Welcome to the third leg on this trip to the beautiful capital city of Uruguay.
In case you're interested (most probably not) the reports for legs 1 and 2 are also available.
I'm here because there are many interesting things to see around Montevideo, but I ran short of time in my previous trip.
For example, watching Montevideo from the tallest and most modern tower in the city - the Antel Tower, aka Torre de las Telecomunicaciones - is a must. Another breathtaking landmark is the Palacio Legislativo, headquarters to the Uruguayan Parliament. And last - but by no means least - beautiful Colonia del Sacramento, a town that preserves its historical center with its lovely colonial buildings.
I'm leaving some photos in this…
Montevideo seen from top of the Antel Tower
Antel is the Uruguayan telecommunications company. Their headquarters, the so-called Torre de las Telecomunicaciones…
…is the city's pride and joy.
It's a complex made up of several buildings…
…of futuristic lines.
It also has a museum of telecommunications…
And a watching deck…
…with a 360° view on the city.
So we take the elevator to floor 26. There's a scale model of the complex.
As you see, Montevideo is not…
…but it's not a small town, either.
It's still a city "in a human scale." In fact…
…my host and me went for a bike ride around town…
…in my previous visit…
…and it was a very enjoyable experience.
There's the Salvo Palace.
You can go for a guided tour inside, but for some strange reason…
…I didn't do it this time, either! A good excuse to come back to Montevideo for a third time! :D
For the time being, we'll visit that building over there…
…the Palacio Legislativo.
Very close to the Antel Tower is the Palacio Legislativo…
…where the Uruguayan Parliament (Asamblea General) meets.
Outside, the Uruguayan flag and the Artigas flag fly together. The latter was created by the Uruguayan independence hero José Artigas, a federalist, reacting against the unitarian Argentine government of those years. Uruguay used to be only the eastern province of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata. That's why its modern offcial name is Eastern Republic of Uruguay.
Coming from a country where people hate what's beautiful and love what's ugly, I can't help beholding all those details in jaw-dropping amazement.
Those are copies of the female figures of the Porch of the Caryatids at the Erechtheion, a temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens. The difference is that the Greek ones are columns themselves, while the Uruguayan versions are attached to columns.
The walls of the little inner patio were decorated using a technique called sgraffito.
Unfortunately, it's quite damaged in some places, and it can't be repaired because it crumbles.
The central - and most splendorous - part of the building is the Salón de los Pasos Perdidos (Hall of the Lost Steps), a name given to the hall in some buildings, such as parliaments, or even mason temples.
This hall divides the building into two halves. On one side is the Senate and on the other is the Chamber of Representatives.
Among the many beauties of this place…
…are its mosaics, which were designed by the Italian artist Giovanni Buffa and made by Venezian artisans. One represents the arts…
…and the other, the sciences.
It's difficult to keep up with the rest of the visitors in the tour because there are so many details to see, from the pillars…
…meticulously decorated with little roses…
…to the stained-glass windows…
…and even the vines creeping up…
…the sides of the marble seats.
And FYI, all the marble in this building was taken from Uruguayan quarries.
It's a pity that I have to keep up with the rest of the group.
On the second floor is the library…
…which resulted from the fusion…
…of both the library of the Senate and the library of the Chamber of Representatives…
Finally, we had the chance to see one of the chambers for some minutes.
Colonia del Sacramento
The last stop in this bonus is 150km west of Montevideo.
After a 2-hour bus trip…
…through the lovely, green rolling landscape…
…of the Uruguayan countryside…
…you come to Colonia del Sacramento…
…which in many ways…
…looks like many other touristy towns, with souvenir shops…
…and restaurants, which in Uruguay usually specialize in asados (barbecues)…
…like this one, which announces "Thousands of plants die every year because of vegetarians. Save a plant!!! Eat an asado!!"
But this town has also…
…preserved its peculiar…
…which are a witness to its…
Spanish and Portuguese heritage.
Uruguay in general…
….was disputed by Spain and Portugal…
…based on their interpretations of the Tratado de Tordesillas…
…the treaty that assigned the portions of the world…
…that each country could explore and conquer.
Each corner seems to be asking…
…to be photographed…
…but you have to be careful…
…or you'll end up falling "arse over tits" in these streets.
