"World, welcome to Uruguay."
Matt and I enjoyed a weekend jump across Argentina to charming little Uruguay. We found cheap airfare at the last minute and decided to ditch shaky-town to experience what it feels like for the earth to be bereft of movement; we kinda forgot what that's like.
Flying over the Andes was almost worth the airfare, in itself. Took this photo from my airplane window (!):
Montevideo and Santiago are both very safe cities in very stable countries, sort of Latin American outliers. Montevideo's a bit less bustling and a tad less modern, but a bunch friendlier than Santiago. A charismatic yet unassuming little thing, if you will.
Even now and then when traveling, our (and when I say "our," it's totally inclusive; I'm talking homo sapiens in general) luck runs out.
For instance, we're hungry, we're unfamiliar with this new place, we've been directed to a supposedly fabulous restaurant, we're excited to eat, we get there, and it closed for the day 15 minutes prior. And it's like the most disappointing moment you've ever experienced (at least temporarily). C'mon, you know what I'm talking about.
Thus, we realize that desperate times call for desperate measures: we just have to settle. We're starving. We'll go to the nearest possible dump for any kind of sustenance. We don't care anymore. And chances are, it will be an entirely forgettable, over-priced excuse for a meal.
Well, that happened to us, sort of but not really. I think (okay, I know) I was a little more melodramatic about the recommended restaurant being closed than Matt (per usual). So as a last ditch, we landed in a divey looking pizzeria. Said dive had a wood-burning stove, though, so that seemed promising. We told the super nice guy at the front that we needed a cheese pizza.
Five minutes later, out comes this:
Isn't it funny looking?! It was so delicious, though! The sauce was tomato garlic perfection, and the crust was crunchy and tasty. I learned later that Uruguay is known for its pizza. We gobbled it up, told the worker we loved it, which, in turn, apparently thrilled him, and then we promptly ordered another one.
In the meantime, he brought out something for us to try. It was a pancake of sorts called faina. He explained that faina is a Uruguayan and Argentinian specialty and is made with garbanzo bean flour. I learned from Wiki research that natives often put it on top of their pizza to eat! He suggested we pour a little sugar on it and eat it as is. Here's Matt enjoying a piece (it was delish!):
So, how does one vacay in Montevideo? Like, what do you do there? Well, there are miles of beaches, so you can easily beach it. But Matt and I just walked, roamed, wandered, rambled, etc. I'm talking a lot of walking. Seriously.
A large part of the city is very similar to our lovely ol' neighborhood in Mexico. That is, just a bunch narrow streets, significant tree canopies, with a melange of colonial, Art Deco (my fave), and modern architecture.
Below is a picture of our beautiful hostel. It's located in a very old part of town. The ceilings were massively high. I was talking to an architecture student from New York staying there while we were, and she said that she counted the walls to be 67 bricks tall! It was cool.
Beautiful sunsets, ugly harbor and port:
So, it seemed as if the fancy Montevideo airport had its grand opening like 13 minutes before we arrived; it was so immaculate and new. Doesn't it look a little bit like a beautiful version of the Metrodome, Minnesotans?