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Wakeboarding and Wine Tasting in Uruguay

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Having experienced my first full day in Uruguay, I have come to love this place.

Hotel Playa Vik

The agenda for today was for Maita's (the Condé Nast travel specialist) daughter Catalina to pick us up from Playa Vik at 11am. It was a pleasure to meet Catalina since I feel like I have come to know her mother so well. It appears as though Catalina may be following in her mother's footsteps by delving into the tourism business with her.

steps down to Lassarena ski club for our wakeboarding session in Arenas de Jose Ignacio, Uruguay Once again, we had a driver for the day, but I was somewhat confused why we were driving out to the "ranch" lands to go wake boarding. We eventually found the driveway we were looking for, when out of nowhere, a lake within the hills emerges. The lake was made for slalom skiing, easily works for wake boarding as well. I loved the design of the rustic, thatched roof boathouse, covered dining area and bar with an asado at the top of the hill.

While picking out our life jackets, we met our boat driver, Tomas Bruce. An epic wake boarding session commenced, where everyone, including Catalina, got a chance to show their skill. We thoroughly entertained ourselves, cruising around in this lake tucked into the hills.

Jenny catching some air Our wakeboarding crew: Joe, Catalina, Jenny & Tomas

Snapping some photos after completing our exercise for the day, we headed toward Bikini Beach to relax oceanside and get a feel for the culture of Uruguay. Numerous beach stands are scattered along the shore, many of which sell concessions -- namely hot dogs and maize. Ordering up a few beers, we set up camp on some pretty yellow beach chairs. We observed a few locals surfing a small beach break to the left of us. This was definitely a very chill, relaxing atmosphere.

After finishing our beers, we walked up the street to the local fish market owned by a popular Argentine guy named Nico. Nico owns both a restaurant and market, so fresh fish is always at hand. We sat down for lunch, where we dined on calimari and a sushi roll with salmon, cream cheese and mango. We also tried raw Lenguado (a fish) as well as a fried version on a sandwich. For dessert, we shared Tapioca with dulce de leche.

Beachside in Uruguay Lunch at Nico's restaurant

Next, we were off to visit some vineyards for a local wine lesson. Montevideo is the most well known wine region in Uruguay, but the area where we are, Maldonado, has a few wineries in the Sierras, just west of town. Driving approximately 30 minutes outside of town,  the hills began to grow. As we arrived at Alto de La Ballena, suddenly, a beautiful vineyard emerged from the rocky hills. Greeted by owner Paula Pivel, we began walking through the rocky vineyards as she described their growing process. We had the opportunity to see new grafted vines being cultivated and mature vines that will be harvested in just a few short months.

We commenced our wine tasting with a Rosé comprised of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. We then moved onto a Cabernet France, to a blend of Tannat (the signature grape of Uruaguay) and Viognier. From there, we proceeded with a Merlot, then Cephas and rounded out the tasting with a dessert wine. Each varietal pleased our palates, but we especially enjoyed asking Paula about the in-and-outs of owning a vineyard.

Rocky terrain of Maldonado Ready for some wine tasting at Alto de La Ballena Catalina with Paula at our wine tasting

We journeyed back to the Playa Vik for a swim in the infinity pool and another spectacular sunset. Once again, everyone congregated at the beach; Joe and I took towels to perch on a rock near the water's edge. When the sun dipped into the sea, the sky filled with brilliant color. Everyone on the beach broke into applause.

Another beautiful sunset in Uruguay Playa Vik at sunset Fireside at Marismo Restaurant

For dinner, Catalina had arranged for a driver to transport us to Marismo, a chic restaurant located outside in the sand, centered around a crackling bonfire. For appetizers, we ordered delicious Pinza de Siri -- easy-to-eat grilled crab legs. We selected a Malbec from a winery we visited in Mendoza a few months back, Viña Cobos. While Joe chose lamb for his main course, I had chicken with sweet potatoes and guacamole.

We could have sworn that Mick Jagger arrived for a late dinner with his entourage. He was tucked in a secluded corner of trees, but it definitely looked like him. Who knows? After we cleaned our plates, we stayed for several hours, staring at the fire and people-watching. Another great day in Uruguay!

Tomorrow, our agenda consists of lunch, then surfing and then onto the trendy Fasano Hotel to swim in their natural pool and consume a special dinner they have prepared for us. Catalina is inviting a few friends to join us, so it should be another perfect day in paradise.

© 2013 Jaunting Sisters.
Written on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 14:02 by Jenny Kerr

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