This part of the town…
…is a UNESCO World Heritage Site…
You wouldn't believe how much this façade reminds me of the town where I grew up. Before the 1985 earthquake that flattened it, of course.
There's a little pier, too, which reminds us…
…that Colonia del sacramento is the town…
…through which most people travel to and from Buenos Aires…
Colonia is barely 50km from the Argentine capital. In fact, you can see it over there, on the other side of the Río de la Plata.
Those must be the buidings of Puerto Madero, which we visited in this report not long ago.
Those were beautiful sights. But the restaurants were rather expensive. I cant wait to go back to Montevideo and get my hands on a chivito canadiense for lunch. :D
Carrasco Airport - MVD
Access to MVD from Montevideo is extremely easy. You have taxis, transfer vans, or even the public transport, which means buses leaving Montevideo every half an hour or so.
You take the bus at Rio Branco bus station, on galicia and Rio Branco streets), which is about 60 UYU (less than 2 USD)
We leave Montevideo to the east along the highway to Punta del Este. The buses drop you at the very door of the terminal building.
Leaving the highway.
Entering the airport. I apologize for some blurry photos. I'm using my cellphone only, because my camera is even crappier when it's dark!
MVD is a little futuristic jewel. The old terminal was terribly ugly!
Needless to say, taxis wait at the entrance…
…by the bus stop…
…just like transfer vans.
Its designers wanted to give MVD an inspiring twist, so you can see the message "Uruguay, welcome to the world" as you leave, and "World, welcome to Uruguay" as you arrive.
As you see here, MVD hast three levels.
On the first level, car rentals and arrivals… domestic departures?! Private flights, it must be.
Also water fountains…
…ensuring that Uruguay's tap water can be drunk safely.
Some shops and ATMs…
…and a very nice touch…
No domestic scheduled commercial flights within Uruguay, you see? Uruguay is a small, flat country, and the prefered means of transport is car or bus. My flight is on time.
The information kiosk is between the two only escalators…
…that we are taking now to look around…
…the second floor.
Damn. No ads with semi-naked people like the last time? XD
They say that nothing is written in stone, but MDV's management seems to have lost hope of having a long list of airlines landing at MVD.
On the left you have the check in counters…
…and something I have not seen at SCL yet…
…a drugstore/pharmacy (whatever you call it)
Money exchange is open until late. It was when I arrived some days before, almost at 10.
…the offices of Amaszonas (which is a Bolivian airline whose fleet is made up of Bombardier CRJ100 and 200, and tried unsuccessfully to fly domestic point-to-point routes in the north of Chile) and of course, self-check kiosks for many airlines…
…except mine. Ha.
Walking towards the other end…
…what seems to have become a permanent Dolce&Gabbana exhibition… (Did you know that there also is a Dolce&Banana brand? XDD )
What makes you think that it's too late to buy a souvenir, BritShop??
There's also a cafeteria (but the photo was too blurry), more shops, and restrooms at the bottom.
There, in the middle, is the access to the boarding area. They have a new system in which you need scan the code in your boarding pass to open a little sliding door.
I fail to understand why cars and houses are sold in dollars in many countries. Can't they just convert the amount?
Let's go up to the third level.
The third level was designed as a large watching deck over the apron, taking advantage of the "roof" of the boarding room below.
Well, a watching deck with some limitations. Not extremely spotter friendly.
WTF?! A lady who works at the airport explains to me that this corner is often used as the background for photo sessions, especially when girls turns 15. Celebrating a girl's 15th birthday is a strong tradition in some countries. Not in Chile… yet.
Second level seen from above.
At 21:40 I decide it's a good time to go airside. Great! Ther are veru few people in the queue!
Nothing like a relaxed working environment, huh? Well, at least at the moment!
Yes, it's gonna be fast. Or that's what I think at first. Of the 10 booths, only one is open!
And for some reason, each person is taking ages to go through customs. In the end, I hear that one fo the staff tell the other that they are in urgent need of support.
At last! I clear customs at 10:00. Twenty minutes for about fifteen people! Too long.
From the center, where the duty free area is located, the boarding room extends to both sides.
The left side is a bit lonely at this time, with only a cafeteria open…
…and this advertisement of some company that helps you decorate your home…
…with the latest in Danish design. Tonterías! I can do wonders with a couple of old tires and some plywood. Ha!
