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Copyright © 1995-2002 
Linda Coffman

 

Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY
~ Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires ~

Punta del Este, Uruguay ~ Friday, November 29, 2002

Ounta Del Este, UruguayWhat a shame that most Americans don't think of Uruguay as a resort destination. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean and Rio de la Plata, Punta del Este boasts wide sandy beaches on both ocean and river sides of the peninsula and from mid-December until February or so it is the playground of jet-setting Brazilians, Argentineans, and Europeans.

We chose to tender ashore and catch the complimentary Silversea shuttle to explore the town on our own. Alighting at the Conrad Hotel, we strolled along the beachside boardwalk until a shop caught our eye. It turned out to be Giam, a cultural center featuring crafts by local artisans. The pottery, glass work, and carvings were marvelous and quite inexpensive. Giam didn't take credit cards, but cheerfully accepted our US dollars, as did all the shops and cafes in Punta del Este.

Our visit was a bit too early in the season so some shops were closed and the central market at Plaza Artigas was relatively deserted. However, a few merchants had opened their stalls and proudly displayed hand-made jewelry and crafts and hand-knit and woven woolen sweaters and shawls. Bartering is not an acceptable practice, but prices were quite reasonable.

Along the waterfront, fishermen were cleaning their catch and tossing scraps to sea lions as we passed. Even though it was off season, we were delighted with our morning in Punta del Este and sorry to tender back to Silver Shadow after only a few hours.

Sailing up the Rio de la Plata to Montevideo, it began to cloud over and rain intermittently. That meant we wouldn't be dining under the stars at our evening Pool Deck BBQ Party. However, the special dinner wasn't cancelled; instead we dined on ribs, filet, chicken, and other BBQ favorites in the Terrace Cafe shortly after docking in Montevideo.

Instead of going ashore to a disco club, I decided to turn in early and rest up for Saturday's exciting all-day tour. 

Montevideo, Uruguay ~ Saturday, November 30, 2002

This is South America's cowboy country and I've always wanted to visit a real ranch with gauchos. To begin our tour, we received a brief history of Montevideo and then made two photo stops--at Independence Square, site of the original citadel, and the immense Congress Building, an imposing structure constructed of local marble.

Estancia La RabidaThe highlight of the day was our time at the Estancia La Rabida. On horseback, the owners greeted us upon arrival and escorted the coaches to a covered patio where refreshments awaited. We piled into antique automobile, carriages, and hay wagons to ride through fields of corn and potatoes to the beach, passing thousands of cows along the way. The 3458 acre ranch offers stunning vistas around every turn. 

After returning to the patio area we enjoyed an asado, the typical Uruguayan lunch of barbequed lamb, chicken, pork, and beef with salads, accompanied by fruit juices, wine or beer. While we dined, couples performed a tango and then invited guests to dance. Afterwards there were a variety of ranch activities for us to participate in--sheep shearing, cow milking, and horseback riding. Over the years, I've taken many tours. This one, if not the best, certainly was one of the top three. Not only was it fun for us, the gauchos and ranch owners seemed to enjoy it as well.

For our second formal night, I was invited to a cocktail party by the guest in the Owner's Suite--my favorite accommodations on board. The Silver Shadow is the ideal setting for elegant parties. The canapés were outstanding and it was difficult to save an appetite for dinner. Every day the restaurant menu is tucked inside our Silversea Chronicles and the Roasted Maine Lobster Tail Mixed with Mashed Potatoes "Parmentier" style caught my attention. Delicious! It was just one of the Silversea and Relais & Châteaux Signature Dishes that has made dining a special experience.

"Lights, Camera, Action!" described the evening's spirited performance by the Jean Ann Ryan Production Team in the Athenian Lounge. Afterwards, I made a turn through the casino and called it a day. Tomorrow we arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina and I plan to tour the city and see what promises to be an exciting tango show. 

Next -> Argentina: Buenos Aires & Iguazu Falls
Explore the intriguing lifestyle of Buenos Aires, learn the Tango and then fly off on a post-cruise jaunt to one of the world's most breathtaking destinations.

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