February 2015 - Uruguay Interior and Coast and Bonny in BA!

February is a great month to head out of Buenos Aires as the vacationers start returning from Uruguay and the Argentina beach town of Pinamar.  Of course the fact that my director needed time to work on an improved script for my first film and my mother deciding to come for a visit helped inspire me to get out of the house for most of the month.

Uruguay sunset
Welcome to Argentina!

"Let's go to Uruguay for some location scouting" I said to Jessy.  Although weeks before the trip she was over the moon the night before setting out she saw the hard reality of moto travel and the lack of space for clothes..."No, it can't be, that is not enough space, I can't...I can't go..."  And here I thought I was being generous making space by not packing any rain gear and other items crucial to moto survival in bad conditions (of course this was not a 6 month journey and if we hit bad weather we could simply stop).

Finally convinced and excited to be going on the Uruguay 2015 adventure we set out around 8am for our longest riding day of the trip.  "Hey, if you are going to push someone to the edge you might as well find the highest cliff!"

Route Review: 750 km, 10 hours day!  Buenos Aires to Fray Bentos flat and straight C2R6/7T2/3V2,  Fray Bentos to Trinidad C2R6/7T2V2/3.  Trinidad on Ruta 5 C2R7/8T2V2.  San Gregorio access Ruta 43 C3R4T2V3.

Websites: I used www.mercadolibre.com.uy and a few other google searches to find privately owned accommodation through out the trip.  Also used google maps which is good for distances, but doesn't mention which roads are impossible, uff.

Here we go!!!

100 km in to the trip, easy right?

250 km arriving at Gualeguaychu, Arg
  
The usual pain and suffering at Fray Bentos border

Happy girl

Help from a local to get through Trinidad when my GPS
failed us.  This is not uncommon...both the GPS failing
and a local helping me get through the main route maze of
a town or city in latin america.

Where there are wind mills
there's a windy riding experience!

Not much for views except Guachos



San Gregorio del Polanco is know to very few as it sits in the centre of Uruguay with a population of 1000 or so.  It's a quiet little spot with few options for eating and going out, but a great spot for camping and hanging by Rio Negro which is basically a lake at this section as the water doesn't seem to be moving or has minimal flow.

RECOMMEND: Hostel Buena Vista which is probably the only hotel type place in town from what we saw.  At $60 USD / night it's probably more than other options, but likely better and a lake view is pretty difficult to complain about.  
Great view from the room

Rock star parking
We are travellers from a land far away

Forest and sand, not used to seeing that
Beach of San Gregorio

Redish brown water, but very clean

So good I had to take a photo

Very lush sand

Great sunsets from the hotel

This was incredible

Punta del Diablo - Long tough day of riding to arrive around 6pm after 7 hours or so on gravel and detour paved roads.  Damn GPS just isn't in touch with Uruguay.  Probably what I desire for using free maps, haha.  The hard day made the next week in the little town of Diablo well appreciated!

Route review: 400 km, 7 hours.  Free ferry to start - San Gregorio to Sarandi del Yi, lots of different types of gravel C3R2/3T2V5.  Sarandi to Jose Batlle (forced to avoid Ruta 14, too rough) C2R2/3T1V2.  Jose B to Jose P Varela  C4R3T2V4. Jose P V to Lascano, Ruta 14 C3R4/5T2V4.  Lascano to Punta del Diablo (once again Ruta 14 was to rough) C2R5T3V3.

Let's get the ferry out of here

deepish gravel

Locals in Blanquillo

Ever get the feeling you aren't from around here?



Pavement!!!

Unbeknownst to me Jessy took a huge rock in her ankle

Classic misuse of thin plastic bottles

Small mountainous region near Zapican 



Jose P Varela

Road danger

Friendly Gaucho moving horses

Nearing Lascano

Oh my ass!

UR ASS! My ASS has been changing gears and braking all day





Yeah, Palm trees!



Beautiful river side going north to Chuy

Chuy the Tax Free border town



Blue Cabana our first spot of two in Punta del Diablo.  A nice spot, but a little far from the beach with thin walls and tricky bike parking was good for 2 nights.

Only stable ground for the moto
video


Did I mention marijuana is legal here?

Scorpion under the sink!

Creative Kitchen Talent

Relaxxxinnnnggggg

Viuda Beach


Cabin two - Amatista  An italian owned rental, a little bigger, a little nicer, a little closer to the beach and a little wifi to help plan the next sections of the trip and of course internet music feeds.  $15 per night upgrade which was well worth it including a hammock, YES!!!  Just remember your $5 for sheet rental which is everywhere in Uruguay.

