The Capitol

Trip Start Jan 01, 2001
Trip End Dec 28, 2010

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Monday, August 3, 2009

A short drive to get to the workshop of the painter Vasquez. He was born in Uruguay and grew up to become one of the best known painters of or time. He was a friend and follower of Picasso and has lived in several countries around the world doing his painting. He has always classed this house as his home though and spent 20 years building it as he wanted. It is built on the side of a hill with fantastic views over the sea. It is built on several different levels and the theme that he used was of an outdoor baking oven. There are no straight lines or angles in the building. I do not know if they have changed the system, but you used to be able to go over a lot of the house. Today we could only see five rooms which were completely full of his paintings. In fact in one corner there were several bits by Picasso. Still do not know why people rave about this style of painting. From there we drove into the town of Montevideo, the capital. We have managed to find a park with a small road going through which is quite quiet(S34.54.52.33 W56.9.59.71). We asked a group of police who had congregated on the road if it would be OK to stop for a couple of days and they told us it would be no problem, especially as we found out that we were actually parked opposite an all night police booth.

4th - After a good night we got the moped out and drove about 5 kms to get to the centre of the town itself. We started at Plaza Independencia, with its huge statue of Jose Artigas, the main hero of Uruguay. He was responsible for getting independence from Spain. The statue itself is built over the mausoleum with the ashes of Artigas with a permanent guard of two ceremonial soldiers. Around the square can be found the 26-story Palacio Salvo, when it was opened in 1922 it was the tallest building in South America. In the same square is the Palacio Estevez,built in the 18th century as the Government building. It stayed in use until 1985 and today is a museum of the presidents. Unfortunately they do not allow photos in any of the museums so we could only look at the old uniforms, swords, office equipment and photos from the different periods. After walking through the colonial Puerto de la Ciudadela, or entrance gate we were then in the old town itself. This is another mixture of buildings with many old colonial buildings and many new structures right next to each other. The old buildings are also a mixture some, usually owned by banks, have been totally restored to an as new condition. Some of the others are just being left to fall down, whilst yet still others are being used as multi-family slum dwellings. Amongst these buildings are several different museums, unfortunately two of those we wanted to see were closed, one for repairs and the other for a seminary, although we did mange to see one of the old Palacio with original period furnishings. We walked down as far as the old port and went into the 1868 Port Market building, a huge wrought iron and glass structure. Today it is a huge mass of different steak-houses, all offering huge chunks of meat barbecued on wood fired grills up to 8 ft wide. After lunch we returned back to the moped, passing the 1799 church Matriz, the oldest building in town and then rode back to the vehicle to stay for another night.
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