First Impressions of Uruguay

Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, Traveler, Business Strategist

“Beaches, calm, lovely views
And who knew about the wine??”

A quick boat ride gets me from Argentina to Uruguay. When I arrive in Colonia del Sacramento, I realize I left my laptop on my seat in the boat. I panic, and an agent tells me to run to the boat and get it. Running there, a man tells me to turn around and go with him. He’s found my laptop and gets someone to bring it to us. Phew. It’s cold here. I mean, winter cold, and on a cloudy day I am not quite prepared. At first, the streets in Colonia remind me a bit of some Argentinian towns I’ve been, which makes me sad because I miss Argentina. 

Weed store in Colonia.

Photograph by Heather Markel. Copyright 2019

I quickly learn that people are very warm, and marijuana is legal here! So, I of course went to the local weed shop and bought some yerba mate with cannabis. (But it’s not really marijuana, it’s hemp.) The yerba here is completely different than in Argentina (more on that in another post) as are the metal straws. I decide to check out a nice restaurant down the street (often times I stay in cheap accomodation so I can eat well!) and have, seriously, the best lamb chops of my life. Wow. Uruguay definitely has it together concerning lamb. I don’t even bother with the beef here, the lamb is so good I want more.

“Mellow, lovely people, amazing wine.”

Montevideo has a lovely old town, and a long and beautiful beach walk. I’ve also found and met a ton of Brazilians! Seems almost like there are more of them here than Uruguaians. I explore an artesan market and get a lecture on how Argentinians do not understand yerba mate, not it’s preparation nor how to drink it. I receive a new lesson.

Drinking fabulous Uruguayan wine.

Photograph by Heather Markel. Copyright 2019

What surprises me the most about Uruguay is the wine. I had no idea they had such good wine! There is a grape called Tannat. It’s apparently from France but grows better in Uruguay. (Similar to the Malbec story I wrote about.)  It pairs excellently with lamb. I visit a winery called Bouza, near Montevideo, and the wine is fabulous. I also meet a lovely Brazilian couple from Sao Paolo who are on their honeymoon and it’s the wife’s birthday. After a lovely lunch I get bitten by the aggressive duck who wants bread and by the donkey that wants to be pet – both belong to the vineyard.
During my fabulous tour of Montevideo, I learn that not only is healthcare included for all citizens but higher education, like becoming a doctor or lawyer, is free. Of course, on the flip side, taxes are high. I consider seeing other parts of Uruguay, but it’s freezing cold, being that it is winter, and a bit expensive. Happily, I cashed in some Marriott points and stayed at the Sheraton Four Points in Montevideo for free! 🙂 
I wrap up my stay trying to see the solar eclipse, but it’s so cloudy that it’s not possible. I did get the glasses, though!

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