Blogs from San Martín de Los Andes, Neuquén, Argentina, South America

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My plan for the next few days was to travel north about 3 hours from Bariloche to San Martin De Los Andes. San Martin De Los Andes sits at the northern end of the very beautiful route of the 7 lakes and on the southern edge of the Lanin national park (more lakes and mountains, ho hum), which is dominated by the 3,700m+ Lanin Volcano. Prior to coming to San Martin I had vague plans to join an organised trip to walk/climb around Lanin (this would be good practice for the even higher climb up Cotopaxi when I got to Ecuador). But on arrival, conscious that it might not be the best therapy for my back and finding San Martin less accessible than I had expected, it now seemed unwise and unlikely in the 3 full ... read more
Basalt Cliffs between San Martin and Quila Quina
The Viewpoint Above San  Martin De Los Andes
On the Way Out to Hua Hum


Today we hit the road! After the explanation of the strange ways that the rental car system works here, I cannot explain it, it is all in Spanish, we loaded our bags into a two door Fiat and took off. But before leaving Bariloche, John wanted to visit Tehuelche. This is a small producer of travel gear and clothing. It was a great place, supporting a team of seamstresses and the family that owns the company. We found it after driving past it several times...it took yet another helpful Argentine to guide us to the place. John picked up a pair of pants and custom ordered another! We then left Bariloche headed for Villa Traful which you reach via 25 km of gravel road. when we got there we found it was significantly smaller than expected ... read more


We awoke 'early' at the crack of dawn...well, about 8am which seems early when it is still pitch black outside. We quickly had breakie and got a taxi into town to collect our hire car. Unfortunately, we were informed yesterday that there were no automatic transmission vehicles available for hire anywhere in Bariloche which is annoying considering that I don't really know how to drive a manual. So Rach unwillingly volunteered to be my driver for the day. After getting all the paperwork done in the 'office', we had a short walk to find our car. On the way, we passed all sorts of vehicles ranging from brand new ones to rust buckets and we were holding our breath as to what sort of vehicle our 400 pesos would get us. Thankfully, it was a nice ... read more
P1050784
Breakfast crepe!
Va La Angostura village


Never have I been so unaware of the imminent arrival of Christmas than this year. It takes me by surprise when I remember the date. Today was quieter and slightly anticlimatic after the excitement of the lake and the fishing yesterday. All that smiling and adrenalin had taken its toll and I was very tired today. Good job it was Sunday. Not much was going on and so we followed suite. I had my breakfast of croissants, coffee and orange outside by the river. It has been getting warmer each morning. Nady led Ben and I to a nearby park and we got to see the real side of San Martin, where the non tourists live, just across the other side of the river.She wanted to show us the wee sack swing; a swing that you ... read more
Blogging
Sunday rest
footy


Day 8 ramblings: Rob Bell, Nick Cuthbert and 458 Italias Before I write the real Day 7 Blog, I've written some thoughts and ramblings. Joe thinks you'll not be interested. Andrea thinks you will. So, if you're nearer to Joe's age, then skip to the next Bog, if you're old like me you might find some resonance. Gray Travelling through different countries gives lots of time for reflection. First there’s having left all the stress and business behind, then there’s lots of time just to sit and watch and inevitably the comparisons start. Compared to the Argentina I first experienced more than 22 years ago there have been some major changes, some would say development. The whole feel of the place is very different. In many ways it feels like a European country with the infrastructure, ... read more

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We’ve just had a day to remember out on Lake Lalog here in San Martin de los Andes. Javier, the owner of the apartment hotel where we’re staying has a boat to go out on the lake with. There’s the half day trip and the full 9 hour trip including roast lamb on the beach. To be honest I wasn’t that interested. Previous boat trips for me have been about half an hour of doing something different and enjoyable and then just a long wait in the cold to get back to where you started from. But the rest of the family were keen, so I went along. I asked Javier if there were life jackets, to which he answered “yes” and then introduced me to Captain Fabian, who was in charge of the boat. They ... read more
Javier's Log "Mansion"
Maybe we'll change those retirement plans
Captain Fabian


Joe’s Blog (day 5) Desert, Grumps and Deer. Mum comes into my, Nady and Bens tiny room waking us at about 8:30 am as we had been told to get out of the room by 10:00 and we didn’t want to leave at 1:00pm like the day before. So we all went down one by one to have the usual small breakfast of bread, a type of croissant and hot chocolate. We managed to leave the little guesthouse by 10:30 but of course after filling up with petrol, buying a few goodies and new wiper blades it was about 11:15 when we finally left the city of Santa Rosa with Mum on the first driver’s shift. Now for the next 6 hours we drove through an endless desert which wasn’t the most interesting of sites as ... read more
the room
petrol station
in car


Sweet San Martin de los Andes, on its alpine lake, is a way-station on the gringo trail through the Patagonian lake districts. Travelers coming from the popular resort of Bariloche, Argentina, are forced to pause for a night to catch the daily 6 am bus over the Paso Mamuil Malal/Tromen to the equally popular Pucon, Chile. I, too, passed through the town four times as I tacked back and forth across the Andes to renew expiring 90-day visas. However, my stays were longer, and I always crossed the pass on Sundays for the weekly afternoon bus as I'm allergic to early morning anything. I always stayed longer in San Martin because each of my visits was full of color, friends and great trails. Carnival brought drummers and scantily-clad dancers parading down the chilly streets while spring ... read more
 psychodelic late-autumn foliage
lots of peninsulas jutting out in the lake
bright poplars and southern beech flaming gold in early autumn


Sunday 18 March Today was the start of the organised tour - Ride to the End of the World, arranged by Kevin Saunders of Glodebusters on behalf of the World of BMW. It was really what I had come for. Kven & his wife Julia are famus in the biking world for their exploits all over the world. For get Ewan McGreggor & Charlie Boorman, Kevin is the real deal. He holds a world record for the fasters circumnavigation of the globe on a motorbike - 19 days !! To practice he would ride from Cambridge to Madrid for supper, turn round and come home! We had a thorough briefing from him the night before and the plan for the forst day was for us all to ride together to the border and then make our ... read more
Volcanic ash. Puyehue National Park, Chile
The Argentine Border,  Puyehue National Park,
The Argentine Customs post,  Puyehue National Park,


Having merrily yomped our way through valleys, over hills and across streams in the beautiful Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, we pick up a hire car again (I just can't get enough of those unpredictable Argentine drivers, you see) to explore the area to the north of Bariloche, which lies across the border in Neuquén Province. One of the main towns in the area is San Martín de los Andes, which lies three hours or so north of Bariloche and only a short distance away from the border with Chile. San Martín is reachable from Bariloche via the famous Camino de los Siete Lagos, or the "road of the seven lakes", a tortuous gravel road which winds its way past a profusion of beautiful, brilliant blue mountain lakes. The road starts at Villa La Angostura, a pretty ... read more
Skirting Lago Nahuel Huapi
Lago Correntoso
Floating pumice stone from the volcanic eruption, Lago Correntoso




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