Published: August 6th 2007June 10th 2007
This was the beginning
Tomé un excursión hoy. The trip I had planned to San Martin de los Andes had to be called off because the road was closed due to heavy snowfall. So instead I took a boat to Isla Victoria, an island in the middle of the vast lake that defines this part of Patagonia. My Spanish isn’t quite as good as I thought, as I thought I heard the guide say that there was a sanctuary for a type of tree that exists nowhere else in the world on the island. I couldn’t remember the name of said species (I know it now- it’s Bosque Arrayan) and my descriptions with my limited Spanish had people pointing me to other exotic trees that WERE on the island. I wound up seeing the entire island though, that was an unexpected bonus.
Herein lies the confusion. After the boat departed from Isla Victoria, it headed to another island where the Bosques Arrayanes live. I didn’t realize there was a second stop, much less realize that this is what it was. I thought the boat was returning to shore. It was pretty cool. These trees were supposedly Walt Disney’s inspiration for the forest in Bambi.
On la Isla Victoria
I vaguely remember seeing the movie when I was about seven, and don’t remember the trees therein, but sure, ok.
What a day! I took an excursion that was scheduled to go to the Tromeador Glacier. We got about 2/3 of the way there and were informed that this road too was closed due to snowfall. After a bus vote, we decided to go into the park as far as the road would take us and play in the snow. So we went to his little cafeteria (more of a large kiosk disguised as a lodge) and had lunch. The group was primarily Brazilians, and we all had fun playing in the snow. Afterwards, we began the trip back, nothing unusual.
That is, until the minibus stopped moving on a hill. It seems the tire chains had broken and were thrashing randomly as the wheel spun. After much quasi-organized team work (did you know that every Brazillian man is an expert in this area, and none agree on how to fix anything?) they had the women hike to the top of the hill while the men fixed the tire. It was a bizarre experience.
Vista al Mar
On la Isla Victoria
We were only about 8 km from the Chilean border, so there were official vehicles everywhere. The people just sort of stared as they passed.
Then, out of nowhere, a very elderly man (I´d guess he was at least 80) started throwing snowballs at his wife. She managed to make a huge one without him noticing and lobbed it back. Soon we were all fully involved in an epic snowball battle. It was surreal. Then the bus made it up the hill and we all started cheering and dancing.
Oh, and another random canine moment. When we were stopped at the ranger station on the way into the park, a black Labrador retriever randomly climbed on board the bus and came and put his face in my lap.
As I was uploading photos, a random parade went by the cafe. I don´t know what it was for, and neither do the employees of the cybercafe.
There are more photos below