Having booked a tour of the city, we headed out with our guide, Suzanne, and 30 others from the ship.  Arriving on a holiday, the streets were almost deserted, but this is certainly an oddity, since as the capital of Uruguay, covering 200 square miles, almost half of the population of the country lives within the city.  There is a separation of church and state, so there is no official religion, but Suzanne quipped that the most popular religion is soccer, followed by Catholicism.  

Visiting the extensive and beautiful Prado Park, she shared a story reflected by one of the many statues we saw.  First and second-class passengers in the 1800's paid the same fare, the difference came when the carriage became stuck in mud, the second-class passengers had to get out to push, pull or dig to get the carriage to move on.  

Tourism is a key industry, with many visitors from their neighbor, Argentina, primarily for Uruguay's superior beaches.  Banking is also important here, as the country is considered the "Switzerland of South America", many Argentineans bank here due to the instability and lack of trust in their own country.  The city is a mecca for leather-lovers, and not surprisingly for beef.  Wandering into the Mercado del Puerto (Port Market), tables were laden down with bowls of grilled meat and visitors were enticed to try the offerings of the many restaurants by promoters at the venues offering glasses of half and half ( half wine and half champagne) as they discussed the virtue of their menus.  Grill masters tending a variety of meats on the open flames further lured visitors to give the meat a try.  

Our cruise ship headed south, to our next port-of-call, Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.
Legislative Palace
Griller at the Mercado del Puerto
Street art
Salvo Palace
Waterfront view of the city
At Prado Park

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