When arriving in Montevideo, a city with around one and a half million people, we were surprised about how small the Uruguayan capitol felt. From our hostel downtown, we could walk to about everywhere in the city center and got to see the main sights and all of the main street just in a few hours on a morning walk. When we got to the coast we continued to walk along La Rambla, the seaside promenade for many kilometers and many hours. It continued forever and after we had walked our feet sore we regret not just renting a bike for the day (14 dollars) from our hostel instead so that we could have seen even more beaches along La Rambla without getting too exhausted.
Montevideo really is the capitol city with the nicest beaches that I know of, and I would have loved to travel onwards to more Uruguayan coastal cities to see how they are like. Unfortunately we were there at the start of winter, and although people still were surfing in the ocean, there were little activities at the beaches. In the summers I have heard rhumors of the locals getting all bronzed up, playing beach volleyball and going rollerblading along the beach, just like in Santa Monica, California.
Food was good here as well, and we have grown especially fond of “Chivito”, the local variety of a hamburger, which is much more tasty, cheaper and bigger than a regular hamburger. It is consists of a sandwich bread with either a piece of beef or a chicken filet together with egg and vegetables. We had also planned to go eat at the “Estancia del Puerto”, a meat bar feautured in Anthony Bourdains show, but when we were told by others at the hostel that it had turned into a tourist trap we decided to go to a regular “parilla” (steak house) to get some beef instead. Meat is something Uruguay is famous for, and the beef we had almost lived up to the gourmet meals we had gotten used to in Argentina.
If there is one thing I have noticed about Uruguay, it is that there are a lot of horses! On the busrides between Colonia and Montevideo we saw a lot of horses walking freely, in the cities we saw a lot of horses used as delivery trucks and garbage trucks and the capitol also had the most horse statues I have ever seen in one place. With Uruguay being one of the richest and most developed countries in South America I would not have expected horses and horse carriages being that common any more.
With it being almost winter and all, there was not a lot to do in Montevideo but to walk around and I think a couple of days here was enough. If we would have had more time I would have loved to travel around more in Uruguay to visit a Bodega (winery) and a Guancha (horse ranch), had a few days with beachholiday or to travel onwards to one of the many nearby Uruguayan cities.