Bariloche is a stunning city. It doesn't feel like a city. It sits on the edge of another gorgeous lake with ski resorts and islands all around. The buildings are built in the fancy ski chalet style and the views are fantastic, we can't even imagine how amazing it must look in the winter. We have been reminiscing about France a lot over the past few days. We wandered around the main streets and realised that Bariloche is famous for its handmade chocolate shops, we tried a few testers and we will be back, it is delightful! Although there are plenty of top quality restaurants we are trying not to eat out so have saved a nice parrilla restaurant for our last night here.
On the second day there was a hint of rain in the air and we had wanted to do the Circuito Chicos which is a 25km bike ride around three lakes. We decided we would save this for the third day, we didn't fancy getting soaked again. Instead we opted for a 40 minute hike to Cerro Campanario, the top of a ski station (in the winter) and saw some more fabulous views over Bariloche and the lakes. We would love to come back here and ski, the views would be sensational. James had wanted to get the ski lift up but it was so expensive I made him walk! The walk was enjoyable and on the way down I nominated myself as the guide, well James had done it for six months in France. It turns out we went very 'off piste' and had to run down it was so steep, but it was so much more fun and a lot quicker! A lady in our hostel had given us wrong directions of where we had to buy the bus tickets so on the way to Cerro Campanario we hadn't had to pay. On the way back the bus driver was much more vigilant and we had to stop on the road, give our fare to another passenger, she ran into the supermarket and topped up her bus card and swiped it on the bus. It was pretty embarrassing but very kind of both the driver and the lady, in England I'm pretty sure you just wouldn't be allowed on! We went into town to get some shopping and most importantly some chocolate from Mamoushka, the top rated chocolate shop. We both chose a few to try and I ate mine pretty quickly they were so good.
The next day the weather forecast was looking brighter so we bit the bullet, and hired bikes for the day. This time we got a bus card for the journey so we wouldn't look so foolish on the bus and we were on our way. We knew the bike ride was 25km but we didn't realise, despite being in the mountains, that there were going to be so many steep sections! We were so keen at the start that we stopped at a national park and completed an hour walk, just another bit of exercise to really get our bodies aching. The views made it easier to complete with beaches, hidden lakes and a very posh hotel that we will stay in when we have a spare $2500 (US dollars Dad!). It was a lovely building with awesome views and a golf course that must be one of the most picturesque courses in the world. The pictures we took along the way will give you some idea of the fantastic views that we saw without the leg aching steep hills that we had to endure.
I was pleased that tonight we had chosen to eat out after our arduous journey it was nice not to have to cook. We had forgotten that now we are back in Argentina you have to eat a lot later so after buying another supply of chocolate we got to the restaurant at 8 on the dot, along with a lot of families with children. We got a seat away from the children and right next to the grill where we could watch the chefs grilling and preparing the meat. It was steak, steak and more steak-delicious!
The last morning in Bariloche, I had wanted some more chocolate but we had eaten so much the night before we couldn't squeeze much more in. I wanted a picture with the St Bernard that hangs out in the square so we did that and caught the next bus to El Bolson, only 2 ½ hours away.