Bariloche (Argentina) is a shock to the system. A mere 20 hours on the bus and we were no longer enjoying heat and palm trees but instead cold winds, snow and mountains! Despite the chilly temperatures, Bariloche is fast becoming on of our favorite places so far. Its got a certain vibe, which is really nice after the northern Argentinian cities. We´ve got 4 days here, the longest we´ve spent anywhere so far, and are filling them with mountain type adventures.
Wednesday (our first day) we rented bikes and biked the Circuito Chico, a lovely mountain loop with excellent scenery and several large hills. Although it was chilly enough to need toques under our bike helmets we had an excellent time since we were practically the only people on the road. Biking, instead of taking a tour, gave us the time to snap pictures of the mountains and enjoy a late afternoon break with a beautiful view (and some great olives). Our calves are not happy today.
Today we took it easy and rode the gondola to the summit of a near by mountain, Cerro Otto, for views of Bariloche and the lake. It was windy, so the the ride made me quite queasy (7 minutes is a long time!) but the views from the slightly rundown chalet on top were worth it. We had a licuado (like a milkshake) in the revolving restaurante at the top, but that only enhanced my seasick feeling. On the way down we watched a family trudging up the 4 km hike and felt that our $20 was well spent to avoide that.
The rest of our time has been filled with sampling chocolates to determine who is the best chocolatier in town (a demanding activity) and browsing in the shops. Bariloche is like being in Banff or Jasper – plenty of tacky souviner shops to check out for the best deals on woolen toques and shirts with Bariloche on them. There are a few gems out there, and we´ve got some time penciled in to check it out.
Tomorrow we doing a boat tour (thankgoodness I packed gravol) and then spending Saturday preping to head into Chile. My internet connection won´t allow for pictures, so those will have to wait until next time.