I’m a sister. One of the realities of that is that people who have heard of or know my other siblings often compare me to them, and even though I’m usually okay with it (if you knew my siblings, you’d know why), I do appreciate when someone takes time to see what makes me unique and awesome, too.
All that to say, Montevideo, Uruguay is often compared to its across-the-river sister, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I know how it feels. So I want to spend a moment today touting a bit of the awesomeness of the lesser-known Uruguayan capital.
I had the chance to visit Montevideo in the fall of 2009, and the memories have been lurking in my mind ever since, making me want to return and KNOW IT BETTER, MAN!*
First of all, there is such great food in Montevideo! Because Spanish is the national language of Uruguay, many Texans just assume it’s just like Mexico, but that’s so far from the truth! The area was largely settled by Europeans, and the Italians and Spaniards have left their mark on the culinary culture. It’s so easy to find great pasta and amazing meats, but you’d be hard pressed to get something spicy without going out of your way. They have a sandwich called a chivito, which is something I’ve been trying to get to catch on in the U.S. since trying one in Uruguay.
The mix of old and new architecture throughout the city is fascinating, as well. Teatro Solis** is one of the oldest theatres in South America, built in the 1850s, and still shows amazing operas, orchestra performances, and other offerings regularly. Right next door is a modern government building that would feel at home in NYC or Chicago. The Rambla is a seemingly-endless stretch of paved sidewalk that winds around the coast and is a perfect spot for an early morning walk or to watch windsurfers.
Many famous artists have called Montevideo home, and no trip to the city is complete without a visit to the Museo Torres Garcia. One of my “wish-I-had-time-for-it” things was to take a short day trip to the nearby resort town of Punta del Este to enjoy the beautiful beaches and to visit the Casa Pueblo hotel (Google it. Seriously. I’ll wait.). The Casa Pueblo was an artist’s escape for a while, and I can see why! I think I would be so inspired staying there, that I’d probably never want to leave.
While I did take a few photos while in Uruguay, I did not capture it as beautifully as Nil Santana, so I’ve let his pictures do the talking. All were shot this spring (Feb.-Mar 2013).
All photos are copyright of Nil Santana. Please message me for contact details.
So here’s hoping that even if you’ve heard of or wanted to visit Buenos Aires before, you give Montevideo an equal chance to dazzle you. I know she will.
If you are still not convinced that Montevideo is worth a visit, check out these articles from the past few years that might get you off the fence and on a plane.
*Anyone get that?
**Pardon the lack of necessary accents in this post, as I can’t figure out how to do it through wordpress. Also, I might not know exactly where they all go…