Some new devices have popped up here and there in the boarding room since the last time I was here.
For example now, besides the outlets on the floor…
…they have these charging stations.
But no USB ports.
The floor version is still the most popular, though. Your feedback…
…is also appreciated.
What do you think about the speed of service at Patria (the cafeteria)? Hm. Wasn't there but I'll press the red face. (Kidding)
Free wifi provided by Antel (those of the tower in the bonus!
And a self help kiosk where you can buy…
…your travel insurance. You never know!
I just couldn't resist the cuteness of this teddy bear. "I love Uruguay". Such a reflection of my own feelings! :D
On the other side of the duty free area the boarding room continues…
…with my gate for tonight…
…ans some shops like Victoria's Secret. BTW, did you know that I have much in common with Victoria's Secret's angels??
Yes. Just like them, I am always hungry!! XDD (Badum tsss)
Ant the other end…
…another Patria cafeteria. Don't they believe in free market in Uruguay? The same cafeteria airside, landside, on all floors… Well, except McDonald's on the first floor.
It took me some time to take this picture because it was being used by two very noisy little children whose father…
…was asking for admittance at…
…the VIP lounge. After he, his wife and the couple of boisterous beasts enter the lounge, I ask the guy at the counter if there's a separate area for families with children. "No", he answers. I cringe. I'm not missng much out here!
When I check flightradar24.com at 11 sharp, the app sshows that the plane has just landed. I go to the window but… is that the plane?
Today we'll be flying on CC-AFX. However…
…I am noticing a worrying pattern:
Many flights, planes or routes are terminated after I have used them! :O
GOOD BYE SANTIAGO > MONTEVIDEO ROUTE!!!! According to this article from desdescl.com, this route stopped being profitable for Sky Airline, so LATAM will be the only airline with direct flights between both cities. :'(
I am not "super-stitious" but… isn't there enough reason to be at least "a little-stitious"?? XDDD (Badum tsss)
Ich hoffe, dass du ein bisschen Deutsch gelernt hast, CC-AFX!!
First call. Plenty of time for boarding!
Over there, on the right…
…I see that the airport provides the scales for weighing and measuring the baggage. You see Sky's and JetSmart's own contraptions in Chilean airports because their baggage policies are a bit different. But Sky seldom bugs you about the size of the bags, unless the excess is evident. On the other hand, LATAM will weigh your hand luggage as you enter the jetbridge.
A panic button. It will activate an alarm, and the doors to the jetbrodge will open… 30 seconds later?! Enough time to die in the hands of an extremist, I reckon. :O
Here we go. The ramps are long here.
The end of the ramp almost looks…
…like a second boarding room!
Then the jetbridge…
…which is also quite long.
Sky's traditional mouse-grey seats.
Anyway, they are more comfortable than JetSmart's ironing boards, and they can be reclined.
This ad hurts. Very much. You'll learn why in a future report. :'(
The pitch, as usual, acceptable.
Ads plastered everywhere.
Tray table… Wow! I never saw microorganisms this clean!
Seatback pocket contents.
From the BOB menu… I know what I'll order. I tried this marraqueta sandwich on the previous flight, and it's worth a second round!
In the magazine…Cerro Castillo! Lovely memories! You can see more photos in my report to my flight to Balmaceda, when I visited those amazing blue caves.
This photo was taken from a lookout by the road.
Somebody disagreed with Sky placing ads on the windows, it seems.
We have to wait with the belts unfastened while fuel is being loaded. No visits to the restroom allowed during the process!
Some additional information about this flight.
Unlike SCL, that has two parallel runways…
…MVD's runways are perpendicular…
…so you never know if you'll take off or land northward, southward, westward or eastward.
But this time we taxi towards the east. I can see the road to Punta del Este over there as we…
…and take off westward…
…so I'll be able to see a bit of Montevideo today, but downtown will be on the left. :(
Anyway, the view is quite interesting. Those buildings would be the Punta de Rieles jail.
The north of the city comes in sight.
José Belloni and 8 de Octubre avenues forming a Y…
The black spot in the middle is the Cementerio del Norte, and the bright avenues are José Batlle Boulevard and General Flores Avenue.
José Batlle and Millán avenues continue to the north-west.
The Ruta 5 - aka Fructuoso Rivera highway - starts down there and goes all the way north to Rivera, on the border with Brazil.
