Trip Start Jan 13, 2010
91Trip End Dec 20, 2010
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Happy to be leaving Mendoza we got on another bus on Sunday evening to arrive 15 and a half hours later in beautiful Bariloche. This was another pleasant bus journey with plenty of movies to watch and even a game of Bingo to entertain us. Only downside was the reappearance of a ham & cheese roly poly cake (two in one week - disgusting).
Bariloche is a quaint little town situated in the foothills of the Andes in the heart of Naheul Huapi National Park, surrounded by many beautiful, peaceful lakes. It is a truely stunning place full of little wood cabin type houses, lovely little shops and for some reason lots of chocolate shops. It is a mecca for walkers and outdoor activities, and skiing in the wintertime, so Mark was fitting in well. Me not so much. First port of call when we arrived was to get me some trekking shoes (as I don't own a pair) which we found pretty easily and cheaply as there are tonnes of outdoor shops here. We then headed off to get a map of the National Park and to find some nice walks to do.
Our hostel, Pudu, was slap bam in the centre of the town which was great. It was owned by a nice Irish couple and was a real hub of a place with people of all backgrounds, nationalities and ages. Due to it being the height of the summer season and because we only booked a few days in advance we ended up choosing to stay in a four bed dorm to save on the pennies as a double room with a shared bathroom was going to cost double what we were paying for the same in Buenos Aires. This was Mark's first experience of sharing a dorm but luckly we had two nice lads sharing with us so after the first night it wasn't that bad. My favourite thing in the hostel was the fresh homemade scones for breakfast every morning - delicious.
As we were only here for 3 nights, we got up pretty early on Tuesday and headed 17km out of town to climb up Cerro Campanario which has been ranked as one of the top ten views in the world according to National Geographic Magazine. You can pay 30 pesos to take a ski lift to the top of the hill, but us being tight backpackers we decided to do the 30 minute walk to the top. This was a pretty steep climb but so worth it when you reached the top to see some really breathtaking views of the lakes and national park.
The next day we decided to go horse riding with one of our room mates James, an aussie, as I had been wanting to do some cowboy stylie trekking in the beautiful patigonian countryside. So we set off to a ranch out of town to hire some horses for a 3 hour trek. It all started off really lovely with a nice stroll. About ten minutes into the 3 hour trek, I discovered that my stead was in fact Satin in disguise. James had the nicest horse, Mark had an old boy who kept nearly falling over and I was left with the most stubborn and down right evil horse in history. "Satin" as we nicknamed him liked nothing better than biting all of the other horses, doing pretty much what the hell he liked and basically leaving to follow in his footsteps. The guys pretty much followed our guide, while I was left behind with Satin who would decide to stop and not go anywhere for a while. After reaching a beautiful lake we had a wee break and by this point I was pretty fed up with my horse but had another hour and a half of his antics to put up with before getting back to the ranch. Looking back it was a really fun experience, one which we will look back on and be in hesterics about but at the moment me not loving horses very much any more.
So although we only spent 3 nights in Bariloche, we had an absolutely fab time there and are planning to go back for another 3 nights when we get back from down south. There is still loads of stuff that we haven't done and I want to go back to taste some more of the best chocolate in the world which I shall leave to the next Bariloche blog in a week or so's time.
Next stop for us is El Calafate, down in South Patagonia. We have a 28 hour bus journey down the famous Routa 40 which we were told was "bumpy" so should be interesting however we are looking forward to visiting the Glacier National Park, should be good.
Total Bus Hours so far: 64.5