Friday, 23 January 2015

Musings on Museums

The museums of Montevideo are of particular interest on two counts. First, there is universal free admission when, erratically of course, they are open. Secondly, they contain very little in the way of exhibits. Sparsely furnished rooms, oddly curated ephemera, scant information, in Spanish alone, and a complete absence of other visitors is the order of the day. However, none of this should deter the contemporary traveller or explorer. Far from it since, when one does finally secure entry, these 'Museo' are hidden gems in the fascinating crown of cultural history of Uruguay.

at the entrance to the Museo de Juan Zorrilla de San Martin, Montevideo, Uruguay

the windows of the museum draped in lace curtains forming protection from the sunlight

Our guide book promised that the Museo de Juan Zorrilla de San Martin, the summer house of the nineteenth century poet and diplomat of that name, would provide a café, a shop, an air-conditioned gallery space as well as a museum. Within sight of the sea, a pretty white Andalusia style villa, built in 1904 and expanded in 1921, and set within peaceful gardens hid amongst towering modern apartment blocks waiting to be discovered.

a green oasis, the gardens of the museum, now overlooked by apartment blocks

a typical tiled fireplace to be found in the villa's principal reception room

the poet-diplomat's simply furnished bedroom on the ground floor of the villa

Simply furnished and tenderly kept, complete with its private chapel, the villa proved to be a pure delight. It was as if the poet himself had merely stepped out for a moment and we were welcome guests free to roam at will. And, all around the house, a lush green 'hortus conclusus' decorated with vivid blue tiles, provided a calm and shady sanctuary from the searing heat of the summer sun. Peace was gently broken by a gentle fountain without a café, shop, gallery or other visitor to be seen.

the two intrepid tourists of the day, camera to the ready, examine the books in the poet's library

the private chapel within the villa, an aspiration as yet, and most likely never, to be fulfilled

Also whitewashed but in every other sense completely different, Casapueblo situated between the Uruguayan coastal towns of Piriapolis and Punta del Este, is visually eccentric and stunningly beautiful in its setting. A huge Gaudi-esque house-sculpture, it was begun in 1960 by the artist Carlos Páez Vilaró around a shack in which he was living. It grew first into a studio, then a house with accommodation for friends, and then finally, as it has become today, an hotel and museum as a monument to the artist and his work.

the entrance to Casapueblo, the museum of the artist Carlos Páez Vilaró

Casapueblo, glimpsed in the background, overlooking the South Atlantic

We risked life and limb to photograph the exterior of this extraordinary building, as it clings to the rock with the South Atlantic Ocean at its feet, avoiding as we did the hordes of day trippers and tourists and the greatly overpriced museum entrance fee.

the dramatic situation of Casapueblo perched above the South Atlantic Ocean

Take us back to Montevideo, we cried. How we had loved the vintage cars in the Museo del Automovil Club del Uruguay, especially the Armstrong Siddeley and the cache of trophies won by Hector Suppici Sedes, a Uruguayan racing driver killed in a crash in Chile in 1948. And what pleasure we had had in exploring the near bare rooms of the charming Palacio Taranco, housing as it does the Museo de Artes Decorativas.

But, no matter its free admission, we had given the Museo del Fútbol a miss!

144 comments:

  1. Those blue tiles are gorgeous! Thank you for risking life and limb - that is an extraordinary building indeed.

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    1. We do so agree about the tiles and we saw them used extensively. Yes, Casapueblo is a very strange building indeed in an outstanding situation.

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  2. Oh YES to blue tiles. I love the phrase, 'simply furnished and tenderly kept'. Great post. I've missed you two!!

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    1. The tiles are so very vibrant. We much liked the way that they had been repeated throughout the villa and in the garden as well. Thank you so much, Jackie [and Joel]. We have missed everyone hugely.

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  3. The atmosphere of the Museo Zorrilla comes through in your photographs...aided perhaps by the absence of cafe, shop, gallery and other visitors. That garden was very tempting.
    Here in San Jose in the old fort which is now the National Museum - delightful in itself as it is entered through a butterfly garden - the governor's house has been recreated and has something of the same charm ...but in a lower key.

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    1. The garden was, despite the surrounding apartment blocks which now dwarf the villa, a wonderfully peaceful and shady place, Helen. We sat in it for quite sometime, totally undisturbed.

      The former governor's house in San José, even converted to become the National Museum, sounds exactly the kind of place we should enjoy and approached through a butterfly garden, how utterly blissful.

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  4. Beautiful netting in the curtains. The charm is unexpected until you expanded on the setting and then the town.

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    1. We too thought the curtain, Joanne, was great fun in a strange kind of way and beautifully worked. The villa, when it was built and before it was crowded in with modern development, would have been in the loveliest of positions with the sea at the end of the garden.

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  5. What a stunning feast for the eye...and soul!!

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    1. Uruguay is, or so we feel, a most attractive, fascinating country and one to which we hope to return.

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  6. The villa with private chapel and secluded courtyard garden certainly has a special atmosphere. The white building is amazing. Sometimes it's better to catch a glimpse of a building from afar rather than get closer and find that the place is buzzing with tourists.

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    1. The private chapel, within the villa, we thought to be most unusual, interesting and, as you say, Linda, very special. We so much agree with you about, wherever and whenever possible, distancing oneself from the madding crowd.

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  7. Casapueblo is quite bizarre. Something of a collapsed wedding cake with a bit of Halloween mask thrown in. I should love to stay in it!

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    1. 'A collapsed wedding cake' - such a superb, and most apt, description. Certainly it is extraordinary architecture, eclectic at the very least.

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  8. love the tire fireplace and the simplicitywith it's calming influence; one wonders how Casapueblo could have been built so precarious as it is on the cliff

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    1. The tiles, not only around the fireplace but elsewhere too, appealed to us enormously, Linda. Doubtless toady's planning restrictions would ensure that Casapueblo would never be built.

