¡Feliz año nuevo! I´m writing this blog from Bariloche in the Argentine lake district where I spent new year´s eve. I´ve spent 3 nights here in a really nice hostel with the people I spent Christmas with. The town´s lovely, a bit too touristy, but they make up for it by selling amazing chocolate...mmmm...I might have to delay my 2009 detox! On our first night here we treated ourselves to dinner out (a rarity since arriving in expensive Argentina). We went for the typical steak and red wine...although we regretted the choice of house wine when we opened the Lonely Planet and read the review of the restaurant which said to avoid the house wine unless you´re a fan of a bad hangover!! On new year´s eve we cooked a big dinner in the hostel. There were about 20 of us and we each cooked a dish from our own countries....we made Shepherd´s Pie, which was easily the most delicious dish there, of course. We celebrated new year in the hostel with champage then went out to a reggae/rock club. I´m still getting used to Argentina time...some bars don´t open until 2am and nothing gets busy until at least 3am!
Before getting to Bariloche, Whitney and I (and 2 Italian/German/Swiss guys we met in the hostel) hired a car for 2 days and went on a road trip of the 7 lakes - from Villa la Angostura 100km along a bumpy dirt road to San Martin de Los Andes and back again. It was a really nice drive surrounded by mountains and lakes, stopping for picnics and siestas en route! We drove back on the second day along a different road, it was a lot more remote and the scenery was beautiful. The road was very bumpy though and after a few hours we were glad to re-join the main road!! Day 2 of the road trip we have re-named "good deed day"! We decided to take a detour from the main road and went down a steep dirt track to a beautiful lake. On the way back up we stopped to help a family who´d got stuck getting up the hill! We helped them empty and take off their trailer, and then push the trailer and car up the hill. They were so grateful for our help and the little girls in the family said "thank you" in English, how cute. After that longer and sweatier than planned detour we stopped to pick up some hitch hikers! I don´t know what got in to us that day, there was no stopping us! :)
So, after those 2 days on the road, and the 3 days in Bariloche it´s time to move on. In about an hour I´m getting on a 20 hour bus to Buenos Aires...xxx