4 feet 2 mouths

walking and eating our way around the world

Archive for the category “Uruguay”

Northern Migration (by Nathan)

Recoleta Cemetary

In January I began my southern migration. I escaped the constant 60 degrees of San Francisco for the sun and summertime of South America. I was excited to begin work on improving my Spanish and I was ready to live and travel through countries and cultures of which I had only a cursory knowledge.  The plan was to roam from city to city with an open mind, a loose pocket book and a constant curiosity to explore and enjoy the differences in these countries.  After four months of adventure, Carmen and I would return to California ready to embark on another journey.

Fugazza and Faina Pizza

Açai breakfast

Our trip began in Buenos Aires with food, activities and cultures that stood up to any great city. The fugazza pizza was deliciously unique with thick doughy crust, creamy cheese and heaps of oven caramelized onions.  El Cuartito was the best, and I think Rick agreed. I would return for the pizza and empanadas and all the beautiful streets that BsAs has to offer.

Sunset on Ipanema Beach, Rio

Carmen and the sands of Rio

We traveled through Uruguay and into Brazil. Rio de Janiero was everything that I love in a travel destination. Beaches stretched endlessly with the urban landscape pressed right up against the sand.  The culture is vibrant with dance, music and tropical foods.  The açai and fresh fruit drinks stand out as an epitome of fresh summertime delights. The country is a mix of indigenous, Europeans, Africans and Asians, a familiar mix to the United States so we felt welcomed as foreigners.  We could swim, climb a mountain and go dancing all in one day.  I enjoyed gaining a better understanding of the favelas as well as peering down into the city from the many vistas.

Fun at Lapa steps

Iguazú Waterfalls

We worked our way through Brazil’s vast landscape.  We visited the breathtaking waterfalls in Iguazú that roared unbelievably over the cliffs edge. We baked in in the sun on Ihla do Mel on coastal Brazil and we jointed friends in Santiago Chile.  We bussed our way over the Andes into Mendoza for a day or two (or three) of wineries, biking and empanadas. We explored German settled villages and the bigger cities of Córdoba and Salta. It was the canyons that really captured my heart.

Fun light fixture at our hostel

El castillo en Quebrada de Cafayate

Another one of my favorite cities was the charming Cafayate in Argentina.  We sipped wine at several walk able bodegas. We hiked through beautiful canyons and cliff formations.  And most often, we enjoyed strolling through the cozy town.  With a simple town square and food market our time here was relaxing and satisfying.

Jumping off rocks at valle de rocas

Fun on the salt flats

Another bus brought us into Bolivia. The country is poor with struggle, but thriving with cheap delicious food, unforgettable sights and nice helpful people.  One of my favorite experiences of the entire trip was the four day trek into the Salar De Uyuni.We visited brightly colored lagoons, spectacular volcanic rocks and salt flats that made us act silly with our new friends. The home-cooked Bolivian food was excellent and every day I wanted to take the little woman home with me to teach me everything she knows in the kitchen.

Painted desert in Bolivia

Salt harvesting

We continued high into the mountains. The cities of Potosí and Sucre were wonderful places to learn about Bolivia, South America and the indigenous people that lived here for thousands of years.  La Paz contained the best market that we experienced in South America.  This was because the stalls could not be contained by any building and instead flowed out on the streets in every direction.  It was mayhem and delight simultaneously. I loved it!

The best market streets is in La Paz

We biked down mountains in La Paz and hiked islands of Lake Titicaca. A festival in Copacabana engaged our feet and sent us running for cover from fireworks.  Bolivia has a rustic, untamed, and raw quality to it that flaunts colorful traditions with people that are genuine and kind.

Street in Arequipa

When we had finally made our way into Peru our bellies began being stuffed to the brim with constant feasts of amazing food.  Arequipa was the best food city we went to in South America.  There was ceviche, alpaca, rocoto rellenos, chicharrones and fresh fruit smoothies. We found something delicious everywhere we went.  The city had beautiful architecture and the nearby Colca Canyon was great for hiking.

Arequipa food market

Our history lesson continued when we finally arrived in Cusco.  The city is packed with nearby ruins and a brutal history where the mighty Incas were decimated by the Spanish. One downfall of Cusco and Peru is that very few sights have accessible tourist information.  There are an abundance of guides, that costs, entry fees are high and there are many sights to see which makes Peru a challenge for tourists on a budget.  But with friends it is all worth it.

Machu Picchu

On our Machu Picchu trek we went all out with excellent cooks, porters, equipment and a guide.  I think I liked the walking and hiking just as much as the ruins.  We walked for six days climbing snow covered passes, jungles and high altitude wetlands.  We stuffed ourselves on Peruvian favorites and we laughed until we hurt playing card games into the night.  We wondered around countless ruins out doing one another in jumping photos and we caravanned up and down the mountainsides. Machu Picchu in itself is a spectacular piece of history and archeology.  We combined it with Salkantay, the Inca Trail and friends for an unforgettable adventure.

