Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Stay In Punta Del Este...

Soon after driving northwest, we headed northeast, where we had reservations at the Conrad Hotel and Casino--a last, luxurious chance to see Punta del Este...No, we didn't take a helicopter tour--I borrowed this photo from the hotel website...
This one too! Unfortunately, the weather was completely uncharacteristic for late Uruguayan summer--completely socked in with clouds and drizzling rain...
But, for two nights, we did have an excellent room with magnificent views...
And we decided to concentrate our efforts on fine food and relaxation...
A year ago with Justo, we lounged on this pier watching boys high dive into the sea, wondering if we would ever get a chance to stay at the Conrad...
Perhaps some of the same boys were enjoying this game of beach soccer along Playa Mansa...
A cruise boat and Isla Goritti were slowly hidden by the fog...
With the help of the concierge we honed in on some marvelous restaurants, most of which are down by the marina and yacht club, where hundreds of wealthy people mingle over cocktails and moor their boats...
As we sat for lunch at an outdoor table, a woman--who was either very rich or vending fashionable leather purses--caught the curious eyes of both us and a parking man...
Lunch on day one was a classic: chivitos, papas fritas, and an ice cold Pilsen...
On day two, at another classy afternoon eatery, the salmon and tuna sushi was divine...
And so were the grilled giant prawns...

We walked the Rambla...
A troupe of girls were gathering with a photographer, undoubtedly celebrating a "15th birthday", a huge tradition in Uruguay that involves extravagant all-day parties...
A lone fisherman tested the stormy seas...
And so did this snowy minnow-eating egret...
Along Playa Brava, Punta del Este's seaward side, stood a bronze statue of a bull and woman...
And, of course, the hand in the sand, La Mano, the iconic sculpture of this famous resort city...
Back at the hotel, we tested the third floor jacuzzi and pool of the hotel...
Leandra read and relaxed in the warm water...
While I swam and discovered the mosaic on the bottom of the pool...
At night, lights illuminated the scene. The Casino is actually underneath this terraced outdoor recreation area...
The fog got thicker, but only made the nightscape more wonderful. After early evenings of wine on the deck, we found more amazing restaurants for romantic dinners...
Some included calamari carpaccio and crab cakes on the shell...
Our first dessert was an array of all things dulce de leche...
The next night, fois gras and fresh fish hors d'oeuvres were served...
Before entrees of lobster...
And medallions of chicken...
Our last meal in Punta del Este, at this world class French restaurant was impeccable...
And so was the sampling of chocolate desserts...

1 comment:

Travel Hip. TV said...

Punta is fantastic and yes, this year the weather was very strange. We were there for NYE and we had similar drizzly weather a few days.
Punta (city) is great, but next time you should really head a little north and check out La Barra and Jose Ignacio, it's more like Southern California (with a so.American flair). Happy travels.