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  9. Darlings Jane and Lance,
    I must admit that Uruguay has never held much interest for me until knowing it was a destination you had visited on at least 2 occasions. I love how you go on the roads less traveled that most likely would never come to my attention otherwise. I am hoping to one day become "well traveled' in the Hattattian sense of the word with your 3 'e's always in mind: "eclectic, eccentric, and esoteric". While I'll be looking to make discoveries of my own, I'd also like to retrace many of your interesting steps and will reference your travelogues accordingly.
    One of the many treats of the blogosphere is discovering such fine guides as you two and Chronica Domus.
    Lance is looking quite the picture of health in that crisp white shirt and teardrop fedora with that South Atlantic backdrop. I am sure Edward is insisting that pic be framed and placed prominently on the sideboard.

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    1. Darling G,

      Uruguay should not be underestimated, but then the same most likely should be said for the whole of South America and, following the visit of a Hungarian friend to Peru, that is certainly somewhere we should now like to visit.

      You are, as always, most generous in what you say about our travels. In truth, and here we are no different we are sure from you, if at all possible we like to journey as individuals, rather than a part of some group which we have never done, seeking out places which are of interest but rather less frequented than so many other destinations. That said, if one is careful then it is still possible to be alone, even at the height of the season, in somewhere like Venice, to which we usually go in August when it is cheaper, providing one is prepared to avoid the major attractions.

      We too much enjoy the posts of Chronica Domus who always writes so very well and in a most interesting way.

      Sadly Edward has shown absolutely no interest at all in our recent adventure. Sulking no doubt!

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    2. Of course dear Edward is sulking for being left at home and apparently doesn't understand that our modern air travel restrictions won't allow him aboard without being disemboweled by some sadistic uniformed security apparatchik.
      The poor boy is just starving for delicious dinner party gossip so just tell him GSL will have a few juicy morsels that will have him tingle with delight.

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    3. Believe us, he has absolutely no business to sulk. Life for him is the proverbial bed of roses. But if we were to indicate a possibility of your being here for a dinner party [and why not?], then that would certainly bring a smile to his cheeks. As for his being cut up by some over zealous immigration officer, that is a thought we shall spare him, providing behaviour improves!

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  10. Gaudì was what (or, rather, who) sprang to mind when I looked at the picture of Casapueblo seen from outside, before I read what you had written about it.

    The bedroom at the poet's villa looks as if he was a very pious man. No lady (or other) friends to share his bed with? It looks too narrow for anything of the kind. I think I'd be afraid of falling out of it, were I to sleep there.

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    1. You are so right, Meike. There are so many very distinct similarities.

      We too thought much the same of the bedroom which struck us as very austere and, almost puritan, for a man who fathered thirteen children in two marriages.

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  11. Oh to have agapanthus like those - love those blue blooms! The blue tiles are gorgeous too - the bench would look beautiful in my back garden!!
    As for the lace curtains - just magnificent - modern day blinds will never be this lovely!

    Like how you captured yourselves with the books - I know this was a really interesting trip you took - and you look so well which is most important.

    Warm hugs - Mary

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    1. The agapanthus EVERYWHERE in Uruguay were, and are, truly amazing, Mary, and growing in such profusion. We used to cultivate them in containers in our Herefordshire garden but they never flowered as well.

      Yes, the lace curtains appealed to us hugely. They seemed perfect for the situation and were obviously effective in keeping out the sunlight. The reflection of the two of us looking at the books really did come about by chance. Such fun.

      We do so hope that all is well with you and send our best love.

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  12. Those blue tiles - I could feel the cool interior on a hot day. Beautiful.
    I remember visiting just such a house in Montevideo. I can't remember the name, but it wasn't far from the central market near the harbour. There was no admission. Everything was covered in dust, the curtains looked as thought they might disintegrate if touched but it was a wonderful snapshot of a way of life that disappeared in the 20's.
    It looks like you are thoroughly enjoying yourselves on your trip. Of course, I say that because you seem to be doing the sorts of things we love to do.

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    1. The blue tiles really are superb and the same ones to be found on the seat are also all around the small fountain which acts as the centrepiece of a small courtyard area in a part of the garden. So very lovely.

      Your description of the house you visited in Montevideo really does evoke the atmosphere of so much of the City, particularly the Old Town where, as you know, the central market is to be found. This year we stayed in Pocitos, rather more modern and residential but with excellent walks along the Rambla.

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  13. The thought of you two strolling through the Football Museum already amuses me :) the exhibit may be relatively sparse but culture laden nevertheless!

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    1. We fear that you probably have the measure of us where the Football Museum or, indeed, anything 'sporty' is concerned!! But, each to his or her own!!

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  14. Hello Jane and Lance, Museums without shops and cafes are rarer objects than Titians or Rembrandts. I also delight in these small, personal museums and often find that the the less the admission and the more charming the place, the fewer people are there to crowd you.

    The Zorilla house does look beautifully kept up. Were there guards there, or were those out of sight also? I know of a few small museums in Taiwan where guards, docents and other visitors are nowhere to be seen, leaving you alone with your thoughts and discoveries.
    --Jim

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    1. We do so agree, Jim, and how refreshingly [no pun intended] wonderful is that. Happily here in Hungary the commercial aspect of ensuring that every museum and art gallery has the ubiquitous gift shop and café has, by and large, escaped the authorities' notice thus forcing the hapless visitor actually to look at what is on offer which can never have been his or her intention.

      The Zorrilla house did have a very special atmosphere and we were left completely unsupervised to roam at will just in the way in which you describe from your experiences in Taiwan. Being alone with one's "thoughts and discoveries", as you put it, is such a precious and rare treat.

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  15. Dearest Jane and Lance,

    Ah, to be looking through a poet's library, in the best possible nosy parker-like way, and above board, is surely something quite special. I'm certain there is not much opportunity to do such a thing in whichever country one finds oneself in, and here the two of you are doing just that, wonderful!

