Everyone that we had met on our travels so far said that Montevideo was just a city and didn't have a lot to offer. Well. I would like to disagree. We had a fantastic time in Montevideo. Obviously, a big factor is the people you meet.
We just spent a short time there, (only two nights). As we preferred to spend more time at the farm and are now on our way to Punta Del Diablo. A beach town 4 hours away.
Our hostel was a bit unusual. The guys running it appeared to just spend all day smoking weed (legal in Uruguay) and drinking mate. So it was clearly a very relaxed vibe. Our New Yorker roommate was great and we spent our first night just chatting and decided to join her on a walking tour the following day as we didn't have a lot of time to see the city.
Our tour guide was a brilliant lass named Maria - who bore a striking resemblance to Uruguayan Anna Kendrick. She took us around the old town of Montevideo.
Some fun facts:
1. There are 3 million people in Uruguay and 12 million cattle.
2. There is a gate you can pass through into the old town that add five minutes on to your life. (So they say).
3. The walk of fame includes Enrique Iglesias... Not the "hero" singer, but rather a famous accountant from Montevideo. Odd.
4. To make sense of this one, check the Uruguayan photo album. But there was also a blacksmith building a fence around a park, and there was a dispute with his payment. So he got a little more "creative" with his fence. See if you can see what his design turned out to be... (Those of you with dirty minds will be all over it).
5. Carry an umbrella around Christmas time as people that own apartments with balconies above foot paths take rest pleasure in throwing buckets of water off them to drench those walking home from work.
After the tour, Justine, Francina and I decided to indulge in a cuisine and drink Maria had told us about. Medio y Medio is half white wine and half champagne and quite sweet. We had a glass (before quickly moving on to something more to our taste) and had a late lunch of the brazier. Which is a bbq of numerous meats brought to the table. There was steak, chops, chicken, sausages (including black pudding sausage) and pork belly. It was epic. It says it is for two. We didn't quite finish it between three. We all had our favourite which different, so there were no fights over who wanted what. The English blokes we met on the tour were pretty impressed we managed to eat so much of it.
Speaking of the English - they told us they were headed to a Uruguayan soccer match. It was the countries own league and the favourite Montevideo team was playing, Nacionale. We tagged along, and while we couldn't get seats with the boys who had already purchased, we got them in the section with all the locals. Where we made friends with a Uruguayan called Luis who explained to us who all the players were and taught us some of the chants. It was an absolutely incredible atmosphere! Everyone continuously jumping, chanting, climbing up fences, flares being lit when goals were scored - it made a game of AFL with racially abusive Collingwood supporters seem pretty lame...
The game was at Nacionales home ground. The other team were the Wanderers and their supporters are in a sectioned off area of their own. I believe it is for everyone's safety... Wanderers scored the first goal, but Nacionales scored one on a penalty evening the score. Towards the end of the second half, Nacionales scored a second taking them to the lead. That's when it got rowdy from the opposition supporter section. Flares were lit and thrown onto the field, fire and smoke flares. The game just continued if nothing happened. At the end (after Nacionales had won) we remained in the stand for 15 minutes. This is to give the opposition supporters time to leave so there are no fights. Crazy.
Post match, we met up with our new friends for some beers and continued to drink at a bar for several hours into the night and we will all be in Buenos Aires later in the week too, so will have a reunion and more shenanigans. However until then, we will enjoy the sun and beaches at Punta deal Diablo.