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South America Cruise on the Silver Whisper

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Montevideo, Uruguay
Palacio Salvo in Montevideo

Montevideo's Palacio Salvo was South America's tallest building when it was built in 1927. Its art deco style still dominates the city's skyline.

Montevideo (c) Linda Garrison
Montevideo is 125 miles downstream the Plata (Plate) River from Buenos Aires, and the Silver Whisper arrived in the early morning. This cosmopolitan city is the capital of Uruguay. Here's one piece of interesting history trivia from Montevideo. Where did the first naval battle of World War II take place? No, not off the coast of Poland, where I would have guessed. Yes, it was in December 1939 on the River Plate near Montevideo when the German ship the Admiral Graf Spee tangled with three British warships. Although Montevideo is up the river about 60 nautical miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the river is very wide there. The German captain took his ship into Montevideo for repairs, but was told he couldn't stay more than 72 hours. So, he sunk his ship rather than let it be captured by the British. The British ships were all reparable. There's a monument and the anchor of the Admiral Graf Spee near the cruise ship port in Montevideo.

Mom and I had a quick breakfast, grabbed a bottle of water when leaving the ship, and were on the bus for the 8:30 am excursion. It was mostly a driving tour of the city, stopping for a few photos at Independence Square and at three parks. The first park in the Prado area had a famous statue of a covered wagon pulled by very realistic oxen (La Carreta), the second park had wonderful views of the city from its beach location, and the third had a frontier statue of a stagecoach and horses.

Our excursion also included a tour of an early 20th-century eclectic residence built by one of Montevideo's best-known architects, Humberto Pittamiglio. He dabbled in alchemy, and the Pittamiglio Castle has many symbols related to achemy and mystical ways. This home is called a castle, but is actually a labyrinth of 54 rooms, several towers, and a stairway leading nowhere. Its unusual architecture reminded me a little of Gaudi's Casa Batllo in Barcelona. The tour also included a short tango show (one couple dancing to the music of a guitar and a concertina) and a glass of very sweet sparkling wine.

Mom and I had been to Montevideo once before, but had just walked around on our own, so it was fun to see more of the city. We were back at the ship by 1 pm, and we dropped off our stuff and went straight to lunch. Since neither of us had eaten much breakfast, we were hungry, and had a good lunch. For some reason, we were both very sleepy (maybe it was the wine with lunch or just jet lag), so we both took long naps. After our naps, we enjoyed a nice cheese plate and some nuts that our butler brought along at 6 pm, followed by getting ready for dinner.

We went to The Bar at about 7:45 (we had set the clocks up another hour last night), followed by dinner in the main dining room. Mom had the hot blue cheese tart, asparagus salad, scallops, and a cappuccino for dessert. I had beef tartare, asparagus salad, prime rib, and a grilled pineapple dessert. Very good. We ate with 2 Aussie couples--one from near Perth, and the other from Melbourne. Both couples were British and had immigrated to Australia in the past 15 years.

We skipped the magician show, and returned to the suite. Mom went to bed with her book, and I caught up with my journal. The next day the Silver Whisper would be in Uruguay again, at the beach resort town of Punta del Este.

South America Ports of Call on the Silver Whisper

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