Montevideo, Colonia and Fray Bentos

Trip Start Jul 31, 2005
Trip End Feb 18, 2007

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Monday, January 8, 2007

Montevideo, the Quiet Capital

We leave Buenos Aires on a super-fast ferry, arriving in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, in a little over three hours.

As soon as we step off the ferry in Montevideo and begin our walk in to town, we realize how much less stressed the drivers are here compared with Buenos Aires, though that wouldn't be difficult:-) We think even Rome's drivers look calm when comparing them to those of Buenos Aires.

Montevideo is so laid back and relaxing that it barely feels like a capital city. Then again, it is a capital of a country where the entire population only just climbs above 3.5 million people.

Drivers aside, Montevideo feels so similar to Argentina that it is sometimes hard to believe we've actually changed countries. It has the same majority Spanish/Italian ethnic mix, people still speak with the vos form of Spanish, people are still obsessed with Mate (local tea drink), they also claim that they invented Tango and Alfajores, and Pizza, Pasta and Meat seem to dominate the menu in restaurants.

However, here in Montevideo, we found a market full of Parrillas (Steak Houses) that were far more impressive than any equivalent ones which we saw in Argentina. It's called the Mercado del Puerto, and the whole place is crammed full of huge parrillas with a mind boggling array of cuts of meat and vegetables being grilled over huge chunks of burning wood. We grab two stools at one of the parrillas, and enjoy a great tasty feast for lunch.

A day is enough time to stroll around Montevideo, it's a fairly compact place, so the next day we take a bus to Colonia del Sacramento, a small colonial town founded by the Portuguese.

Colonia del Sacramento

Colonia del Sacramento was a delightful little town, with very attractive architecture, and although we've seen many colonial towns on this trip, it has been a while since we saw our last one, so we can now definitely appreciate them again.

That evening we try Patricia. No, not the traveling Patricia, the name of the local beer is Patricia, so it was something we just had to try. Patricia also enjoyed having her photo taken with a Patricia bottle, on a Patricia seat, under the shade of a Patricia sun-umbrella.

Meat Pies in the Original Fray Bentos

Our last stop in Uruguay is Fray Bentos. That's right! all you pie loving Brits out there, there really is a place called Fray Bentos and yes, it did give it's name to those famous pies that you find in supermarkets in the UK.

We toured around the meat plant's museum, and read about it's history of meat product production and it's export to the rest of the world, of which, the UK was the most important market.

It's been just a short time here in small but sweet Uruguay, time to head back into Argentina, this time to tour around the north of the country.
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