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Sunday, October 16, 2011

La Floresta!

Ever since we first arrived in Uruguay we have made a monthly pilgrimage to La Floresta. No, not for religious reasons but to get our monthly Social Security Check.

In case we haven't mentioned this before, The United States has an agreement with Uruguay that Social Security checks can be direct deposited into the Crédit Uruguay Banco but only certain locations of those branches accept them. One was in La Floresta. When that bank was bought out by a different bank it caused a momentary panic. Would the new bank continue accepting those checks? Whew! Yes they did!

So the pilgrimage continued.

The number 711 bus takes you smack dab into the middle of that city. It's said that there are 6 hotels in this city, I saw a number of restaurants. There are two supermarkets, almost side by side to each other on the same block. A large pharmacy and a Pasta factory/store stand on the main drag.  Getting off the bus you get a clear view straight to the water. I looked forward to those monthly trips into La Floresta.

La Floresta is much smaller than the city of Atlántida but both cities are celebrating 100 years this 2011. It was March for La Floresta and (I believe??) this month of October for Atlántida.

However, this is a post about La Floresta because I just found out that the branch location I go to, in order to pick up our dinero/money, is changing to a new location, towards the outskirts of Montevideo. So, no more forced monthly trips to see La Floresta.

One of the first things in La Floresta that catches your eye (after the water view) is a headstone bearing the name Miguel Perea and under that, the name of the city, La Floresta. It stands at the end of the main street. It has a commanding vista overlooking the water. I don't know if the headstone actually marks a grave or not? Is his body under there???

Why is his death marked? Who was he? Well, Miguel Perea was a Lawyer and founder of several banks but he also literally formed La Floresta by planting the Pine trees and Eucalyptus trees in the area between Sarandí and the Solís Chico streams. This was in 1909. In 1911 the area became a tourist resort for arboriculture and bathing. That's the date noted as the 100 year anniversary for this city. It officially became a City on December 3rd. 1969. Here is my take on the stone. Since he couldn't have founded the city 2 years before his birth. The stone's dates don't mark his literal birth but rather it marks the mile stones or significant years of the city and Mr. Perea's influence on it during those years.  Those are the dates on the stone, 1911-1961. He missed seeing La Floresta become an "Official city" by 8 years.

The second thing one starts to notice, is that this city is dedicated to the arts.

The Development league of La Floresta or in Spanish,  Liga de Formento de la Floresta has promoted cultural development in this city. This league promoted the creation of the 1st and 2nd International Biennial Sculptural encounter (meeting). The first encounter was in January of 2005. The second was also held in January, in the year 2007.

These two events attracted International artists from Argentina, Spain, Wales and Belgium besides Uruguay. For 10 days the public was invited to watch the selected artists carve large pieces of granite into finished pieces of art. These works now adorn this city.

Besides the many sculptures now on display, the city has some quirky buildings and residences that are just as artful.

In the first photo above you can see a combination of sculpture meeting residence. This is a very unusual house worthy of its own photo. Notice the decidedly "art deco" look to the second building. The third photo shows a row of houses unique from each other and from anything I've seen. In the fourth photo, the house looks like it used to be a train station.

The coastline is lovely and this must be where the seagulls come to roost, if they do roost? Because the sky had flock after flock of them flying past. I was finally able to capture a photo of some in the sky but they whiz by so fast it was hard to do. Paths and access to the beach are also very lovely and photogenic.

The city's rambla (road that fronts the water) is lined in pebbles of a brown hue and in some pattern. That must have taken a lot of time to do!

I will miss coming to this city on my monthly trips. That is why I thought, I had better commemorate this town by taking lots of photos to remember it by. Sure, I can still go there to visit any time I want but for now, I have to start my new pilgrimage to another town. Who knows what I'll find there?


Alfonso said...

I absolutely HAVE to comment on this, cause La Floresta is where my family and I go to vacation every year. In fact, mmy mother's family have coming to this place since 1969 or 1970. And I have to say, I feel a little proud, cause that first picture you post, the one of the "sculpture meeting a residence" or something like that, is my aunt's house! :D That house is always one of the things people admire of La Floresta hahaha xD
By the way, there's no reason why you would have to stop those monthly visits, it's a lovely town (I think that "city" is way too much for the place xD) to visit, especially in the summer.

Denise said...

Dear Alfonso,
You have every reason to be proud!
La Floresta is a very lovely town. It has paved streets and I hear an ex-governor or two live in that city. It has a nice country club with a restaurant there. Your Aunt's house is indeed much photographed. It is truly beautiful and unique! How special to have that place to visit in your family. In 1969 La Floresta officially became a city but it still has a small town feeling to me. A very quaint place. I will visit it again I'm sure!
Thanks for commenting!

Teri Green said...

This place attracts retirees due to its climate and tons of amenities. And one more advantage you can have that other countries doesn't offer is, you are allowed to bring household goods duty free.