Our trip is going well and we are all having a great time. We decided to take a small detour from Buenos Aires, so we headed to Montevideo for a couple of days. We didn't know what to expect because there is very little tourist information so we decided to find out for ourselves.
What we found was very interesting. We arrived after a 3 hour ferry ride and headed straight to the hotel which was conveniently connected to the nicest shopping mall in the city. After lunch we went on a city tour which remarkably lasted 4.5 hours. Pretty amazing since a NYC tour probably wouldn't last as long.
After being toured out we headed out to dinner at 8pm and were the only people in the restaurant. Luckily we have Elliot as an excuse for eating early because we would have looked like foolish gringos. After a great meal ($52) including huge steaks for all (the kids meal was a huge steak too) and Uruguayan wine, we had to have some helados (the Argentine/Uruguay Gelato). Yummy!
After the best night's sleep that any of us have had in about a year, we headed out to the Mercado Del Puerto which has mostly evolved into an open-air eating extravaganza. It is divided into a couple of dozen restaurants that specialize mostly in varying cuts of beef, chicken or pork. We began with a few Empanadas which were amazing, even better than ones we have previously had in Argentina. Elliot couldn't care which one he ate, as long as it had three green dots.
After a small intermission we returned to the Mercado and were faced with a difficult choice. We had a hard time deciding which food stall to choose so we used the time tested method of looking for busiest one and we were not disappointed.
This is serious grilling!! The meats are all slow cooked and had terrific flavor. The grill master let Keith get a good look at the grill up close and personal. Our lunch came to a whopping total of $15, including what looked like an 80 oz beer. Rachel Ray would have so much extra money to spend here that she would be drinking 5 or 6 beers with each meal just to meet her $40 quota. That would really make for an unforgettable episode!! Too bad Elliot slept through the whole thing.
Then off to the zoo, which will probably not win any awards in animal care. They had some nice animals, but the habitats were circa 1932. Lots of wire cages and boring habitats (for the animals). On the positive side, you could get very close to a lot of them. Some people were even hand feeding the Giraffe. We are hoping that they are planning an escape as soon as they have the chance. Maybe they should watch the Madagascar movie for some inspiration.
After we checked out of the hotel, we were in search of a local favorite, the Chivito sandwich. After a recommendation from the front desk clerk (who at one time lived about a half mile from our house), we found an excellent one before heading back to the ferry terminal.
We got back on the ferry in the nick of time since we literally ran out of Uruguayan Currency. Overall an interesting city, with great food, but a little limited in major attractions.
We will follow up with Part II, Back in Buenos Aires when we have had time to hang out and catch up on everything we didn't get to do the last time around.
Corinne, Keith & Elliot