Having packed up our bags we left PAX Hostel and headed to our start hotel for the tour. GAP had let us know that the hotel had been changed and you can imagine how suprised we were when the Hotel Carsson turned out to be a 4 star hotel in the centre of BA.
After quickly admiring the red carpets we left to try and exchage my US$ travellers cheques for US$ to pay the local payment of our tour. This was almost impossible, we litterally had to travel form bank to bank before we stumbled along an AMEX which kindly had no advertising to let you know what it was. The upside of all this was that we were able to explore the centre of BA. It is consists of a number of pedestrian streets filled with resturants and shops all focused around an enormous square complete with people sunbathing during their lunch hour.
With dollars in hand we went out to Palermo, one of BA´s middle class areas. BA´s tube is very nice, huge, well vented and all for 1.10 Pesos. Palermo reminded me greatly of San Diego, lots of large glass fronted restaurants and boutiques. Originally we had planned to go to La Carera which does on of the best steaks in BA and thus probably the world. I still had a massive steak baby from the night before so we went for something lighter. We grabbed a burger at one of the restaurants which did not go well with my steak baby. However, Chris did find room for some sickly pastries.
In the evening we met our GAP group who were all still hanging from the tango night before. Not that it stopped Matt and Dave from joining Chris, Kieran and I for a couple in a bar overlooking the central needle in Avenue 9 de Julio.
Having learnt that there was still snow on the mountains in Bariloche, the skiing resort we were travelling to next, Chris and I had a mad dash round BA´s shops looking for cold weather clothing.
That collected we met the group and jumped on the night bus for Barioche. It took 22hrs
Arrived late in Bariloche and recovered from the night bus.
I joined Matin (the Ninja) for a walk around the lake in Barioche. The scenery is awesome, there is a reason it is called the Southern Alps. On finishing the walk we headed to on of the many chocolate shops Bariolche is famous for. The chocolate is incredible!! Especially the dark chocolate flakes, the mint chocolate and the almond chocolate.
In the afternoon I went kyacking with a couple of the peoples. It was tandem so I had Chris in my boat. It was a great laugh even if the crazy jock made the boat wobble everytime she stopped to look at the scenery. To be fair to her it was pretty spectacular and I did get my own back by bouncing the boat from side to side every so often. We had coffee and tea cakes on a bank before heading back. By then Chris had really got the knack an we went off down the sides, into the headwind with me stearing us through submerged tree and the rocks.
In the evening Ian and I cooked up this class little pasta and chicken dish with a chimichuri herb stock, nice. Then on to play ring of fire. Very messy with some great new rules like 'on my face' at the end of every sentence, which trust me just works. And a couple of games of 20+1.
This day I was meant to do a lot, but managed buggar all. In the morning we tried to go to a chair lift which gave you great views of the area before taking a luge back down to the lakeside, which would have been class. However, it was closed to student parties and my clooege of law card just wasn´t cutting it. There was a crazy little puppy there so I had a laugh playing fetch for a while, but it´s not quite a luge is it?!
Went to the supermarket to buy dinner with Kate. As it is a mountain town the square is inhabited by a family of St. Bernards as a tourist attraction. As Kate used to have one she just went to pieces over the puppies. To be honest there was one puppy who could not yet have been weened which, rapped up in blanket, was extremely cute.
In the evening we watched Argentina vs Peru goading our tour leader Dario that Argentina would be slipping out of the world cup. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
Having grabbed some strawberry licquor on our way back fromthe bar to complement our beer and wine we began the best game of 20+1 I have ever played. At one point we had all numbers beginning with rumba and ending in pumba , in addition to countless other rules, you can imaging the carnage it caused when this was turned around.
Boarded a bus through the Andies to Chile. Driving through snow covered peaks is pretty spectacular. We all had a laugh when the Ninja´s bag excited the patrol dogs. It was only chocolate though.
We were in Puerto Varras near Puerto Mont. It rained and we did nothing of interest. One bright note, for the Scottish girls especially, was the discovery of Pap which is very similar to Irn-Bru.
Arrived in Hostel Willy's in Pucón. We had our own shalet. Pucón is AWESOME!!