Montevideo is on the north shore of the River Plate (which separates Uruguay from Argentina) with Buenos Aires being 140 miles to the west on the southern shore.

We were here back in 2006 on Queen Mary 2 and took an organised tour on that occasion, so this time we decided to go on Smithy’s Walking Tour. The capital of Uruguay was just across the road from the berth and as a Holland America ship, Zaandam, was also in port the locals were out in force with their market stalls.

It was a lovely day and we were soon away from the port with Jane map reading. We reached a small well maintained square – Plaza Zabala – with a large number of gardeners and cleaners in evidence. Montevideo is a clean and tidy place and boasts about its welfare state system said to be the first and to a great extent the only welfare state that still exists in the Western Hemisphere. It has been in place since the 1900’s with free medical care, 8 hour working days, paid holidays, legal aid and nationalisation of essential services.

Jane guided us along a pedestrianised shopping area to a further beautiful square with a temporary antique market in place. Not a tatty place with some of the jewellery priced in the US $1,000 price category. Form there it was on to Independence Square which we remembered from our earlier visit.

Museums were plentiful, but sadly they were not equipped with lifts (elevators) and we were restricted to the ground floors.

Before returning to the ship we bumped into our dining companions, Gillie and Mark, and enjoyed a coffee with them. We walked some 6 or 7 miles over fairly uneven pavements with very few dropped kerbs!

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