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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Road to Minas

No, this is not an old Bob Hope movie. This is where we found ourselves this past Wednesday, when we celebrated our 37th anniversary. Denise had mentioned some weeks ago that she would like to take a little day trip up to Minas (some 80 K's away). However, the weather was not being very cooperative, and it wasn't until Tuesday that we could see a good weather report for the next day. The day turned out to be gorgeous, with lots of sun and warm.

We fired up the "Krispy Kreme" and hoped it would make the trip. We had been having some troubles, and weren't sure it would be OK. Ran like a top, once we got on the road and it was warmed up- so we got under way. On the way out of Atlántida, we saw a house with this antique car used as a decoration and a little later we saw a house with rows and rows of antique cars.

We travel up the ruta, entered into another county (Lavalleja) and traveled through the little town of Solis. In no time, we arrived at Parque Salus- one of the things we wanted to see. Salus is a bottled water from a natural spring and they also have a Patricia brewery (a popular Uruguayan beer), that uses the water, as well.

The park is quite extensive. They have a section for families and a nice display of local plants and trees in the area leading up to the "Fuente del Puma" (the fountain at the source of the spring). Salus claims that this natural spring is one of the major springs in the world. Just next to the spring is the bottling plant. While at this park, I spotted portable toilets that were called "POLYJOHNS". I just thought this was worth mentioning. Denise, of course, thought this was irrelevant.

As we drove back down to the entrance we stopped by the little hotel, with it's restaurant and decided to look in. We had planned to find something in Minas, but the hotel was so inviting that we decided to eat there. We didn't make a mistake.

The restaurant was beautiful. There were only 2 other diners, there, since this was Wednesday and the middle of winter. Denise ordered a fish with spinach and roquefort cheese sauce and I had a chicken breast with a hollandaise sauce. We ordered Patricia, naturally, and noted that these bottles had "SALUS" raised on the bottle. It was a very nice meal, actually one of the best we have had in Uruguay. I would highly recommend stopping here if you are in the neighborhood.

Next, we headed on into Minas. We didn't know what to expect, but we were a little disappointed. There was a nice park, running along a river, as you enter town, and a large open plaza at the center of town (naturally), and there was one picturesque street, but overall, Minas was not that noteworthy. We started to head back home after walking around the city and almost forgot one of the attractions that we came for- the statue of Artigas that lays claim to being the largest concrete equestrian sculpture in the world.

We asked about 4 different groups of people where the statue was. I am pretty sure we were clear, in our limited Spanish, but we got very vague directions. The people, however, were very friendly and tried to be helpful. Eventually Denise found a group of women (men were no help) who directed us to Cerro Artigas, on a back road that I was sure would lead to nothing.

It turned out to be a lovely park overlooking the valley, where Minas is located, as well as the rest of the countryside. And the statue was impressive. Is it the biggest in the world? Well, Wikipedia says it is, so it must be true, no?

As the sun was going down, we headed back home. Denise noted the speed bumps in all of the little towns, "Lomadas" and took a picture. I thought lomada sounded like a special cut of meat, and was glad I didn't order it at the restaurant.

We were happy that we got to do something on our anniversary and also see some sights at the same time.


Anonymous said...

...37th anniversary...gosh,you must have been child bride and groom...hehe...congrats...
...when i was in the B&B during my visit to UY earlier this year, there was a couple there who were in the throws of moving to Minas and they couldn't stop raving about Minas...maybe they meant the surrounding area which i have learned from other sources is quite picturesque. I think they had bought a chacra.

Wally said...

Well, if you like farms and farming communities, then Minas is lovely. We are beach people, so the interior is interesting, just not where we would live, given the choice. My wife took some scenes from the top of the hill, perhaps we will repost those later.