Disponible en español: El barrio del Prado
The night before, after having a big time eating shellfish and fried calamari, walking several kilometers and skirting disaster on our return by bus after midnight, we were left exhausted. Some of all that must have had an effect on Marisa, because she woke up early with a major stomach pain, feeling very weak and certainly in no shape to go out for a walking tour. Fortunately it turned out not to be (as she feared) a gastroenteritis. Nothing could be done except to get her to rest, something for the pain, lots of liquid and nothing to eat.
The plan of touring some more of Montevideo in the morning was discarded, and I started to fear that we would have to call a doctor, but Marisa would have none of that. So I left her where she was and took a bus to Tres Cruces to get our tickets for La Paloma. The day was cloudy and just a little too warm. I went and returned in an hour and a half, tops, and I saw Marisa was much better. She had something light to eat and we decided we'd try to go to El Prado in the afternoon.
It took us almost 40 minutes to get there, on a bus going first towards the city center, and then north; we traversed unknown neighbourhoods and completely lost our bearings, but somehow managed to get off the bus just one block from where we should. Our informant had given us an exact location to begin (the intersection of Agraciada and 19 de Abril), and a detailed route to follow as well. Probably not in that order, we saw the old houses and tall plane trees of Avenida 19 de Abril, the Church of the Carmelites (one of the few truly large churches I saw in Montevideo), the weird storehouses of the Rural Society, the Miguelete Stream, a great park with a huge pergola and a rose garden (without roses), the Hotel del Prado, the Botanical Garden, the presidential residence, a museum, and thrown in with all that, little houses of archaic style and mansions that went from the austerely severe to the Disneylandish.
We ended up in a bar called Los Yuyos, which must be famous, and which owes its name to the traditional herbs that are added to the caña and the grappa served there. We had no occasion to try such stuff, of course; just a glass of orange juice and a hot sandwich (to the list of things I missed in Uruguay, which started with icecream, let's add carlitos and ketchup).
We had walked about three hours and the tour had taken us to the far end of the neighbourhood, a long way from Avenida Agraciada, the only street that we knew for sure could get us back to our hostel. The idea of crossing the whole barrio again wasn't something we were looking forward to. We were so lucky, though, that only a couple of blocks from Los Yuyos there was a bus stop and the bus took us to the Old Town.
Evening came and my one concern was finding a bed to crash, but Marisa (who had obviously recovered and wasn't sleepy) found Hannibal (i.e. the sequel of The Silence of the Lambs) on cable and decided to watch it whole, so my half-sleep was punctuated by screams, bullet shots and a variety of scenes with guts and brains flying around.
And that's how we said goodbye to Montevideo. Next stop: the beaches of La Paloma.
To be continued...