The Atlas

South America

7 Mar

Montevideo, Again

I don’t usually reprint other people’s articles, and I rarely write about the same place more than once.  Montevideo, however, is a city that has gotten under my skin. It is my port of entry when I visit my home in Garzon and, when possible, I stop over for a night or two.   I have always liked the Old Town, as grungy and poor as it is....

18 Feb


One of the defining features of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park are the kopjes, granitic rocky outcrops, which dot the sea of grass.  An Afrikaans word meaning little head, these boulders and clusters of rocks are the eroded mountain tops peeking through layers of volcanic ash and soil that have been laid down over eons in this tectonically...

12 Feb

Lucia’s Lucifer

She is the best thing to happen to Garzon. When Lucia arrived in Garzon as chef Francis Mallmann’s protegee and personal assistant, she felt something special about the pueblo; she fell in love with it.  She bought a casita on the edge of the village and, with her inimitable style, created a tiny home of great charm.  When it was clear that...

8 Jan

Brazil’s Coast

Manhattan has, as extraordinary as it is for us who live here to believe, been brought to its knees by a snowstorm.  The season’s leaden skies are made even heavier by the garbage lining our roads, the film of dried salt on the sidewalks, the carcasses of fir trees, so quickly discarded after the fleeting Christmas holiday, lying there, still....

24 Nov

Meditations #16

Across the wide plains of Argentina and Uruguay, where cattle raising is a way of life, men who work the livestock are called gaucho. The mainstay of their diet is meat and mate, a herbal drink sipped daylong from a dried gourd. Skilled horsemen, dressed in pleated trousers, slouchy cap, knee high boots and woolen poncho, they are happiest traveling...

13 Oct

Punta del Diablo

An hour and a half from our home in Pueblo Garzon, straight up the Atlantic Coast on the way to southern Brazil, is the slightly trashy, quite beautiful, very transitional fishing village of Punta del Diablo.  We drove up yesterday on a two-lane highway stretched taut as a ribbon, under cerulean skies and uber green pastureland, dotted with well-fed...

9 Jan

La Huella

For three weeks a year Jose Ignacio, Uruguay, has its high season. Probably the shortest in the world but, because of it, this littletown gets flooded with people wanting to enjoy the warm weather, greatparties, and fresh food.  The spot to go to for people-watching and eatingon the beach is La Huella.  Starting in the morning and going most ofthe...

29 Nov

Francis Mallmann

  South America’s most renowned chef, Francis Mallmann, has three phenomenal restaurants, two of which are in Argentina and one in Uruguay. Patagonia Sur, at left, is located in the funky neighborhood of La Boca in Buenos Aires. With five tables and a menu that changes daily, it is one of the most atmospheric – and romantic –...

12 Nov

Uruguay’s Gaucho Chic

Estancia Vik’s personality seems to change with the seasons, with the light. In a winter’s morning it is ethereal, floating in and out of the wispy mists.  In the harsh sunlight of summer, it reigns over a landscape of pastures and standing pools, reminding me of the African plains.  At dusk, it beckons you home; standing solitary on...

28 Sep

Garzon: The Life of a Village

In 1940, the village of Garzon was, in fact, a fairly robust town of 2,000 who gained a comfortable existence working in the wheat mill.  It straddled the Garzon river where travelers would rest on their way to Rocha and it made good use of the railroad that ran through town to carry the milled sugar, Eucalyptus and mined gray granite to market. And...

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