A town of stunning lakes and mountains and mouth watering chocolate delights!
24.03.2010 27 °C
February 24th - 27th ( 4days)
Bariloche is one of those places on earth whose natural beauty and lovely laid back energy, makes you want to pack up everything you own and move to live by the lakes and mountains. The fact that it is also home to a multitude of “chocolaterias”, which produce their own mouth watering chocolate, is another incentive to relocate here, as many Irish and English that we met in Bariloche had done. On the other hand, the amount of chocolate that we consumed in our 4 days here meant that there may in fact be no chocolate left in Bariloche, and if we did live here we would run the risk of turning quite quickly into content little fatties!!
After our challenging 35 hour bus journey on Route 40, plus all our recent hiking, Ben was exhausted and didn’t feel up to a 36km bike ride around the lakes of Bariloche. I had refuelled on numerous strong espresso shots and had restless energy so I jumped on a local bus that took me 18km out of town to a bike hire place. From here I completed a 36km return bike journey that took me up and down hills, through bush paths, past secluded bays and to lookouts over the lakes and mountains. My favourite was Villa Tecul Beach, which I went back and visited again with Ben a few days later.
This was our first day apart since leaving Australia 5 weeks ago, and it felt strange not being able to share the experience together. Every time something exciting happened or a new incredible view popped up over the horizon I would turn to tell Ben, forgetting that he wasn’t there. It’s funny how quickly you adjust to spending 24 hours a day with someone and how reliant you become on them being there. Ben is my travel partner in crime, and the day apart made me appreciate how lucky I am to be travelling the world with my best friend, who also happens to be my future husband! So, after our day apart we spent the next 3 days sharing our adventures in Bariloche, which I will recap briefly for you now:
• Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate!! Bariloche’s post WW2 European immigrants introduced chocolate making into the area shortly after they arrived, and chocolate now has a special home in Bariloche, which is famous for its rich and creamy chocolate delights! Can you believe that we spent an entire afternoon walking down “Mitre St”, the street of chocolate shops and chocolate dreams, just sampling chocolates and ice-cream. That is all we did for the full afternoon- sample chocolate from one shop, move onto the next to try something different, move onto the next to try some ice-cream etc etc. I was in chocolate heaven, and Ben did his best to keep up!
• The 7 Lakes Tour from Bariloche to San Martin de Los Andes: With our great new friends from Brisbane who we met on the Navimag, Ads and George (Georgina), we hired a car for the day and set off on the 400km return 7 Lakes Route. This was a fantastic day, and another highlight of our trip (there are so many of them!). The scenery was spectacular, and we stopped off at numerous lookouts along the way to appreciate it.
We enjoyed a scrumptious lunch on the northwestern shore of Lake Nahual Huapi ( in the town of Angostura), where our meal perhaps tasted even better because of the dazzling blue lake that we sat by. With our bellies full of tasty goodness we continued on until we came to a river area where some people were picnicking and swimming. We were ready for a swim, and although the water was icy cold, we all got in and swum over to a ruined old bridge. From here we watched as one of the swimmers climbed the intact, modern bridge and then jumped with a big splash into the river below. Of course, as soon as Ben saw this he wanted to give it a go!!! With an entire crowd chanting and clapping for him, Ben climbed the bridge and did a great bomb into the deep and clear river below (he checked before doing it!). The crowd wanted more so Ben got up and did it again, much to their delight and cheering, and I’m sure Ben would have happily stayed all afternoon there except that we had to get going to our final lake town before sunset!
We arrived in the early evening to the Monarco of the Lakes District, San Martin de Los Andes. It was a smaller and “posher” version of Bariloche, and we enjoyed our short time there relaxing on the beach, while the boys had a dip in the lake. We couldn’t head for home without an ice-cream stop, and I ordered the biggest ice-cream of my life, and enjoyed every mouthful!!
The trip back took longer than expected, and we were worried because we were meant to be meeting friends for dinner at 9m at our favourite vegetarian restaurant, and by 10pm we were still half an hour out of town. We felt really guilty, but still had to stop to take photos of the setting sun over the Andean landscape!!, and by the time we got to the restaurant it was 10:30pm and our friends weren’t there. (It all worked out fine as we found out later that our friends hadn’t been able to make it to the restaurant so we didn’t feel so guilty about stopping to take all those sunset photos on the way home!!).
• The ground shook: That night as Ben and I slept peacefully and unaware, Ads and George and many others around town were evacuated from their building as the massive earthquake in Chile (8.8 on the richter) moved the ground in Bariloche, some 650km away (!). We went to pick Ads and George up the next morning, and heard about how they had evacuated their hostel and people had slept out in the parks, to worried to stay inside their buildings. It was devastating hearing news of the Chilean earthquake, and we met many people over the next few weeks who had been affected in some way. It was a sobering feeling to know that we were just near the earthquake some few weeks ago
• The 7th Most Wonderful View Point in the WORLD and the 10th Greatest Panoramic View in the WORLD: Yes, that’s right....the entire whole wide world.... or so says National Geographic!!! Whether these viewpoints really are as claimed or not, they were absolutely, jaw dropping, breath taking, spectacularly beautiful. We were captivated by the colours, the tranquillity, the vastness, the pure radiant beauty of the mountains meeting the lakes, and took a few photos to help us remember it!
Ben and I caught a chairlift up one of the mountain for the panoramic view of the lakes district. It was a steep ride up to an incredible view:
And with that chairlift ride our time in Bariloche came to an end, and it was back on the overnight bus to Wine Country, Mendoza.
Sending our love from across the miles!
Chelle and Ben