Gateway to Patagonia.....19-22 Nov

Trip Start Sep 09, 2010
Trip End May 28, 2011

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Where I stayed
1004 Hostal

Flag of Argentina  ,
Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday 19th November

Another night bus we thought it was only going to take 18 hours, but it turned out to be more like 24 hours....we are beginning to be spend more time on buses than in any one place? The only positive was that it was raining most of the way, so the bus was probably the best place to be this time.  And so we are faced with another border crossing back into Argentina, the rigmarole of immigration and getting our backpacks off and on the bus again. But the scenery is stunning so worth it I suppose.

We arrive late afternoon, no hostal booked and try to get into 1004 Hostal which has been recommended.  It is fully booked, but will have room tomorrow. They suggest another hostal around the corner, La Moiras.  It is friendly, the dorm is small and has a private bathroom.  We are in bunk beds again and sharing with an Israeli couple.  This is the first time on my trip that I have discovered how many Israeli travellers there are in South America. I was told that a lot come travelling to here after their military service, and that they can literally take over hostals...this was one such hostal...It's like being in Tel Aviv! The staff are friendly and they had lots of PCs with internet access so I eventually book a flight from Buenos Aires to La Paz with Aerosur  for 5 Dec for 220, via Santa Cruz. So not too bad and means that hopefully Katharina and I will be able to travel together right up until the end.

Saturday 20th November

The weather was appalling all day, it rained constantly. We booked into Hostal 1004, it is the top – 10th floor - of an office block building and has an amazing view of the lakes – beautiful.  As the weather was so bad we just spent the day walking around the town, in and out of shops eating lots of chocolate. Bariloche is how I imagine Switzerland to be...full of pretty quaint chocolate shops surrounded by lakes and snow capped mountains? To save money as its pretty expensive here...we were told that Patagonia would be costly...Katharina and I decided to eat in, but both of us are not into cooking, and there wasn't much choice, so we ended up buying some soup, you wouldn’t think that could go wrong...well it could. K mixed the packet with hot water instead of cold so it went all lumpy. In the end after much stirring I got it into an edible state. Whilst in the kitchen we met a nice French guy called Yannick.  He was cooking steak. We ended up having dinner with him and drank wine and chatted to these two other guys from Germany and Holland.  They all spoke really good English and I actually felt insignificant and rather left out surprisingly, as they were having these in-depth conversations in another language...all I could do with sit in awe and wished that I could speak another language fluently. But I suppose that’s the beauty of English for most people it is there second language, and helps them communicate with other people from other countries.

Sunday 21st November

We got the 9.30am bus to El Beson, it was recommended as nice day-trip from Bariloche, however it was a 3 hour ride there and back again. We were both tried after a late night and lots of wine, and Katharina in particular was not feeling good.  However the weather was nice, sunny and warm and we slept most of the way.  We arrived around midday. It is a pretty little town, with lovely mountain views but not really much to do apart from chill out and relax.  We had lunch, I had steak for the first time and chips. They were the best I’ve tasted in a long time and almost as good as the ones my dad makes...but not quite. We walked around the market stalls and by 3pm had had enough so got the next bus back!  I hate sleeping in bunk beds, I’m on the top in the middle of the dorm so I have this fear that I will roll out...and the guy in the bunk below was rocking the bed every time he moved.

Monday 22nd November

We are doing a boat trip of the lakes today. It’s 160 peso so quite expensive around 40.  Instead of doing an organised tour which would be even more expensive we make our own way by local bus to Llao Llao to pick up the boat for just 6 peso.  It’s a good 5 hours on the boat around the lake, with beautiful mountain views again. It is part of a national park, and we visit a rainforest and walk around an island looking at its national habitat with a guide who only speaks Spanish, so not the best tour I’ve ever been on. Roy has designed the leaflet for the women weavers at Chinchero using my text and pictures. It looks really good, just need Roxana and Jess to approve it and then we can get it printed.
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