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Thursday, August 15, 2013


In my blog, I often write about once beautiful buildings here in Uruguay that have fallen into disrepair or have been completely abandoned.

So you can imagine, how "thrilled" I was, to finally see an impressive historical gem of a building restored! The Mercado Agricola was declared an Historical National Monument in 1999. This century old space was restored by investing some 11 million dollars (US) into renovating it. This building was newly re-opened to the public on June 29th, of this year (2013). It is now, a "must see" place to visit!!!

In the barrio Goes, near the Palacio Legislativo (Legislative Palace) is the newly restored Mercado Agricola (Agriculture Market). The foundation stone for this historical structure was laid on December 30th 1906. Work continued in ernst on it in 1910 and it was completed on November 30th 1912. It was officially inaugurated in 1913. It was designed by the architects Antonio Vázquez and Silvio Geranio.

The restoration included reconstruction of both the decorative and functional elements of the building including the facades. The original metallic braced structure with columns of iron and roof truces was modeled after the Mercado de Les Halles in Paris. This metallic design allows room for grand spaces underneath with few supporting points impeding the vast space.  This is a similar style to the Mercado del Puerto built in 1868 also in Montevideo, near Ciudad Viejo (old town).

The iron (hierro) roof structure is 5,867 sq. meters and had once belonged to a structure from the Great International Exposition in Brussels, Europe. It was obtained for this Mercado (market) in Uruguay by the then President José Batlle y Ordoñez after a visit he made there.

The entrance facade that faces the street called José L. Terra was done in ceramic work after the European style of the day. The date 1910 is also in ceramic. That date reflects when the work was fully involved.

Credit for the revitalization goes to the City Hall or the Intendencia de Montevideo!

I must say that the attention to detail and the quality of the restoration impressed me and I can be hard to impress at times!

Inside is a grand market place as the name Mercado suggests! It has a food court, restaurants, vegetable markets, spices and etc.... There are 107 businesses inside.

It also has a coffee enterprise that sells and grinds beans for expresso and coffee. The important thing for people who live here to know is that 3 of the whole bean offerings are not only your choice of mild, medium or strong/fuerte taste but those beans are NOT GLASEADO!! That means the beans were not roasted with sugar as is the custom here! Three other beans choices also in mild, medium and strong flavors are roasted with the sugar.

Beer on tap. The Choperia Mastra sells speciality made beers.
A friend named Syd wrote in TripAdvisor about the Choperia Mastra. An artisan chop or beer house serving 10 beers on tap! I was attentive to his description of an Amber beer he ordered called the Del Mercado that had hints of apple and cinnamon flavoring (notar un sabor a manzanas y canela).

A cute vignette set up. Detail of the cobblestone pattern. 
The inside of the Mercado has wide aisles with beautiful cobblestone floors, the original market had cobblestones inside too. There are many interesting and cute places to look and eat at .

The prices are reasonably competitive. Unfittingly, there is even a Falafel place in the market called Bárbaro (Barbaric), which is a term of admiration here. You can take a peek at their prices and menu. Foreign food is a rarity here, so anytime you can get it, it's a treat. Just don't expect fast service.

If you are ever in Montevideo and want something to do under cover then by all means stop in at the Mercado Agricola and enjoy this newly restored gem! The hours are from 8am to 10pm (8 a 22hrs.).

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Through My Window!

One thing that I enjoy about having a blog is that it gives me an excuse to tell people what's happening in my life and in Uruguay. This last weekend, July 28th, was our 40th Wedding Anniversary!!!
Thanks to our Amigos, I had a nice time that day.

Weather-wise, we have been going through a cold spell, as mentioned in an addendum to my last post. Yes, I know that it's winter down here but we have had some "Arctic blasts" of cold air for a week. We have also had surprisingly, 2 really warm days thrown into the mix, I didn't even use my wood stove during them.  I also took advantage of the warm reprieve and mowed my back lawn! Yeah for me, because it was "just in time", as today it's rainy and has gone back to being cold again, burr.

Another thing, that I enjoy about having a blog is that it gives me an excuse to take lots of pictures.

Most of the time my posts are about different situations, I find myself in here in Uruguay. I help describe them visually to you readers by including photos. I try to always take a "positive spin" on the event and include any lessons I might have learned. Sometimes though, I don't feel like wondering what my next post will be about, I just like chilling out at home staring out my window and if an idea occurs to me so much the better.

You would think that in a neighborhood where maybe 1 car an hour drives by that there wouldn't be much to see or photograph but with a blogger's mentality and an enjoyment of taking photos you'd be amazed!

So the rest of this post has no real story, events, situations or any lessons learned but is simply some of the cool things I have seen through my window. I actually have 3 large picture windows in my house so my line of sight has helped me capture these photos without even going outside!

On super lazy days "cloud watching" is enough. I recall as a child trying to see shapes in each cloud. Tropical fish swimming or chickens? Hum, I must be hungry. The middle picture has an actual jet plane flying up high that I spotted, the third cloud looks hungry, better hurry jet.

This double rainbow appeared last year, but I just had to include it here. Despite, its being seen and photographed by many people and even posted to Facebook by others, doesn't it seem to be ending right on the beach in front of my house? My picture window gave me a great view of it!

A cute red fishing boat usually goes about the waters in front of my house every morning in search, I think, for the medium size white fish that I see leap out of the water. I haven't learned what type of fish that they are yet. I'm not a morning person, so I'm glad that I can take these photos of the guys in their yellow slickers from inside. Notice the telephone wires. Most people would have edited them out but I left them in, to show that I didn't bother leaving my living room to get this shot.

Here is a closeup, I took to show the contrast between the little fishing boat and the larger ships.
Notice the large tankers and container ships shown in the background along the horizon. They are lined up and waiting to enter the Montevideo Port some 40 Kilometers (24 miles) away (counting by land).

I hope they're not afraid of birds! Any Alfred Hitchcock fans?
In summer there is a maned lifeguard station about 1/2 a block away. Someone must have gone missing  and others called in the coast guard because this larger vessel appeared. They seem to be searching the waters. I found out much later that there was a poster reporting a missing woman, connected, I don't know.

Most of the "through my window" sights, aren't so troubling. I just have to be quick enough in grabbing my camera to capture them. What a beautiful bird or is it a hawk?

Storms approaching, the water changing color during the day sometimes champagne colored, silver or even pink depending on the light and general sky watching is also enjoyable to see.

Then, once in a while, I am truly rewarded with a photo opportunity! I was so glad that I had my camera available for these shots!

These are also, some of the best full moon pictures that I have ever taken. What a combo!

I have seen these people in their flying machines go by before. They are not hang gliding, rather the sails are being held up by wind created using a large fan. You can hear these motors coming before you can see them fly by, so that gave me the time I needed to grab my camera. The style of each persons' flying machine is slightly different from each other. The person with a red sail sits in a chair like contraption with his little legs dangling in the wind. The guy with the blue sail has more of a dune buggy, car like structure that he rides and sails high in.

Through my window, I have seen horses and riders galloping by. This one seems to be prancing!

I've seen all kinds of birds including humming birds, boats, ships, and people on the beach, some windsurfing and others surf fishing.

There have been, "dogs in packs" running along the beach and at night fire flies, which I will try and capture in a photo one night.

All in all, if I keep my sense of wonder and a camera ready even a day at home, just looking through my window can be blog worthy. I hope you agree.