Carmen patiently waiting for me to finish the photo

Our final city in Peru was LimaThe time spent there was brief, but the amounts of ceviche consumed copious.  Ponte de Azul ceviche stands out as one of my favorite meals.  The fish was firm and fresh and the juice sour and spicy.  In the blink of an eye Lima was over and we were boarding a plane saying goodbye to this Lima, Peru and South America.

Every vacation involves exploring new places, having adventures and creating memories.  The challenge and fun of any vacation for Carmen and me is that we leave with a longer list of places to see and immerse ourselves into next time.  Our next trip to South America would focus on exploring the natural side of this continent.  Patagonia tops our list of “must sees.”  We did not want to lug around our carpas and sacos de dormir (tents and sleeping bags) this trip.  So next time we plan on several weeks of hiking and back-country camping.  We want to see the coasts of Peru and Colombia known for beautiful beaches.  And finally we want to see more of Brazil- Belem is supposedly vibrant and bountiful with Amazonian foods and culture.  In no way did we calm our enjoyment of Brazilian rhythms and dance; we want more samba!

Outside the airport, our last minutes in Peru

There are so many places to visit; each city or village opens new possibilities of adventure.  We walk everywhere and we eat everything; that is what 4feet2mouths is all about.  Our love for travel has taken us to the other side of the world.  And as fall sets on South America we land in Los Angeles ready for new adventures, more exotic countries, more tiring hikes and street food that will leave our mouths searing and tingling.  Traveling is too much fun to stop now.  Do you want to join us?

One of my favorite photos: Congresso reflection, BsAs

¿Why Uruguay? (by Nathan)

Uru-what?  Everyone keeps asking us why we are going to Uruguay. And all that we can say is why not?

I was fascinated by Uruguay.  It is so rarely mentioned as a country, but with a little research I found out that it is considered one of the most stable, advanced countries in South America.  On top of that they were also the first country to provide laptop computers to every grade-school student.  It sounded like more than just a satellite of Buenos Aires, but a modern city.  And I was tired of tripping on the many holes found throughout BsAs sidewalks.

Uruguay is a ferry ride away from Buenos Aires and turned out to be an amazing experience.  Many people seek the historic town of Colonia, but we decided to go directly to the capital city of Montevideo.  What we found was some of the best barbeque, beautiful beaches and a clean progressive city vibrant with life.

Montevideo Fountain

Montevideo Fountain

The city is filled with picturesque nooks and crannies.  Peeking around a corner and we were often surprised to find beautiful colonial buildings, fountains and of course markets selling deliciously plump produce.

Montevideo produce market

Montevideo produce market

One great benefit of having friends and family join you on a trip is that the cultural experience of a city seems to increase exponentially.  Interpreting the culture, tasting the food and seeing the sights is a group activity shared with laughs and conversation.  Carmen’s parents joined us for two weeks, making us 8 feet 4 mouths to explore and eat our way through more parts of South America.

Dinner at La Otra

Dinner at La Otra

Our first meal in Montevideo immediately put all the parilla barbeque places in Buenos Aires to shame.  We went to La Otra, it was a sleek dimly lit restaurant with a woodsy theme.  I felt right at home as they decorated all their wall using a wallpaper of stacked and chopped wood. Although I did not miss those hours of my childhood chopping and stacking wood.  The food included an array of excellently grilled meats and vegetables.

Slanted grill at out lunch restaurant

Slanted grill at Estancia del Puerto

One of the main differences between Argentinian and Uruguayan barbeques is the use of a slanted grill.  A simple advancement, but the Uruguayans have worked out a better way to not overcook their meat.  There is this amazing market (Mercado del Puerto) with twenty or so barbeue restaurants all grilling theit best meat and seafood.

Pomplona de pollo

Pomplona de pollo

They also have their own variations of grilled concoctions.  I ordered a pomplona de pollo which was a piece of chicken that had been flattened and rolled with ham, bacon, cheese and grilled vegetables, then grilled over an open fire. Mmmm.

Sunset on Montevideo Beach

Sunset on Montevideo Beach

By this time in our trip we had been wanting water.  The heat in Buenos Aires was sometimes stifling.  To our great relief, Uruguay had an amazingly beautiful beach and a rambla (coastal sidewalk) that stetched for miles.

Montevideo was an amazing experience, delicious food, beautiful buildings and landscapes and the question changed from ¨Why Uruguay?¨ to:

Why not more time in Uruguay?

Post Navigation