*This title could also refer to Argentina, but impressively enough, even Argentines admit (albeit suspiciously) that Uruguayans actually surpass them in their love of mate.
The comparison between Uruguay and Argentina has been likened to that between Canada and the USA, where one is the smaller, gentler, and more mellow version of the other. Since Argentina was already one of the most tranquilo and lovable places we had ever encountered, we were curious to see how Uruguay could compare.
Incredibly enough, not only did Uruguay hold its own against our beloved Argentina, it came very close to completely stealing our hearts.
We arrived in Uruguay by boat, slipping quietly down the Rio de la Plata from Tigre, Argentina:
We spent the night in the port town of Carmelo, enjoying our first taste of wonderful Uruguayan hospitality, as well as wonderful Uruguayan pizza from our lovely hotelier who insisted on ordering our dinner for us. After a lazy day spent walking along the river, we boarded a bus for the sprawling capital of Montevideo.
Even though the weather was grim, with ferocious winds and sudden downpours, we walked along Montevideo’s Rambla (waterfront), nearly being swept into the river by gusting waves. Any energy lost in maneuvering the Rambla was more than compensated for by the gorgeous asado we then consumed for lunch at the famous Mercado del Puerto (The Port Market, est. 1885). The Mercado can best be described as the Forks Market… but with every food stall filled with meat, and only meat. Lured to a table by a free sampling of Uruguay’s signature drink of Medio y Medio (half champagne, half wine) and by the demonstrative platter of sample cuts of meat, the Mercado’s parillas proved well-deserving of their fame (when your appetizer is several chorizos, you know the entree is going to be amazing!)
After a few days in Montevideo, we were ready to explore some of Uruguay’s more remote beauty… But that is a story for another blog! 🙂