Given our catastrophe getting to Iguazu Falls, we thought our next flights would be a piece of cake. How many times can you strike in one week? Well, somehow we learned early on the day of our departure to Bariloche that our flight to Buenos Aires from was, yes, you guessed it, CANCELLED! This time, we were prepared. We immediately purchased tickets on another airline. When we arrived at the Iguazu airport, we reconfirmed that our connecting flight from Buenos Aires to Bariloche was actually going, as planned. The airlines confirmed this for us and even gave us boarding passes- very thoughtful. Despite this, we learned upon arrival in Buenos Aires that our flight to Bariloche was, yep, you guessed it, CANCELLED! The only other option was to stay another night in Buenos
Aires (in a creepy hotel) and get up at 4 am the next day for a supposed flight. Given the airline's track record, we decided that was not a great option. So, we literally sprinted around the Buenos Aires airport with some new-found Australian friends who had also had bad luck. Amazingly, all seven of us made it on a flight (standby) with another airlines on the only flight headed to Bariloche that day. Needless to say, we are really glad there is no more air travel in the immediate future. (Thatcher may actually be scarred for life. When we even mention the word airport, he gets all concerned and asks again and again if we are going there! Poor guy!)
Enough complaining! We really just wanted to give you a taste for traveling in South America. When we were talking with our friends from Australia at the airport, we mentioned we had considered a long trip to their area of the world. We then told them we had decided that instead, we would find the most stressful place to travel and go there!
Bariloche is truly beautiful! We arrived at our rental place about 9 pm and were really glad find out it actually existed!!!! (Kara, I am breathing easier!). Our place is on a hillside above the town and overlooks a massive lake that is impossible pronounce. We've must started exploring the area, but from the looks of the mountains, the hiking promises to be amazing.
From what we'd been told and read, we were expecting Bariloche to be a little town like those in Switzerland. It actually is! Much of the architecture looks like it is straight from Zermatt. The restaurants even serve fondue, and there are dozens of upscale Swiss chocolate stores everywhere (this is definitely working out well for us!). The weird part that makes you realize you are not anywhere near Zermatt, is that right next door to a cute, little storefront, is a run-down, sort of scary looking place that has been abandoned. Some of the streets are paved (with potholes), many are dirt roads- literally a block or two from the main downtown street. Stray dogs are everywhere- they usually run in packs of two- and lounge on every corner. It definitely takes some getting used to so you are able to just relax and go with the flow. We walked into town today from our house, and it was great to be out and about in the neighborhood. There is a little verduria (vegetable store) just down the street that is tiny and family-owned. The owner loves to give the children samples of cherries and other fruit. Moments like that make us feel lke we are part of the community.
Many times during the day, there are no winds, but when they do pick up, it is unreal. Today there are gusts expected to reach 65mph. Since our home is exposed on a hillside right above the lake, this can be pretty amazing to experience. We've had fun just watching the weather change from one side of the lake to the next. Whenever we leave the house, we bring all our gear, from synchilla coats and hats to rain gear to short sleeves, as you never know what exactly it will be like at any given moment.
We will write more later! We are missing Portland and Christmas traditions, but trying to make new ones. The kids did start advent calendars today, and we've been listening to Christmas music, so the holiday season has started for us, too. Lots of love!