Published: February 21st 2006
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One of the lakesOne of the lakesOne of the lakes

This is a view from a stopping point at one of the lakes on the 7 lakes tour.
Feb 17 started out with me waking up early, finishing packing, and having some more grilled breads from Coco. I got out at 8:30am, just in time to walk Scott to the corner as he headed to the bus station. After he left, my tour bus came and off we went. It was me, another guy, and three pairs of friends and couples. They all spoke Spanish and no one talked to me. This was actually good, as I was too tired to try to organize my Spanish thoughts. We drove around and saw the seven lakes, and stopped several times for photo opportunities. As we neared on another town, all the pairs got out and stayed out. Turns out they all had the same idea I did, they just weren´t going as far as Bariloche. We arrived at 2:30, and I had plans to meet Scott at 4pm. He was to have already gotten there and found us a place to live. I just camped out with all my things under a tree until then, and we actually did meet up as planned. We walked back to the hostal so I could deposit my things, and then we were off to wander around the town. I bought some chips and chocolate to stave off the hunger - had no lunch on my tour - and am slowly preparing for dinner even as I write this.

Well, we tried to hit up the steak place, but the line was already long and the place hadn´t opened. so we went to their pasta place instead. It was good, but somehow I ended up not being as hungry as I had thought and had total leftovers. No one brings food home, except in America, so to the trash it went. Went back to the hostal and showered off the dirt from the day and stayed in to unwind. Scott went out to the bar to meet up with a Kiwi he met on the street earlier.

Saturday began when one of our roommates came in at 9am and spent an hour packing and making as much noise as possible. Once he left, I swiftly moved my bedding and belongings to his bunk, as he had the bottom and I was having a hell of a time getting in and out of my top bunk with no ladder. How does it work? Extremely ungracefully if you´re me. Later, we grabbed some portable food and headed out of town on another bus for a day trip to some waterfalls at yes, another lake. It was a nice and we walked about 6km in all I think. Whatever a kilometer is. One of those kilometers was straight uphill to the look-out. It was steep and dusty and hard going, both up and down. But of course the view was nice. We are planning to be in line for Alberto´s before they open at 8pm and hopefully get a sinfully enormous piece of meat. Argentina has the best steaks in the world they say - I´ll be the judge of that.

We got to the restaurant at 7:30pm and they open at 8pm. We wanted to beat the crowds we had seen the night before. In line we met Steve, a midwestern born American living in Anchorage, Alaska. He joined us for dinner and we had a good time. We finally ordered - I got tenderloin (the small portion) with mashed potatoes and the boys each ordered a thick cut of meat with fries. Thick cut of meat doesn´t even begin to describe what

This lake was from of day hike and reminded me of the Lake Geneva in WI, which most lakes do.
came out. These pieces of meat were enormous...and well, pink beyond belief on the inside. They ordered medium, since well done is unheard of, and they eventually both had to send them back to be cooked a bit more. However, when the meat came back, it was cooked on the outside, but the inside was still red. Neither of them could bear to finish, but they gave it quite the effort. My meat was a bit more manageable - two small round pieces that were also fat and pink, but there was so much less of it, so I was able to eat most. And as it turns out, one portion of fries or mashed potatoes were enough to feed us all, and we had each ordered a portion. Kind of a debacle, but entertaining. After all that, I got ice cream from a cute little ice cream and chocolate shop. Yum.

We said good-bye to Steve and made plans to see him the next day for a hike, and then headed back to the hostal. We had decided to stay one more night, but it turns out they were all booked up for the next night, so I had to spend some time repacking my things - a delicate process with my backpack - and then tried to get some sleep. I found myself awake at 2am, which was just as welll because eventually a new roommate appeared and needed to put sheets on his bed, shower, etc. - all around 3am. Kind of annoying to be living a dorm life at this age, but I am on a 20 year old´s budget, so this is how life must be for a while.

Woke up Sunday early enough to get the hostal guy to call around and find us a place to stay the night before finding an ATM to pay for the hostal and moving all of our stuff before meeting Steve at 11am. Once together we went to the grocery store and bought some meat and cheese for sandwiches and then got on the bus to Llao Llao. We hiked for about 1.5 hours to a small lake to go swimming. I didn´t end up in the water, but the boys did. Once we got there bunches of other people showed up for a bit and then left. Think they had actually driven, looked around, and then drove away. But we stayed a bit since we were walking back to the bus. Turns out I made the wrong shoe decision. I wore my hiking boots and this turned out to make my pinky toe blister nearly unbearably hurty. Luckily I had flip-flops with me and changed for the way back. What a nightmare my feet have become. So it is probably a good thing that Scott and I, once we said good-bye to Steve and got back into town, bought bus tickets south to Rio Gallegos. We wanted to leave Monday but it was sold out, so we will be going Tuesday. The "good" thing about it is that it is a 27 hour bus ride (!) - so I won´t be able to hike and abuse my feet for a few days. We are not even going to Rio Gallegos itself - it is just the only town we can go to that is reasonably near our destination of El Calafate - another 5 hour bus ride. But I´m sure we will be ok as long as Scott can charge his ipod before we leave.... Had some Chinese food for dinner and went to bed early.

Monday ended up as a lazy day where I stayed in bed longer than Scott! We eventually got moving in the 11 O´clock hour and went to the grovery store for some sandwich makings. We made sandwiches and had chips and it all cost about $1 each. Lazed around for a bit and then emailed and then ended up back at the hostal for a bit to laze around some more. The new hostal where we ended up was much nicer than the original one, so although I had to repack everything for the move (which I hate to do), it was a blessing in disguise. It was cave cozy, with wood accents and a really large room with tons of space for 6 people. It was also cool all the time because it was in a basement, though with windows. After some napping on Scott´s part and some ipod grooving on my part (took so much effort not to sing aloud) we went to check out flights from Tierra del Fuego to Buenos Aires in about two weeks time. Scott ended up with a ticket on March 6 and I have one for two days later. I was just worried that it wouldn´t be enough time for me to get there and enjoy it. But we will probably be able to meet up in Buenos Aires for a bit and maybe head to Uruguay for a few days together as well. I have also gotten word from Christoph, the Austrian I met on my way into Chile that he will be there about the same time, so we might be able to catch up as well.

For dinner we ended up at La Fonda del Tio that was recommended to me by the Brazilian couple I met on my Bolivian day trip. Thanks guys! It was yummy and very filling. Scott and I each ordered a half portion of schnitzel and we could have spilt just one half portion. But it was only about $3 each in the end. After dinner we went back to the hostal and I packed - Scott makes fun of me every time because I need so much more time than him. But afterwards I went to the movies - first time since I started this trip - and saw An Unfinished Life, or one love, two destinies as they translated it into Spanish. Fortunately, it was in English. It wasn´t the best movie I´ve ever seen, but for $2 it was a nice treat. Scott slept that one out.

Now we just need to occupy a couple of hours before our long long bus journey. But the ipods are charged, and I´m going to try to exchange my book for a new one before we leave. Wish us luck!


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