Christmas at La Morada

Trip Start Nov 28, 2005
Trip End Jan 20, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Saturday, December 24, 2005

After our horseback ride into the Andes, we are all but terrified of staying in Chile, with it's high prices and terrible instant coffee. (you can't really call it coffee and still be a decent human being) Although the sights were beautiful, it was time to move on, to our favorite Argentine city, Bariloche.

The border crossing going to Chile was tough, getting bags scanned and a dog searched the bus, even hopping around on the seats sniffing, but going the other way, into Argentina, was cake. We had our passports stamped and they flagged us off after about two random bag searches.

We had decided to stay at a hostel up in the hills of Bariloche, a 20 minute drive from town, what we didn't know was that it was almost straight up a mountain. We strapped our bags to the top of a diesel land rover and chugged up the bumpy, small and eroded road in 4 wheel drive. At the top, we were welcomed by the sight of all of Bariloche and the lake it sits on. The mountains, in all their glory and a ski lift running almost above our heads. The hostel itself was quite nice and there was a look-out tower, hand built, to climb up on. The tables had already been set up for the Christmas party and people had already started to cook.

Sophia and I lazed around for a while, waiting for the kitchen to be free. We were the last to cook our simple dinner of pasta, but there was food a-plenty and tons of it. Sitting around for everything to be prepared, we drank wine and beer. At nine the festivities started, ok maybe nine thirty. We ate and drank to fill our glutton selves, after all, most here had no family to be with (but of course the 40 people here) and my sister and I. As the night grew later, it seemed that, from the left hand side of the table, moving on down to the right, was a group of people that seemed to be turning back on more primitive natures. Good think I was not so drunk that I joined in! One can only stand five or six very drunk adults screaming like monkeys for so long. Thankfully, someone had the decency to put on some music for them to dance to. Although it was more 80's and disco music, it put the monkeys in a trance and from then on out, they had something more entertaining to do. As a final touch to the evening, the hostel provided a complimentary, strong, coffee and liquor drink to all of us. Sophia thought hers was too strong and poured it into my glass, holy crap was it too strong, but I drank it anyway, to my misery early the next morning.

Christmas Day we awoke late and lazy, spent most of the day sitting around outside in the sun and reading. Played backgammon. Read. Drank some water. Ate a sandwich. Watched some paragliders. Repeat. Finally, late in the day, Sophia gathered the courage and convinced me to go on a hike, so we could feel a little less lazy. I thought it might be a little much, but I agreed to go. We walked under the path of the gondola lines. Made it to the first tower with quite a huff, red in the face and a gut-wrenching feeling of over-exertion. Felt too tired to go on, so I let Sophia continue walking, but most of the way was basically up a cliff of sand. I felt justified. Then I was struck with curiosity about what was on top. Supposedly, there was a view even more amazing than where I was, so I followed, scrambling and huffing, having to stop every 30 yards or so. Eventually I caught up. We reached the top, with what was forming into what may be the most incredible sunset I've ever seen. Then Sophia, the punisher, found another trail that she wanted to set off on, which looked like it had an even more amazing view. So we set off there. It was really quite incredible and the only way that you will ever know is too look at the pictures that were taken, which don't do quite enough justice. We met up with the friends that I never mentioned who had taken a siesta and headed up a little later than us. Getting darker and darker, we set off back down the treacherous hill. Believe me, every time I think sandals are a good idea, they aren't. The rocks were sharp and it was hard to find a step in the dark, so we basically slid down the sandy, rocky slope, rocks in feet, creating a horrendous dust storm.

After making it down the hill, we had to shower as we were quite dirty. Cooked up almost a kilo of steak and ate with our new friends who shared their pasta and champagne with us.

The next day, setting off South, we left in the same land rover, but this time we had the opposite of a receiving party, but a going-away-it-was-nice party wave us out of the driveway. Quite the Christmas.
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