Snow in August!

Trip Start Aug 11, 2010
Trip End May 21, 2011

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

After Puerto Madryn, we picked up our ridiculously heavy rucksacks to head for the bus station. 16 hours later we arrived in Bariloche, right inside Patagonia's Lake District where the landscape changed from barren, dry and flat land into carved mountain ranges - the Andes! On the bus it wasn’t ideal watching an American film dubbed with Spanish words and then Spanish subtitles but the scenery took my mind off of that...

While out walking on the first night in Bariloche, the torrential rain turned into huge, fat chunks of snow and we were told that this was the first time this year that it has snowed. It was nice seeing the local people excited by the snow and out playing in it; it was very tempting to launch a snowball at Eleanor but I somehow resisted.

On our second day in Bariloche, we caught a bus and cable car to the summit of Cerro Campanairo. The panoramic views were absolutely incredible: voted amongst the top 7 views in the world apparently. There was a cafe at the top with cakes, locally made chocolate and touristy goods. This was a nice way to view the frozen lakes and snowy mountains as it had a 360 degree view. This was certainly one of the highlights so far! See pic (many stitched together). The following day we walked the classic Circuito Chico route along the mountain roads, approx 18 km in total. It would’ve been shorter but snow had made the footpaths impossible to negotiate. The views were once again amazing, we really felt Patagonia on this walk, especially when we paused to listen to nature’s noises and the powerful silence.

Continuing our journey in the Lake District, we caught a bus from Bariloche to San Martin de los Andes via the seven lakes route. Bus drivers have serious balls in Argentina, especially when roads are virtually non-existent in places and there is snow and slush everywhere. What should’ve been a very scenic 5.5 hour journey was slightly destroyed by the poor weather conditions though one particular highlight for us was seeing 6 condors hovering over scrubland during the journey. Condors have 3 metre wing spans and generally search for dead animals to eat. Nice. When we finally arrived, we were welcomed by very heavy rain which is always great when you have 25 kg of rucksacks on and have to search for a hostel. Doing this causes you to make poor decisions and we did this on our choice of accommodation. Too expensive, poor service etc but we learnt from this mistake. The town is beautifully picturesque, perfect for ski buffs pulling up in 4x4 Porsches. Unfortunately activities were too expensive for our budget so we only stayed one night.
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