Bariloche and the Chilean Border

Trip Start Feb 14, 2006
Trip End Mar 19, 2007

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, March 29, 2006

We hopped on the bus in Puerto Natales thinking that we would be going up through Chile to Puerto Mont from there we intended crossing the border to Bariloche in Argentina.
However it turned out that the bus actually went up the east coast of Argentina and through Bariloche. We couldnt get off the bus until we got back inside the Chiiean border. The 28 hours on the bus were passed quickly with an israeli and a mad irish guy. We were taught an israeli card game called Yanev and played it for most of the Journey (v addictive).
Anyway as our destination was Bariloche all 4 of us hopped off at the Chilean border hoping to hitchhike back. There we spent 6 hours hanging around, the novelty of playing more Yanev at the border crossing wore off after an hour. Six hours later and many failed attempts we were hardly talking to eachother and the true colours of our companions were starting to show.. Finally got a lift from a Chilean Preacher across the border and on to Bariloche, so 13 hours later we were back at our original destination.
In total we spent 7 days in Bariloche. Also decided to extend our trip in South America so that we could relax in places instead of rushing around.

Got a fantastic room in the hostel , El Bolsa Del Deporte. The whole hostel seemed to be made from natural big trunks of trees and it was a nice homely spot with a good bunch of people staying there. Bariloche is in the lake district of Argentina, v popular with backpackers and Argy tourists. The mountains and lakes surrounding are beautiful. Every road in adn our of the place has some sort of a viewing point of lakes or mountains or both. Every second shop is either a chocolate shop, steakhouse or an icecream shop. Our excuse was that we were working on the insurance bellies for our trip to Bolivia..where weŽve heard the food is lacking to say the least! It was in Di Albertos steakhous in Bariloche where we tasted the best steak so far in die for. Nightlife there was pretty hectic as well and centred around an irish bar called Willkenny. Of course we tore straight into it on the first night....although it was a bit of a rip off joint...only in Argentinian terms of course.
First day or 2 we just checked out the town. We then went on a Jeep tour around the lakes with a bunch of israelis. Oh ya it was run by an israeli as well,their motto being that they are the cheapest as they deal with Israelis. We toured all around the lakes and then they cooked us up a big Asado (BBQ) for lunch...which they had set up by a lake in a matter of mintues. So we were well fed on a few cows and had the luxury of baked spuds...we had been seriously lacking on teh spud front!

That weekend we decided to do an overnight trek to a refugio called Otto Mieling which is located between 2 glaciers more than 2000m on Mount Tronador. It has definitly been the highlight of our trip so far. The weather and the views were just fantastic for both days. The first day we made it up there after a good 5 hours hike up the mountains, nearly melting in the heat whcih we werenŽt expecting . Of course the first time we spotted the snow a bunch of us went sliding down on our asses. That was fine but I (Tadgh)could not stop at the bottom so a nice big rock stopped me instead and I thought I had broken my coccis (ass) bone. It made for a v uncomfortable night.

Anyway we made it to the refugio where there was jazz music blaring out the windows....a bit surreal at the top of a mountain! The athmosphere up there was fantastic. There was a big crowd of Argy army guys camping next to the refugio that were practicing for an expedition to the Antartic. The place was pretty small, the sleeping quarters upstairs consisted of mattresses on the ground of which we grabbed 2 on arrival and placed our sleeping bags on.
Did some short walks on the glacier and sat in some ice as well to cool the aching ass.That night we watched people eating steak and beef strogonoff while we digested our lovely tomato soup and pasta with even more watery tomato sauce. Some even proclaimed that it was the best steak they ever had.
Anyway finised the night with yet another game of cards with a Kiwi guy and swiss guy. Got them and another couple of americans addicted to the game as well. The refugio was packed to the rafters by the time we went to bed. Most people were already gone upstairs to the luxurious bedding area to claim their space. Because of the crowd,and the family who robbed our spot, we ended up sharing a single mattress. Everyone was sleeping on top of each other and walking on each other stepping on heads and legs etc going to the bathroom. It was incredibly cramped but just hilarious. At about 4am I even woke up some Argi girl sleeping beside me thinking that it was Aoife to get the flashlight to go to the bano (toilet).

I (Aoife) got a poke in the side from tadgh at about 7am to get up and take photos of the sunrise the next morning. Surprisingly I had had one of the best sleeps of the trip...with all teh other 60 bodies breathing and coughing and snoring around me. Sunrise was amazing, like being on top of the world, nothing to see in every dirtection but the tops of more and more mountains. We took our time going back down that day but we were still fairly wrecked from the whole two days treking. We celebrated yet another successful climb with another big steak to keep the reserves up!

Finally convinced ourselves to leave Bariloche and go to Pucon in Chile. We would happily have spent two weeks in Bariloche, and if we got the chance weŽd be back in a shot.
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