Manuel Oribe - white, on the left - is the highway that took me…
…to the west…
…up to this town, Colonia del Sacramento.
If you come to Chile, don't forget to bring a pen with you!
As I fill in the form declaring that I'm taking no plant or animal products into the country, Buenos Aires comes in sight.
Huge Buenos Aires.
Rayita!! You'll be in my heart forever!! :'(
The BOB has started and I get my superb marraqueta! Yummy!
Great value for your money. If they say that it's a beef sandwich, it has beef in it.
But before I make it disappear, I want to introduce a new friend of mine that I met in Montevideo.
Meet Cecilio, the measuring tape. Together we will measure what BOB menus have to offer.
I named him after the sea serpent in one of my favorite childhood cartoons, Beany and Cecil. Whenever Beany was in trouble, he screamed "Help, Cecil, help!" But this worked out much better in the Spanish-speaking version, called Benito y Cecilio. Benito screamed "Auxilio, Cecilio!" which sounds much better because it rhymes!
So c'mon, Cecilio. here's your first job! Hmm! Not bad. About 15cm long! Definitely worth every peso.
And at 2 we enjoy a s-s-s-s-o-o-f-f-f-t-t l-l-a-n-n-d-d-d-i-n-g-g-g-g at SCL. XD
Long taxiing because we go round the domestic side of the terminal…
…to the international side.
Here we are.
The corridors at SCL's international side are long, lonely and creepy at night. You don't want to be the last to disembark.
Luckily, they had the good idea of using the walls for an exhibition of Renate Neumann's art, which I love!
Renate is a Chilean artist, and her designs can be found even on some Oster kitchen appliances. they look beautiful!
Here's her number!
To the left.
Thank goodness for these lines…
…because I'm walking in zombie mode at 2:30 in the morning.
My flight home leaves in the morning, so now I'll head for the domestic side, where I'll be able to sleep on the comfortable seats that the new concession's holder used to replace the old, hard ones. God bless them!
Montevideo - MVD
Santiago - SCL
Sky Airline's service is characterized by comfortable, reclinable seats; great, fair-priced BOB (great beef sandwich!) and punctuality. You can expect the same on domestic and international flights.
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** Please stay away from regular airliners I am using :D
- If Sky really decides to cancel this route, I fear prices of tickets will raise accordingly as Latam would have a monopoly. How was the payload on both of your flights? Decent or rather low? While many Latin airports do have great connectivity, I am surprised how poorly connected Montevideo is.
Hm. I'll try, but KLM might be at risk because they fly from Santiago to Buenos Aires, which has become a usual route for me. XD
It was OK!! That's why this announcement came as a shocking surprise. But it's also true that Sky is opening domestic routes in Peru, which might be more profitable than SCL > MVD.
It's a real pity. It's either bad management or very bad luck, or corruption, I'm not sure, but their flagship airline - PLUNA - went belly up some years ago. Then they tried again with Alas Uruguay, but it didn't last, either. Too bad, because Uruguay is a beautiful country to vsit and tourism should be booming. But, tell you what? I found it very weird that, whenever I went into a shop, for example, they didn't even smile at you! Most people seemed to be fed up, bored, or something like that. It's like a big national depression. Looks like legalizing marijuana didn't help!
Of course!! I'm happy that you asked! I think I have your address somewhere. Otherwise I'll get in touch again in a couple of hours. I'm downtown with my mother at the moment. Best!
Interesting advertising of the local barbecue !
The airport seemed very empty (or maybe you scared the passengers away ?)
I would have removed this advertising sticker on the plane's windows :(
I wonder about the plumbing of the restrooms if you can't use them during refueling. XDD
I remember about your beloved Rayita ;)
Haha, a new member in my exclusive Airline Food Measurers Club ! ;)
Thanks for sharing !
Thant's another pattern I have noticed ever since I opened my flight-report.com account. Caring to have enough time to look around and take pictures for the reports, I usually arrive at airports quite early, and I am the only one at the boarding room! Oh well. Maybe they are running away from my bad luck. I'm going to become paranoid.
Airbus, I need to have a look at the schematics of your planes!
Yeah, will measure nothing but muffins and cookies, though, but it still might have an effect. I have proof that airlines do read these reports!
Thanks for dropping by!
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