Livin' it up with Uruguay's rich & famous

Trip Start Sep 19, 2009
Trip End May 19, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel Americana

Flag of Uruguay  ,
Thursday, January 28, 2010

So, back on another bus, we headed east to the upmarket resort city of Punta del Este - a comparatively short 2 hour ride. We had left our big bags at Montevideo, so we could walk around easier (plus save Bens back from more damage) and find somewhere cheap to stay... a pretty hard challenge in the end, as even for a dorm bed sharing with 8 others we were being quoted $25 US per person, crazy money! Eventually, and somewhat by chance, we found a lovely 3* hotel where I think the owner took pity on us - and offered us a room in the basement for half price… still expensive, but far & away the cheapest we had found. We even had WIFI in the room, a bargain (although the petrol fumes from the generator just outside came free as well)!!

We spent the rest of the day exploring the Uruguayan celebrity place-to-be, admiring the streets with their huge impressive hotels, their expensive shops and (at the very end of the point) their large and beautiful houses, with none higher than the height of the lighthouse bang in the middle of the suburb (as per city rules…)! At the very tip of the bay, we even found a collection of mermaids posing for us! We also came across two extremely large sealions basking in the sun at the yaught club, oblivious to all the cameras and boats trying to return! I have never seen such big seals, they were twice the size of those in Galapagos! Jonny Hon, beware!!

We ended our walking tour at the famous beach, Playa Mansa, which had very calm waters. By now it was 7pm, but still very light and still very busy, so we decided to venture into the sea... boy, it was cold water - but we had read that cold was good for Ben's bad back, so we thought it was medicinal for him to stay in as long as we could. As the sun didn’t set until 9.30pm, we still had time to shower and change, before being seated at a lovely restaurant overlooking the bay, in perfect view for the magical sunset - a great way to end our day.

The next day we got up leisurely (it was still taking Ben the best part of half an hour to actually get out of bed, so "leisurely" was very much the only way…), and we were back at the bus station, this time to head to Punta del Diablo for a wee day trip. We were told the journey was 2 hours but it took closer to 3, meaning that upon arrival we only had around 3 hours to explore the place. It may sound a bit crazy to spend 5-6 hours on a bus for a day trip, but it worked pretty well in this case; Punta del Diablo is very small and the opposite to Punta del Este, the dirt roads full of restaurants and bars made of shacks, blaring out Bob Marley and attracting a more hippie type of traveller. The town was pretty and the nice beach was very wavy. What was particularly fun to watch was the way the waves would collide with other waves as they fell back toward the sea, and the collision seemed to run along the beach rather than into shore, like nothing we had seen before and kept Ben amused for a long time!

So, back in Punta del Este before dark, we headed into town for our final dinner in the resort, to a cheap restaurant that looked more like a fast food outlet, but had been recommended by a guy working in the hotel. It turned out to be a great find, and by 10pm it was completely full. The chivitos (a local specialty, a thinly sliced steak sandwich loaded with cheese, ham, bacon, eggs, salad & anything else they either could or couldn’t fit in…) that we ordered were absolutely massive and delicious...Too full for anything else we headed back to the petrol fumed room for one more sleep.
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