Thursday, February 11, 2010

Y andas sola?

Hola de Bariloche, Argentina!

I am in love with Argentina. It's so breathtakingly beautiful and I'm not even in a place like Glacier Perrito Moreno or something like that. But Bariloche is one-of-a-kind for sure.

I had the tremendous luck to meet two Chilean couples on the bus from Pucon. None of us had accommodation booked for the night so we all decided to search together. Meet Cesar, Margarita, Marianne y Simon, the kindest, most fun kids in Chile. We have been hiking, chatting and drinking good Argentinian wine together and I felt totally adopted into the Chilean family. It was so cool, none of us knew each other before but we all just got along so well and had an epic time.

The first day we finally got some sunshine (it was freezing cold and rainy when we arrived). We stationed ourselves in Hostal 1004, on the 10th floor of a building right next to Lago Nahual Huapi, an enormous, cerulean lake nestled in the Andes. This meant an epic view from the glass window wall of the common room and from our dorm room as well. Cesar, Margarita and I decided to go to a small cerro, or hill/mountain to see the view that was finally accessible to us, the clouds had blown away with the strong winds buffeting the town.

We caught the bus and took a chairlift up to the top of the cerro where we had some breath-taking 360 degree views of bright blue lakes and green forests and craggy mountain peaks dusted with snow. Wow. Plus there were really friendly stray dogs and cats that just wanted some love to hang out with. The wind was ridiculously strong though, so we descended to look for some hot coffee.

That night I made pasta with veggies and chicken in artichoke sauce for Margarita and Cesar, then we met up with Mari and Simon and had some drinks in a little pub. At this point Margarita and I had taken care of quite a bit of wine, so needless to say it was a giggle-filled evening.

We woke up early the next morning (kind of) to go hiking at Cerro Otto. We found a small trail going strait up the mountain, and found ourselves climbing with five other people including two nuns who were super tough! The trail got steeper and steeper and the soil more and more loose. It was pretty fun, we were all pushing each other and helping each other up, it was great! One nun even took off her sandals because she wasn't getting any purchase. What a champ!

We finally made it after about two hours of climbing to the top where the gondola ends and there is a revolving restaurant with more epic views. Unfortunately we weren't allowed inside unless we paid 25 pesos since we didn't buy gondola tickets. That was fine because we had a great picnic all sharing sandwiches, coffee and mate. Beautiful views and great friends!

We took the long and winding road back down instead of the dangerous steep trail, which meant easy but slow descent and dehydration since we couldn't buy water at the top. But we got a ride in a dump truck at the end and that made us all really happy!

Today I decided to leave my Chilean buddies when they went to a campsite near Lago Gutierrez and I decided to come here to El Bolson. I love it. More soon!

The view from our hostel. Let's talk about it.
Me y Cesar
Mountain hop
Times TWO!

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