Make the most of Montevideo

This picture taken March 13, 2016, shows grilled vegetables as served at El Palenque, one of the parillas, or grill restaurants, in Montevideo's Mercardo del Puerto, a popular place for lunch. Montevideo may not be as well known to travelers as some other Latin American destinations but there is plenty to see and do in this friendly, laid-back city, from beach strolls to late-night dinners.  (Michelle Locke via AP)

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) – Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, may not be as well-known to international travelers as some of Latin America’s other destinations. But there’s plenty here to see and do, and it’s a relatively short hop and worthy side trip from Buenos Aires.

Laid-back and friendly, Montevideo has a mellow vibe. Experience it as you savor a tasty chivito (steak sandwich) at a sidewalk cafe, or on a sunny stroll along a wide sandy beach. Gaze over the rooftops of the old city at sunset and take in the oddly appealing mix of elegant buildings rubbing stone shoulders with squat, concrete blocks.
Here are a few suggestions on making the most of your visit.

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Undiscovered Uruguay

bodega-garzon-overviewHarvest is under way and internationally known enologist Alberto Antonini is giving a master class on the coming vintage. Behind him, framed in the large windows of the new winery, a landscape of terraced vineyards unfolds under a lacy blue sky, a view reminiscent of his native Italy.

But these vines are most definitely not under the Tuscan sun.

This is Bodega Garzón, brainchild of global vintner Alejandro Bulgheroni, and the newest addition to Uruguay’s emerging wine scene.

“What we have got here is a beautiful environment,” says Antonini.

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