In May 2015, my former company (Deloitte & Touche) decided to send me off on a one-week Strategy & Ops training course to Montevideo. Montevideo is a vibrant South American city with remnants of a rich european culture, home to nearly half of Uruguay’s population and lies almost directly across the Río de la Plata from Buenos Aires. It was the most intense training week of my life but I absolutely loved it. When I first got notified that it was during the week of my birthday, I was not looking forward to a 12-hour work day on my birthday however I had a great time thanks to my colleagues who took me out to a top restaurant. Even when I got back my room in the Sheraton hotel in Punta Carretas, I found a yummy piece of cake and card just for little old me.
During my stay, I went to three lovely restaurants that I would recommend and these include Ristorante Panini, Tandory and Garcia. The steak is to die for in Uruguay. I’m a girl who likes my steak well-done but that would be a shame to order in Montevideo and I know why. It was best medium-RARE steak I have ever tasted especially at Panini and Garcia.
On my last day in the city, it was my new friend, Mr Paul Green, who invited me on a world-wind mini city tour. He showed me the all the touristic sights from a local perspective; driving down the scenic waterfront along La Rambla, where the Uruguayans spend their afternoons either jogging, walking their dogs or simply drinking a mate and catching up with an old friend. We drive down into the historic downtown business district (Ciudad Vieja) to see t Plaza Independencia with the statue of the great General Artigas (considered the father if Uruguay – 1828 – established Uruguay as a buffer between the newly formed nations of Brazil and Argentina) and the Palacio Salvo (towering gorgeous architectural building). Of course I had to check out the Deloitte head office – which luckily is located at the main square opposite the president’s office! Other sites to check out are the Teatro Solis (music theatre), Metropolitan Cathedral and wonder through the alleyways to spend your pesos on some local treats such as wooden masks and leather mates. Also make sure and try out a chevito sandwich (tasty steak sandwich) near the main square. We ended the perfect day at Fortaleza del Cerro; a colonial fortress and military museum, built by the Spaniards to protect the city. It is the highest point in the city however be warned that the fortress is surrounded by slums so be wary when driving in the area and parking your vehicle.
The nightlife starts late and ends even later. Restaurants don’t pick until 9-10pm and nightclubbing can start around 3am until all hours of the night and morning. My last night in Montevideo, one of my good friends from Trinidad (living in Brazil) came to visit me for a couple hours and we definitely made the most of the chilly Montevideo night! We started off at the vintage chic Sofitel Hotel bar (Thays) for a few aperitif drinks. The bar is a modern take on French elegance with the nostalgia of Montevideo architecture; it is an old magnificent building converted into one of the most luxurious hotels in Montevideo. My favourite piece in this French-Uruguayan glamorous landmark besides the enormous circular bar centrepiece is the pair of life-size horse statues topped with lamps at the entrance to the bar. We then ventured off to a couple bars and nightclubs dancing the night away until 4am with of course a pit stop- where we ran across the busy highway to get a quick snapshot of us in front the infamous bright Montevideo sign!
Before you leave this absolutely wonderful city, check out the duty free in the main airport. It is small but you get free wifi and can purchase keep safe items from Victoria Secret to fois gras to sweet dulce de leche. Make sure and pick up some local delicacies before heading home. If you ever get a chance to visit, go during summer time and make sure to check out Punta del Este, a beach resort town known for its beaches, beautiful people and wild nightlife.