Montevideo

If you meet a Uruguayan and mention Montevideo, he or she will likely break into a wide smile and boast about Las Ramblas. Along these coastal miles—with beaches, dunes, paved sidewalks, restaurants, exercise equipment, sports courts, and more—is where life happens. You see lovers exchanging tender kisses, runners glistening in the sun, locals people watching, and the old and young alike sipping on mate. The coastal waters take on hues from brown to green to blue, depending on the time of day and weather conditions. It’s the best place in Montevideo to enjoy sunset.

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But before I ended my day there, I visited the notable Plaza Independencia where national hero José Gervasio Artigas Arnal sits tall and proud upon a submissive horse.

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Just around the corner is Teatro Solis and Cafe Bacacay. In learning about Uruguayan cuisine, I decided to try chivito with lomo (tenderloin). Of all the lomo I tasted in Uruguay, theirs was the most tender and well-seasoned! (I imagine the local favorite, El Palenque, is willing to rival that claim.)

Immediately west of Plaza Independencia is Ciudad Vieja, the most charming part of the city and the area I enjoyed most.

I felt lucky to happen upon a concert of French music at Plaza Constitución, thanks to the Festival de Jazz de MVD!

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Pairing live music with dulce de leche ice cream is always a good idea…

In an old building off of Sarandí street, I met Eduardo who serves up delicious tortas! I chose one layered with ham, tomato, hard-boiled egg, and cheese.

I definitely felt a positive artistic energy throughout Montevideo, no doubt in part to its many murals.

Since Montevideo is so walkable, it’s a great city for wandering, especially when you can admire a few throwback designs.

I love how the majority of the city’s streets are lined with lush trees. The velvety-green canopy gives the effect that you’re in a park, but with all the conveniences of a city. It made these colorful fruit stands even more striking!

The beach closest to downtown is Playa Ramirez. The best way to describe the beach is to repeat an expression I heard repeatedly from locals: es tranquilo!

I imagine that the roadside park, Parque Instrucciones del Año XIII, causes a lot of rubbernecking as passing drivers admire the lovely palm trees, geese, and waterfall. This particular park is co-located with Club de Golf del Uruguay.

Strolling through Parque Rodó was a highlight of my time in Montevideo.

Leaving the park, I happened upon a dive restaurant where owner Francisco served up a chivito al plato for me to try. Unlike the chivito sandwich, the plate includes fries, a mixed salad, and potato salad (ensalada rusa). His chivito al plato is served without bread and is comprised of thinly sliced beef, ham, and cheese topped with an olive and roasted red pepper. With so much food on one plate, I barely made a dent!

If I return to Montevideo, I’ll make a point to visit one of Montevideo’s many museums. But for this trip, I was excited to continue on to Punta del Este!

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