Friday, May 31, 2013

Somewhere in Uruguay: Piriápolis I

Well it’s kinda late now but let me tell you about my Easter weekend! I know, I know… Easter was months ago. But hey… I’m in Uruguay. Aaand that is probably becoming my standard excuse now.

The destination of my Easter weekend and the reason why I left one day earlier from Mendoza was a trip to Piriápolis which is a city on the Altantic coast of Uruguay. Though I think technically it is still on the shore of the Rio de la Plata. But you can’t really tell the difference at that point and it’s very close to Punta del Este, where the Atlantic coast officially starts. But we didn’t spend any time at the beach anyway so I guess it doesn’t matter.

But first things first. I went there with Pablo, his sister Lucía, a friend named Rusty and his cousin Lore. And once we got to Piriápolis we also met up with one of their friends, Maxi, who lives there.

Before we got to Piriápolis though we visited a place named Atlantida, where there is a house in the shape of an eagle. That’s right. El Aguila. It looked pretty cool and the view from above the beacon was pretty sweet.

El Aguila - The Eagle

The view of Atlantida

Once we got to Piriápolis we left our things at the house that we rented and went to get some food.  We decided on hamburgers. Which were really slices of toast with burger meat and condiments. But before having a little lunch break we went to see the castle of Francisco Píria, the founder of Piriápolis. Which to me I guess wasn’t all that impressive, since I’m more used to castles like Neuschwanstein. Though I really liked the trees around the castle. They were perfect for climbing in them like a monkey. Unfortunately that was not allowed so I was really only up in one for a minute or so. Stupid rules.

Spot the monkey! Isn't that the coolest tree for climbing?!


Píria's Castle

After that we went on to a park at the foot of Cerro Pan de Azúcar, where we finally had our lunch break. The plan was to go climb the hill/mountain Pan de Azúcar which is one of Uruguays highest points. Though coming from the alpine upland I gotta say it isn’t really all that high.

However, before our hiking adventure we all decided to take a nap. So we got out a blanket and a matress that Rusty had had in his car and slept for a bit. Why rush, when you can have a little siesta instead?

Nap time!

After that we went on our way. Where we passed a zoo kinda area where you could go through little mazes with wild animals in them. Caged of course. There was also a bat cave but unfortunately there were no bats. My favorites were the Pumas though because one of them was all cute and then the other went all “ignore him and focus your attention on meeee!!”

After that we started our way up to the top. And let me tell ya, it wasn’t all pony-rides in May-sunshine.  Firstly, because it wasn’t May and secondly because we lost two of our fellows on the way. Lore wasn’t feeling too well so Rusty took her back and the remaining four of us went on to climb the hill/mountain thingy. I’m still not sure what it is. My intuition tells me hill, but there was no real way leading up to it. The main part was climbing what seemed like the course of a mountain stream. But it wasn’t. It was the official way up to the top. Plus there was a giant stone cross on top which kind of reminded me of the crosses they put up on the tops of mountains. So really it was kind of a geographical hybrid. Neither hill, nor mountain. Maybe a “moull”? …. Or a “hintain”?


And back down with a great evening view

Either way it was a lot of fun, because monkey-me likes climbing things. Trees, rocks, moulls. Always have, always will.

Once we reached the top we had a little break and took some pictures. And enjoyed some trumpet tunes. Wait, what? Trumpet tunes? That’s right. Apparently a guy had brought his trumpet and stood on the edge of the moull, trumpeting into the wide open space in front of him. I really liked the scenery of that.

I can't get that trumpet out of my head...

So then of course we had to climb up the giant stone cross and from there the view was even incredibler. More incredible. Whatever. I was speechless and not able to compare adjectives. We could see the Atlantic, Piriápolis and all the way to Punta del Este on one side and a lot of countryside on the other. So pretty!

Having a little break after we made it to the top

View towards Punta del Este

Pablo and I

All four of us Climbers

The Cross

The Flatlands of Uruguay 

And then we also had some picture taking fun up there… the location was just so much fun! But at some point it was getting close to sundown so we decided to go back down. Where we came upon a lady of 71 years who had climbed the Pan de Azúcar and on her way down injured her leg. So someone had to call the hintain-police so they could rescue her. No fun business. I hope it’s nothing permanent and she’s okay by now.

But on we went because when there’s barely any road to travel by, you really don’t need a lot of bystanders to stand in the way of an accident. It had held us up for a while though so our way down was a lot of guessing and walking/climbing in the dark. Probably not the safest way to go down a moull but it was the only option. And don’t worry, we got down safe and sound.

And because such an adventure makes you very hungry we went back home took showers and got some food.  Real burgers this time. And pretty darn good ones, too. After that we went out for some ice cream as a reward for being awesome. Well actually it wasn’t a reward but a treat. Because it’s the best ice cream in Piriápolis and, as a foreigner and ice-cream aficionada, I of course had to try.

Though apparently it is no secret that it is the best ice-cream in town. Because believe it or not, there were a whopping 70 people in front of us and when we went to draw a number the lady at the counter warned us that we would probably have to wait about an hour for our ice-cream. We bought some anyway and went off to pass an hour at the house. At this point I should probably tell you the name of this incredibly popular place, but guess what. I’m not. Because the place is already very crowded and I guess it’s not fair to the employees. Especially when they meet annoying customers like me who don’t know half of the flavors and therefore have to try some of them in advance. Though I bet anyone who would want to have the best ice-cream in Piriápolis only needs to walk along the Rambla to spot that place. Such an amount of people in an ice-cream place really isn’t that hard to miss.

So anyhow, after an hour we went back and as mentioned above I had to try a few flavors before making an informed decision about which ice-cream to eat. You could probably already guess that this decision involved Dulce de Leche flavor. And Flan. Because what is better than dessert in ice-cream form?

So I actually thought I would split that ice-cream with Pablo but he only had a spoon or two and then left all of the drippy goodness to me. I did have some troubles with keeping it from dripping all over the place but of course I didn’t mind eating a lot of ice-cream. Not that I wouldn’t share. But apparently Pablo didn’t appreciate it as much as I did, so fatty-me ate it all. And I enjoyed it. Every single bit of it.

That was pretty much our first day in Piriápolis and with that I am taking a break. Following up, our second day in Piriápolis. 

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