Bariloche, Argentina


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You'll never guess where we are!

Sun Sep 8, 2002 12:34 pm

So... we left you somewhere areound El Calafete and the glacier. The day after, we were to take a bus to Rio Gallegos, then from there to Bariloche. In the morning, we went to the bus station to get our tickets only to discover that the brigde between Rio Gallegos and Comodoro and the rest of the country north had been washed out. We were told that the Army was there and it would be back up tomorrow, so we wasted our day eating and drinking. Later that afternoon, we got an update that the bridge would, in fact, not be up until Sunday at the earliest. Now, had we been trapped in a fabulous beach town, this would have been no worries, but El Calafate is a tourist trap with NOTHING to do but see the glacier in the winter, and even that can be difficult, so a couple more days sounded terrible, and that was all assuming the bridge was actually fixed in time. Not likely. So, we made a mad dash, along with every other trapped backpacker in Calafate, for a travel agent and booked a flight for Friday to the absolute only place we could go from El Calafate (well, besides Ushuaia, but we just came from there!!), Buenos Aires.

So here I sit, in Buenos Aires, a town I did not expect to visit again anytime soon. We arrived on Friday night, but found out we had come too late to catch an overnight bus to Bariloche, so we had to spend one night here. Not that I´m complaining, as we have found a great hostel and got to surprise lots of friends from Ushuaia and El Calafate who thought we had all gone our seperate ways.

Well, you may have noticed that it is Sunday, and we are STILL here. We went to the bus station yesterday with our French buddy Rom, and found out that every company was booked solid, or leaving in a few mintues (we didn´t bring our bags- very dumb), or had only 2 seats, or was a mere semi-cama, and a 20 hour haul requires full cama comfort. Rom was in a panic to get to Bariloche as he is scheduled to leave South America in just a couple weeks, so he had to book yet another flight to stay on schedule. Since Alison and I are still living a life of leisure, we could afford one more day in BA, and booked a full cama bus for Sunday (today) afternoon. Whew!

We did manage to have a fabulous night last night at a HUGE club. We went with about 3 taxis full of other backpackers, and got these VIP tickets that allowed us to pop upstairs to a lounge area and get a breather away from the common folk. We got back to the hostel around 6:30am or so, and, when Alison finally collapsed in bed, I wandered out with a Canadian girl for a little breakfast. A couple hours of sleep later, we are up and ready to go to Bariloche AT LAST!!!!!

So keep your fingers crossed for us, that we meet no further bumps in the road for a wee while. We look forward to a few days r&r before heading over the Andes and into the Chilean lake district for some big hikes.

Chocolate Volcano

Sep 16, 2002 7:55 pm

Ok, ok, so we haven´t seen any chocolate volcanos, but we did just come from Bariloche, Argentina´s ski resort town and home to MANY chocolate stores.(from Patty- to all you I have met along the way... there is also the BEST icecream here in the world!!! I have offically stopped eating icecream for the rest of the trip because this was too damn good! I know it is hard to belive, but Alison can back me up!) Plus, we are now in Pucón, Chile, within eyesight of an active volcano. Well, within eyesight is relative. We saw it the day we arrived, but since then it has been rainy and clouds have been blocking the view.

We are currently waiting for the weather to clear enough for us to go hiking up. The weather has to be perfect though and the forcast is calling for rain all week, so things don´t look so good for that to happen.

Back to Bariloche for a moment. Bariloche is in the Argentinian Andes, and seems to be the spot where everyone from Buenos Aires comes for winter vacation. We passed gaggles of recent high school grads on their last vacation together before going to university. We stayed away from the school groups, in a small hostel near downtown, El Gaucho. They had the most excellent kitchen facilities there. And it was quiet, which was just what we needed after two hectic days in Buenos Aires. (still seems surreal that we were there AGAIN).

We took it REAL easy in Bariloche. Saw a movie, Unfaithful, ate chocolate, read, slept, walked around town, shopped, used the Internet, went to the Museo Patagonico, and took one small side-trip to Llao Llao, which is home to a really fancy hotel, some nice scenery, and a really expensive golf clubhouse where we were unfortunate enough to be stuck eating lunch at. We were definitely living a life of leisure. There were two 20-year-old snowboarders staying at our hostel who just could NOT comprehend how we could sit around all day when there was so much skiing to do. Skiing would have been fun, I´m sure, but it was out of our budget.

From Bariloche we hopped a bus to Osorno, and from there we immediately boarded another bus to Pucón, Chile. During the 30- minute layover, we managed to meet up again with Rom, our French friend, who was in transit to Santiago.

(continued in Pucón . . .)

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