We're definitely getting settled in Bariloche. We spent our first day visiting Colonia Suiza, a little artesan craft spot not far from Bariloche. We sampled our first Curanto- a process where all sorts of vegetables and meats are cooked/smoked underground. It reminds us of a Hawaiian Luau. The whole meal tastes amazing, and we were able to feed the whole family for $5. Lance and I also sampled some "artesian cerveza" (beer). This is a big deal in this area, but has definitely not reached its prime. Let's just say the local brewers could learn a lot from a visit to the Northwest! We are sticking to the national favorite, Quilmas, and of course, the amazing Malbec wines.
Everywhere we drive, the vistas and views are simply incredible. Between the mountains and the lakes, the scenery is amazing. It is springtime here, so there are many flowers in bloom. One yellow flower we call "Scotch Broom" is everywhere. It is beautiful, but awful if you are allergic. Getting out from our house is an adventure in itself. Our house is situated in a cliff high above a massive lake. That is the good part. To get to and from the house, you (meaning Lance) need to navigate a steep, brutal dirt/rock/pothole road in a manual transmission car, only to find yourself at our driveway. Our driveway is a short, hellish hill. Each time we leave the house, Lance backs out of the carport, guns the engine, we bottom out, Carey cringes, we back up, Lance guns it again, we shoot up the driveway, stall about halfway, roll back down, Lance guns it and we are off. The kids think this is pretty sweet. Needless to say, once we leave for an adventure, we rarely come back until we are going to stay in for the night.
When we first saw the main street in Bariloche, we were a little turned off by the dozens of chocolate shops and tourism. That was until our first breakfast out, when we decided to sample the pastries and coffee at our new home away from home, "Mamushka". This chocolate house does not mess around. We were served chocolates filled with dulche de leche before our breakfast even arrived! We now know to respect the tourist industry here. The kids have adapted really well to this new chocolate diet.
We also visited an area about 15 minutes drive from our house called Cerro
Leonnes Cavernas. These are series of caves where the first indigenous people of Argentina are known to have lived, dating back to the 1500's. These people are called the Welsh people. They were nomadic and left intricate drawings outside their dwellings for others to find and read. The children were excited to see some of these pictographs and to venture inside the caves. One cave we visited was so deep and narrow, we actually had to crawl inside. The inner opening was pitch black, but housed a lagoon. Supposedly it led to inner chambers with offer, deeper lagoons. These were investigated about 11 years ago. The Welsh people came under intense scrutiny from the Argentines in Buenos Airea in the 1800's for trading and creating an economy with Chile, their nearby neighbors. It was great to see and this and to have the chance to learn a little about the history if this area.
We are finding that although many people here know a little English, most speak only Spanish. This is definitely testing Carey's skills and forcing all of us to make an effort. So far the only mishap seems to occur consistently when we order ice cream. We typically end up with 2 scoops instead of one. The kids think Carey is the best at ordering, as a result. Lance thinks the whole process is rigged!
The last two days we have explored the Lao Lao area farther down the peninsula and the Cerro Otto area, about five minutes from our house.
Both featured incredible hikes through vastly different terrain.
In Lao Lao, we were mostly hiking through a type of really bushy bamboo and wildflowers. At Cerro Otto, we were surrounded by massive trees and lush greenery. Both areas feel like they should be out of a fairy tale they are so unique and beautiful.
Tonight, Lance busted out his inner Parilla (aka grill master) and fired up our BBQ on the deck. The meat was incredible. Seems like that is becoming the norm here. The kids loved it, but they remain devoted to our local Parills master, "Maxi" at our favorite spot, El Boliche de Alberto.
We hope to head out on an overnight adventure in the morning. More on this in a few days!! Love to all. . . .