This town is beautiful. It has a huge lake framed by snow capped mountains. Houses climb down the mountain banks to the lake edge. Our hostel was on the 10th floor and the views were sensational, especially the sunsets. The town is lovely to wander round - little cafés, bars restaurants and lets not forget chocolate shops. Too many chocolate shops to count. I am not a big fan of chocolate but even I have to give in and have some. It was really yummy. The place has a really relaxed feel to. It was cold but the sun shone and people wandered around bedecked in ski gear, sunnies sand big smiles. It was my sort of place. I felt I could have stayed for a long time.
The view from the hostel was so good we stayed in and cooked a few nights as we had our own balcony. One night we were rewarded with one of the best firework displays I have seen in a long time. The town was celebrating something but no one seemed to know what or care. It was in the hostel I acquired the nickname Malbec, I guess because I always seemed to have a bottle of Malbec in front of me!!! Some things never change!
The town is surrounded by lakes and mountains. We decided to do the 'Circuito Chico' - a 28 km circuit of one of the lakes on bikes. I had thought it would be flat given it was around a lake but this was not the case. It was incredibly hard. There were so many steep climbs and on some there was no way I could do them other than get off the bike and walk! This obviously meant there were sections of downhill but to be honest they were so steep that I barely took my hand of the brake and went at the pace of a snail. I am turning into a big wuss - ahhhhh! I am however so pleased I did it. It was truly beautiful. The views across the valley were stunning and there were lots of 'wows' and 'oh my gosh....'.At the best view point, which is at the end of the worst of the upward inclines, I sat down and had a spicy sausage in a hot bun and savoured the view. It was a magical moment.
The next day we decided to take the cable car up to Cerro Otto. This is a mountain which overlooks the town. There were some wonderful views up here - in fact it's hard to find a place which doesn't give you a postcard view in Bariloche. On the top of the mountain we did a trek in the snow. We were given snow shoes - mini snowboards which you attach to your shoe with metal grips on the underside to help you walk in the snow. It was so funny trying to walk in them at first, you are almost tripping over yourself. We had also hired ski pants and snow boots. This had been an hilarious experience as some of the rental places had never heard of colour coordination. We finally manage to rent gear which didn't make us look like total losers! Marianne comment that she didn't know why we were bothering, it's not like we are going to fall and get wet. Needless to say the first person down was Marianne!! It was quite difficult especially going up and down the steep banks. It was so much fun though. For me an hour wasn't long enough - I could have done a couple more. To finish the trip off we had lunch and a beer in the revolving restaurant. Totally perfect. In the evening, we went to the best restaurant in town - El Boliche de Alberto. It is a steakhouse and so as not to disappoint we all had steak. I met up with Ann here as her group had arrived that day. I lobe that about travelling, that you just keep bumping into people and see how they are going. The food was delicious and so was the wine. Afterwards a few of us went to Wilkennys, the Irish pub. It was really expensive but we had a good boogie though and didn't get to bed until 6.30am. I was totally shattered as I had to be up at 9am the next day to check out of my room by 10am!!! The only things that kept me going was that I was still drunk and the hang over never really got a chance to kick in! Around lunch time managed to eat and had a hearty meal of toast and scrambled eggs. Yum - just what the doctor ordered.
I was sad to leave Bariloche - it was so wonderful but also because this is where I had to part company with my travel buddy, Marianne. It had been so much fun. I caught a night bus to Puerto Madryn and as chance would have it 2 lads from the hostel were on the same bus. They had seats downstairs and when they were all wrapped up in their blankets thy looked like hobbits. I was sat upstairs and unfortunately next to 'perv'. During the whole journey his hand would accidentally fall on my leg and then just as that happened his hand would involuntarily spasm so that he was squeezing my leg! I didn't dare go to sleep for fear of where his hand would go if I wasn't awake. At one point to try and put some distance between us, I turned to face him and pressed into the window behind me. This didn't really have the planned result as then he started to blow on my face. Please does any guy really think this is attractive? I was relieved when we finally arrived in Puerto Madryn.