Sometimes, when you have been going to a place your whole life, you tend to take it for granted. There is a tiny beach spot on Uruguay´s Golden coast where I spent all of my childood summers, because my family has owned a house there for several decades.
Back in those days, the neighboring Atlantida was the second hippest place to go out at night during the summer after Punta del Este. When we were kids, we would spend the whole three summer months out there, riding our bikes, playing the woods and building houses from tree branches, having water wars during carnival and, of course, going to the beach.
There were a bunch of “gangs” out there. There were the kids from the French schools, the kids from the Italian School, the locals, etc. Each group would commonly ride their bikes en masse to go play videogames like Pacman and Galaxy at downtown Parque del Plata or Atlantida, enjoying the freedom of being allowed to roam free around those streets with no asphalt and very little traffic.
When we grew up, we had our first disco nights there. We would hitchhike to the hip discos in Atlantida; one time we even brought our housekeeper with us. It was rather safe to hitchhike there back then and everybody was doing it. Some of us had our first boyfriends/girlfriends there, fell in love for the first time, had our first drink, our first kiss, our first crush; it all happened there.
Over the years, as me and my 4 brothers and sisters grew older, we developed a taste for other, more savage and oceanic parts of the coast, such as Cabo Polonio (my place in the world for many years), La Pedrera, and Punta del Diablo, as well as the ubiquitous Punta del Este. In the meantime, Las Toscas also changed. The wood on the little hill behind and on the side of our house disappeared, there was fencing put on, and part of our memories lost their physical place.
To me, Las Toscas is generally what I do when I can´t really go somewhere else for whatever reason. However, there is a feeling I get when I first get off the car or the bus on arriving there, when I smell the ocean and the wet grass and walk over those pebbled streets and hear the noise of my footsteps; it´s such a wonderful feeling, it speaks of nature and freedom and relaxation, it brings back all of my happy childhood memories in one single waft of air.
One other thing I have realized after traveling to beaches the world over is that the Las Toscas beach ranks pretty high in natural beauty compared to most of them. It is a long sandy beach with an endless horizon, crowned by the hills of Piriapolis on the East, lined by sand dunes and tall pine trees.
These days, it has also become the place where the family gets together to enjoy my brother´s calzone, my dad´s barbecues or a glass of champagne with my wonderful sisters (both in blood and in-law), and where we build sandcastles and invent crazy games with my nephew and nieces. Added to the fact that the air still smells like paradise even today, the skies are ever so starry, and there are no tall buildings around whatsoever, these things make Las Toscas a place whose appeal has not been in the least ruined by habit,