The Neighborhood

I thought I would take this opportunity to show everyone what the neighborhood is like around our apartment. At the first place we stayed I didn’t necessarily feel comfortable wandering around with my camera and acting like a tourist. The neighborhood we are in now seems much more friendly and affluent and I feel much more comfortable here.

Some stats on our apartment:

– We are two blocks from the beach

– We are 6 blocks from a Devoto (a large grocery store chain)

– We are 3 blocks from the nearest chivito restaurant

– We are within 2 blocks of, not one, but four bus stops

– We are within walking distance of Shopping Montevideo (a large shopping mall, about a 20 min walk)

– We are 1 block away from the farmer’s market on Fridays and 6 blocks from a farmer’s market on Wednesdays

– We are within 2 blocks of a bank

– We are 3 blocks from the nearest place to buy fresh empanadas

The neighborhood is mostly apartment buildings that have about 6-10 floors. Almost all the apartment buildings have lobbies with doormen. This means that no matter where you are going or at what time, you are being watched. This may sound a bit creepy, but it’s actually quite comforting to know that if something happened, someone would have seen it and be there to help.

There are a lot of people in the neighborhood which means that the sidewalks are sometimes busy and the streets are sometimes hard to cross (that is mostly because pedestrians don’t have the right of way) during rush hour. Many of the car garages have warning alarms so that pedestrians know to look out for a car coming in or out. These warning alarms always seem to go off late at night or early in the morning. Go figure!

Most of the apartments have balconies or at least large windows. When the weather is good, there is an abundance of laundry hanging out to dry on those balconies, or sometimes the rooftops.

The trees that line the streets are tall, reaching to the 9th floor in some places. At this point, most of the leaves have fallen or are on their way to the ground.

The beach is friendly. People walk and take their dogs to play there most days, weather permitting. It is a great place to throw a frisbee or have a little beach ultimate tournament. The city takes pretty good care of the beach. They rake the sand every once in a while and haul off garbage that the tide brings in. The Ramblas runs along the beach and makes a great place to walk, run, bike, or just enjoy the view while sitting in one of the many benches. I frequent the Ramblas most days for my morning run. There are always people using it!

The neighborhood also seems to have an abundance of construction going on. Fixing the sidewalks seems to be a common occurrence. There are also a couple large construction sites where whole apartment buildings have been demolished and new ones are being put up. Unfortunately one of these sites is catty-corner across the intersection from us. Despite the citizens of Montevideo being generally late risers, this apparently does not hold for construction workers. We wake up to the sounds of construction quite frequently, although it doesn’t seem to bother me much.



Montevideo Botanical Gardens

Yet another adventure to blog about while my parents were here! We decided that it would be nice to take the bus up to the area around the Prado. This is apparently an old and affluent neighborhood in Montevideo that boasts a very nice and large park, rose garden, and the botanical gardens.

We hopped on the bus and rode the 20 minutes up to the botanical gardens. The botanical gardens is yet another Montevideo attraction that is free to enter. The day was a little cloudy, but the temperature was nice.

The gardens are nicely arranged into areas of flora from certain parts of the world and specialty areas. Our tour took us around the outside of the gardens. Our first stop was the greenhouse that housed numerous potted tropical plants. The pots and their plants were so uniform that I wondered if they raised them in the greenhouse and sold them at the local markets once they were big enough.

Next we walked through some of the different regions of the world including: Africa, Uruguay, and Japan. The gardens have signs for most of the flora, but the writing on the signs near the walking paths were either worn away or scratched off (one of the downsides of free entry). We found a nice climbing tree, which Asa made short use of.

We then found ourselves wandering through a collection of medicinal and “utility” plants, which included aloe, rosemary, oregano, and lavender. The lavender was especially attractive because of the butterflies.

They also had a section for water plants, which contained some cattails and some very beautiful black and neon orange koi. The fish were clearly used to someone feeding them, as they followed us when we wandered by.

There is also a museum on the grounds, but it was closed for renovations. After we made our way back to the entrance, we relaxed on some benches and enjoyed the relative quiet. The botanical gardens would make a great place for a picnic, or just a nice walk on a sunny day!