A stop off before the journey south - Esquel

Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
Trip End Apr 01, 2012

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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Monday, April 25, 2011

Four hours south from Bariloche by bus to Esquel as a little stopover for our trip south – sounds simple. Not so simple when your bus is three hours late to the station 'because it's coming from Buenos Aires’ as if that was the simplest statement in the world – why would it be on time! And our lessons in South American buses begins....

So we get to Esquel a bit later than planned but we have just watched another Jennifer Anniston cheesy comedy that we never would have paid for so not too worried.  Arrive at our hostel called Planeta Hostel, a bit of a walk from the station but in the centre of town/village and luckily as I wrote down the directions - but didn’t quite manage the address -  so some guess work was needed as the hostel had recently changed location.  Another good hostel with friendly staff, clean rooms, good kitchen and most importantly a good steakhouse recommendation.  Steakhouse (una parilla) was called La Barra and served very large steaks and chips for about 8 – one of the best meals since we arrived in South America.  Jonny was definitely very happy with the standard of steak (and Roquefort Sauce to go with it). Even by trying random cuts – as my Spanish hasn’t quite got to sirloin vs rump ...

Esquel itself is pretty small in the middle of the mountains and very dry plains of empty land so pretty isolated.  It seems to be the main town for miles with plenty outdoor shops, some bars and restaurants and hostels.  However it does again seem to be in a bit of a time warp. Old school shopfronts and bars, a good bit of graffiti and a hairdressers every three shopfronts.  As our first glimpse into a real Argentinean town, we both like it (as I imagine America in the 80s).

The next day we decide to do an excursion to the nearby national park (Parque Nacionale Los Alerces) as it’s a beautiful day and there is no public transport today being a Tuesday...why would there be!?

The park was beautiful – very untouched as they are quite restrictive with who can enter, where you can camp and what you can fish etc so we feel pretty privileged to be there off season when hardly anyone else is there. I hope the photos show the peacefulness of the park as we toured through the different lakes, some cave paintings and amazing views.

The next day is a quick walk  to go and see the Old Patagonian Express called La Trochita (from the book by Paul Theroux I’m sure you’ve all heard of...) and then it’s the first of our first big bus journeys – 24 hours!

For some reason this bus journey runs on time (so it’s not all Argentinean buses) and we’re off.  Worth it to see the landscape and since I’m pretty skilled at sleeping in a bus, Jonny had to do a bit more reading as that means I’m not a great travel companion but we make it, still talking and in one piece to El Calafate, finally southern Patagonia. 

Arrive in Calafate – proper Patagonia!

Full photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonnymillar/sets/

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dmillar1952 on

Another very interesting Blog!! Photos are great. If Jonny recommends the Steaks they must be really good!!! xx

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