After a fun first day exploring the Ciudad Vieja of Montevideo, I started the second in the same manner: an early with a morning walk through Pocitos. This time I got up early enough where there wasn’t *any* light in the sky, giving me a nice shot of the illuminated Montevideo sign across the street from the Hyatt.
Picking up some pastries for my daughter at the same bakery I’d visited the previous day (a tasty bargain for all of $3), I headed back to the Hyatt. It was barely 7:00, and I decided give the hotel restaurant a try and let my daughter keep sleeping. While she may be content with sugar and carbs two days in a row, I was in the mood for something else. You can order either the buffet or a la carte. I did the latter, as it is much cheaper. Some eggs and a coffee hit the spot. Here’s my full review of the Hyatt Centric Montevideo.
Our day started with some school, but since we’d gotten a good amount done the evening before, reading was over in half an hour. Then it was back to the lavanderia to get our laundry, followed by packing and time in the pool.
The Hyatt Centric would not accommodate a checkout later than noon. The desk told me they needed our room for another check-in, which would make sense if one supposes that they have a limited number of twin rooms. Given that we really didn’t need the room (just needed to store our stuff) in the afternoon, this was fine by me. We just dropped our bags and headed across teh street to the beach
Enjoying the Beach in Pocitos
It was a gorgeous day. My daughter played in the gentle waves of the South Atlantic while I lay on the sand. I’m not normally into beach time, but this was glorious. I guess I was prepping for our upcoming time in Miami. The beach where we live in northern California just isn’t the same.
We were there for about an hour and a half, enjoying the sun and the breeze. I did some plane spotting as I lay there. The air traffic was passing right overhead heading into MVD airport. But it has to be a sleepy airport, as far as country capitals go; only a few jets passed by.
My daughter meanwhile put her festive talents to work on a mermaid sand sculpture. This was one of those moments where her quick creativity amazed me.
Estadio Centenario and the Museo del Futbol
Changing quickly at the Hyatt, we grabbed lunch around the corner and then hopped on a bus. It was a shorter ride today, as we were only headed to the Estadio Centenario. This stadium has an impressive history. Built in 1929 and 1930, it had the honor of hosting the very first FIFA World Cup. Uruguay also won the title, making it that much more a imprint in history. While the stadium has seen better days, it is still an Montevideo icon.
Uruguay has a passion for soccer that rivals countries far larger than the tiny South American nation. For a country their size, they have an excellent record, rivaling teams in Europe. They hold the same number of World Cup titles as Argentina and France, and are one of only eight nations to have won the championship.
Housed within the stadium is the Museo de Football. Entrance costs UYU $150 (~$5 USD). It contains a great collection of item, photographs, and other mementos of Uruguay’s days as champion of world matches and of South American soccer in general.
If you’re highly into soccer, it’s worth a solid 60-90 minutes. Maybe a lot more, if you care to look at case after case of trophies. We browsed, but I was more interested in the stadium itself.
Photos of the construction of the stadium over 1929 and 1930. It is amazing how quickly the stadium was built with primarily hand tools. But you don’t just get to see photos. You can head out the doors and take a look at the Estadio Centenario for yourself. It seats an impressive 60,000 people. The view of Montevideo surrounding you is cool. It was not at all like that when the stadium was built! The city has grown to surround it.
How quickly I forget that the rest of the world lives and breathes fútbol while it is mostly forgotten here in the U.S. Our visit to the Museo del Fútbol reminded me of what our Argentinian bike tour guide mentioned: they playfully mock the U.S. for naming a new sport where the feet aren’t even used “football”, the name of an already existing sport. Looks like the Uruguayans have beaten us a few times, too.
Lunch had been a bit late, and our time at the museum extended, so it was time to catch the bus back to the hotel. Then it was off to the airport by Uber. The driver very hesitantly asked if my daughter and I were friends (LOL). As all our kids are adopted, we obviously don’t look anything alike. It amuses me when people grapple to understand the relationship.
Our time in the Uruguayan capital was over too quickly, that much is certain. It would have been nice to spend another day or two enjoying the beach, the old town, and a few other sights. Montevideo doesn’t have any “big” sights to see. But that does not mean it is without merit. We enjoyed our time visiting. I’d love to come back for a week and see more of this beautiful country.
But Miami awaits! We had two more days before we fully wrapped up our adventure.