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2014-01-14

Mar del Plata- an unforgettable trip

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I always dreamed about living at the beach, but  was surprised when I arrived in Buenos Aires and there was no such beach there or anything close. The water is too contaminated to take a swim so its not possible to cool oneself and there are just a few small waterparks in the North of Buenos Aires. A few days before Christmas it was simply too hot to do anything outside so my roommates and I were looking for a new way to escape the heat and their was a chance with Mar del Plata, a small city in the south of Argentina with 600,000 residents. A city that is known as a place for holiday makers. So, for us, there was no doubt not to go there and we booked our bus tickets immediately. There are several bus companies that sell those tickets to Mar del Plata so you are not pressed for a certain time. We decided ourselves what was the best time because we did not know any of those bus companies. After that we all read our travel guides to get more information about the city and its' neighborhoods so that we knew where is the best place to stay. We found a great hotel, just two blocks away from the beach (Arcos Hotel). We were so looking forward to escaping the heat, traffic and noise of Buenos Aires. We were counting the days from until we went. The day finally came and we went to the Retiro bus station to look for our gate because you don´t have a fixed gate where your bus leaves. You need to listen to announcements, which are hardly understandable for foreigners, very carefully. Our bus was one hour late and we were so glad when we saw the bus with the name of the company (Flecha Bus) and Mar del Plata on it. The bus system in Argentina is really great. You can go to every different part of the country by different bus. The buses are really comfortable. You have bigger seats and a lot a of space for your feet. If you get your tickets very early, you can choose your seat and you should select one that is on the top at the front. After checking in we realized that from time to time it was getting colder. That’s another thing you should be aware of. It depends on the bus driver can regulate the air conditioning. For us it was way to cold and we were freezing all the way down to Mar del Plata.    

As we reached Mar del Plata we were overcome by the heat there. Another surprise was waiting for us because we were not allowed to take a cab on our own. We had to wait until a man, who worked for the bus station, came to us and allocated us a cab. The hotel we chose was close to the beach, included breakfast and an English speaking receptionist which is really rare to find in Argentina. Our first aim was to find a place where you can buy food. It was so easy to find a good, cheap All-you-can-eat restaurant there and we were really satisfied afterwards. Then we went directly to the main beach just like thousands of other Argentinean people. There is no way to find a place where you can be on your own. We knew that, but we still surprised how many Argentinean people meet in one place. I was definitely surprised that the beach was that crowded but it seemed to me that nobody else did. The main beach was close to all the hotels and hostels and you could see the small beach “houses”. My roommates and I had never seen anything like this.

These houses stood in one row and they were neither beautiful nor cheap. They were not that crowded because most of the Argentineans brought their own umbrella, we didn´t and hoped to get some shade under a tree but there was not one single tree on the beach. That´s the reason you should bring good sun block and a hat, otherwise you will get burned like we did. One day we decided to buy an umbrella with three seats for 180 Pesos. However that was just the off-season price and the prices can climb to 250 Pesos in January and 350 Pesos in February. So you should bring your own umbrella with you. One of the best experiences of this trip was the ice-cream in Mar del Plata. There were many different ice-cream shops which were hugely different to all the place I have ever seen in Germany. On the one hand there were many different flavors which I had never heard of and on the other hand you could get huge portions of it. We ate one kilogram of ice-cream one day and we really enjoyed it. You could find at least one ice-cream shop in every street where you could buy one kilogram of ice-cream for 5 Euro. In the end I would say that this trip was one of the best experiences I have had in Argentina and I would like to thank my roommates, Dee and Tom, for sharing these great experiences with me and for an unforgettable trip to Mar del Plata.          

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