Accommodation: El Diablo Tranquillo hostel – http://eldiablotranquilo.com
Date: 8 December 2010
Walked with: Will and random stray dog, which we christened ‘Pedro’
Pubs: Um. No.
Time / length: Three hours. Haven’t got the foggiest how far it was!
Back in September I read an article about barefoot hiking in The Guardian. Oddly enough, it wasn’t something I thought to try out when I was walking the West Highland Way, but present me with kilometer after kilometer of white sand beaches, and all of a sudden it seemed like a great time to give it a go!
We’re currently staying in a very pretty fishing village in Punta del Diablo on Uruguay’s north coast, which is a mere hop, skip and jump from the Brazilian border. Apparently the town’s population swells from around 700 in their winter to 30,000 or so in peak season, which starts in a couple of weeks time. It’s a truly beautiful spot but I’m glad I’m not going to be here when the crowds descend.
The Parque National Santa Teresa lies right next to Punta del Diablo. Lonely Planet tells me that the park is run by the army. It also says it’s very popular with Brazilian and Uruguayan tourists, but it certainly wasn’t yesterday, possibly because it was so windy! Whatever the reason, we mainly shared the beach with Pedro the dog, who trotted along by our sides for an hour an a half, settled down for a nap while we sat in a small bay for a hour and read, and then accompanied us back again. Pedro and, at one point, a lot of washed up jelly fish that laid washed up on the shore and which added that frisson of risk to our barefoot wanderings It was such a pleasure and privilege to get this beautiful place largely to ourselves on such a sunny – if blustery, day. And, I suspect, it’s the easiest walk we’ll be doing on this trip!
The Guardian article on barefoot hiking –