Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mar del Plata - the Atlantic Coast

After a great 6 days exploring beautiful Buenos Aires it was time to take this show on the road. And with that I headed off on the 5 and half hour bus journey down the coast to Mar del Plata, beach playground in summer of the Portenos (Buenos Aires residents).

I was wondering when I would have my first mishap on the road and it happened on arrival in Mar. Nothing major you understand but when you are tired, hungry, thirsty and just arrived in a new town not knowing where you are, little things take on a greater magnitude. So when I recovered my bag from under the bus, flung it over my shoulder and started looking for a taxi, I thought it odd that I had water dripping down my leg. On closer inspection it turned out that my bag was absolutely drenched. There must have been a leak under the bus. When I got to my hostel and unpacked, everything was wet. And I mean wet. So much so that I could actually wring water out of my clothes. For the next 2 days it would be a race against time to dry them out before repacking.

First impressions can often be deceiving, and so it was with Mar del Plata. My first look around, albeit i was tired, I was struck by how much it was like Blackpool, but with much more glamorous sun-seekers. However, after a good nights sleep, and heading away from the beach front, I was struck by how quaint the town is. Suburbs that are very reminiscent of something you would see out East in Sydney, like Bronte or Waverley. Beautiful little houses, well kept gardens and great corner cafes where I was able to get my café cortado fix.

I had a great, but very very long, walk along the coast and down to the port. Here there was a sea lion colony and further along, advertised as a tourist sight, a statue of San Salvador. I'm glad I made the trek, if nothing else it burned off a few of the beers that I have been getting used to, but in terms of tourist sights, it wouldn't rank near the top. A poor man's version of Rio's Christ the Redeemer.

All in all, I have enjoyed Mar del Plata, great beaches and a very welcome diversion from the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires. But my time here is almost up. Tonight I leave on the night bus for Puerta Madryn, my first port of call in Patagonia. Think of me as I endure the 17 hour bus journey south. Some consolation can be had in the quality of buses. The seats are gigantic, very comfy and actually recline flat so you can sleep on them. You even get little snack packs like on an aeroplane. Hopefully I will arrive in Patagonia refreshed and ready for whatever is in store for me there.

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