Day 646 (4.01.09)
After our relatively short bus ride to El Bolson, we walked around to find a place to stay before dumping our stuff and starting an aimless wander around town to get our bearings. After a bit of a search around we found the local artesan market and strolled through to see what was on offer. With a stop at the famous Heladeria Jauja for a superb ice-cream (we can highly recommend the lemon pie and white chocolate flavours!) we finished the day with a bit of planning and catching up on the very slow internet.
Day 647 (5.01.09)
With our actual second wedding anniversary being partly taken up by a bus ride tomorrow, we split our celebrating over two days. A great idea we may have to adopt for many more years to come! Moving out to a nicer place out of town called El Pueblito, we asked the nice lady at the Tourist Information centre to book us a double room only to find out on our arrival that the double room was actually a dorm room, oh. We managed to nab a rather cool 'shelf' area however which albeit not what we had
in mind, was rather quirky.
Set next to the river in grassy grounds with great views of the mountains El Pueblito is a lovely homely place with a great atmosphere and we felt that we could have stayed a week rather than a night. We had a fabulous picnic lunch with an abundance of treats for our special day (or two) including some incredible smoked venision, a specialty of the area. The rest of the day was very relaxing as we read in the hammocks, played some games, supped on some nice wine and paddled in the river with Kate and Chrissie looking on disapprovingly at the "stupid boys" throwing large rocks in to make big splashes!
We had a lovely steak dinner and some drinks in the bar to finish off an excellent day.
Day 648 (06.01.09)
So we've now been married for two incredible years and are still on our honeymoon! How lucky we are!
As we were only in town for one more day we took the advice of the guy at the hostel and made our way up to Cerro Piltriquitron. This involved a taxi ride up to the platform and
then some walking to head up the hill.
After half an hour or so steep uphill climb we reached the quirky Bosque Tallado, a series of sculptures made from tree trunks dotted around a forest grove. It was really cool to wander around.
Leaving the sculptures we continued on up the hill for another 15 minutes to the refugio where we had a picnic and enjoyed the views over the town, mountains and river valley far below us.
With a bus to catch that evening we couldn't stay long before we had to begin the long walk back down to town. Thankfully it was all downhill and we made quick work of getting back down to where we'd been dropped off by the cab. We started to head off down the road we'd been driven up and soon spotted a track off to the left that we thought must be a shortcut for walkers. Thinking that this would be quicker and more scenic and interesting than a gravel road we set off down it. Despite being pretty steep and verrrrrrrrrrrrrrry dusty it turned out well for us depositing us back on the road further down the hill
some time later. Back on the road we looked out for more shortcut options and it wasn't long before we discovered another tempting track. This time it wasn't to prove quite as successful on the time saving front but certainly gave us some interesting experiences including getting lost in a very pine-cony forest, crawling under and over some barberd wire fences, crossing a couple of streams, getting mooed at by a large bull and happening upon a lone cowboy!
Eventually back on the road it was getting hot, we were getting a little weary and town still seemed a long way off when we were passed by a ute with several kids sat on the back. Mark, feeling optimistic that they might want to carry a few more, chased it down the road for some time before it eventually stopped and agreed (we think!) to give us a lift back to town. Clambering on the open back we found that there were now 13 people and a lot of luggage being carried by one little ute! Our feet were definitely glad of the ride and it would have taken us a least another hour to reach town so we
thanked the driver profusely when we reached El Bolson.
We wandered around the artesan market again, sampled some excellent locally brewed beer, and went for another helping of superb ice-cream at Jauja. We jumped onto the internet for 5 minutes to see if any news about our impending niece/nephew had come through to find that we were now auntie and uncle to Miranda Jane - very exciting!
After picking up our stuff at El Pueblito we were back in town to catch our bus for the night. As it was our anniversary (and the start of a long journey) we'd treated ourselves to a full cama bus, the first class of bus travel in South America. Settled into our armchair sized seats, with a large hot meal on our laps, a cheesy film in full flow and a bottle of bubbly that we'd brought on to toast both our anniversary and the arrival of our niece we were in our element!
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