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Scoop Travel: Pictures From Ciudad Vieja

Peter and Doris MacGibbon are Hamiltonians living in Uruguay, and thoroughly enjoying it.

Ciudad Vieja or the Old City, is the original site for Montevideo. There are some very old and rather grand buildings there, and some that are very old and ratshit. As a general rule it is an area that was ignored for a long time but is now making a comeback, partly because it is close to the main part of the port, and secondly because it as become trendy. Although much of the good stuff has gone, there is now, rather belatedly, have a law on the books saying that frontages have to be preserved.

This site http://www.mercadodelpuerto.com.uy/ shows an elevated view of the area where most of the pictures were taken. The area is known as the Mercado del Puerto or Port Market. Pictures 1 through 5 were inside the building and the remainder outside. The building has great iron gates to close it off. Inside it is full of restaurants except for one shop selling Uruguayan art. When you go in around 1 pm - lunch is roughly between 1 and 3 pm - you are besieged by waiters extolling the virtue of their fare. Which is rather amusing because apart from minor differences they are all selling the same thing.

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We ate at the only fish restaurant, which was "around the back". Pictures 1 and 2 are from there. As you can see at least one patron is thoroughly enjoying it. Doris had abedejo a la plancha and I had lenguarda a la plancha - pan fried cod and sole respectively. Absolutely delicious, and the fourth time I have been there. Washed down with a beer of course - in this case Uruguayan Pilsen. It’s a good brew, although it’s a lager. I haven't seen any other sort of beer here unfortunately. Photo 3 is the bog, just along from where we were sitting. Why is it there - who knows?

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4 and 5 are of a couple of typical restaurants. 5 shows a typical parilla or barbecue. These are everywhere in Uruguay. On it are chorizo (sausage), morcilla (blood sausage), pollo (chicken), cerdo (pork) asado beef ribs and probably the favourite Uruguayan feed) and all sort of other offal, peppers etc. These things are at just about every home as well. Parilla is the number one entertainment. I've been to two, and they were brilliant, although in both cases non Uruguayan circumstances, although plenty of them there.

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The photos outside are around the umbrellas you see at http://www.mercadodelpuerto.com.uy/ The area is a feria or market, in amongst lots of outside restaurants. Particularly on Saturdays there is usually some sort of entertainment on. The previous week we were entertained, separately, by a male opera singer and a 4-man guitar and vocals group. Both were immediately adjacent to our table. Money has to change hands for this, although only 5 pesos of NZ$1. On this occasion there was the drums and bongo group that is shown. the youngest would be around 5 or 6 and the oldest perhaps 12 or 13. I'd seen them before and they are great entertainment. As you can see in photo 6, there was a bunch of women grooving along with them. Photo 10 shows their minder in lime green. She was nice and was also good at smiling at people and parting them from their money.

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Photo 11 was because I like the colour of the dress (Scoop finds this very hard to believe), 12 was a guy making jewellery, and the guitarist in 13 was the leader of the quartet we'd seen the previous week.

Parking nearby is not a problem, particularly as you get the assistance of a totally unnecessary parking attendant to whom you donate 5 pesos as you leave. These guys are all over the city.

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