Published: August 7th 2007February 20th 2007
We have chosen a Bus trip along the "Ruta 40" as our way to arrive from El Chalten to Bariloche. These were the most boring two days of our South American journey, lol :) If you are thinking about taking the bus along this route, don't bother, fly. It is super-super-dull (in out opinion) The scenery repeated itself after about 5 minutes and went on and on and on. We even had to stop a night in some grotty motel along the way, to split the torture over 2 long 12 hour days. Anyway, we finally arrived really late in Bariloche and left with our new friend Tristan from Baltimore to celebrate the final hour of his birthday at Alberto's, a great home-made pasta restaurant. Not the best way to spend your birthday on a sweaty bus getting bored to death, but Albertos probably made up for it. Back at the hostel the friendly housemates dragged us out to an irish pub. We were tired after the 15 hours on the bus but it was Tristan's birthday after all! After few pints at we cracked and went back to the hostal.
The next day we spent on what we call
Andy Goes in
I suspect a push from Tristan here, even though he said he was "Trying to save me" :)
our work" these days ;) , we did update the blog and it took us hours (as it always does), those days are also spent researching, organising and budgeting! Yes, it is not all holiday here :) Back at the hostal we decided to cook for our new friends and got cooking in the well equipped kitchen of the "41 below" hostal. This place also has a massive wooden table which was great to get to know everyone.
On Thursday we all (Tristan and us) went white water rafting. We drove for 1 1/2 hours out of town to a beautiful spot in the countryside. there we had to change into the sexy wetsuits, splash vests, booties and helmets. We left for the spot where we could get the boats into the water. Our guides divided us into 2 groups and started explaining the commands. More explanations followed while we were already in the boat, getting prepared for the first rapid, our nerves were building. We did 12 rapids in all without major dramas, and in places our guide tried to flip the boat by giving us the wrong instructions while we were close to the rocks. After he
did not succeed or we did not fail, he flipped the boat anyway. Also one of the rapids was small enough to swim though it, so Josie jumped in. It seems that this time of year isn't the best for rafting as the rapids are pretty small in comparison to what they would be in the Spring during the snow melt. After a very exhausting experience which was pretty chilly at the end we made our way back, passing by the chilian border. Back at the boat house we were greeted with a fantastic asado (argentinian BBQ - THE BEST!). The meal came with free wine, so we indulged in a few glasses which would result in a bit of a nap on the way home. Back at the hostal Andy found out from Paul, the hostal owner, where he could get some kite surfing lessons. As the kite surfing teacher was leaving Bariloche on Sunday we grabbed the opportunity and booked ourselves onto 3 lessons of 4 hours for the next 3 days.
While in Bariloche we obviously had to try the chocolate. It is the chocolate capital of Argentina! Apparently Mamuschka was the best one, so we
tried it and decided that it truly was very good. Great figs and plums in chocolate!
On the first day of kite surfing we had a very strong wind, so we only trained with the training kite, dry on the beach. The kit was pretty small compared to the real thing, but man, did it have some tug in the high winds. This made us both a bit apprhensive about getting onto the 7m version on the next day. The next day the weather looked much more promising and we could go into the lake and try out some body dragging, while Leo, our teacher would be with us all the time. This exercise was without the board but actually just being busy with the kite was more than enough of a challange. Kitting really has some potential to be amazing fun, but there is also a healthy dose of the danger factor in there, wether it be drowing or being dragged high into the air or even worse, getting dragged into something solid at speed. That is what really makes it exciting I guess, and Andy was hooked.
That Saturday the Argentinian's celebrated the end of Carnival
and organised a parade through Bariloche. That means a lot of nearly naked women - unfortunatelly they are not close to being as good samba dancers of their Brasilian neighbours. That evening it was the last night in Argentina for Tristan so we dragged him out to Alberto's for some steak this time. What an achievement considering Trisan was a vegerterian at some point! We ordered 2 Lomos and one Chorizo and shared a portion of chips and salad. The portions were MASSIVE! Just the meat was sooo much, the Lomo came in 3 big pieces = 1 portion! It was the best and the cheapest steak we had in Argentina. To finish it off we ordered a "Don Pedro" which turned out to be Whiskey with vanilla ice cream and nuts served in a glass. Just when Tristan took the last painfull mouthfull of the dessert Andy gave him an image he probably will never forget "Just imagine it was seamen!" - Too late, he had to swallow the load down and we burst out laughing. Classic!
On Sunday was our last lesson. As we took so much of Leo's time the day before, he decided to teach
only Andy that day. Unfortunatelly he did not share his plans with anyone. However, as Andy was the keen one on kite surfing he got the chance to try it all out, kite with the board that is. It all proved very difficult but Andy is determined to have more lessons to fully enjoy that sport. He achieved standing up for about 1/3rd of a second before dropping down again. This time the wind was a bit too light and the kite was underpowered, seems you can't win when the weather is involved.
After spending each day at the lake, we decided to have a "work day" again - it was Monday after all ;) Unfortunatelly bad news reached Josie by email. Her mum informed her that her grandmother passed away that morning.
On Tuesday we went back to the beach, it was just sooo remote and quiet and we took our new friend with us Ewa from Poland. Andy cooked some yummy tappas style stuff - al fresco of course - while Josie practiced her polish again. We befriended the most comedy local dog, with a bizzare frindge cut (see pictures). The dog took great pleasure in
Andy and his new Buddy
Check out the fringe on this hound.
Andy and his new Buddy
Before we left Bariloche and therefore Argentina Andy insisted to have a last steak at Alberto's. Thursday was our actual last day in Bariloche and we made few shoppings for our chilian friends who we would be staying with on our way back to Santiago. Lunch was at, guess... Alberto's Pasta! Before we ordered the food a woman from the neighbouring table gave obout 3/4 of her food to us. We must have looked very hungry! Andy treated himself to some new trainers as Josie did few days ago and he was shoe jealous ;) We caught the bus to the airport and were asked again to pay departure tax, 18$ US each this time. Nevermind, we are getting used to it. The flight was very uneventfull, over Puerto Montt to Santiago where we were picked up be Felipe and his girfriend Carmen.
Finally, if Tristan ever reads this entry, drop us a message/email with your email address.
It seems we forgot to take it, and it would be great for us to keep in touch!
There are more photos below