Saturday, January 2, 2010

Some recent photos from Montevideo and Colonia de Sacramento, Uruguay

The fantastic old cars and buildings makes wandering round these wonderful Uruguayan cities feels like being in a Tintin book (say "The Broken Ear").

Montevideo is especially charming, with a fine selection of art noveau and deco buildings. The streets are well planted with mature trees and the cty is beautifully located with ready views of the sea. There are pleasant street fairs selling old books, bric-a-brac, paintings and jewellery. The atmosphere is unhurried and feels somehow like an English seaside town, and like many English seaside towns is rather in need of renovation in parts.

One of the things which is especially delightful about it is that tourism- which must constitute a major part of their economy- is so lightly mediated. In the UK, for instance, anything old has a little sign attached to it "teaching" the passerby all about it; nothing is left to chance, and before leaving any designated "tourist" premises, you are fed through some tiresome gift shop or other.

Service in Uruguay is generally good, in an old fashioned, unobtrusive way: the waters wear black and white uniforms as they should and don't attempt to make friends with you. The food is excellent too, and these things are very cheap.

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