I had no idea what to expect of Montevideo. I’d read that it was up and coming, but I’d also heard that it wasn’t worth spending more than one day in. We took a chance and spent three nights there. It was definitely worth the visit.
Montevideo is beautiful…architecturally stunning. It’s also a bit gritty. I like my cities a little rough around the edges, so I was fine with that. Along those lines, there is some great street art around the city.
One of my favorite stops was the old port market, Mercado del Puerto. It is full of great authentic restaurants, and has the best empanada stand. As we were enjoying a messy but delicious chorizo and provoleta plate, the stall next to our little restaurant caught fire. We had to evacuate before we could enjoy our steak. Luckily, no one was hurt. C’est la vie.
It was Carnaval time in Uruguay, and we got to see one of the nighttime parades. It was a completely different vibe than the other celebrations I’ve experienced (in Trinidad, the Dominican Republic, and of course New Orleans). It was decidedly more family friendly, and more dance centered. For a quick primer on Carnaval traditions, the Museo del Carnaval is great.
About thirty minutes from Montevideo, there are several vineyards. We visited Bodega Bouza, a gorgeous wine estate. I knew almost nothing about Uruguayan wines prior to our visit, and I left a huge fan. Tannat became my new favorite.
Considered the national grape of Uruguay, it produces a full-bodied, very drinkable red. It’s also supposed to be the best wine for your heart, because of the high antioxidant content. I don’t know about the health benefits, but I really enjoy drinking it. I got a few bottles of Bouza’s 2015. I highly suggest it if you like dry reds. It is in limited distribution in the states. In my opinion, it’s worth seeking out…and Montevideo is more than worth a visit.