Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday (2/26/11) – Montevideo, Uruguay

Last night, after the lecture that we had earlier in the day about the southern stars, the speaker from the Smithsonian invited us to go up to deck 12 above the Constellation lounge and see if we could see the Southern Cross at 10:15.  We got there early and it was clear as day.  Plus, we saw alpha centuri and beta centuri.  In addition, we saw orion, but it was upside down.  This was quite fascinating to us.
We arrived at about 7:30am.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day – clear and warm.  Today we had arranged to go with several other cruise critic folks on a winery tour.  We were to meet at 10am.  So, we got up and did parts of our packing, had breakfast and wandered down to the gangway to meet the others (there were 12 of us total).  They had arranged a car to drive us out to the winery, the driver would wait while we had our tour (at 11am) and then drive us back.  Everything worked smoothly.  The driver met us and ferried us out in the country to the winery called La Bouza Bodega.  We had about half an hour to wait until the tour, so we wandered the grounds.  It was well very well kept including various farm animals and a small river area.
At 11, we gathered for the tour.  We visited some of the lots that were growing grapes.  They have roughly 13 hectares of land growing grapes split between where we were and another property about 10 km away.  In Feb/Mar time they do the harvesting.  They had just completed the harvest of the chardonnay batch and were starting on their red wines.  Our guide went through the process of wine-making.  They use only oak barrels to age the wine and they age it for between 6 and 18 months.  Their winery produces about 100,000 bottles annually.  The two wines that we knew about where chardonnay and merlot.  They made a few other types, but the grapes were foreign to us.

The tour completed with a visit to the owner’s old car museum.  It was filled with about 20 old cars and old motorcycles.  All of which are fully operational.  They ran from old Model T’s up through Chevrolet’s from the 30’s. 
After the tour, we went into their restaurant and did a wine tasting.  We tried four different wines.  They were served with wonderful cheeses and breads.  The merlot was Julie and my favorite. 
We then returned back to Montevideo and were going to wander the downtown – old district.  We first visited the Mercado which is this amazing indoor space with tons of businesses selling grilled food.  It was so alive and active that it was quite exciting.  After that, we went and wandered the streets and eventually returned to the ship.

This evening we have a final show and then finish packing and get up to leave tomorrow.  The show was the Omar, the guy who plays a zillion instruments and Claude, the rat pack guy.  We were bored with both of them, so left early.  We went out on deck and were able to see the southern cross quite clearly.
BTW – tonight we get our hour back.
Tomorrow,we are going on a tour that will visit some parts of BA that we already visited, and then heads out to an estancia to see some gauchos and have lunch.  We then return to the airport and have a 9:30pm night flight.


  1. great fun following y'all...thx for taking the time to 'journal' your days...welcome home!

  2. Enjoyed your accounting of the almost-got-to-Antarctica journey. Hopefully, you will have an opportunity to return and see the wonderful white continent. We did a two week expedition in 2007 that took in the Falklands and S Georgia in addition to the Peninsula region. Nothing has come close to compare. Of course, the deck was stacked in our favor just by virtue of the time we spent in the region -- a must when weather is such an important factor in this storm-prone part of the world.