Coldest place so far - out with the jackets !!!
21.12.2008 - 23.12.2008
Sunday 21st to Tuesday 23rd December 2008
Stayed here in a nice little hotel on the edge of town ; Bariloche is essentially a tourist town, very popular with Argentinian visitors all year round but particularly popular in the winter ski season. Also big with school trips and the place was overflowing with school kids when we got there.
Its very beautiful and our hotel ( Hosteria Costa Del Nahuel) was situated right on the edge of the lake - quite sunny but a very cold wind meant we had our jackets on as soon as we arrived. And the lovely outdoor pool stayed very unused by all of us
Marcello took Kirsty to the Doctors about her foot while we tried to find a restaurant for lunch - had more disappointing Pizza, same doughy base although I did get some Tomato puree this time.
We used the afternoon to take a chair lift up Cerro Campanario ( I was a little bit uneasy - not great with heights, although it was only 1049 metres high, but chair lift wasnt very substantial !!!!) However there were brilliant views of the lakes and of the Isla Victoria which we're due to visit tomorrow which made the hike up worthwhile.
Kirtsy came with us against Doctors advice but she's having a day of rest and elevation tomorrow to allow the antibiotics to kick in.
We had a lovely meal at Don Molina, a restaurant very near the hotel, which I loved the look of til I realised it was full cow hides on the walls and not black and white wallpaper as I'd originally thought. Excellent food though, so well worth a visit and I totally went for it by having a Merringue based desert tonight as well - Bariloche is famous for its chocolate so not suprsingly it was in nearly everything.
Monday 22nd December
Wasnt really in the mood for our boat trip today to Isla Victoria and then the Arraynes Forrest, both on the Nahuel Huapi Lake. Evreyone on the boat was Spanish except for us and a few Americans , oh and the GAP group we met (a rival tour company). Joked all day that at least they had their guide with them - Marcello had opted not to come and as a result we felt like a bit of a hinderance at times when the spanish speaking boat guide had to throw a few english words at us.
Very cold and windy on the boat so we sat indoors, and it was crammed with tourists so nowhere near as relaxing as the trip in Paraty. We kind of entertained ourselves for the day - posing stupidly at bits of old trees and cracking jokes about the Eucalyptus trees ( the guide bored us with a story about male and female trees which we used as our days entertainment- you had to be there !!!).
The second island was even less enthralling - and even the spanish speaking guide left us to our own devices. Really we could've been almost anywhere.
Journey back was a bit better as we had some sun and I was able to sit up on the deck and cringe at the people feeding seagulls and taking photos. No-one believed me when I said that the Seagulls in Peterhead would rather eat your arm than a poltry little cracker.
Finished off the evening with a lovely meal at Familia Weiss, where I compensated for the lack of Morgan's rum by drinking incredibly strong Bacardi's all night. Food was amazing here - definitely worth all the good write ups it gets. Although none of us had its famous Wild Boar, the restaurants signature dish.
Joe and I wasted a few hours at the end of the night in an Irish pub called The Wilkenny ( not sure if thats a mis-spelling or not - we didnt get its Irish connection !!!). Good pub with some excellent 80's music ( cant remember when I last heard A Flock of Seagulls and Men Without Hats in a pub !!!) and it was very busy ; seemed to be getting even busier when we left at 3am to stagger home. These Argentinians have some stamina when it comes to partying I must say
Tuesday 23rd DecemberI didnt quite manage a morning shopping trip around town, as had a very sore head. Bit miffed I didnt go really as everyone came back with amazing bits and pieces. Anyway, we headed down to the bus station for around 11.30pm and got ready for our trip to Puerto Varas, Chile over the Andes by bus. Marcello booked our tickets yesterday so although the bus was busy we had comfortable seats and got our lugage checked on no problem. The journey itself wasnt as picturesque as Id expected - through the Samore/Puyehue Pass ( I think the more impressive way to go is on a two night trek staying at Puella on the way and using a boat for part of it). Anyway, it was pretty if not excatly spectacular scenery.
We went through a small town called Villa La Angostura, which was very pretty and seemed reasonable enough for visiting ( Im wondering if the famous Angosturra Bitter comes from here - given its in Pisco Sours, LOL ??).
Yet more form filling at the border point, Pajaritos, which was in the middle of nowhere, and populated by some of the biggest flies you've ever seen. Given the state of Kirsty's leg none of us were taking any chances and I have to admit to trying to swat them at every opportunity. The border patrol put a sniffer dog onto the bus to make sure we didnt take any dairy or organic produce into Chile but I reckon he had a bit of an off day as he missed my half eaten ham sandwich that Id left on my seat.
The only town of any real note that we went through before reaching our destination was Osorno, which actually looked really grim when we approached it and certainly didnt paint a great picture of Chile to those who hadnt already seen some of it. Apparently it was founded and abandoned a few times during the 16th/17th centuries before becoming one of the main centres for German immigation , which became fairly widespread throughout the area.
We arrived in Puerto Varas a bit earlier than expected - around 7pm ( 7 hour journey) and straight away it felt German, or sort of 'mountain chalet'-ish. Had a bit of a hike to our hotel from the bus station too - not the best, and the hotel seems to be quite far out of town. Anyway, here in Puerto Varas ( or 'Little Germany' as its known for Christmas !!!).
Sure it will be entertaining !!