Arriving by plane at night to Montevideo, I was already charmed by its expanse of sparkling city lights, the large port and the street lamps of La Rambla, like a beautiful necklace, lighting up a promenade that is 22 kilometres and runs alongside the Rio de Plata River. It is supposedly the longest continuous sidewalk in the world!
One of the first things I like to do is when arriving somewhere new is take a walking tour of the city. This is a great way to get oriented to a place and start to feel comfortable knowing the core of the city. I joined “Curioso Free Tour” or Montevideo by foot (www.curiosofreetour.com.uy). This tour started at Plaza Independencia at 3:30 pm and I was lucky to be the only one taking the tour at that time.
Plaza Independencia is where the famous statue of Artigas dominates the plaza. Jose Gervasio Artigas is the national hero of Uruguay and is called the father of Uruguayan nationhood.
The guide mentioned that on the same day in the morning he had 20 people on the tour. The idea behind the tour is that it is free, but at the end of the tour you offer a “tip” as payment in the amount you want to pay. It turned out that my guide for the day was Santiago, a local history teacher who, like me, has a great passion for history. Through one of these tours one learns some of the history of Uruguay and the main points of interest in the historical part of Montevideo.
So let’s go and get an intro to Montevideo!
Teatro Solis, for Jazz, Opera, orchestra, and screening performances through satellite from New York and Moscow
Mercado del Puerto, Experience the “Asado” or the typical Uruguay barbecue of all kinds of meats: beef steaks, sausage, chicken. As you walk through the market, smoke arises from the many grills, people seated at the bar or at the many tables are truly enjoying the experience and their meal. It’s a hub of activity and if you’re vegetarian you won’t find much to eat here, but you’ll always find a great glass of wine! There are many very good wineries in Uruguay.
All kinds of meat grilling at Mercado del Puerto
Drinking Mate. Mate is the national drink of Uruguay and Argentina. Mate comes from the plant “Yerba Mate”. Often you see people drinking their mate from a gourd with a metal straw; they pour the mate into the gourd from a flask that carries the prepared mate.
Walking along La Rambla in the early evening.