    I winced at the photograph of the lush oasis that is the museum's garden as I spotted the looming modern apartment block. Once again, as you've seen in my latest post on Alexander Hamilton's Grange, there seems to be a disconnect when building around older buildings and spaces of character.

    I am very much enjoying this series in your travels to places off the beaten track, and I thank you for sharing with your loyal readers.

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    1. The poet's library, as indeed most libraries, was absolutely fascinating even allowing for the fact that most of the books were, as might be expected, in Spanish. To have such an opportunity, as we are certain you will agree, does give one something more of an insight into a person's life. Strangely it is a little akin to visiting a grave. We remember being very moved, many years ago now, on visiting the place where Ezra Pound is buried in the cemetery of San Michele in Venice.

      Yes, far too often modern development has been allowed to encroach in places where, for choice, one would rather that it had not. Often the result is that all human scale, if not totally lost, has been largely destroyed and a real sense of 'place' has disappeared.

      Thank you so much for saying that you have enjoyed the post. That is most kind.

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  16. You found some delightful places to visit, especially the home of the poet diplomat with his simple narrow bed, blue tiles, chapel and green gardens around the home. You find places that are not overrun with tourists and not as well known, which I like.

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    1. As you will know yourself, one doe not have to venture very far off the beaten track, no matter where, to discover all manner of fascinating and interesting places. The villa of the poet-diplomat was a very special and unexpected find.

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  17. Oh, goodness. Did my comment go through? I think I might have navigated away from the page too soon ...

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    1. Darling FGD Suze,

      Your comment must, we fear, be whizzing around Blogtopia as it has not arrived here.....as yet!

      Whatever, it is good to know that you are there!

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    2. Mmm, just as I feared as well. Let's see if I can reconstruct my initial exuberant reactions. There was the bit about a post from my two favorite intrepid tourists making my coffee taste better. (On second cup, which has now gone somewhat lukewarm.) There were my rapturous thoughts on gleaming blue Spanish tile (I love it--and believe those images of the outdoor oasis and the enormous hearth are divine.) Oh, yes! There was the part about how I should love everything I own to be oddly-curated ephemera. I imagine you, my dear FDPs, know *exactly* what I mean.

      Well, bit disjointed but there is the spirit of my initial happy comment, anyway!

      xx, ever,
      -FGD

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    3. Urgh. F*G*Ps. I am a confused little surfer this morning. Wading through missed acronyms and futbol exhibits!!

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    4. Darling FGD Suze,

      Of course we do know exactly what you mean about the oddly curated ephemera. And, as we know you will have guessed a long time ago, everything we possess is definitely in the odd ephemera category. However, whether it could strictly be described as 'curated' when, in reality, it has for the most part simply appeared and then grown like Topsy, we doubt!

      We are certain that the very 'Museo' which we left out of our itinerary would have been the very ones which you should have loved. The football museum to name but one! But, we rather think that you would enjoy the oddness of it all, the opportunity to stand and stare for hours without being hurried and the certain knowledge that you would be the only visitor that day or week or, perhaps, month. Time really does stand still!

      The garden with all its blue and white was a delight. So peaceful and cooling on a hot day with just the gentle splash of water to break the silence. Yes, we should have loved to have been sitting there with you......daydreaming!

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  18. Dear Jane and Lance,

    Your posting prompted me to read more about Juan Zorrilla de San Martin, and his distinguished descendants. With all those children, I'm surprised that his bedroom didn't feature a bouble bed!

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    1. To our shame, we knew nothing of Juan Zorilla de San Martin ( what a name!) before our trip to Montevideo but he and his family were and are major contributors to the cultural and political life of Uruguay. A most fascinating family indeed.

      Yes, one would have imagined that a double bed would have been a major feature of the bedroom and, as the house is really quite small, one wonders how everyone fitted in at family gatherings!

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  19. I LOVE museums of "oddly curated ephemera" (great phrase) -- they're the best kind!

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    1. We suspect that, like us, you are also the kind of visitor who likes to see things rather less than perfect. It seems so much more personal that way and less like a historical institution.

      We so enjoyed finding your blog, Debra. Thank you for following and we do so hope that you will continue to enjoy what we write.

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  20. 'Tenderly kept'...what a wonderful phrase...and how lovely to see somewhere so charming via your lovely post...you are quite the curious travellers!

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    1. We thought that the villa was obviously preserved with a great deal of loving care which was rather touching to see. Travel, as you will know yourself, does indeed broaden the mind.

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  21. Small, quirky and quiet museums are right up my street! Look at that fantastic fireplace, and the matching tiled bench - so beautiful, as are the lace curtains. Who needs a cafe or gift shop? And my goodness, Casapueblo is an amazing structure. I love accompanying you on your travels, Jane and Lance, even if it can only be vicariously! xxx

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    1. We too find the smaller museums, Curtise, of rather more interest than some of those vast edifices housing 'great' works. There is something so much more personal about them. As for the absence of a café and gift shop - such a welcome change.

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  22. I, too, think I might have zigged when I should have zagged---my post of the a.m. has not appeared, so re-run. I've learned to "curate" my own odd ephemera, and so sometimes copy just in case. Of this a.m.:

    Hello, Chipper Chillun'!

    It's as if we've stepped right back into the most pleasing of WAS, in the travels and the commentary and those white hats shining in the sun, those familiar silhouettes reflected in the glass of mirrors, windows, bookcases. And I have a particular warm spot for glassed-in books, from the very first words I learnt to read, from dear Miss Kitty across the street.

    Your wanderings in bright climes are just the ticket for this sometimes-sunny-always-cold January, and all the leftovers of Christmas still lingering on sofa and dresser and tabletops, with the tree still valiantly twinkling out the front windows. And my crazy loops and swags of ribbon-lights, like glowing beads all around the top of this room like cartoon borders.

