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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Tuesday, October 23, 2012

After a very comfortable bus journey, we arrived in freezing Bariloche. The drive down was amazing and resembled something from a movie. This is the lake district of Argentina surrounded by log cabins and snow capped mountains. After grabbing a local bus, we strolled to the hostel. This was the cosiest place we stayed yet. Warm, small and really clean. The day of our arrival, we wrapped up and took a tour of the town and closest lake. It had a real touristy feel about the place and we suspect it's where rich South Americans go for ski holidays. Shops were very expensive as we learned looking for hats. It was overall a really nice picturesque area! After, we made dinner and caught up with everyone by mail and Facebook. We went to bed early after arranging a hike for the next day. The next morning, the tour collected us from our hostel at 9. We were in the minibus for 2 hours before arriving at a mountain for climbing. We were part of a really nice group of 11 including a lovely nurse from Roscommon. We were flying it up the mountain having been stranded for so long on the bus the day before. The hike was relatively easy and took about 4 hours in total. From the top, we took in amazing views of mountains and glaciers. Twice, we saw parts of the glacier cracking off and making the sound of thunder as it fell down the mountain. After Iguazu falls, these were definitely the most impressive sights we saw so far. We had drama on the way back in the bus as a tree had fallen across the road we had just travelled up minutes earlier. A local guy had a four wheel drive and he was trying to pull the tree of the road with a winch. Crisis was averted after this mans help plus that of a national park ranger with a chain saw. We were back in the hostel at 8, where we cooked our own dinners, watched some tv and headed to bed. We extended our stay by one night to take in more of Bariloche. The next day we did a self arranged hike up another part of the lake district. Again, lovely sights and a very cold wind. That night, we ate out in the nicest restaurant called Albertos. Eoin finally got his massive steak (500 grams for 14 euros). I also got a chicken dish which was unbelievable. This was the first part of the holiday where we felt we got a decent meal (apart from Eoins cooking of course). Saying that, we haven`t been eating out alot. After the meal, we went to Wilkennys, a local Irish bar. We were disappointed to find the place empty, really dark and super expensive. We had a drink and headed back to the hostel. The next day, we got our longest bus to date totalling 28.5 hours down to El Calafate. We were surprised with the landscape of Argentina. Most of our journey down to El Calafate was through barren, mountaineous land. We passed a few villages along the way and also gas/oil/electricity plants which were surrounded by drilling equipment. All in all, we thought that Bariloche was a really nice stopping off point on the way down South.
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