I grew up in New Zealand and while the population of my town was not tiny it wasn’t big either, especially when you compare it to Buenos Aires.
Growing up I was constantly surrounded by nature. We rowed in the river, swam in the lakes, watched volcanos erupt (one time in 1996 when Mt Ruapehu erupted) and cycled our bikes through the streets.
One of the hardest things about living in Buenos Aires for me is a lack of nature. Its a great city but it’s a big city, people litter (which makes my insides weep) and because Argentina is so much larger than New Zealand the good nature-y stuff is so much farther away from the cities. There are lots of trees in the city but not so many open spaces, and I crave open spaces.
I love big cities however after a while they get me all wound up. Every now and then I need an escape and in my opinion the best place to escape to is the seaside.
There is something about the ocean that makes me feel calm. We lived close to the sea as kids and dad would take us there quite frequently. I remember my sister and her friend swinging me by my hands over the waves and swimming out as far as we could on our summer holidays. I have happy memories of the sea.
Last weekend I was able to escape to the coast with a couple of friends. We drove four hours south of Buenos Aires to Mar de Plata. Mar del Plata is actually a city and by New Zealand standards its a pretty big one. However it’s situated on the Atlantic Coast making it a very viable option for when I need to get an ocean fix.
Argentine beaches get a bad reputation as lets face it they struggle to compete with those found in neighbouring Brazil and other parts of South America. However I think there is still a lot of beauty to be found on the Argentine coast line. In summer the beaches the area get pretty busy (unbearably so) and for that reason I like to head there in the off season so that I have the beach to myself and enjoy the brooding skies and waves.
In Mar del Plata we spent our weekend eating, walking and talking and on the Saturday night we went to dinner at Viento en Popa. We had made a reservation before going and I was glad we did as the restaurant was packed. The food was nice. It was very simple but tasted fresh (which it should as the restaurant is right on the port.)
I had come off yet another busy week at work so I spent most of the time spent in Mar del Plata just unwinding. Before I knew it, it was time to return home. Sitting at my desk on Monday morning I did feel nice and relaxed though and it affirmed my belief that little nature trips and seaside excursions are good for my soul.