Piriapolis was a short 2 hour bus ride from Montevideo and promised to be a mystical adventure with much of its short history surrounding the ideals of a wealthy alchemist (Don Francisco Piria) who settled there and attempted to develop the seaside fishing village into a utopian city. Unfortunately for Chrissy and I, the lore of this small alchemy town with a kabbalah background seemed more like a sleepy village than a medieval resort. We did have our doubts though as the local HI (Hostelling International) resembled a former aselym rather than a hotel, but we toughed it out just the same. We spent the first evening walking the streets until the sunset over the Atlantic and then retired to the room excited for our journey to the Castillo de Piria in the morning.
We woke just early enough to catch breakfast and then started off on the 5 mile walk into the country-side to find the crazy alchemists estate. We had read accounts of secret staircases, meandering passages and his alchemy laboratory but found none of these on our brief spanish guided tour. We were a little disappointed hoping to be blown away by some crazy sorcerors castle, only
to find all the rooms roped off and a long walk back in the sun. We did pass an old gothic cathedral on the way that looked as if it had been destroyed in a fire hundreds of years before. We later found out that it was actually an unfinished project of Piria, that was meant to house the holy grail. Apparently Piria thought that the Pope was going to send it there during WWII. Chrissy and I had had a look around but didn´t see anything resembling that....oh well! We spent what was left of our day laying on the beach and later made a quick dinner in the hostel where we enjoyed a tasty beverage over a game of chess in the courtyard.
In all it was a relaxing little town complete with a marina full of sailboats and a beautiful view of the ocean with its lore of black magic just around the corner.
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