He now has a second dog, Otto's daughter Greta, and it was another stay I will never forget. Punta del Este really is home for me.
My journey was better than expected. I wore my #travelblog www.sifrew.com branded polo shirt for the first time and got chatting to the mother of an American Airlines Director. However, after a night flying, a few hours on the COT First Class coach, with comfortable seats & free WiFi, was a welcome relief.
My host collected me from the coach and Otto and Greta were in the car, which made it an enjoyably eventful journey.
Being Back at Nunc Stans
We were soon back at Nunc Stans. After a quick shower, it was a Uruguayan BBQ lunch by the pool. I had forgotten quite how good provoleta (melted provolone cheese sprinkled with oregano) can be.
After this it was spicy sausages and then melt in your mouth steak with salads. All this was washed down with excellent Uruguayan Tannat wine. What a perfectly relaxing way to start my holiday.
After a few hours sleep, with Otto keeping me company, it was off to help feed the chickens and pigs, with the dogs.
It was good to get some fresh air and see the place where I lived for two months, after Qatar, again.
Veuve Clicquot Rose & Locally Caught Seafood
That evening we started with Veuve Clicquot Rose in chilled Veuve Clicquot glasses eating warm chips.
For dinner we had locally caught seafood served on kale with potatoes and garlic butter. A sublime meal, cooked by my talented host, recalling when we both lived in The Barbican in London and the times when he visited me in Bermuda, Qatar and Cayman Islands.
First Full Day
It started with porridge with fresh strawberries, and excellent coffee, before a long walk with the dogs over trying terrain.
Vina Eden Vineyard
For lunch we were off to the Vina Eden vineyard. We passed a helicopter, that had brought other guests, on the way there and there was a large party already on the terrace.
We were given a table out on the terrace and enjoyed the stunning panoramic views of the local area, while looking at the menus. There were no menus in English.
Lunch with Paired Wines
We started with a selection of incredible warm breads, olives and dips drinking the vineyard's own sparkling wine.
For appetizers we picked the lamb empanadas and the smoked salmon salad. The lamb was shredded and the pastry crumbly and mouthwatering. The smoked salmon salad included guacamole and a soft centered boiled egg. A rich and delicious mixture.
The vineyard served a Chardonnay and trial pinot rose to accompany the appetizers. The pinot rose was the only one of their wines I was not impressed by, with its lack of any body. I guess that trial was not a success.
Our main courses were a seafood risotto and pork 'skirt steak'. The seafood risotto with arborio rice and saffron was a triumph but I was not sure about the texture of the pork dish.
My host said he makes a better version of this pork speciality. However, the Tannat wine we drank with this was the best of the four wines we tried, by far.
For dessert we had sweet banana bhajis, with vanilla ice cream, and apple crumble, also with vanilla ice cream. The crumble was chilled and refreshing and both were perfect ways to end an outdoor lunch on a warm day.
After lunch the General Manager took us on a tour of the impressive cellars/caves. Money had clearly been no object for this new venture and it was interesting to see all the concrete and stainless steel that is needed to produce a state-of-the-art wine operation.
The 'cellars' are on three levels with lowest level making great use of the ancient rocks of Pueblo Eden. It is certainly worth taking a quick tour.
One of my host's staff came to collect us and we watched the helicopter leaving, as we did.
The Rest of the Week/Four Seasons Buenos Aires
I hope the rest of my week in Punta del Este and Buenos Aires goes as well. I cannot be more excited about staying at Four Seasons Buenos Aires again.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻 (7 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - my friend is clearly a '7 teddy' host; Otto and Greta '7 teddy' dogs; Vina Eden a stunning vineyard and Nunc Stans a special place. No question that this was a '7 teddy' start to my trip. My tip:- stay with friends who have dogs, they make the whole trip better!