    The chapel is magnificent---is it not finished/ready/prepared for prayer? And the Delft blues---I'm not familiar with Uruguay's history, but somehow would have expected dashing tiles in reds and blacks and greens, from the peaked iron gate to the gardens, with the incongruous charm of a German Grandmother's curtains.

    And the museum, blinding white sways and points and curves, like something set down on Tattooine or in ghostly shapes like a peek of Minas Tirith above the trees---no wonder you braved the precipice to make those photos.

    I'm just so glad you've returned, in good health and spirits, and hope that you'll be well and enjoying these adventures for years and years to come. It's just delightful to see all the things I'd never dreamt of--the towers and esplanades and museums and seashores you so adventurously conquer and charm, leaving new friends and lovely memories in your wake. We just go and visit family and friends; you take the waters in exotic places, and go for weeks to villas and estates and pieds-a-terres, and there’s a sweet sharing in that, for you speak so kindly of our own little sojourns, as I delight in your much more interesting travels. .

    I thank you for your comments, your faithful visits in to this sparse space, this neglected parlor of my own, with the scant postings and the dearth of subject matter of late. There IS a HERE here, despite all clues to the contrary, and we just flow along in our little doings and sayings, with the days punctuated mostly by insignificants. A bright new prospect has arisen---when Sweetpea and I have our bedtime phone call now, instead of my reading to HER, she's chosen a book or two to read to ME. KVELL doesn't cover it. Biscuit the dog is now dearer to me than the Dashwoods.

    And so, moire non,

    r



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    1. Dearest R,

      How lovely to have your comment here which, as always, gives us great joy and which further cements what we believe to be a true friendship. And we delight in the little snippets which you allow us of life going on so very pleasantly in what is for us a foreign land but one which, thank you, becomes increasingly familiar.

      Our second visit to Uruguay was such a happy event, not only discovering parts of Montevideo with which we were unfamiliar but also meeting so many new and interesting people,with many of whom, we are certain, we shall maintain contact. Also we had the opportunity to travel outside of the Capital and see some other towns as well as something of the surrounding countryside.

      Whilst the Delft tiles might suggest otherwise, Uruguay really is a very vibrant and colourful country and one which, should you ever have the opportunity, you should try to visit.

      Love as ever, xxx

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  23. The joy of travelling is to see how different every country is and that includes museums…. and these do not disappoint in their own unique way. I love Casapueblo and I love Jessica from Rusty Duck's description of it too.
    …….. but, most of all, I LOVE those lace curtains. Could you not have put them in your pocket for me Jane and Lance ?!!! XXXX

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    1. It is, Jackie, as you so rightly say here, those differences which make for the interest and enjoyment of travel to a foreign country. Certainly our experiences in South America support this view and we are now hungry to see more.

      We too thought the lace curtains a dream. And they looked so right in place at those windows otherwise, be assured, they would now be yours!! xxx

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  24. Dearest Janika and Lancika—
    Thank you for this visit to what must be a wonderful little museum. And how nice for you to have it virtually to yourselves—without a crowd (even a "great" one) to ruin the honored-guests fantasy. How incongruous those large apartment blocks look, but thank goodness this place wasn't razed to make room for another one of them. Must say, Lance looks quite the lord of the manor on the grounds of Casapueblo! Hugs, Alexa

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    1. Dearest Alexa,

      What fun we all should have had if you and Genie had been able to join us not only at the museum, which was utterly delightful, but also for the entire trip. And, needless to say, what a 'great crowd' we should have made.

      We felt it so sad that there, close to the villa, and in so many other places throughout Montevideo that insensitive development has been allowed to dominate what must have been, a hundred or more years ago, an architectural gem of a city. Love as always and missing you hugely. xxx

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  25. I am glad that - like me - you don't bother to pull in your waistline for a photo, Lance, and I am also pleased to see that you also don't seem to bother about reflections, Jane.

    One question: How can you bear to sleep under that enormous cross? I couldn't get forty winks, let alone forty anything elses'.

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    1. We are, darling Tom, as we are! And we suspect that much the same can be said for you and the elusive HI.

      In answer to your question, since we rather embrace Roman Catholicism in a somewhat idiosyncratic way, we should probably not have a problem sleeping in that bed or, indeed, anywhere!

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  26. Dearest both,
    do you know what I like best about your latest blog?
    That you seem FIT and WELL to ENJOY your travels again.
    It's wonderful to have you back. Thank you. It is such fun to join you in your adventures via your blogs, but do take care.
    We don't want to miss you again.
    nemona

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  27. Does Montevideo have similar weather to that found Andalusia? I hope so because the white Andalusia style villa looks perfect, as do the gardens and the tiles around the fireplace. I have never been to Montevideo, but the feel is familiar. Love it!

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    1. The summers in Montevideo are very hot with the temperature often climbing to 35 - 40C although the winters, we are told, can be very grey and damp with strong winds.

      We both loved the villa of the poet-diplomat who, as it transpired, led a most interesting life.

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  28. Oh so fascinating--both of them! This post was a real treat. I must confess I have had little interest in visiting South America, but now I'm getting curious.

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    1. Most likely, Jen, if it had not been for a particular circumstance, we too should never have visited South America and certainly not Uruguay. We are so glad that we did and look forward to returning for a third time.

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  29. Dear Jane and Lance.

    I am delighted to see this post with its wonderful sunlight, beautiful blue sky and tiles, and witty commentary. It's also be great fun to read the earlier comments, which are much, much wittier than anything I can manage this evening.

    I'll just enjoy the glow that a comfortable environment of congenial bloggers can create.

    xo

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    1. Dear Frances,

      Although we are by no means 'sun seekers' and do try to keep out of direct sunlight, the warmth, vibrancy, light and colour of Montevideo when normally we should be experiencing, as you must be now, the cold of winter was so very welcome.

