Chocolate, Curry, Lasagne, Glacier, Irish and much much more!

Published: April 21st 2009
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Our route so far

I’m going to do one blog for the five days we were in Bariloche so I can bring it all up to date, but mainly because we did feck all. We were fairly lazy for our 5 days but sometimes you need a rest from seeing things. You can get ‘seeing things overdose’ very easily. We booked in to an Irish-Argentinean owned hostel called Pudu. Here we were to stay in quite simply the best hostel so far.

We had travelled with Pat and Katie from El Bolson and they were staying at the same place as well. At the hostel we met up again with Karen who had been at the hostel in El Bolson. We went out for dinner that evening and had pizza and pasta. Nothing special but certainly filling. We decided afterwards to go to the Wilkenny Irish bar. We only had one drink as it was well overpriced (as is every other Irish Bar) and not typically Irish. We are starting to get a bit p****d off with finding place with a Guinness sign and a shamrock above the door and calling it an Irish bar. They are all way overpriced and having absolutely nothing to do with Ireland. It is probably the easiest and laziest way to make money in the bar business. We left after one drink and went back to the hostel. The bar was still open there so we had one more before hitting they hay. The next day we did very little. We fixed up a few things like bus tickets and stuff and lazed about. We also tried out many of the numerous chocolate shops here in Bariloche. It was Easter Sunday so the place was full of Easter eggs. I sampled some before leaving the girls to enjoy the rest of the shops. I was going to cook dinner for four of us this evening.

I pulled out the auld reliable Lasagne. It was made but not without its problems. I went to the supermarket and the meat counter was closed. I was told it would re-open between 5 and 6! I was going to ask which one but they operate on a completely different time here. I went back down at 5:50 and it was closed. A guy told me it would be open a 6pm. I wandered around the shop waiting and waiting. It was 6:10pm and I asked again. This time the lady behind the deli counter said around 7pm. You can just imagine all the f-ing and blinding that went on in my head. I went back to the hostel feeling rather defeated and ready to give up. Michelle said she would go down again near 7pm. I started to prepare the ingredients for the lasagne. One other problem was that you cant get white sauce in the supermarkets and I had to make it myself. With the help of Michelle and Katie we rustled up the sauce with a simple recipe from the internet. Michelle went to the supermarket and the guy finally arrived on duty at ten past 7. I really, really don’t know how people can operate this way, but I am in their country and this is the way they do it so I should just shut up about it. It’s frustrating though!

Soon though the Lasagne was in the oven and we had made our own garlic bread too. There was enough for six and the four of us finished it so it must have been alright. In my opinion it was feckin’ brilliant but I’m not allowed say that am I! Only jokin’. Afterwards we shared some red wine and had a few drinks. There were other Irish there too from Belfast, Kildare and Meath. We had a bit of a laugh and didn’t get to bed until 4am. Over the few hours there was plenty of Christy Moore etc etc played over the sound system. The bar is small and more like a bar you might set up in your own house. They sold good and cheap local beer and there price list also contain a pint of milk for 5 peso! Obviously doing anything constructive the next day was out of the question so we just hung about, watched Father Ted and chatted. I offered to cook again. For €3 each I made mashed potatoes, carrots and absolutely huge steaks. I got 1kg of great steak for €8 and we were stuffed after it. Again the night turned into a late one. There were only 10 or so in the bar and it was great craic. We had planed to rent a car the next day so I stopped drinking at 12am but the others continued on. One of the owners, Emma from Dublin, was working that night. She provided the entertainment and the main talking point of the night. The entertainment was a snowboard with four rather large shot glasses glued on to it from one end to the other. The idea is to line up four people and fill the glasses with a spirit of their choice. They then lift the board and drink their shots together. For this you need people of equal height. One time we had a guy over 6ft and next to him a guy under 5ft 6”. This resulted in the small guy getting a fair amount of vodka over his t-shirt! I had escaped doing a shot until a chorus of Darren, Darren, rang out. I had no choice so up I stepped. With two others we threw back the shots. I didn’t feel to good for a while after but at least I did it.

