Montevideo in photos, I

2012.Jan.12 Thursday · 15 comments

in Life, Restaurants

I needed a break. I realized I hadn’t had a real day off since my trip to New York and Louisville back in April. With a quartet of days looming free, the need to renew my visa anyway, it seemed a perfect time to get away for a short break. My first thought was to go up to Asunción in Paraguay and explore a bit. Found a nice place to stay, a cheap flight, it all looked good until I looked at the upcoming weather report which predicted temperatures of 37-38°C (98-100°F) and virtually no wind for the four day stretch. I started checking out other thoughts – a return to Santiago, but the only flight that was reasonable ended up cutting a half day off at each end, I didn’t have time for a Brazilian visa, and so I thought, how about Montevideo. I’ve been before, but always enroute to the wine country north of the city and never really explored it. Cheap ferry/bus combination from Seacat – I don’t quite get it – you end up on the Buquebus boat and bus, but pay 35-40% less for the same trip – why book through Buquebus? Weather looked promising, 26-28°C (79-83°F), nice breezes, one cloudy day with only a scant chance of rain. And, a nice place to stay.

Montevideo map

This is the southern half of Montevideo. The three ellipses are my three areas of exploration on my days out wandering (day one mostly the red circled area other than starting out in the green in the Ciudad Vieja, then down and through Barrio Sur and Palermo to Parque Rodó). After an uneventful if half-hour delayed trip, a short taxi ride, I landed at:

Montevideo apartment

this lovely building on the Sarandí pedestrian stretch in the Ciudad Vieja (Old City). I had the apartment second from the top with the big arched window and small balcony. A nice one bedroom, not much of a kitchen, just an alcove, but I had no plans to cook other than make coffee in the morning. Comfortable, clean, and the charming gay couple that own the place live right above it on the top floor. Not only were they on hand to greet me and hand over keys, but one of them had run out for a large bottle of cold water to put in the refrigerator and a fresh baked baguette in case I wanted something to nibble on.

Plaza Matriz

A block away, the pretty little Plaza Matríz. My hosts had warned me that Sunday afternoon there would be few options for lunch open, but heading to the east I’d find some here and there. On the plaza, the choices were McDonald’s, Burger King, and California Burrito Company. Not happening. I kept heading east.

Pretty building on the plaza

Exercise

Puerto de la Ciudadela

The old city gate, or Puerto de la Ciudadela, as you enter Plaza Independencía.

Plaza Independencia

And the plaza itself. The Palacio Salvio in the background.

Teatro Solis

The Teatro Solis, which also houses one of the city’s finest restaurants, Rara Avis (we’ll get to that).

Headed for the beach

I know they said keep heading east, but the beach looked so inviting just a couple of blocks to the south, so I turned right and headed that way.

Cheers?

Where every one knows you’re name. If they’d been open.

Rambla Sur and the Plaza España

The Rambla Sur (southern boardwalk) and the Plaza España.

Rambla Sur and Francia

A look west along the Ramblas Sur and Francia to the western edge of the city.

Hebraica

Interestingly juxtaposed the Hebraica Jewish day school and…

English Church

The English Church.

Montevideo apartment

Not having found anywhere to eat along the shoreline, I headed back north to the pedestrian way, where I’d spotted a pizzeria. Figured it had to be better than the other options…

Don Peperone - canibale

And, thankfully, Don Peperone turned out to be a sort of old-timey pizza parlor/pub kind of spot with listless waiters clearly not thrilled with working a Sunday afternoon. I squeaked in just shortly before they closed up for the afternoon. How could I resist a house specialty pizza called the “Canibale” – with slices of sirloin, bacon, spicy peppers (vinegared medium spicy Italian frying peppers), sauce and cheese. And a nicely charred, smoky crust, thin to boot, and not a mound of cheese. Actually, a pretty darned good pizza, washed down with a bottle of one of Uruguay’s local beers, Patricia. Total cost, around 300 uruguayos and change, or maybe $16.

Good stopping place, with a meal.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Carly January 12, 2012 at 12:32

I love Montevideo! I know some people think it’s boring but to me it’s charming; friendly locals, great architecture, a never ending boardwalk and lots of mate drinking. My fave little spot is around the corner from the teatro Solis, walking towards the Rambla and there is a great old bar on the corner and next to it a cool one, something about records, where the cool kids go for drinks at night.

Julieta GB January 12, 2012 at 13:57

Good post Dan! I´m planning going to Montevideo again soon. Last time I found a great bazaar in Ciudad Vieja, did you see it?
I´ll wait for your next post!

Kevin January 12, 2012 at 14:22

It looks as sleepy as the last time I was there…

dan January 12, 2012 at 14:30

Well, it was a Sunday early afternoon. There’s much more lively stuff to come….

dan January 12, 2012 at 14:31

I might have Julieta, there were numerous street fairs and markets around over the course of the four days. This is just the first couple of hours so far….

dan January 12, 2012 at 14:33

Yeah Carly, I didn’t, and never have, really gotten the whole boring thing. Okay, it’s not as big or as lively as Buenos Aires, but so what? Most of the U.S. isn’t NYC either – that doesn’t make everything else in the country “boring”.

Donna January 13, 2012 at 01:50

Hi Dan,
I recall your story of when you were in Montevideo–caught in a hurricane-right? I really enjoyed my time here, true as you say, it’s not BA but friendly, small to walk around and nice Saturday market. The only thing…the water is so tempting, it’s right there, beaches the rambla…but you can’t go in the water. Like a big tease! that same brown river goes on and on. Miss you all at Saltshaker!! Best, Donna

MarnieWDC January 13, 2012 at 10:52

Gracias, Dan.

This really whets my appetite and gives some good starting points for our upcoming trip to Montevideo.

Love you photos !
~Marnie

dan January 13, 2012 at 11:09

Donna – yes, that was awhile back: http://www.saltshaker.net/20050824/cyclone

I actually have no problem going in the water off the Montevideo beach. It’s brown, yes, but it’s silt, not pollution, so it doesn’t bother me. Since I’ve always stayed within a couple of blocks of the beach it’s just a quick walk back to wherever, a rinse, and ready to go out!

dan January 13, 2012 at 11:10

Marnie, more to come over the next few days!

Tom February 25, 2012 at 11:53

Hi Dan,
We’re going to Uruguay for a week on our way back to the US. Do you have any more details about the Wine Country you mentioned?

Thanks, Tom

dan February 26, 2012 at 12:44

Tom – I wrote a series of posts on the Uruguayan wine scene starting here, and also an article for Wine Business Monthly.

Tom February 27, 2012 at 11:08

Thanks Dan. Just what I was looking for.

Tom

dan February 28, 2012 at 10:40

You’re welcome – you know, there is a search bar on the blog… 😉

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