Perfect patio

More civilization

Sunshower fun



Magical colours shot from the cabin

Everything you need (including a TV with no channels, haha)



Laguna Negra - Sunset Perfection!  Shallow, but soooo warm.  Only 5 km away and highly recommended for sunsets we spent an afternoon and dusk here.  I must have walked out 400 m and still only was chest deep in the 28 C water. 

RECOMMEND: Bringing a towel close to the edge of the water as the the wind coming from hot water has some bite.  Also bring more clothes for dusk and the ride home which can be chilly. 

Perfect and Stylish parking

Warm water, oh yeah

Of course closer parking in the sand
if you have 4 wheels

Like a travel advertisement



Santa Teresa Park - INCREDIBLE!!!  This national park located 4 km north of Punta del Diablo is a perfect place to visit and has great camping options too.  Full of long, straight coast line boasting warmer water than the points in Diablo and well developed gardens and green spaces with a Fort down the road.  Just wonderful.



Great colour








Will a leaf fall on me if I wish it? 
El Barco Beach - relatively unpopulated, reasonable waves and great parking had us coming back a couple times.

Playa El Barco
video

Fortaleza Santa Teresa - The fort was erected in October 1762 by the Portuguese and the outdoor night club and bar portion beside the kiosko in front by some guy named Vinny in 2005 who I don't believe is Portuguese (but I can't confirm or deny that).


  
Next to Vinny's night club

One side of the Fort from 400m back

Engineering inspection



Seems a great spot for a photo and the family owed us one!

Highly secure Night Club
RECOMMEND: Punta del Diablo and Area in general.  Less touristy, reasonable accommodation, good selection of restaurants and supermarkets.  And only 4 hours north of Montevideo, Uruguay.


Punta Rubia (La Pedrera) - A short ride passing a couple spots I went to in 2012, Aguas Dulces and Cabo Palonia (a hippy commune claiming no electricity although I sore I saw lights and refrigerators when I was there).  A couple easy hours on the coastal road and we arrived at Punta Rubia a developing cabin area right beside La Pedrera.  5 blocks from the beach, a supermarket right beside our recently built accommodation was all we needed for the 2 lovely nights there.  Oh and of course a hammock!

Side note: Sheet rental per night of $5 meant that we would be sleeping with only a blanket on a brand new bed.  "I'm not cheap, just careful" to quote my good buddy Gareth G.

Side note 2: Don't run in the dark!  Jessy trying to beat me and the moto back to the cabin with only moon light to guide fell off an elevated patio and in to the bushes spraining her ankle horribly.  Pobrecita.

Route review: 100 km, 1.5 hours. Punta del Diablo to La Pedrera C3R6T2V4

Short trip to Punta Rubia

Brand new cabana

This place is pretty good

Apparently they had an issue with Horse parties on the beach

Happy!

Going in to the ocean at Punta Rubia beach, magical.  Opening camera kiss should provide a chuckle

Not every moment is wonderful
Sprained ankles walking through deep
sand will not help bring out a smile.
video



Argentina/Uruguay staple - Rabas!

Main street of La Pedrera shut to cars in the night
Comfortable? I would say so


Final night in Uruguay was spent in Montevideo (the capital).  We left Punta Rubia at midday, stopped in Punta del Este to check out the point where La Plata River joins the Atlantic Ocean.  A relaxing final day with a nice seafood dinner in MVD.

True adventurers!

Marco really pushing the limits of his 125 cc

Opening to the ocean at Punta del Este

Bridge looks cool, but super dangerous with lack of sight
of the other side and you actually can take air too

At the point where ocean meets river



A shot of the coast looking northeast

Did I mention the massive addiction
to Mate.  Well Uruguayans are the
worst offenders.

Free for motos in Uruguay!

Montevideo

Proof Canadian banks are taking over the world!

Nice work buddy, sleep well

Delicious Seafood, all for $30 or so

The next day we returned to BA via Fray Bentos choosing not to pay the ridiculously high ferry rates to save 300km.  3 hours on the boat was something like $250 USD including the moto and lots of taxes to the Argentina government, urgh...

Side note: Returning to Argentina on a Saturday afternoon in mid February I never expected to see this enormous line of cars going in to Uruguay, 4 or 5 km of cars!  I can only image the pain inside some of the family filled cars coming from Buenos Aires to Uruguay for a week vacation only to start off in a 4 hour border line up, may be longer!  On the news I heard the Pinamar beach town drive had increased from 4.5 hrs to 13 hrs on this weekend. uff.

