We arrived in the afternoon, checked into our hostel and headed to the beach. Unlike Buenos Aires, Montevideo really makes use or their coastal status. They have built a beautiful boardwalk and there is even sand you can hang out on. People run and bike the long length of the boardwalk or just share maté with friends. We brought our trusty maté and thermos with us and headed out to join the locals.
Patrick gets an education in maté and its love at first sip
Sand between our toes, maté in our hands
The next day it was raining on a off, so we decided to do all of our sightseeing. We were staying in the Pocitos neighborhood so we took the bus towards the old city and found this big plaza.
We wandered up a pedestrian street and noticed that most things were closed. We then happened upon this book shop and after poking through enough books we were offered coffee and then eventually ended up buying books by Uruguayan authors.
I had read about a museum that I wanted to visit so we headed over and were distracted by these antique cars. The one below had an old bicycle in the back too!
Next we headed to the museum which was dedicated to a Jewish artist from Eastern Europe that grew up and lived in Montevideo. We decided to start upstairs when what do you know? We found some tables that were perfect for a game of Gin Rummy and some maté.
The museum was quite good, even though this guy was a little too inspired by some other artists if you asked me. A lot of his work was so obviously Chagall influenced I wasn't sure what to make of it. After we saw all there was to see we headed out to see the old city. This is what would be the San Telmo like area of the city, but as you will see its nothing like San Telmo.
We stopped for lunch at the big market which was not at all what I expected. It was chock full of parillas and as loud as an auction. We had no idea how to choose a place so settled on one with three seats together at the bar and ordered three Chevitos, the local favorite. Our waiter was also the dish washer and also prepared some of the food and assisted at the cash register. He was not amused by our touristy desires and gave Josh the look of death when asked if Josh's sunnyside up egg could get a little more time on the grill. He then refused.
We continued to walk around after lunch. We were full, very full, and walked slowly through the rest of the old city. As we walked it was more and more abandoned. Many building were filled with squatters and they weren't trying to hide it. I tried to imagine San Telmo being like this and I couldn't.
An occupant of this building informed us that it was meant to be a bank but now is home to many residents of Montevideo including himself.
For dinner the night before we had gone to El Horno de Juan (Juan's Oven) for the best pizza I've had in South America. The second night we decided to stay at the hostel and enjoyed Guiso and meat with some other travelers.
The next day promised sun so we rented bikes in the morning and headed out to see the rest of the city before we hit the beach to catch some rays that Patrick's skin desperately needed.
Filling up our tires with air
We walked our bikes through a flea market that was clearly not meant for tourists like all the markets in Buenos Aires. It was full of locals and items the locals might want.
Need to fix your wagon? Not an unreasonable question. This city had more people riding around on horse pulled contraptions than Cairo. They use these wagons to collect paper, cardboard, glass and plastic. The poor people in BA have to pull and push these heavy carts around the city, but in Montevideo you've got another option!
We stopped for lunch at a restaurant we had found the day before called Parilla del Lobo. It was just as awesome as we'd hoped. We tested all their option and ordered two types of meat, a pasta and a fish. After lunch I realized my bike had a flat tire, but I swear it must have happened before lunch...and not as a result of my stuffing my face with amazing Uruguayan fare.
And here ends our lovely weekend in Montevideo. We grilled veggies for dinner having eaten way too much meat and then headed out VERY early the next morning to begin our BA adventures.