Only two and a half days in the wonderful city of Montevideo was long enough for me to fall in love! Looking for an opportunity to relax at the end of my time in South America, I had definitely found the perfect place. I spent my first day enjoying Pocitos beach in the neighborhood I was staying..
The Pocitos area was really nice, very green, and the location of Uruguay's World Trade Center!
My second day I really got to appreciate the full flavor of the city (and the country) with a walking tour in the old city.
We started in the main square, Plaza Indepencia..
Can you spot the Canada flag?
We headed down some beautiful streets and explored other great plazas..
Between beautiful buildings, fences, greenery, etc. I was taking pictures all over the place. Just continuing my typical tourist lifestyle!
Throughout all of this, we heard a lot about the culture of Montevideo and Uruguay. They have basically no indigenous people left, which is a sad fact in itself, but means that all Uruguayans have come from somewhere else, and they are a small population (only 3 million), considering themselves one big community.. A happy, friendly family. They are quite welcoming to immigrants, boast less racism, classism, and sexism (I mean, they joke here that their population isn't growing because every woman is getting an education and doing what she wants before having a family.. How great is that). They have also have marriage equality, and have legalized abortion as well as marijuana for nationals.
They are also fiercely proud of their football team (what South American country isn't!) and love to remember their last World Cup victory over Brazil.. In Brazil. Gotta love an underdog victory, especially a country of 3 million over one of over 200 million. When I think about the feeling I get when Canada beats the US, I totally understand the Uruguayan pride! They also like to joke that more people know the name of their football coach than their president. And that his office is 'higher' than the president in their presidential building...
We also heard about their food and drink preferences. In a country of 3 million people with over 40 million cows, they feel it is their duty to eat all the meat they can so they don't lose the country to the cows! Big plates of beef and big beef sandwiches (chivitos)are everywhere. They also consume the most whiskey per capita in the world (so between the beef and the whiskey, I know a certain few people who should probably move here ). They also drink a lot of wine, grappa and beer.. Saying the only thing that you really need for drinking is an excuse! And mate is everywhere (as it is in Argentina), people literally carry it with them all over the place, and it is a drink that's meant to be shared, fits right in with the friendly culture. Case in point.. The first time I tried it I was offered some by a random guy I was sitting with while waiting for a bus..
It totally tastes like they describe it.. Really strong, bitter tea. Didn't like it at first.. Then again I also didn't like coffee at first and now I'm basically a coffee addict
We also spent some time enjoying the unique, quirky, wonderful personality that this city has. From interesting street art/displays...
To interesting fence designs..
And interesting store names..
To marijuana dispensaries throughout downtown..
The combination of the quirky with the traditional old city gives a unique and perfectly Uruguayan feeling to Montevideo. It has that friendly, relaxed, enjoyable vibe.
Based on what I have raved about in my blog, and to basically anyone that knows me... I love small places and countryside. So I actually surprised myself by saying I would 100% live in this city. First time I've said that on my trip. That's not to say I don't love a lot of cities. I just don't see myself living there. So I just need to improve a wee bit on the old Spanish first