The Finale of the Uruguayan Saga
Sad as it was, my Uruguayan adventures had to come to an end. In my last post about this magnificent country, I will write about two fantastic places that should definitely be on your tourist guide for South America.
Bodega Bouza is a small, family-operated vineyard, located in the beautiful Uruguayan countryside, about an hour away from Montevideo. This place will charm you as soon as you step out of the car. Fascinating scenery of the vineyards, complemented by incredible aromas stemming from the local restaurant, and absolute quiet, interrupted occasionally by the rumble of the cicadas, will make you pause and contemplate this moment, leaving all your thoughts behind.
Bouza’s owner boasts an impressive collection of classic vintage cars and might even offer you a tour of his vineyards on one of them. We toured the fields in the 1935-Ford Tudor that was in surprisingly good condition, and if it was not for the annoying flies buzzing around our heads, it might have been my deepest memory of Uruguay.
For a certain fee, Bouza also offers exquisite wine tasting and guided vineyard tours, where you will be exposed to the secrets of winemaking. The heart and soul of Bouza is its high-end restaurant, with an open-roof terrace for the summer guests and a cozy fireplace for the winter guests. The food will only highlight your experience. I strongly recommend trying warm pumpkin soup, Brie cheese in crunchy Philo dough, and the most tender Bouza baby beef. After a delicious meal, you can pretend to be a wine expert and chat with the owner about the charms of wine, and even purchase a bottle or two from the local shop.
If you’re intrigued, you can find Bouza wines in the Wine Gallery on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. I think it’s the only place I’ve managed to locate so far that sells Uruguayan wines. But if you know any others, please share your tips.
The other place I want to write about is Punta del Este, an upscale resort town on the Southern tip of Uruguay. The place features luxurious hotels, high-end condominiums and apartment buildings, multiple bars, restaurants, and even casinos. Punta del Este lies near the cape where the darker waters of Rio de la Plata blend with the azure of the Atlantic Ocean, disproving the belief that you cannot draw lines on the water.
Interesting fact about Punta: if you want to immerse yourself in a lazy carefree leisure by slowly grilling your body under the burning sun, you should spend your time on the western coast of the town, but if you are willing to challenge Uruguayan wind and waves, you should stay with like-minded surfers on the eastern coast of Punta.
We spent several days at the beautiful hotel Conrad that features the biggest casino in town. My most memorable moment was observing the beautiful sunsets from the penthouse balcony on the 14th floor. Actually, Punta is famous for its gorgeous sunsets, and a lot of restaurants and bars, located on the promenade, offer their seaside terraces for this spectacular view.
Punta del Este features numerous excellent restaurants, great sightseeing, decent shopping and a variety of nightlife entertainment. My personal favorite restaurant was Lo de Tere, a casual but elegant place with a good choice of steaks, seafood and pasta dishes.
I hope my Uruguayan adventures will inspire you to visit this beautiful country. But for now, come back for some new posts about the mysterious Kingdom of Siam.