As often happens in the tourist industry a stop on the bus might be paid for by the owner(s) of the small overlook with the shops. Usually there are also bathrooms (banos), in this case the bathrooms were the plastic ones used on construction sites, two of them for five or six buses full of tourists.
I asked the guide who Mr. Piria was. We communicated by way of Google Translate. There was a Mr. Piria and he owned all the land on which the city was built. It was his city. This was early 20th century. Where is he now? Dead. Does his family own it now? He had no family so the government owns it now. Really!
It is the middle class Punta Del Este. Lots of apartments in rows facing the Rio de la Plata – here so wide that it is a sea. Much less expensive than Punta del Este, the owners of the apartments tend to be Argentinian, Brazilian, European and American. The season is at the most 4 months long, after that the buildings are closed.
Miniature Pune del este seems not to have enough demand, but a lot of hope.
Once we get to Punte del Este we tour the estates large houses with fine gardens. Houses are not identified by numbers, but by names – La Paloma, Ramona, Sans Souci, etc.
As we approach the main part of coastal Punta del Este, we stop at the highest point in the city where a lighthouse was built in 1817, and quite a handsome lighthouse it is. Other folks behind me took lots of photos of the “grand” houses, this was the first time I asked if we could stop for a photo. The street on a line which is the demarcation of the Atlantic Ocean and the Rio de la Plata is called “four waters”, both and south of the ocean and the east and west of the river.
These buildings are on the part of the Punta that faces the river. Two miles further the waters of the river join the Atlantic and there are times that the colors of the waters are clearly visible, not this day.
We spent 3 hours in Punta, in the – yes – Shopping district. After walking for about 30 minutes I stopped for lunch at a restaurant proclaiming fish. I did have some river fish. They were small, maybe little perch. Sweet and very white, they were accompanied by chimichanga and chopped parsley, vegetables including scalloped potatoes, and squash. One of the best meals in Uruguay.
On our way back we stoped at Museo Taller de Casapueblo, for the life of me I thought I was back at Paolo Soleri’s in Arizona. It also reminded me of Mykonos, except that in Mykonos the constructors were more careful. Unlike Paolo Soleri who was very well trained as an architect, Carlos Páez Vilaró was self-taught. He created sculptures, paintings, wrote music, and poetry, and made a few movies. He also traveled a lot and visited artists wherever he went. He claimed to have used the mud nests of the hornero as the inspiration for his buildings. The studio and house were the first of the development on the hill. The came the rest.
Everything is available for a look-see for only $10 American. My photos are part of what one can see without the entry fee, since I had the feeling I had seen this before.