If no beach is available, Uruguayans will gather on rocks to fish or party. However, you’re never too far from a fine coastal beach In Uruguay.
Its main beach town is Punta del Este, which is between Montevideo and the Brazilian border. Someone told us to take a bus from the center of Montevideo to Carrasco. For half the journey the bus paralleled this city’s best beaches. This was a scenic urban drive. Watch for Greeting Man, an enormous bowing sculpture as you near Carrasco.
Because of its European heritage with many immigrants from Italy visitors have basically 2 choices in restaurants, Italian or parrilladas. The later specialize in grilled meats. Parrillada commonly contains grilled ribs, sausages, blood puddings, cow intestines, etc. Corned beef was invented in Uruguay. There’s a museum in the town of Fray Bentos devoted to it. Uruguayans are meat eaters.
A good place to find parrilladas in Montevideo is the Mercado del Puerto, a market building in the old city near the harbor that is more and more for tourists although many locals like it too. The prices on most things there, like souvenirs, are more than you will pay elsewhere. As in some European countries, restaurants in Uruguay don’t tend to open until 8 pm. Although a service charge might be on a restaurant bill an additional 10% is routine.
In 2013 Uruguay became the 1st country in the world to legalize marijuana. That same year same-sex marriages were performed there for the 1st time.
Carrasco, where this country’s main international airport is, is a pleasant place with good restaurants, some upscale shops, and a huge Sofitel with a casino and spa. I watched across the street from it as young men pointed out parking spots, promised to watch the car, pocketed tips, and walked away. I hate this practice.
Uruguay’s literacy rate is 98%.
Uruguay is South America’s second smallest country. Only Suriname is smaller. Only 2 South American countries don’t border Brazil. Uruguay isn’t one of them, and many people on the border speak a language called Portuñol that mixes Spanish and Portuguese.
Uruguay’s Empire State Building, in other words its most recognizable structure, is Salvo Palace. Built in 1922, it was the tallest building on this continent for 13 years and is still the 2nd highest in Montevideo. Its 27 floors are becoming much desired condos and apartments. The 100th anniversary of the invention of the tango will occur on April 19, 2017, in Salvo Palace, which is on Plaza Independencia. If Ruth & I are invited, we will attend.