Published: October 29th 2007October 29th 2007
When we wrote our last blog we were just about to get on a bus to Bariloche, 11 days later we are still there although this is not entirely by design (more on that later).
Bariloche is our first stop in Patagonia, the tourist capital of the Argentinian Lake District and a great place to spend some time. We are here in the month between the ski season and the summer season which has both advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side neither the town nor the walking trails have been over-run by tourists and the snow on the mountains gives a dramatic backdrop to the lakes. The negative has been that that same snow makes high paths unpassable so we have had to stick to low level walking. The other downside we discovered last night when I (Andy) happily walked into a restaurant to try the famous Patagonian lamb only to find that it is out of season. I was distraught.
After a few weeks mainly based in towns and cities we have been able to rediscover our walking boots here going on various hikes through the forests and around the lakes (a good thing as the other
thing that Bariloche is famous for is its chocolate). One of the most stunning started at Llau Llau, Argentina´s most prestigious hotel. With fantastic views on all sides it would have been great to spend a few days (and nights) there but unfortunately our budget only stretched to catching the bus and setting off on a walk.
This is the longest we have spent in one place and it allowed us take some breaks from travelling and do things like watch the world cup final (looked like a try to me), witness an Argentinan election (Christina Kirchner succeeds her husband as President), do some running and swimming and get my hair cut - even by my standards the picture below reveals quite a scalping. Clare of course, found it very amusing.
However it came time to leave Bariloche so we headed to the laundrette to pick up all our clothes other than the ones we were wearing. It was then that disaster stuck as we realised that our Spanish had let us down and we´d not understood they were closing early. With the next day being Sunday we had a problem and briefly thought we would be buying
a whole new wardrobe. A panicked taxi to the bus station later we discovered we could move our tickets, so spent Saturday night befriending a bottle of Malbec in a lakeside bar. Tough life.
So after a couple of days of smelling we are now back in clean clothes and ready to cross the country to Trelew, where they speak Welsh, serve Welsh teas and have a penguin colony just down the road.
There are more photos below