The next day we picked up the car to go see the Black Glacier. I was driving and looking forward to my first time driving on the other side of the road. The four of us (Gareth, Michelle, Katie, Darren) hit the road at out 11am. We had not named the car yet and talked about different names we could give it. After awhile we saw a truck with the word ‘Buby’ painted on to it so we decided it was a sign! Before we left Bariloche we needed to get to a supermarket for some food for the journey. We eventually found one and got some bread, ham, cheese etc etc. Soon we were back on the road. We had 80km to get to the glacier, but that would take nearly two hours because of bad roads. The first 40km was on paved roads but the next was on small windy unpaved roads. I was probably going even slower for fear of a stone marking the car and costing us a fortune! We stopped along the way at many viewpoints to see the lakes and surrounding areas. Eventually we got to the glacier after a rather bumpy ride. The glacier is retreating (melting) and is turning black from all the soil, rocks and sand it has picked up along the way. When we got there we had lunch out of the back of the car before going down to see the glacier. The conversation was about ‘dorm room etiquette’ and how a small number of people are ignorant to the proper behaviour of the use of dorm’s. This tough is for another blog when I have fully complied the does and don’ts from hearing other people’s stories! The glacier was interesting and we stayed there for an hour or so. The drive home was as painful and a memorable first experience on the other side of the road.

The next day was another lazy day. We decided we would wait for sun set at the top of Cerro Campinario. Myself, Michelle and Katie headed out on the number 20 bus to the mountain. We had intended on getting the chair lift to the top as we were still in no mood for any upward trekking. When we arrived at 6:30 the chair lifts had stopped at 5:30. As we had no torch it would have been stupid to go up for sunset as once the sun had gone down we would have found it hard to get back down the mountain. We had decided we would just return the next day early and see the 360 degree views. When we got back to town we went to this really good veggie take away and got some empanadas. As it was curry night at the hostel we didn’t eat too much.

Nearly 30 people had put their name down for curry. Spicy food is not that easy to get in South America so many obviously put their names down. We had a beef Indian curry and every one enjoyed it. Sometimes you need certain foods from home (I know its Indian, but you know what I mean!) to keep the home sickness at bay. Pudu is bar far the best hostel we have stayed in. It is Irish-Argentinean owed (Emma, John and Leo). They have everything down to a tee, but what sets then apart is the super friendly owners and staff working there. We have been in some friendly places but this place was different. They knew everyone by name and joined in with any dinners, drinking or chatting that was going on in the hostel. Nothing was a problem and everyone felt at home. They had a dog ‘Mila’ too which made the place even more homely. Every good hostel needs a dog if you ask me! Also for breakfast they made fresh scones which are renowned around Argentina within backpacking circles. The place is set up in a way that its easy to meet people and chat. The kitchen was as good as it gets and the bar was small and simple. Three beers on tap (stout, larger & ale), an assortment of spirit’s and good value vino! They also have a big Asado night here on Friday’s that we just missed. Bariloche is worth going to alone for Pudu. I had brought my half Ireland-Argentina rugby scarf with me, with the intention of leaving it behind somewhere. I thought maybe I’d meet some rugby fanatic who would like it but Pudu was definitely the best place for it.

Our finally day before our bus we went to Campinario to see the views. This time it was open and the views were stunning. The sky was clear (it always is!) and we had coffee in the café on the top. The pictures will describe better the views than I can but not as good as actually seeing it yourself. Michelle and Katie went and got us dinner from the veggie take away before we got the bus. We filled ourselves up on quiche and empanadas. We shared a few different types and had a taste of each. Our bus to Mendoza, the home of sun and wine, was going to be 17hrs long. We had booked a row of three seats similar to first class on an aeroplane for our journey. As comfortable as they are it is still hard to sleep on them and some time the heat becomes unbearable. The driver always has the heat pumping at night which makes sleeping hard. We got well fed on the bus. Michelle was feeling unwell on the journey and had to make a few trips to the loo. The conditions on the bus didn’t help the way she was feeling. We watched a few movies which passed a bit of time before trying to catch some sleep. They also had a game of bingo for everyone on the bus and I’m sure if I had known Spanish numbers without having to think I would have won! Katie did end up winning. When she called bingo she jumped and knocked her coffee all over her jeans. She had to go to the top of the bus where the ‘bus hostess’ called out her name and where she was from. Unfortunately the stain was in the wrong place and looked like she pee’d her self. She was slightly embarrassed, but she did win a ‘Andes mar’ (the bus company) Mate cup (a green tea drink very popular in Argentina) for her troubles.

We arrived in Mendoza with the intention of being very active for the next few days. We booked our bike tour of the vineyards for the next day. We choose to go with the popular Mr. Hugo, who everybody advise to go with. We hope to be wine experts by the end and hopefully make it back alive on our bikes. Stay tuned!

In a bit. DH

Song of the blog: Galway Girl

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