Worst nightmare for a father with
vacation excited kids.

video


All and all Uruguay is a great spot to get too.  Good beaches, good people and good food.  Just don't drive around too much with gas prices north of $2.20 USD/litre. 

Good team
Bienvenidos Bonny!  Oh yes she did...my mother made it all the way down south again, and this time in a country where English is rarely spoken (just like NZ, haha).  1 week in Buenos Aires and 1 week in Pinamar a popular beach town.  And 1 afternoon at the Iguazu Falls - see "side note."

Overall my mother really enjoyed the trip and by the end of it seemed to pick up a few words and adapt to the way of life here.  For me, it's always interesting to hear the canadian accent and culture in-person when I am living away.  After 3 months with little exposure you can really hear how many times a canadian visitor says "sorry".

BORN READY!!!
Recoleta Cemetery

Beautiful, but unfortunately only
for the rich of Buenos Aires

A boxer or a rich guy who thought he was a champ
"The Wild Bull of The Pampas"

Saw a "Doyle" family plot so not all
italians and spanish in BA.

Gomero de Recoleta - Enormous!  Bonny couldn't believe it
  
Man made supports holding limbs

The classic enough for 2.
"El Gran Bife de Las Cabras"
Mid February is Carnival everywhere in Latin America as shown in my Feb 2012 Ecuador post as well.  http://www.thelifeofbrad.com/2012/05/feb-14-21-day-127-134-ecuador-south.html

Parades, fire crackers and foam spray.  Four days before Lent used as a vehicle to get the party out of your system before 40 days of ... a little less partying like in Brazil.


Just 2 blocks from where live
video


A trip by moto down to the Pink House (President's office) and then on to Puerto Madero.  Very cool ship museum "Fragata Presidente Sarmiento".

The busy Av. Corrientes

That's it...The Pink House kinda like the White House, kinda
Damn tourists "yeah it's a big door"
Fragata Presidente Sarmiento Museum

Oh yeah, that's a big gun
  
Always wanted to see a torpedo
up close

Officer quarters

Which wheel?
Good tour followed by a good beer
The pope even loves it here!
He should he's from Buenos Aires

Pinamar beach town 4 hours and a bit south east of Buenos Aires.  I decided mom would need a break from the 13 million people city so we rented a very nice 2 bedroom spot for a week (only $80/night) with heated pool!

Great spot with all you need close by.  Mom came on the bus and Jessy and I took the moto in case we needed to pick food up or whatever.  The drive to Pinamar was not fun as it's dead straight, but having a moto as a pack horse for the walkable town turned out to be a good idea.

RECOMMEND: Viejo Lobo, a delicious resto on the beach.  A couple hours of Bingo is good for a change of pace (Of course it's different from North American Bingo, but super fun too).  Renting an apartment with a heated pool for those chillier days of 19 to 22 C.

Equipo / Team

Mate, heated pool, happy Brad
  
Scrabble in Spanish and English.
With no "W"!
  
Gorgeous homes on the North end of town

Viejo Lobo!  Delicious-o!
Bingo and a Casino full of slots
columns of 15 numbers starting 1-15
going to 90.  Bingo in North America
has only 75 numbers.

Weird and fun recycled bottle art

Nice tree


Pinamar Accommodation

Nice new complex
video
  
Windy day at the beach and a little chilly for the Argentina crowd so I had the place to myself, haha.
Just me and them, to be fair it was
late in the day, 5:30pm and 21C.

video

Side note: Wanting to see the Iguazu Falls I convinced mom to do it all in one day saving on accommodation.  Early 1.5 hr flight returning in the late afternoon. The plan was perfect as the airport is only 10 km from the Falls (the town is 25km so more a pain to go there first anyway).  From the airport grab a taxi, walk around for 4 hours and then jump on a plane back.  Although a little pricey a perfect plan, right?  Except when if pours rain the entire time, OH NO!!!  Sorry no photos and a dead camera as well.

Mom, thanks for visiting.  Hope you enjoyed your stay and experiences in Argentina.



Other stuff


A week of clothes packed much better then day 1 of the trip


Forced security at the supermarket
for my tank bag so I didn't shoplift.

Emergency runway on the highway
They call this "milanesa" in Argentina meaning "breaded"
Cheap Toilet paper with HOLES

Ridiculous gas prices  $2.20 USD/litre.
Thank god it's a small country.
Delicious churros at Santa Teresa!

Quick storage

Quick ice pack

Break away signal light that never
breaks, but half the time looks sad

1 comment:

Peter S said...

That's a lovely long hair in the calamari.