Argentina and Chile!
18.11.2010 - 30.11.2010
Sorry for the long delay in posting! Traveling gets busy...
After a glorious few days of excessive quantities of wonderful Argentinian wine and beef we made our way down south to Bariloche, Argentina. Bariloche is technically the northern boundary of Patagonia, but is more commonly known as the Lakes District for the numerous glacial lakes that were carved millenium ago. Bariloche has a little bit of an identity problem. The town looks more or less like it was airlifted from a swiss mountainside. There are hansel and gretel style houses and buildings and restaurants serving apple struedel and kuchen (in addition to argentinian foods). It is a weird mix of beautiful mountain and lake views (not quite as pretty as what I imagine one sees in Switzerland), crazy architecture and lots of touristy shops selling chocolate. Why this town is known for its chocolate, who knows. but we loved it!!
We rented a car and drove on the "7 Lakes" road about a 200 kilometers north through the beautiful mountains along - yes, 7 lakes, to the gorgeous mountain town of San Martin de Los Andes. it is a ski town that was lovely in this spring off season and we scored into renting an incredibly cute 3 bedroom cabin for what we have been paying for average hotel rooms. What a treat to have a cabin to stretch out and enjoy a kitchen for a change!
Our days were spent doing short day hikes and just relaxing and enjoying the fresh air and views. Here is a pretty typical scene.
It is early springtime down here and nearly everywhere are these incredible flowering yellow bushes/trees. They are slightly fragrant right when they budd out and I have loved seeing them everywhere. We understand the flowers last only a few weeks and the area is pretty much green for the rest of the year. Aside from the yellow there are tons of other flowing plants and trees. And as it is not summertime, there are very few crowds so it is so easy for us to travel around and enjoy the views to ourselves.
After a few days here we took a 6 hour bus over the Andes to Puerto Varas, Chile to see the chilean side of the lakes district. The views were very similar, although maybe a little less green and a little more dry on the Chile side. As the scenery was similar, we decided to take the 4 hour bus down to an island off the Chilean coast called Chiloe. It is a beautiful rugged island that gets tons of rain and was green and lush (luckily for us it only rained one night and a little drizzle one morning, all while we were happily inside!). The town we stayed in was called Castro and is known for its "Palafito" houses that are built on stilts over the tidal flows of the pacific ocean. Being low season, we lucked into renting one of the Palafito houses all to ourself. Katie and I loved it and if one we could have one overlooking the Hudson River in NYC we would be set! Here is a pic of the palafitos at low tide. our rental was the yellow house in the middle of the pic.
Chiloe is know for its seafood and farms salmon, oysters, mussels and clams - and we enjoyed them all. Their oysters were so fresh and incredible and at $0.50 each the complete bargin!! Last night I had the local dish of salmon stuffed with - ready- cheese, tomatoes and slices of pork sausage. I was doubtful of the combination, but it was incredible!!! Another who knew culinary moment!
Katie and I parted ways this a.m. as she has more time for Patagonia than me. Thanks Katie for great travels!!
I am on an hour lay over on my 10 hour bus ride back to Bariloche to catch my flight down to the southern Patagonian town of El Calafate, Argentina. I will be hiking over glaciers and in the Torres de Paine Park in Chile for the next week. More updates to come.
Last, on the reading front. I read A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore. It was a beautifully written novel with some great twists. I would recommend it. I am just about finished with Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens as I decided to delve into a classic. The reading has been taking a backseat to my newly downloaded Texas Hold ém game.... so distracting, but fun!