For our first full day in Uruguay, Bruno took us around Montevideo to see the local history and culture. Our first stop was Fortaleza del Cerro, an old fort built in the 1800s. The fort sits on the highest point in Montevideo, giving it the strategic advantage. The fort stands as a museum and still has the original cannons used when it was built. After we left the fort, we went to a monument called indos charruas. Charruas were the native people of Uruguay before they were essentially wiped out by migrants moving into their territories. Their people were known to be somewhat aggressive which is accredited to why they were wiped out so quickly. The monument was built to remember the Charrua people and to remember the last four Charruas; Senac, Viamaca-Piru, Guyunusa, and Tacuabe. These four people were taken to France to be “studied” and it is said they died of sadness. The next place we visited was the Palacio Legislativo or the Legislative Palace. This is the place where the Uruguayan parliament meets. In the US, the government building like this would be a highly secure area with security everywhere. However, in Uruguay you can walk right up to the building and even go inside if you want. It was really strange to me but members of parliament, senate, and even the president are considered normal citizens and are treated as such. Bruno also mentioned that, unlike in the US, you will not find any pictures of the president, even in government buildings. This is one of the ways they keep the president as an equal. The morning tour was almost over and we then headed to lunch. It was around 80 degrees outside and the sun was out. We had been warned that they eat a lot of beef in Uruguay, but no one expected to be served a three-inch-thick steak in the middle of the day. The steak was one of the best I’ve ever had and while we were eating, we were serenaded by a man singing songs about women because it was international women’s day. It was a wonderful day to be a women in Uruguay.

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