Villa Gesell, a weekend escape

By Carolyn Tiernan

Courtesy of Carolyn Tiernan

After spending three weekends in Buenos Aires, our entire Early Start group was ready for a change of scenery.  The boys found a DJ Dash Berlin concert (yeah, I don’t know who he is either) at a venue in the beach town of Villa Gesell. The town is a five-hour bus ride southwest of Buenos Aires.

We booked the trip very last minute, and were scrambling to put a deposit on our hostel before we bought the concert and bus tickets.  The hostel was the most difficult part because we had to put down a 50% deposit on the beds, just in case we didn’t show up. That was reasonable, but it was hard collecting bank account information over the phone to transfer the cash, when we could barely understand the Spanish on the other line. Finally, the hostel was booked and next was the bus.  We thought you could buy tickets online, but it turns out you need an Argentinian ID. We ended up having to go to the bus station, which is located in the neighborhood of Retiro, and it was the largest bus terminal I’ve ever seen. Over 100 bus companies operate out of Retiro, and you can travel pretty much anywhere your heart desires (although it could take up to four days). We also had to buy the concert tickets in person, which was located behind the sketchiest of unmarked doors on the street.

We left Thursday afternoon and arrived in town just before dark.  After wandering around for an hour looking for the hostel, we caved and took a taxi; it ended up only being a 20 minute drive away. The hostel was the first one I’ve ever stayed at. It wasn’t that nice, but it could’ve been much worse; at least we got sheets on the beds (I’ve heard horror stories). We went to the main street for dinner, which is converted to a pedestrian street at night. The town is all young people on vacation, so we fit right in. The concert was at a venue called, ‘Pueblo Limite’, and it lasted from midnight until 6 A.M. I had a great time, even though I had no idea who the DJ was.

After a short sleep, I hit the beach. We were severely battered by sand, so we ended up leaving pretty early. Instead, we scoped out a good place for dinner that night in town.  At dinner I had the best red wine I’ve had so far, a Malbec from a Patagonian vineyard. For my main dish, I ordered seafood risotto and flan for dessert. If there’s one thing we’ve all learned here, it’s that you shoudn’t expect anything  you order to be what you think it is. My risotto was brown, not white, and had no cheese whatsoever.  But it was still delicious, so I went with it. Better yet, the waiter forgot to charge me for the meal on the final bill.

The last day we got to the beach, luckily, before the heavy winds, and on the bus ride back, I was knocked out the entire way. I could get used to how comfy the luxury buses are here! We returned to Buenos Aires sandy, sunburned, and exhausted, but grateful for our exciting weekend away, and for finally figuring out how to plan a vacation here. Next trip in progress: Bariloche.

Carolyn Tiernan is a Collegian blogger. She can be reached at [email protected]