“Somehow it just never gets old. I sit here watching each wave take it’s turn smashing against the rocks in front if me; all patiently making their long journey from somewhere out in the vast endless blue skyline to the shore. A force so powerful, it’s hard to fathom. The sunlight glistening off the rocks wet from the constant intrusion of water, awake in the golden hour as the sun descends behind me. Waves toppling over each other to join as one powerful force, knocking down anything in its path. The rocks have been shaped and molded because the ocean has no mercy for its existence. The explosions mimic champagne bottles being popped, only the occasion is more special than any holiday or celebration; it’s the daily life for the ocean. It’s what drives the planet and it doesn’t get the chance to clock out. The movement of each wave holds an intricate design; each unique in it’s power, direction, size, and break. They fold into each other as they pass by, once distant strangers from elsewhere coming together. An ironic relationship that holds a particular current and pattern, while at the same time being so free and unpredictable.”
Sitting on some of the oldest geological formations looking out over the vast ocean, I sat and wrote down my emotions as I watched the surfers attempting to catch the waves crashing passionately into the rocks surrounding me in La Pedrera, Uruguay.
My deep infatuation with the ocean is not a new romance and these words can transcend all destinations where the ocean meets the shoreline. However, there was something about the beaches in Uruguay that captured my heart and soul in a unique way that left me craving the Atlantic coast upon our departure from the small South American country. Although Uruguay held many memories that spanned across all the geographic locations the land had to offer, the shoreline occupied a majority of our travels through the country.
Beginning our explorations where the Río de la Plata consumed the shorelines and harbors of Montevideo and Maldonado, we continued our journey eastward where the freshwater was corrupted by the salinity of the Atlantic Ocean. We spent about three weeks moving from one small beach town to the next, making our way up the east coast until the border of Brazil trekking, hitchhiking, or by bus. Escaping the upcoming summer season, we found ourselves walking along mostly deserted ocean landscapes. Prior to the madness that engrosses Uruguay’s beaches come mid-December and continuing through January, the shorelines remain relatively dead and the small beach towns almost completely empty. Perhaps it was the tranquil beach environment that was so captivating. Looking ahead at the kilometers to come as we trekked from La Paloma to La Pedrera and from Cabo Polonio to Valizas to Punta del Diablo to Santa Theresa, the vast emptiness created a strong bond between us and the ocean. We were all alone with her; listening to her every sound, watching her every move, feeling her warmth in the sand between our toes, her refreshing breath in the wind gently harassing our faces and her loving embrace with every wave that caressed our feet. Never for a second did she get old or boring. Our love grew deeper for her every day.
But it wasn’t just the ocean and the beach environment in itself that made our Uruguayan adventures so lustful; we came across some extraordinary souls that enhanced every experience. Whether they were other international travelers sharing a beer and good conversation at the beach hostels or some Uruguayan locals, we met some amazing people that made every experience a memory for the books. It didn’t take long into our Uruguayan travels to convince us that the people of Uruguay are simply beautiful all the way down to their core. The constant help and love we received from all the people of Uruguay, including complete strangers, left us in constant awe at the generosity of the country’s citizens.
Uruguay is beautiful from its people to its beaches to its interior campo landscape. Still somewhat off the maps as tourism is still developing there, the country is well worth a visit. It captured my heart instantly and will hold a significant spot in my South American memories, especially our shoreline experiences. Uruguay’s beaches were something special; I have yearned for the ocean from the moment we left and continue to anticipate the next moment I can feel her affection once again.