      And of things most welcome, let it be understood, dear Frances, that your comments, together with your loyal support, not to mention the delight of your own posts, are highly treasured by us and do so much to enrich our lives. xxx

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  30. It sounds lovely...really a private tour, rather like a well loved guest. It must have been a great delight to visit here. And just where is your next adventure to be? Somewhere very interesting I imagine.

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    1. You are so exactly right, Adrienne, our visit to the villa of the poet-diplomat was exactly as if we were welcome guests. It was all a most memorable experience and one which we shall remember for a long time to come.

      And for now we are content to be at home in Budapest where there is so much to enjoy.

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  31. Darlings Jane and Lance, you found some delightful places to visit; I liked especially the museum, then the blue tiles are wonderful arts! Just as I loved watching the private chapel Within the villa. You really had unforgettable moments and very well photographed.

    The grandmother of a friend has an old house in Petropolis (Rio de Janeiro hills) in Portuguese style. Besides the beautiful gardens treated well there are many blue tiles and that enchanted me.

    Greetings

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    1. Our time in Montevideo could not indeed have been more perfect. After the somewhat grim months leading up to Christmas it was so wonderful to 'escape' to the warmth of summer in a country which is so very vibrant and so different from all that we know in Europe.

      Your friend's grandmother's house sounds to be idyllic and to be in possession of similar blue tiles to those we saw seems, at least to us, to be simply wonderful.

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  32. I love the blue tiles, beautiful.

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    1. The blue tiles won our hearts too, Fran. Now where can we find some similar?!!

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  33. Jane & Lance, I thank the two intrepid tourist for risking life and limb for getting coverage of this most refreshing and unusual museum. The post was like a fresh and warm breath of fresh air as here, we are finally getting a belt of the Snow Queen's wintery kiss, a first snow and ice fall. As pretty as it is, I still can't help but wish I had a nice cheese selection with some fruit and nuts, a good book and to sit in the lovely courtyard....taking a pew on the cobalt tile bench, enjoying that sunny warm. Again, so glad you enjoyed your trip, and thank you for the transport......if even for a few moments. Kisses to you both!!!!!

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    1. Whilst perhaps there is a little in the way of exaggeration of risking life and limb when it comes to having taken that particular photograph, we really did risk life when, on our second day, in a most public place, we were thrown to the ground by an attacker from behind in an attempt to rob us of our money!! He escaped on a motor cycle with his accomplice but, happily for us, empty handed. All a little unnerving!!

      Poor you coping with snow which, here in Budapest has, unusually, been absent so far this year. You must wrap up warmly, have cook make you delicious hot soups, stoke the fire, raid the library, batten the hatches and stay put. For the spring will come! xxx

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    1. Indeed. And one we found to be totally fascinating.

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  35. Vivid tiles but indeed lovely.
    The chapel looks cute and inviting. The lace curtains, don't often see those today.

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    1. We too thought the tiles to be most attractive and were very taken with the private chapel.

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  36. Love these photos and the atmospheric virtual tour. Good also not see masses of tourists in the way of the photos, my pet hate, and why we try to holiday when everyone else is at work, school or it is unsuitable times.
    Have a good weekend Diane

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    1. We are so pleased that you have enjoyed the post, Diane. Like you, we try to avoid being anywhere at peak times simply to avoid the crowds. Generally speaking it works out.

      Enjoy your weekend too. Here it is cold and wet. Not so nice!

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  37. The tiles would not look out of place here is Turkey.

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    1. We can imagine that the tiles, particularly that remarkable blue, would fit into very many different settings.

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  38. Dear Jane and Lance, in this modern world, one could say that a lack of exhibits is in itself an exhibit, as is the reflected glimpse of yourselves in the glass, which raises the depiction of an object to the depiction of an experience, she said, rummaging about in her handbag for something which you might kindly autograph for me before you are too famous to give me the time of day.

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    1. Dearest Mise,

      How we wish that you were close at hand so that we might engage more fully in this most interesting philosophical point which you put forward here. We refer, of course, to the nature of exhibits rather to the prospect of, or more likely, otherwise, any personal fame which may at this late stage in our lives be bestowed upon us. And which, of course, we should shun!

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  39. All very beautiful! The ceramic blue tiles and lace curtains just touch my heart. Most of all I am so happy you are getting better and returning to health. Something to be grateful for! Thanks for visiting me today at Delights of the Heart.

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    1. We felt much the same way, Marilyn, where the tiles and lace curtains were concerned. They were both lovely in their simplicity. And thank you so much for your good wishes. This year has started well.

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  40. I too love the poet's villa, a tranquil oasis in a forest of apartment blocks. Like you I head for the museums when visiting somewhere new, particularly the smaller, out of the way ones. Pure delight.

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    1. Smaller museums, Perpetua, as you will know yourself, have so much to offer and very often contain treasures of great intrinsic value, as was certainly the case in the poet-diplomat's villa.

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  41. I myself love small and quirky museums - so much better than those with grand exhibits - and how lovely not to be overrun with tourists - all the better for you to take your time and absorb the finer details. Thank you for this unusual and interesting tour.

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    1. The fact that we were the only visitors in the museum added to the pleasure enormously, Elaine. Furthermore, we were allowed to wander at will, totally unsupervised which made it all very special.

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  42. I must confess that living in Buenos Aires for a little over 7 years, we never visited Uruguay, not even Colonia. I have added it to the list of places I must go back to or just to go.
    besitos, C

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    1. We are so sorry that you did not, in your time in Buenos Aires visit Uruguay, Candice, for it really is a fascinating country. And Colonia, from where at the top of the lighthouse we gazed across the water towards Buenos Aires, is absolutely charming and well worth seeing.

