We left the hotel and went in search of an internet café to upload more info to our site and to check mail. We found one, but the connections were slow so it took most of the morning to do what we wanted to - a shame because it was a beautiful, hot and sunny day. Another lesson learned: web updates are strictly for evenings or Sundays when most things are shut!
Get me down!
It's my rock, no, it's mine!!
We then set off for Cabo Polonio. It's meant to be one of the most beautiful parts of the coast. You can't drive there as there are sand dunes between the beach and the road. You either have to walk or go by 4x4 truck. We're staying at least one night so have full packs and opt for the 4x4. The ride was a laugh. Stef opted to sit on the high frame at the back of the truck so that he could see better. I think he quite quickly realised it was a mistake and looks of glee were soon replaced with looks of "I want to get down".
We weren't sure if the hosteria would be open and didn't really get a clear answer from the guy driving the 4x4 but we knew we could simply turn around if it wasn't. Once over the dunes and on the beach I started to understand why this is a beauty spot. It's a wide, open, sandy beach. A few huts are dotted on the sand at the edge of the dunes - they look as if they would simply crumble away on a high tide or in strong winds.
On the point is the little village of Cabo Polonio, dominated by a lighthouse which also seems to be a naval base. We wanted to go to the top (130 steps) but the painters who are decorating tell us to come back tomorrow.
The 4x4 winds down through the village. I was surprised at how many people seem to be living here. For the first time we've reached a village that has no order to its layout. There are a couple of grocery shops open and we get definite looks of "more mad tourists coming here off season".
The hosteria is open and we get a friendly welcome and a choice of rooms. Stef opts for the one up a steep flight of wooden steps that has better views across the bay - hopefully we'll get a good view of the sun rise. Practicalities soon hit home as there's hardly room to swing a cat inside.
We head off for a walk and meet Juan and Declan on the patio below - they also arrived today. They are Masters students in Sweden who have been in Chile for a conference on sustainable energy supplies for Easter Island. They have tacked just over a week's holiday onto the end of their trip and have a whistle-stop tour through Uruguay and Buenos Aires.
Saving the sandy bay walk for tomorrow we head over the rocks towards the lighthouse where there is also a protected reserve for sea lions. We've seen them before in San Francisco and in the Beagle Channel but never really so close up in a totally natural habitat. Some were swimming, some were playing/fighting, but most were simply lazing in the sunshine. There's a small island offshore and the only noise coming from it is that of sea lions "barking".
It was another stunning sun set and we sat on our little balcony watching the stars come out. When we headed down for dinner the sky was full of bright lights with a big, hazy streak through it which we think is the milky way. It was so breathtakingly beautiful that it inspired an "aren't we so lucky that we're doing this" moment. We don't get night skies like this anywhere I've been to in the northern hemisphere. We tried to work out where the Southern Cross was but not knowing much about astronomy we failed miserably!
Over dinner we chatted with Declan and Juan. They've had a busy time preparing for their conference and have exams coming up when they get back to Sweden. Dinner was good but expensive and, compared to what we've had elsewhere was not value for money. We're a bit of a captive audience as there's no where else open. It possibly also costs more to get stuff here as it either has to come by boat or 4x4. A storm rolled in and lasted all night - bright lightening, incredible rolls of thunder and torrential rain.
Of the places we've seen so far Colonia and Cabo Polonio are top of my list. They both have a serene beauty and calm. They lull you into a sense of an idyllic lifestyle, better than we have in London. In reality it is probably just as challenging but in very different ways.