22 July 2017
The next morning I got up feeling a bit under the weather…ugh, I bet I caught something at GIG Airport over the 5 hour delay and the stuffy full flight here…ugh, the curse of Brazil follows me… But I forced myself up and headed out.
An unseasonably warm and sunny winter Saturday, and that means everyone was already out in mid-morning. I had a wonderful long walk along the coast, watching people running, walking, playing along the Rambla. Montevideo is such a cool little town I’m already kind of enamoured with it…
I headed to the Cementerio Central, which is one of the most spectacular cemeteries I’ve ever visited — and I’ve been to hundreds and hundreds of them… Amazingly beautiful tombs, unlike many other South American places that are more mausolea-driven. Fabulous sculpting everywhere, amazing how few people know about this place (yet way too many go to the utterly-overrated Recoleta in Buenos Aires…but that later…).
All that walking since early in the morning has my knee bothering me again, so I decided to head uphill towards the centre and grab lunch. I ended up at one of the well-known parillada in town, El Fogón.
A nice old-school place with excellent service, I chilled out after ordering a half bottle of red and ordered. I relaxed and quietly massaged my aching knee while enjoying the nice (and ridiculously cheap) house red. Then soon my lunch arrived…
The veggies were wee sad and the fries just fillers, but it’s the meat that’s the centre of the dish after all. Not bad, but again wee under-seasoned. Far bigger than I’m used to for lunch, but it worked. Finished it just as I finished the half bottle.
I thanked my excellent server and headed out the door towards the centre. Wandered around a bit more, and finally seeing in person one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, the Palacio Salvo. I’ve wanted to see this building since I thought about being an architect in my teenage years, so this was really a great moment. But my knee was buckling, so after wandering a bit more in the area around the Plaza Independencia I got a Cabify back to my hotel…
Needed a siesta after all this…and got up a few hours later. I already had to get going to dinner, which is odd at such an early hour on a Saturday — barely 7pm.
When I got to my dinner location there was already a queue… This is the infamous La Pulpería, rumoured to be the best parilla in Montevideo. Lots of foreigners too, so the reputation has spread quite far. I squeezed into a counter against the window; this place has very few seating spots, which is why as I dined I saw a rather long queue outside. But the best thing is — they serve drinks for those queueing, so it’s a social gathering too.
I ordered a bottle of Tannat and my dinner and chilled as I enjoyed the wine and some bread. I didn’t want to make a fuss tonight so it was just some potato noisettes and the infamous asado…
Oh dear this was looking good. Not bad, but again under-seasoned. Has my taste buds been damaged by Brazil, especially that horribly salty soup at the disastrous Olympe? Or are things mild for a reason? I enjoyed the ribs, the wine, and chatting with a diner from France. A good solid evening.
I headed out and saw many disappointed faces as they realised I only vacated a single seat. I had to smile. Strolled back to the hotel and chilled out. I am really liking Montevideo…
San José 1080