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  43. My dearest Jane and Lance,

    I thoroughly enjoy the tour of the Museo de Juan Zorrilla de San Martin, Montevideo. What a pleasure it must be to loiter there without the intrusion of crowds of tourists and visitors or tour guides shouting the history of the house and its inhabitant at their top of their voices in various languages. The colour of the tiles is just as breath-taking as the colour of the sky - bright blue - almost like the colour of Reckitt's blue. The poet's bedroom reminded me of a little room in a Benedictine monastery where everything is calm and sparsely decorated and it's a place one would sleep undisturbed by the noises of cities - a place where one will find inspiration and will not be stunned and choked by the tumults and the pollutions. The glimmer of the gold in the private chapel is absolutely beautiful. I'd like to imagine that this is the sort of private chapel where Lady Marchmain (in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited) would go and say her prayers in the novel.

    Hope you both are having a wonderful weekend.

    With best wishes, ASD

    PS. I do not blame you for giving the football museum a miss.

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    1. Dearest ASD,

      The Museo de Juan Zorrilla de San Martin would, we are bold enough to suggest, be exactly your kind of place. A delightfully architecturally quirky villa in which are to be found books, paintings, antique furniture, ephemera and surrounded with a peaceful garden ticks so many of the boxes [to use modern parlance] for us as, indeed, we are sure would be the same for you.

      You make mention of the calm of the villa and it is true for there we found and oasis of peace and quiet which, so sadly, often eludes one in a modern city, if not in life generally.

      The chapel was lovely. You are right, it could indeed be out of Brideshead. How wonderful, or so we think, to have something similar in one's own home.

      We are, thank you, enjoying our weekend as we hope that you are too. Outside it is snowing!!

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  44. I love the lace curtains and the wonderful garden seat at the Museo Zorrilla. And I found some photos giving an overview of the whole Casapueblo building. It's quite extraordinary.
    http://culture.oasiscollections.com/pt/casapueblo-a-building-or-a-work-of-art
    You do find your way to some astonishing sights and experiences!

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    1. Both the tiles, in their intense blue, and the simplicity of the lace curtains at the windows appealed to us enormously, Nick, and contributed to the very private, personal atmosphere of the villa.

      Thank you so much for the link to Casapueblo. It is an extraordinary and fascinating place.

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  45. Jane and Lance, may I say how much I am enjoying having you back in the blogging world... I am back to learning about culture I would have missed if you had not written about it and posted it here... the sheer beauty comes through in your photos and eloquent words you write so beautifully ... I hope you are having a wonderful weekend xox

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    1. We are so very touched by your kindness, Launna. For our part it is wonderful to be connected with everyone again and we too feel that so much of what is to be found in the Blogosphere adds to, and enriches, life.

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  46. Lovely, and I always enjoy your reflected self photos. Really a Hattatt trademark by now!

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    1. This is most generous of you, Susan. The reflected image in the bookcase was, we assure you, pure chance.

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  47. Dear Jane and Lance,
    In this darkness of winter, it was so nice to see and read your very colorful post. I love to go to small, somewhat forgotten museums and historic venues. They are seldom visited but are often gems that the locals overlook.

    The view from the gardens to the high rise buildings is not appealing, however, the people who live in those apartments certainly look upon a lovely scene.

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    1. And "in this darkness of winter" [today it is snowing], as you so aptly put it, Arleen, what joy it was to escape to the warmth of a South American sun where we had a completely restful and enjoyable three weeks.

      We agree, it is such a pity that the villa, which is so attractive, should be dwarfed by mediocre apartment blocks.

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  48. What a wonderful trip...the view of the ocean is breathtaking. I thank you both because I could never have tread upon those cliffs myself! You really do have the most exiting vacations!

    Thank you for your visit. The comment you left simply touched my heart!

    Jane x

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    1. Casapueblo sits on a promontory or peninsula, Jane, and is surrounded by water on three sides making its location particularly spectacular but, of course, highly appealing to tourists. It was the only occasion when we encountered them in large numbers.

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  49. I can understand why you were drawn to this beautiful gem!!! The whole atmosphere is so soothing in its stunning details! So wonderful that you both were able to take this all in!!! Wishing you a lovely weekend!! Nicole xo

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    1. The garden surrounding the poet-diplomat's villa was particularly appealing, Nicole. Despite being very much in the City, it was a calm and peaceful oasis from which we could glimpse palm trees and the sea.

      We do hope that you are enjoying a restful and happy weekend.

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  50. Good morning Jane and Lance!

    So nice to see you both out and about - hoping that you are much healed and healthy these days. I too love love those lace curtains, and the tiles. You often bring up places and artists of whom I have never encountered, so my google search gets a work out. Thank you both for expanding my knowledge.

    Does that crucifix on the wall have a little hidden compartment for the implements for the Last Rites? (it looks very similar to the one I have from my grandmother, which does have the little compartment)

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    1. We are indeed feeling so much better, Carol, after our sojourn in South America although returning to a cold and [today] snowy Budapest has been something of a climatic shock!

      It is not possible to be certain in answer to your question, but we should rather hope so as it is such a comforting thought. How lovely that you have something similar from your grandmother. To be treasured for sure.

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  51. Ooh, I'm one of those who enjoy going to museums! I can stay there the whole day just drinking in all the stories of every artifact and everything else in display. I love to think that once an ordinary object holds so much history in it.

    And I like the view outside the museum. I'm sure you had a blast musing. :)

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    1. Museums are, we agree, endlessly fascinating and through them one does of course learn such a great deal. It is certainly fascinating to see how once ordinary, everyday objects take on over time their own history.

      We enjoyed our time at the museum immensely.

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  52. Oh dear.......i was sorry to read in your comment back about the attacker. A otherwise spectacular trip marred by the likes of a hoodlum. But the important thing is you both are here with us now and continuing down the path. That is very scary though, never been through that myself.

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    1. That is so nice of you. Unfortunately these things are increasingly the way of the world and one just has to pick oneself up and carry on. What does happen though is that such incidents do serve to undermine confidence but at least we were not injured in any way, something which can often be the result of a mugging.

