Had to interrupt the last entry - email went down. Back on task now. Before we continue with trip to San Martin de Los Andes, need to let you know we are currently back in Bariloche and are experiencing 70 mph wind gusts tonight. CRAZY! Our little Swiss Chateau, built Argentine-style, so that everything creaks, leaks and squeaks!, is not necessarily up to the task of withstanding the winds. We all have our fingers crossed. We are assuming this is why email keeps going down!
Anyhow, we did make to Villa La Angostura (great little town, up-and-coming on the resort spectrum) with fabulous shops for its size. We spent the night in San
Martin de Los Andes. Amazingly, the hosteria we stayed at is run by the long-lost Argentine twin of a dear friend of ours. It was uncanny how similar these two men are, although we are pretty sure there is no real connection. We had fun with the similarity, though. San Martin is a dreamy little town. It is small with tons if parks- the kids made friends at the playground here. Life definitely moves at a slower pace. We loved it,, walked all over and spent some time by the sidde of the lake. It would be a fun place to live for a longer period of time. It seems like it would be easy to meet people and make friends due to the small size.
One note on driving that we have not mentioned yet: the unpaved roads are a bit of a challenge, but perhaps more intruiging are the completely hidden speed bumps the Argentines place randomly all over their main, paved roads. These unmarked little numbers have the ability to send an unaware, innocent sedan filled with Americans shooting into the air at any given moment. We are starting to catch on, but it's been a process. Between those and our driveway, it is a wonder we have made it this far!!
Okay, after a great time in San Martin, we headed back to Bariloche, happy to have a home base. The kids are getting much more comfortable speaking in Spanish. We are forcing it a bit. If they want to eat at a restaurant or order a treat, we are having them do it on their own. Skylar did our grocery shopping today (3 stores!) and did a fabulous job!
We had a funny day today. The kids really wanted to visit this place called Parque Naheulito. Supposedly, this was some kind of dinosaur place. We parents were thinking it would be a learning experience- maybe about archaeology? Were we in for a treat. For a small fee, the five of us got our own private tour of this crazy place. We spent about 20 minutes walking a path that featured life-size dinosaur creatures hidden (and not-so-hidden for the T Rex!) in a forested area. We are still not sure what the heck the things were made of- maybe foam covered un rubber and painted? We are also not sure whether Thatcher actually believes it was all real (we did our best ro convince him otherwise!) Anyhow, this was pretty funny. Then, the dinosaurs stopped and the trail was full of fairies and gnomes. Getting a little stranger?! The best was the end, where we entered a field full of huge inflatibles. Yes, in the middle of incredible Patagonia, the Killian family located "Pump-it-Up"! Needless to say, the kids were in heaven. We were all alone - go figure?! It actually turned out to be a complete blast, as we were laughing so hard from how strange it all was.
The afternoon picked up, though.
Carey and the girls went for a mountain horseback ride. We confirmed that Argentine horses are a little more lively than those at Black Butte Ranch. They know how to walk and how to gallop and how to buck. That's about it. The girls did great. Lance will be going on the next ride. Enough said about rider capability. The scenery was incredible. The trails wind up a mountainside with views of lakes and mountains in every direction. Horses here do not walk behind one bother, necessarily, but instead travel in a pack, each horse pushing and nudging toward the front. Carey's horse was very fond of the front. The man that runs pretty much all the Bariloche riding is actually from Australia originally. His 14-year-old nephew (from Sydney) joined us on our ride. The uncle (Cabalgatas) has been in business here for years. We encountered him on his ranch. He is a character. They run 2 and 3 day rides we would like to try, but not this time. . .
We are at the famous "Butterfly" restaurant last night. It features a seven course meal in a small, romantic environment. The Killian Posse fit right in. Actually ,we did pretty well. Thatcher only almost knocked over our entire table (candle and all) a few times and we kept the volume to a minimum. It might have been after Carey and Skylar discovered they had eaten sweet breads, that the wheels came off. Carey's stomach is still churning over that discovery. Poor Skylar is simply in shock. We will be sticking to the "simpler" establishments from now on. Side note: the restaurant is really great and the people who run it are wonderful. Definitely would recommend it to anyone traveling in Bariloche. Just keep in mind that their menu is a surprise- the whole way through.
Off to bed now- going to make a longer trip in the morning to El Bolson. We'll keep you posted. If you don't read anymore, the wind blew our house down! Also, sorry about the pictures. We are taking tons, bit this site coupled with our Ipad is not working out.
All our love!!
Carey, Lance, Skylar, Kendall and Thatcher!!