On from Punta Del Diablo and straight to La Paloma. Another 2 and a half hour bus journey, West of the country, only costing the equivalent of €6 - piece of cake! Arrived early into La Paloma and first impressions were good. It is bigger than Diablo but not quite as beautiful but still very nice. For some reason, the town planner decided it would be a good idea to plonk a huge, ugly tower block, right in the middle of this pretty little town, ruining the look of the town. It did prove to be quite practical though in terms of a landmark for us. If you go here or have been, you will know exactly what I'm talking about. Unfortunately we arrived at the start of low season so everything was a bit quieter but in turn, cheaper so we were happy. Everyone hikes up their prices in high season. There is a really big wooded area where people camp but we of course opted for a hostel (Cruz Del Sur - €9 pn). Camping is roughing it on a whole other level that we are just not ready for yet. This time instead of a resident dog, we had a little kitten - very cute and highly entertaining. La Paloma is almost like a peninsula in shape which means all the beaches surrounding it are very different. There was one really stoney beach with really big waves and another sandy beach with very calm water... something for everyone I suppose.
When we arrived, it was very warm but quite overcast, after a few hours of being there, we were greeted with this crazy storm. I honestly have never seen or felt winds like it. There was sand and bits of debri giving us some serious injuries. I managed to secure a whip from one of the many flying Pam trees. It was actually all very exciting, everything shut down because the electricity went in the whole town for about 5 hours. We went down to the beach to watch the waves which were pretty spectacular... Then it started to get a little scary especially after previous near drowning instances so we made the smart decision to head back to our hostel. Just in time too because as soon as we opened the gates, "the heavens opened", this again was pretty amazing. Obviously being from Ireland, we are as familiar to rain as Antartica is to ice and snow but this rain was on a whole other level. It felt like the roof was going to cave in on us, we couldn't even hear each other speak the sound of it was that loud. After all our exploring done for the day and the 'Perfect Storm' going on outside. We settled for a quite night in with a bottle of wine, oven pizza and a DVD. We decided on 'Lincoln' and for those who haven't seen it, don't bother. We both fell asleep after the first half and hour and weren't even tired.
Another short journey onwards to Punta Del Este (3 hours approx €8). We stayed in hostel 1949 which was standard, nothing special. Best part of it was the people we met here. We opted for our first 10 person dorm which was obviously the cheapest. I had to lie to Andrew and tell him I booked an 8 person dorm which when he found out I hadn't, he was not happy. What he doesn't know won't hurt him... This was our first 10 person dorm so we were kind of dreading it but we met, as we called them, 'the family' here. That was Gary, Emily and Ben from England, James from Ireland, Chelsea from Australia and Lukas from Switzerland. Spent the whole 3 days inseparable from the group. We rented bikes on the first day which was a great way to see the city and not expensive at about €10 for 3 hours. Cooked dinner and made some very good cocktails leaving us very drunk by 8pm. Boys being boys decided the Casino was a good idea and in Andrews case it was. He won $8000 pesos on Roulette, I had to drag him away before he lost it all again and no, I didn't see any of the money. After a late and drunken night, we were rudely awaken at some ridiculous hour in the morning by another tennis enthusiast in our room who loved plastic bags. Don't bring plastic bags with you travelling, it is impossible not to make noise with them. This guy also happened to have Tourette's Syndrome, Andrew heard him shout "nice p**** f***ing s***" while he was having a shower. We laughed a lot over that one! Spent the rest of the days on the beach relaxing. Boys decided the casino was a good idea again on the last night, it wasn't. Andrew forgets too often that we are away travelling with only the money in our accounts which will obviously run out!! Put it this way, I won't be helping him out when he is stuck for money. Oh I'm scabby on this trip by the way, you kind of have to be.
Had to say all our goodbyes on the Wednesday :( then got the bus straight to Colonia Del Sacramento (5 hours €11). Lukas came with us thank god as he speaks fluent Spanish so is always very handy having around, not just for that reason of course. Colonia is a another gorgeous little colonial town where we saw the most beautiful sunset. Supposedly it is renowned for them. You only need a day here and maybe a night as it is very small and there is not much to do except walk around. There are lovely places to eat but most of them were past out budget. We settled on sharing a pizza for $80 which is only about €3.50. You can eat cheaply if you look around. A lot of people go to Colonia just to get the ferry across to Buenos Aires because its only an hour away. We did this, it cost $740 pesos (€30). Seriously hot this day especially when we arrived in Buenos Aires. Andrew wouldn't let us get a bus or a subway so had to throw more money away on taxis.
In all we loved Uruguay - it is a lovely country and the people are very friendly. Obviously me and Montevideo didn't get along but that's not to say you won't. Also if you want to get anywhere else in Uruguay you have to go through Montevideo so there is no way of avoiding it I'm afraid.
Next post Buenos Aires - as always I'll keep you posted!!