo

The newly renovated Mercado Agricola used to be the fruit market in Montevideo, its located very close to the Palacio Legislativo. Back in 2006, I even went there to buy some produce, now of course its entirely different, offering a verity of gourmet foods, like beer,Tee, and Coffee, amongst other edibles, and some restaurants and a food court.

I must say they did a good job in the restoration, this is the typical renovated market that you will find in any modern city, and is aimed more at the locals than at tourists.

Now my favourite spot was the gummie stand, where you can pack up with all sorts of sugar jellies.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

If it aint broken do´nt fix it

You can say that again. In Monevideo you can find vintage stuff in perfect working order like this gas station compressor gage, that still runs like the fist day at a Gas Pump on Bvd. Artigas. Now I know what grandpa felt when he pumped his tires.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Working at the Cantegril

Yesterday I went to one off the several "cantegrils" that are spread throughout Montevideo, these settlements that abound all over the world with different names (Villas miseria in Argentina,Chabolas in Spain,Favelas in Brazil etc.) are places that house people in need and outlaws as well.
And by the way when I say "all over the world" I mean North America as well, with the difference that over there they are vertical, and generally built by the government.
Here some volunteers were building a house for a mother with her 5 children. I have to mention that the ones here are very small compared to the ones in Brazil that house more than 100 000 people each, and far less dangerous, try reasoning with 12 year olds with AK47s, with an expensive camera hanging from your neck...

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Eclecticism in Montevideo

Montevideos classic buildings have been preserved from modern bad taste in arquitecture, even though some buildings are quite eclectic in their styles. You can find Tudor,Gothic,Art Nouveau,Art Deco and a variaty of Eclectic and unique styles all over the city.

Think before you speak. Read before you think

It seems that nothing is thrown away in Uruguay, everything is fixed, recycled or just kept as is. Old books are one thing you can find in Montevideo. I was amazed at the variaty and quality of the books I saw at Diomedes book store at Blvd. España.