The World Tour
We didn't think it was possible but the buses to Bariloche were even better than Peru. But maybe it is because they serve vino, whiskey and champagne! The buses in Brazil and Argentina don't have the strict safet regulations as Peru. In Peru we were videotaped, had to show our passports several times, had our bags checked and were scanned for guns and knives. Here is is just walk straight on. Just as Brazil was about the capirinhas, Argentina is about the vino. Bottles of wine in restaurants are about the same price as Australia but you can get a good bottle of wine in the supermarket for about $4.50. The bus took 2 hours longer than expected which meant that it was 21 hours in total and it was a bit tough. M slept more than I did, like usual. We got there to the shock of our lives. Bariloche was as beautiful as expected and we know it is the gateway to Patagonia but it was FREEZING! Buenos Aires was 30 degrees so we thought maybe Bariloche would be 20. But no, it was 12 and rainy. We spent the first day walking around, hanging in our hostel. It was called Penthouse 1004 and has cozy common areas and a beautiful view of the lake from there as well as our room. The hostel is on the 10th floor of a building on the main street next to the picturesque main square but it looked like a dump. Getting up to the tenth floor, it didn't look any better and i was a bit worried. The entire hostel appeared to be in one apartment. But the reviews had been great and the pictures on their website looked amazing and apart from being slighly shabby around the edges, it didn't disappoint. There was nice smelling incense everywhere and the kitchen was a pleasure to cook in. Our second day in Bariloche was a lot warmer and sunny which made all the difference. We set out early and caught a bus to the end of its line to a beautiful lake Lago Gutierrez and walked up into the mountains and then back to where the bus had left us. There was a little cozy restaurant serving empanadas and we've been spending the past week trying to find the best ones / the ones we had in Cusco, Peru were the best but we have yet to have any great ones here. These ones were delicious so we decided to indulge. As punishment, I made us walk home which was tough but the view of the lakes and mountains made it worth it. All in all we walked over 25km and were very glad to be back home that night and reward ourselves with more great food at the best steak restaurant in town. Up early again the next day, we caught the bus to the Cerro Otto chairlift and then walked to the cute Colonia Suiza, a historical Swiss village, where we stopped off for a divine lunch and then kept walking to Bahia Lopez which has great views even though the whole walk was basically a great view. Our final stop was Puerto Panuelo where all the boat trips depart from. After walking over 21kms, we decided to take the bus back! The next morning was a perfect day and so we decided to go horse riding. We were picked up just before lunch and driven 30 minutes out of Bariloche to a ranch that was so big, it seemed like there was nothing around it. We had a BBQ lunch before setting off for a 2 hour ride. I was pretty nervous as it was, but when i heard that one of the girls had fallen off her horse in the morning session I really got scared! But she was able to get on it again and I decided I needed to be tough.The ride was great. My horse was fairly tame - in fact a bit too tame as most of the time it preferred to eat grass! Michael´s was even worse, he said he thought it was on strike as it refused to do more than a walk. At one stage it almost fell into a very deep muddy puddle which could have ended in tears! The weather was perfect and all you could see was miles and miles of paddocks with snow capped mountains in the background: we are really in paradise. About half way through we rode through a paddock of pine trees and it really made it feel like Christmas! I was very to get off the horse after 2 hours without any injuries! The day Michael decides the weather is getting hotter and hotter (as in about 25ish) and it is great for white water rafting, we wake up to an overcast and freezing day! But still he`d booked it and paid a deposit so off he went on his merry way to the Chilean border for a day of white water rafting plus the standard BBQ. The colder weather and great cozy and reasonably priced compared to BA restaurants make Bariloche fabulously indulgent. As does the chocolate shops that are about every third shop in the town including two of them that are the size of supermarkets with a cafe, cake shop, ice cream shop, individual chocolate area and boxed chocolate section as well as other gourmet goodies. Heaven! Next stop is just 2 hours away from Bariloche - a hippy town called El Bolson...