Start of the Tucan Tour South
Trip Start Feb 26, 2008
50Trip End Ongoing
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A 6.30am start from Pucon was a shock to the system but we joined up with our new crew (after a slight rush cause the alarm was not quite set early enough) and onto the truck.
Its big. Its yellow. And its a Mercedes truck with a converted back to seat 34 passengers (we have 26) with a fridge and safe. In the darkness we set off for the border with Argentina which we crossed with little trouble as the dawn was just kicking up. It was then on down to San Martin de los Andes on a mixture of tarmac & dirt/metal roads. San Martin is a neat little town set o a lake and we had a 40 minute stop there which was enough time for a coffee and to get our hands on some Argentinian pesos. Hit the road again and had a small drive to our first group lunch with the truck over looking the 1st of the 7 lakes on the "7 lake drive from San Martin to Bariloche".
We eventually got into Bariloche about 6ish and had a wander around town and tucked into a big thick Argentinian Steak and a cheeky little Reserve Malbec (V&C - damn it was good & the whole meal for 2 of us came to less than 2/3 of the bottle of wine by itself at Gauchos in London!).
Bariloche is famous for its Swiss heritage and there are St Bernard dogs wandering around the town complete with brandy barrels under their chin and chocolates are for sale everywhere. And I certainly didnt want to let the town down and we got a bit of the chocky. But no dogs.
Becs is starting a mission to purchase a "going out" top because in the initial last selection of 11 tops, none of these qualified for "going out" in. We eventually left Bariloche town without one and headed up to Cerro Catedral (45mins bus ride out of town) which is a ski area by winter and a hiking spot by summmer. Took a lift up to the top which gave a great view over lakes/mtns etc. and had some lunch and beers to congratulate ourselves on mastering the public transport. It was pretty nice up there and qualified as one of our happy places in South America.
But the search for the "going out" top continues.....
For those that are travelling through this area there is a free newspaper with all types of info in it, mostly aimed at the backpacker but its got some good tips - www.travellersguru.com (website which I have not checked out).