Two hours down the stunning Ruta 40 is a little hippy town called El Bolson, or 'the bag', named due to its enclosure by the Andes, creating a sheltered warm climate perfect for growing vegetables, hops, grapes and herbs. It was chosen by a group of hippies in the 60s to be a self sufficient, non- nuclear settlement and a contemporary version of their ideals is still adhered to by the local famers and artisans that reside there.
We were recommended a hostel in Bariloche called El Pueblito, and it turned out to be the greatest hostel in the world! It was run by a guy called Julian from Buenos Aires, a German guy called Marcel and a local lad called Manuel and they immediately made us feel completely at home in the log cabin. There was only us and a couple from Brighton staying there and at night for 12 pesos they cooked us a dinner over the wood stove. The homemade beer was made from glacier water and all the vegetables and meat were from local farms, needless to say it was completely delicious. In front of the open fire we sat and chatted about everything while listening to Mr Marley. The three guys were the most content people I've ever met in my life. When we were all talking about travelling they admitted that they have no burning desire to travel anywhere else. When we asked why, they explained that they were happy with where they were and didn't feel the need to move about, which needless to say astounding the four of us who had travelled halfway around the world to be there. The longer we spent chatting in front of the fire watching the stars the more we could see their point of view. Patagonia, especially around El Bolson, is an utterly beautiful and serene place to live your life, and I think if I lived there, I would have no yearning to get on a plane for 20 hours to visit Britain!
We said goodbye to James and Alice and visited the feria and it didn't disappoint. Every stall sold locally produced crafts, food, jewellery and pretty much everything else that one could make from wood, vegetables or milk. Got chatting to the waffle man who was originally from Guildford, who sold his house and business in the UK to come to Patagonia.
Wandered around for a few hours and bought some more jewellery, just generally soaking up the hippy vibe. In the afternoon we walked up to the Cabeza del Indio, which is basically just a rock that slightly resembles a head. Also went to a Cascada Escondida, a secret waterfall, which wasn't very secret. Managed to get lost and walked around the hills for about 5 hours. Spent our last night with Manuel and Marcel and really wished we had more time to spend in the area.