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  53. This looks like such a beautiful museum to visit. I especially love the outdoor garden areas. Our local botanic garden has a "Moorish garden" section with similar tiled benches and walls and it's such a nice place to sit in the shade with a book.

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    1. The description which you give of your local botanical garden sounds most appealing. And how lovely to have such a place on hand to which you can retreat with a book from time to time. We sat for some considerable time on the tiled bench at the poet-diplomat's villa soaking up the atmosphere and listening to the fountain.

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  54. I just loved the blue and white tiles. There's something about those two colours together which just makes me think, very obviously, of the sea. How fascinating to be the only two visitors at the museums. It's always so much better when you have the whole place to yourselves. You get the time to take in every little detail.

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    1. The tiles, to be found in so many places in the poet-diplomat's villa, appealed to us greatly, Loree, and with the sea just beyond the garden they really were a perfect match. We too were somewhat surprised to be the only visitors and in all of the time we were there no-one else arrived.

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  55. Lovely garden area, reminiscent of Guell Park in Barcelona. You mentioned Gaudi-esque I wonder if the word 'gaudy' originated from the works of Antoni Gaudi, who in my opinion should be made a saint. The neighbours would be calling me a slattern if I had those nets up at my windows.

    The last museum I visited was the Phallological Museum in Iceland about four years ago. My maid of all work Carmen was like a kiddie let loose in a sweet shop. Some of the exhibits there I found a bit hard to swallow and no coffee shop either!

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    1. It is to our eternal shame [or at least shame to date] that we have never been to Barcelona, a city which is spoken of so highly by all those who we know who have been there. And your suggestion that the word 'gaudy' may derive from the work of Gaudi is as preposterous as it is superb. Love it!

      Mitzi, darling, until this moment the Phallogical Museum in Iceland was completely unknown to us. We are, after all, a nicely brought up girl and boy. Now, having 'Googled' it, we are in deep shock. And as for Carmen's reaction, far too much information!!!

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  56. You visit some incredible places and its a pleasure to be able to view them through your wonderfully written posts. The chapel looks beautiful and so peaceful some times less is more in lots of area's of our life. Those blue tiles are stunning around the fireplace and I love the lace panels at the window simple elegance. dee

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    1. This is most kind of you, Dee. We consider ourselves most fortunate to have the time and opportunity to travel and find countries such as Uruguay, which are somewhat off the beaten track, to be of particular interest and fascination.

      We totally agree with you that "less is more" in so many instances of daily life. Would that more people were aware of that. And yes, the lace curtains and tiles are just wonderful!

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  57. Lance and Jane, it's delightful to glimpse you intrepid explorers reflected in the bookcase glass! I, too, cannot resist a nice snoop in others' libraries to see what they've chosen "to furnish their minds."

    Since you're already on this side of the ponds, perhaps you'll Google The Taft Museum in Cincinnati as a future destination. This historic home is exquisite, the pictures and objets d'art are displayed in intimate spaces, the docents are charming and knowledgeable and there IS a nice cafe!

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    1. We are completely at one with you over this as to observe how others "furnish their minds", as you so aptly put it, is indeed to gain insight into the nature, character and, indeed, essence of another person.

      Now, The Taft Museum, which we have immediately 'Googled' and to which we shall return, on line for the present, but perhaps one day in reality. How absolutely sensational in terms of the lovely house and the amazing collection to which it is clearly home. And not only that, but a vibrant programme of all manner of events and, as an additional bonus, free admission on a Sunday. Thank you so much for pointing us in the direction.

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  58. This was a delightful visit. I always wished to visit Uruguay and rarely read anything about this country on blogs so I was very interested in your post. The lacy curtains look like those my mother had in her flat in Paris. I bought some too and brought them back to my house and they are hanging in our parlor. Here, in the US, these types of curtains are not used very much, but they are in France. The garden of this museum would be enough to visit it. What a charming place.

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    1. Thank you so much for your appreciative comment.Uruguay is, we feel, a most fascinating and somewhat overlooked country. Our second, and most recent, visit confirmed, were that to be necessary, all that we had previously thought and the capital, Montevideo, overlooking the mouth of the River Plate, is a most intriguing city.

      You may care to look at the previous posts we published about Uruguay. These are:
      'The Land of Chivito, Mate and Rafaelito' [26/02/14]
      'Off The Tracks' [06/03/14]
      ''Coastal Convalescence' [09/01/15].

      Whatever, we shall very much hope to welcome you here again.

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  59. What a wonderful and informative post and thank you for sharing and allowing us all to have a peek into your travels. I love the gardens and those blue and white tiles are just gorgeous. I also love the heavy lace curtains at the window. Have an enjoyable week wherever you are. P x

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    1. We enjoyed the garden, where we sat for quite some while, equally as much as the villa itself, Patricia as it really was a quiet, peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. The blue tiles were lovely and repeated around a small fountain - all quite Moorish.

      Have a happy week too!

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  60. I have just found your blog. It's great to visit these museums with you. I love museums, blog about them and work in a couple of them here in London. I'll be back to keep abreast of your museum adventures. I've not seen enough museums outside the UK

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    1. We are delighted to welcome you, Katharine, and thank you for signing as a Follower. We too find museums of enormous interest and are generally hugely impressed with the imaginative and innovative ways in which the contents are presented these day compared with when we were children.

      We shall enjoy following your posts, which we shall do by email as you do not appear to have 'Followers', and have already had a sneak preview!

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  61. I probably would have had to go into the Museo de futbal haha! not by choice though, I would have sulked all the way round while Dave cooed (I say 'cooed', I have just told him where you have been....I need to upgrade 'coo' to 'utter excitement!, the boy likes his football) I adore your travels so much and I especially love you share them with us, the museum is so pretty especially the private chapel, I find them fascinating. The view of Casapueblo is incredible, I can't imagine how perilous it would have been, but I'm relieved you both were fine, you are a courageous pair though! x x x

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    1. Perhaps we have missed out on one of the most thrilling and exciting experiences of the twenty-first century: a visit to the Museo del Fútbol, Montevideo. Something we may have cause to regret for the rest of our lives!! Oh dear!!

