Published: June 27th 2007June 27th 2007
a stencil of the most famous building in Montevideo
Sitting in the lobby of The Splendido Hotel Quin and I got into a conversation, with the receptionist, about how to make mate. Chatting about mate culture and the differences in Argentina and Uruguay I couldn´t help but be touched. The soft spoken boy with the thick stock of black hair was just so.....sweet. I felt that earlier he had been intimiated by Quin some how. In all our previous conversations with him he seemed so timid but now, in this poorly lit, low ceiling alcove, he slowly opened up, proving once again how lovely, warm and open the inhabitants of the city of Montevideo are.
In my research of Montevideo I read countless times how boring the city is...compared to Buenos Aires. Many people said "Don´t go, its just a smaller version of Buenos Aires" Quin and I left the Tigre Delta at 8:30am ready to prove this statement wrong. In the end we didn´t have to prove anything wrong. The city did all the work for us.
Montevideo is a fraction of the size of BUE and very spread out. We didn´t have time to explore everything and actually spent almost all our time in Ciudad
The place where Quin got some fresh fish and calamare. He was so excited he found this place. Its in the mercado del puerto along the back wall close to the bathrooms
Vieja. What we found were kind people who were proud of their city. We found quiet wind beaten streets, a nice port, lovely sunny plazas, an electric blue sky, two great markets, and some DELICIOUS food. We found some great bars, a wicked breakfast deal, and a breathtaking coat that still makes me cringe when I think of how much I spent on it. We also found a city less pretenious and more accesible. Unlike Buenos Aires, where you have to prove yourself to be cool enough to do ANYTHING, Montevideo is waiting for you...all you have to do is ask.
I felt good in Montevideo. I felt like this was a place I could exist. I felt like I wanted to run away, start all over again, a new me. I wanted to rent a small apartment with a wood burning stove (it didnt concern me that I dont know how to build a fire very well). I would learn how to make lace and on the cold evenings churn out doilies. I would start writing, start sewing, start painting...and here in Montevideo I would find magical talents for all of these things....never again would my mother laugh
The steeple of a church in Ciudad Vieja
at my attempts to draw an apple and a banana. I pictured myself eating at Empanada Carolina and drinking beer down by the waters windy edge. I pictured myself on a bike with a bell...going so fast that people would just see a flash. I saw myself talking to all of the local dogs and greeting my local baker every day.
In short,Montevideo. is my kind of place. It holds a certain magic and with an open heart you will fall in love with it.
- Where we stayed
We stayed at Splendido Hotel. A great value. Very clean, wonderful staff that were very informative. Its in Ciudad Vieja and had a fantastic location. I would go back any day...also they gave you large towels. The website is a touch misleading, I was disappointed there werent any models in our room, but I was still pleased with the place.
- Where we ate
-La Pasiva- Located on Plaza Constitucion, they are all over the city though...this was the prettiest location. Order a chivito, or a pancho. This is where Quin got his Húngara. One tip, I have been trying to eat a lot of chivito (thin steak or chicken sandwich piled high with different ingredients. I´ve been mislead into thinking you eat it like a sandwich. They give you a knife and fork...dont think they are just very civilized...they know what they are doing.
-Mercado del Puerto-located by the port in Ciudad Viejo, Peréz Castellano & Piedras. This is a covered market filled with food eateries, like in my photos. Here you will find the fish place Quin liked, and the empanada place Empanada Carolina They have the LARGEST list of empanadas I have ever seen, including mussel empanadas, calamare, and sweet empanadas...like dulce de leche! The empanadas were just under a dollar a piece and very large. I wanted to eat there every day. Go on Saturday and eat with all of Montevideo
-Viejo Sancho-San José 1229. Long wait. Get there just before 9pm or make a reservation. Great food. Fireplace inside. They make Papa suiza here!!! That means hashbrowns in Uruguayo!!!!!! The waiteresess wear disturbing matching polyester outfits that a grandma would wear (well, not my grandma. My grandma wears some of the craziest polyester outfits imaginable) They make some kind of crazy fresh fruit drink that was good and a great media y media (normaly white wine half red wine). Theirs was half white wine half champagne. We didn´t pay for this meal, but it seemed very reasonably priced, especialy if you have dollars.
-Corner of Bartolomé Mitre and Sarandí-HUGE Breakfast. Don´t remember the name of the restaurant...but its right on the corner. For about U$8 or $20 AR you get a HUGE breakfast for two people. You get cafe con leche, grilled cheese sandwiches, medialunas filled with ham and cheese, toast with jam, and waffles with chocolate and dulce de leche. You also get a lot of gas. Quin and I thought this sounded too good to be true...could they really give us all this food??? They sure did. We didnt even need to eat lunch.
-La Manchester-Don´t eat here. The pizza was really nasty. The sauce was sweet. Quin liked the "onda" very bright and dinerish but bleck, worse then cafeteria pizza in elementry school.
- Cafes and Bars
Cafe Brasilero Ituzaingó 1447. Small place that was established in 1877. Beautiful wooden floors and old pictures that cover every inch of the walls. This place still looks like you are in 1877. The waitstaff are
very friendly, I was told the cafe brasilero I ordered was a good choice. I love when people tell me I have good taste. Good selection of magazines and newspapers. A place you can sit and be comfortable in. Also, we ordered the waffles here. MUCH better then the place I mentioned before. This place actualy made them to order.
Mercado del Puerto
meat cooking in the market. This is a huge covered market filled with food eateries, many like this, plus an AMAZING empanada place and a great fish place. Go on Saturday and join all of Montevideo for lunch
La Ronda- Ciudadela 1184. Very close to the river in the ciudad vieja. Small place with a great hipster feel. They were playing great music, David Bowie, Talking Heads, all on vinyl. You could tell this is a place where you go and meet your friends. Very laid back. I didnt feel out of place. I wish I could find a bar like this in Buenos Aires.