From Uruguay with love...
Trip Start Jan 12, 2013
7Trip End Jun 13, 2013
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After not really enjoying the city of Montivideo, it was too eerie empty and a little bit threatening, we headed to the wonderful, friendly town of Cabo Polonio.
Uruguay is not a cheap country, hostels are $10-18 a night and buses around $20. We hopped on a bus to Cabo from Montivideo knowing that this was not going to be a normal journey, this was part of the appeal for us.
You are dropped off at the entrance to the national park, where you pay the entrance fee which also includes your return journey to the town. The mode of transport is a funky pickup-come-beach buggy with two levels. The journey is mainly across the famous sand dunes and then finally the last stretch is across the beautifully deserted beach. We had arrived just after a storm and the waves easy were 4m high and covering the beach in thick sea foam.
The 'town' is over a largish area and consists of a sprinkling of houses, shops, restaurants and huts spread out over the expanse of land between two picturesque beaches. Our hostel Viejo Lobo Hostel, was a converted house with beds squeezed in everywhere. It was a little pricey $18 a night, 'but don't worry you can pay by Visa'- the lovely owner Luis said, I have to point out to date this is the ONLY hostel in South America I have been that has accepted card payments- and this is in a town with no running water, only solar panels and no Internet.
Luis had to first of all check that there was room for us 'I have two beds in this room free but, yesterday the other two in that room took acid and they are loco, so probably best not go in there'. We got two cosy beds in a room safely in the other side of the house before setting off to explore the town.
We cooked some dinner in the cramped but homely kitchen and sat outside eating our food where, casually, a white rabbit appear hopping over our feet hoping for some food. I knew our time in Cabo was not going to be boring.
That night we met a Canadian who had lived in Uruguay for a while and even built a restaurant for his host family he stayed with 10 years previously on an exchange programme. We sampled a sweet local alcohol and subsequently went to a local bar with the whole hostel. The bar was tiny, with a fire that took the chill off the evening air, we met some colourful characters in this bar, from a multitude of different countries.
The next few days consisted of: wake up, cook, hammock, cook, surf, hammock, cook, fire pit then bed. All very stressful.
As always me and Lou struggled along with our complete lack of Spanish, even ordering cheese at the local market would leave us leaving confused, but a always the locals had boundless amounts of patience with us.
Just by the lighthouse on the shore there is a small colony of sea lions, they are HUGE! I have never seen such intimating wild animals that luckily, were at quite a distance from us, but I must admit the next day when I was surfing I had an unnerving fear that one might just decided to come say 'hello'.
After three relaxing and quite different days we had to leave this little unique place, we were lucky to go at the end of the season so it was quiet, I think the experience could have been very different if we had gone a few weeks earlier.