Our first day in Uruguay was pretty low key since we'd been traveling almost 24 hours when we landed in the bright sunlight. We immediately marveled at the wide highways, the different architecture and the cleanliness. We saw Mark and Kora's place with it's old style gate elevator and ate lunch together. After lunch we just let the cousins enjoy each other. We spent some time at the park. Nate, Mark and I sat on a little hill in the shade (holy moly the sun is more intense there than I expected) and chatted about coffee shop plans while the kids played. It was interesting to soak in the culture. Nate and I both commented on how light and blond everyone was. Interestingly we both noticed we felt more relaxed letting the kids run around, probably because it felt like they didn't stand out in any way from the Uruguayan kids. Also interesting that this was one of the main parks in the city. Honestly it wasn't anything notable. We realized Quito places a MUCH higher value on green space. We ate dinner at a neighborhood pizza place, where a typical appetizer is some type of chickpea bread (Faina?) and the pizzas are almost like french bread topped with cheese and extras. We crashed early by Uruguayan standards and Nate and I headed to bed pretty much right after the kids at 8:30. It was so sweet of Mark and Kora's friends to give us their apartment, which overlooked the Rambla and the ocean and had a play room for the kids. (Also a/c - woah!)

Day two we went to the street fair/market that happens in front of Mark and Kora's building at the park twice a week. We snagged a hoodie for Eden, realizing the one we'd brought was a big small and she pretty much wore it everywhere for the rest of the trip. We did lunch at the Mercado del Pueblo and that was just the right vibe. It reminded us of markets in Spain where you pull up a stool and eat among the fruits and spices. This was more upscale but it was full of energy with lots of crowds, music and laughter. We chose a table and ordered four different cuts of beef to share among us. It was delicious and baby beef was a huge hit but if I'm honest I was probably more into the butter tasting like butter should (to me) than anything else! The kids danced in the aisles and we were pleasantly surprised by how accommodating and kid-friendly servers were. A candombe (street drum band) came through, complete with female dancers in Santa hats and we observed how gregarious the crowd was. Pretty sure this was the moment we started to fall in love with Montevideo.

Post lunch we headed up a hill to an old fort to catch a view of the city. It was interesting to drive through because it was a much less affluent neighborhood than where we were staying. The wind was intense so we didn't stay long.


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