My most recent assignment took me to Montevideo, Uruguay, a culturally vibrant city located on the northern bank of the Rio de la Plata (River Plate). Montevideo is one of South America’s most tranquil national capitals, and strategically located between Brazil and Argentina. The bustling metropolis is home to more than 50 percent of the country’s population, and boasts a well-developed infrastructure and economy.
One place where Montevideo’s local economy is thriving is the traditional street market (feria), several of which are scattered throughout the city’s distinct barrios. During my recent trip to this majestic coastal destination, I made an effort to explore three of the most popular street markets: La Feria de Tristan Narvaja, La Feria de Parque Rodó and La Feria de Parque Juan Zorrilla de San Martín.
Situated in the heart of the Cordón neighborhood, La Feria de Tristán Narvaja is by far the city’s largest street market, stretching many blocks from iconic 18 de Julio Avenue through La Paz Street. Locals and tourists alike flock to the crowded alleyways on Sunday mornings in search of everything from fresh produce to exotic antiques. Due to its sheer size, the maze-like market is easy for a first-timer to get lost in. But the challenge of finding the exit is really half the adventure.
Another popular feria is located in Parque Rodó, one of the city’s many lush green spaces named after notable Uruguayan citizens. This smaller market is adjacent to La Rambla across from Playa Ramirez, making it an ideal spot for a stroll on a lazy Sunday morning. Food lovers, especially, are sure to be enticed by the smell of asado wafting up through the trees from the giant parrilla located at the center of the market. The selection of grilled meats available at on the massive, smoking grill is truly a carnivore’s dream.
La Feria de Parque Juan Zorrilla de San Martín (named after an acclaimed poet and national hero) takes place on Saturday mornings on the Eastern side of Punta Carretas. Surrounded by a primarily residential neighborhood, this feria is popular with locals as a place to bargain shop for the freshest fruits and vegetables, as well as other assorted household sundries. What makes this street market particularly interesting for visitors are the numerous ancient trucks that line the streets during the event. To vendors, the well-used vehicles are simply a means to haul goods to and from the market. However, to an antique truck lover, these strangely beautiful vehicles, many in advanced stages of entropy, are the main attractions.
Check out more high-resolution shots from my trip to Montevideo in my Flickr set.