Russell and Tanith's HomeArgentina 2004/05Patagonian Pleasures
|New year's day was dead, and we were off on a 17 hour bus trip to the north of Patagonia to a town called Bariloche, which lies in the heart of the Argentine lake district. To the veteran travellers of Europe in our group (Tanith and Rich), Bariloche was a scene straight out of Switzerland, with its turquoise, shimmering lakes surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Despite being the middle of summer we were sufficiently far south to have to don jerseys and fleeces in the evenings when we went out, which was every night. Our hostel, if one can call such an establishment on the side of an untouched lake surrounded by mountains a hostel, was a little out of town and we had to catch a ride into town by taxi or by thumbing alift from the evr-friendly locals. The taxis were often very interesting with our lack of Spanish fluency, coupled with the occasional excess dose of half-price margaritas (R7 per 300ml glass - dangerous indeed!) after an awesome Mexican dinner!
But the highlight for everyone was January 3rd, Tanith's birthday, where we took a ski-lift up a mountain just outside the town that gave us unparalleled views of all the lakes and mountains in the area. It was like being given a bird's eye view of paradise, and none of the many photos we took that day could ever give justice to the regal setting. Our fine day was capped off by a superb meal at a swiss-style restaurant, where we were treated to cheese fondue starters, followed by a main meal of wild boar and braised deer. It didn't get better than this...
We spent the next day visiting the highest mountain in the area, where one could occasionally hear large chunks of ice (seracs) break off the top, roll down the mountain and then form a black glacier (combining with sediment on the way down) at the base, which slowly melts to form the start of a river. But time was running short and we took a long 23 hour trip to Buenos Aires (If you hadn't guessed by now, Argentina is a HUGE country - the 8th biggest in the world) in order to spend a few days in the capital before heading home. Although we spent a day on the bus it wasn't too bad, as we had a barrage of Jerry Bruckheimer movies to keep us entertained (every second film was dubbed into Spanish) along with a few rounds of Bingo, where the challenge was to translate the numbers correctly before seeing whether you had that number on your card or not!
Locations Visited: Mendoza, Bariloche
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