On the Wednesday we headed for Mar Del Plata. This is 6 hours south of Buenos Aires and it is a popular holday destination for the people of Argentina and particularly Buenos Aires. Well if you have been to Brighton then this is definitely Argentina's version of it :) Its uncanny how alike it is.. even the similar buildings so it felt a bit like home. The weather was not great when we were there, it was a little rainy the first day. However on the last day it brightened up .. bliss!!
We arrived late afternoon on the Wednesday. The bus was an hour late and it was so slow but it was empty as well. We headed to our hostel which was called Pergamino and was more like a cheap hotel. We had our own room with cable TV, hello FX and Universal!! We headed out for some food as we were starving and had not been fed on the bus :( we took a look around town and then headed home. Sad as it was we really enjoyed having our own tv and could catch up on some shows.
The next day we headed off to town and walked around the shops. I went into the gorgeous church on the main busy shopping street. They really do have pretty churches. There was a flea market there and a few stalls were open but I think we were to early. We basically spent the day eating and walking around. The only productive thing I did was to send a few postcards. We did walk out to the pier and watched some guys doing surfing but there were not many waves so they spent a lot of time in the water for very little action. Mar del plata has tons of bakeries on every street corner it seems so we totally indulged in lots of cakes and pastries. Never good for the waistline. Later on we headed for dinner at a restaurant near the sea and I had Hake and mashed potatoes which I really enjoyed. As much as I love chips and greasy food I am getting seriously bored of it.
The next day was gorgeous so we headed down to the beach. There was a tango performance on the street near the beach and it was really good. We then went and sat on the dock with all the locals and chilled in the lovely sunshine. There were quite a few looky looky men who you get in Tenerife. Basically the black guys selling lots of cheap accessories. We had several hours to kill before the 7.30 bus to Bariloche which was going to be about 20 hours so we basically had lunch and walked around stopping for some treats along the way. It was a lovely little town to visit and it was a relaxing stop. I always love being near the sea. Our bus ride went pretty quickly but then I think you just get used to these trips now. We got fed well 3 meals and drinks every few hours if felt like..and they played eat pray love, the killers, the indestructables and some other show.
We arrived in Bariloche on Saturday 23rd April (Easter Saturday) and it is a beautiful town. It reminded me a lot of Queenstown but in some ways even prettier. We had been told it was snowing the day before so we were waiting for some cold cold weather. it has a massive lake surrounded by amazing mountains with snow on the top and the water is so wild and blue..there are lots of lodges on the mountain so it looks like a little ski town. The town is overun by chocolate shops and ice cream as well. Seeing as we were here for Easter it was pretty good timing really :) We were in Bariloche for 4 nights. We went to an Irish bar called Wilkenny for dinner and met Rachs mate for a beer and food. It was full of Argentinians so not really the typical place we all see on holiday. I planned to do a trek to Trondor mountain on the Sunday but when I went to bed on Saturday I was sick. Not sure why to be honest. Second time in 10 days.. not good but I hope its not because of beef (as I ate it both nights I was sick) Jese my father would disown me if I could not eat steak anymore :)
On the Sunday we went to a lookout on the bus. We went with a girl from our room called Roz. Its called Cerro Campanario which is 1049 metres high and overlooks all the mountains and lakes and it really is something special. Apparently its voted one of the top national geographical spots. You get an open ski lift up there so Ellen did not really enjoy it. We took some beautiful pictures but I do not think my camera does them any justice whatsoever sadly. Ellen and Rachel left to head back to town and I stayed with Roz and had an empanada in the gorgeous cafe at the top which just overlooks all this amazing scenary..we just stayed and talked for a while and just enjoyed it :) Later on we headed back to town and got some food to cook. It was a tasty risotto for us and we chilled out in the hostel, it was really quiet that night so we had the massive tv and leather sofas to ourselves.
On the Monday we went on the bus to the 18km and hired some mountain bikes to do a popular bike trail which was 33km long. There were lots of people getting ready to do it and the shop offered a 241 deal before midday so it was all good. We met 3 Irish people, 2 guys and a girl so we became part of a group together. After getting suited and booted with helmets and orange bands we set off around 12.30. The first 4 km was pretty damn tough all uphill so it was going to be a hard bike ride. Our first stop was a lookout which was nothing short of amazing. We had a quick sarnie there and took some pictures before we carried on. There were some amazing downhill parts and me and the Irish were off. We sped down the hills it was a briliant feeling. We then took a stop in a town called Colonia Suiza where I had a hot chocolate and a piece of apple pie with Lisa.. It was divine!! We carried on the trip but Ellen and Rache decided to head back the way they came as they had enough. I carried on with my Irish buddies. We then stopped at some other spots..Arroyo Lopex which was a river.. then Bahia Lopez which was a beach spot. We then headed to Lago Escondido and did the hidden lake walk which was about 20 mins and it was gorgeous. We just sat on this platform with some locals and chilled for 15 mins. It was then coming up for 5.00 so we decided to keep on going and head straight back to the shop. The bikes had to be returned by 7pm. We passed through a town which had the Hotel Llao Llao which was a beautiful hotel with an amazing backdrop-Cerro Lopez.. and just a gorgeous lake in front of it. The bike ride was bloody hard (up and down steep hills) and it just showed how unfit I am these days. I have serious work to do when I get home..but it was AMAZING and definitely a highlight of SA. By the time we got back to the bike shop we were all exhausted. We were lucky as the day was gorgeous and it was blue skies all day..We headed back to town and I took a really HOT shower to unwind the muscles. We then had some dinner and went for some really GOOD ice cream and chocolate. We were going to head out but decided to go back to the hostel and drink some red wine :) We got chatting to some Irish girls and and hung with them. Ellen and Rach headed to bed later and I played pool and cards until about 2.30 before I called it a night,
The next day was a chilled day as I was tired from the late night. I walked around and sat by the lake and I write this from my hostel with its glass windows looking out onto the beautiful lake and mountains... it makes me smile. I really love it here.. Such a pretty place. One of my favourite spots of South America.
Tomorrow we head to Mendoza which is another whooper of a journey and we leave tomorrow at 1.30 and arrive the following morning. I am excited about Mendoza as it is a wine region so I think some of the activites we will do will involve bike riding and wine :) I have started drinking red wine since arriving in Argentina so I think my palete is changing.. Aww the changes that have occured since I have been gone.. :)