      That said, and we shall never now know, we much enjoyed the museums we did go to and, like you, thought the private chapel to be both charming and fascinating. We are now left wondering if we could incorporate something similar into our apartment here!!

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  62. Dearest Jane and Lance,
    I loved being along with you as you visited Museo Zorrilla and Casapueblo. There is an intimacy when one visits the home of an artist and to see how they lived. Having a small chapel or place of worship in the home would be the ultimate luxury. I love your composition of photos, you have a keen eye Jane, as I am sure Lance does too.
    Have a wonderful week
    Helen xx

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    1. Dearest Helen,

      You are so right about the intimacy to be found when visiting the home of an artist. It is we feel, rather like a studio visit, a great privilege and it does of course allow greater insight and understanding of both his or her life and work.

      We simply loved the private chapel in the villa. It was always our wish to have a small chapel built in our Herefordshire garden and we actually did get as far as having the foundations laid. Alas, the potential costs proved to be too much and so the entire project was abandoned.

      We both wish you a joyous and peaceful week. J&L, xxx

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  63. How funny that beautiful little jewel of a museum is now overlooked by apartments. Beautiful photos as the person above says.
    the exterior is a thing in itself, like a wondrous white bird taking off in flight.

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    1. Sadly the intrusion of modern apartment blocks overshadowing smaller buildings of a more domestic scale is something all too common in Montevideo. This is such a pity as the City does contain some very fine and interesting architecture.

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  64. Dear Jane and Lance, You have shown us two very special museums. We enjoy visiting any home of an historic hero or artist, loving to feel their presence. The blue tiles and the little chapel are so evocative. As for Casapueblo - how gorgeous! Just like a wedding cake. Thank you so much for sharing it. xx

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    1. We did so enjoy our visit to these two museums and are delighted that you too, Patricia, found them of interest. Indeed, there was so much about each, impossible to describe here in a brief post, that they would certainly be places to which we should wish to return given the opportunity.

      Yes, Casapueblo was extraordinary and just as you say, "like a wedding cake" perched on a cliff side.

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  65. Dear Jane and Lance,
    I thought I folowed you.....
    But NOT????
    Do NOT know why???
    But here I am again!
    To much nice things I do NOT want to miss.
    With warm greetings from me
    Lia


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    1. Dear Lia,

      We are delighted to have you as a Follower and to be connected in this way. Such fun! And we send our very warmest wishes to you.

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  66. Dear Jane and Lance,

    Thank you for this fascinating tour.
    There's history in the very air of these places. Such majestic buildings!
    And I can dream about those laced curtains and blue tiles all day long. :-)

    Have a wonderful week,
    Suman.

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    1. We are delighted that you have enjoyed this little snippet from South America, Suman. We did indeed single out the lace curtains and the blue tiles as they both somehow typified so much of what we saw.

      A happy week to you too.

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  67. Oh I do love reading your posts about your adventures. You have a way with words ;)

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    1. We are very happy to hear this, Jane. You are most welcome.

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  68. Dear Jane and Lance, First of all thank you so much for the very sweet and much appreciated words today on my blog. You are lovely and it means a lot.

    I loved catching up on what you have been up to. Places like Uruguay that are less traveled are so fascinating and there is still much to discover. These museums especially seem intriguing. I'd really like to learn more about that part of the world.Thanks for the fun escape. Hope you both are doing well now too. Kim

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    1. What appeals to us greatly about Uruguay is, as you so rightly say, Kim, that it is comparatively unknown and for us is so very different from all the experiences to be had here in Europe. To travel to South America is certainly an adventure and one which we should greatly recommend.

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  69. Darlings, those blue tiles in the museum are wonderful. They remind me of Portuguese azulejos.

    Your description of the quirky Uruguayan museums and their sparsely furnished rooms and oddly curated ephemera is wonderfully humorous.

    I think you were just to give Casapueblo - for all its architectural merit - a miss: often, the most popular tourist sites are victims of their own success, and a lesser-known, lesser-frequented site gives a far more enduring experience. There is nothing worse than being thronged by hordes of camera-wielding Japanese tourists when visiting the Taj Mahal or the Alhambra.

    I recall receiving advice from the locals when visiting Tulum, Mexico. They said that by 9am the wonderful Temples of Tulum would be a sea of fat American tourists and instead, to sneak into the site via the cliffs at dawn when the place would be deserted. And that was just what I did! I'll never forget the life-defining moment of bathing at dawn in the turquoise-jade ocean below those historic temples and having the whole place to myself.

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    1. Darling, your vivid description of a visit to Tulum, Mexico is utterly, utterly wonderful. And what splendid advice you were given and, having taken it, what a memorable experience you had.

      What you say here about popular tourist sites is so very, very true. Many, many years ago, perhaps nigh on a thousand now, we visited Chartwell when, at the time, we drove the motor car to the hall door, got out and went in. More recently, say two or three years ago, being in the area we revisited. Darling, horror of horrors! The car park stretched almost from Dover to Dulwich, entrance was by timed ticket, a McDonald's [or similar] was bursting to the seams whilst the 'Gift Shop' made Harrods look like a corner kiosk. Ghastly! Ghastly!

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  70. I don’t know how I missed this post, but it isn’t ringing a bell and I obviously haven’t commented. Beautiful! Gaudi-esque indeed! What a treasure and what a joy to be able to wander around Museo de Juan Zorrilla at your ease.

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    1. It is not always possible, nor is it expected, to keep up with every post!! That said, how nice of you to come back.

      We thoroughly enjoyed the museum and it was all the more special on account of the absence of other visitors.

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