Friday, February 23, 2007


We´ve been in Bariloche since Monday, with one night spent out in the hills - more on that in a moment. We´re staying in the Tango Inn Hostel, which is really cool. It´s a little out of town, but has been set up really well and our room has a great view over the lake and the mountains beyond.

From Bariloche
Bariloche is a skiing town in the winter and in the summer caters for all the extreme sports nuts that want to go and play in the like me I guess. It´s also famous for chocolate and has some enormous chocolate emporiums where you can promise to take your girlfriend if they agree to you spending a week being extreme (cold, wet, tired, etc).

Speaking of which we have booked ourselves onto a few such excusrions. The day before yesterday we headed off on the "Free Spirit Tour", which meant travelling out of town to a lovely secluded set of bunk houses nestled in the foothills by a lake. We were joined by a South African couple who had been living in London for 6 - 9 years and were on their way to live in Australia.

In the morning we went for a mountain bike ride around the lake, which was scenic and picturesque but not particularly challenging. The fun part was riding through a river ford and getting soaking wet!

From Bariloche
Lunch was (needless to say) a Bar-b-q, or Parilla, with loads of Chorizo sausage, beef steak and blood pudding type thing called Morcilla. Yum. I´m feeling hungry just thinking about it.

In the afternoon it was time to take to the lake with in a rubber dingy and a canoe. This seemed like a good idea but shortly after we got onto the water it started to rain, and without the sun the temperature dropped pretty quickly. Further more we only had our own gear to rely on, which meant light rain jackets and swim shorts. Soon enough everyone was pretty wet and cold (extreme categories 1 and 2) and begining to tire (category 3). When Leah started shivering uncontrolably my EMC training kicked in (those from Atlantic College will know what I´m talking about - otherwise just think Outward Bound) and I realised we needed to get back to the shore and some warmth pretty quickly. She was wearing (soaking) jeans and my lighweight Howies cycling jacket, which were all wet through. I was, or course, having a wail of a time...feel the cold? Me? Never. We stopped momentarily to watch some Aguilitas (small Eagles) who were standing on the lake shore just a few meters away, but the cold soon drove us on. When we reached the shore we found that our legs no longer worked and both struggled to clamber out of the canoe and up the steep bank to the path that lead back to the cabins. We had been promised 1000 litres of hot water, and I think that gave us the determination to scramble and slither up the muddy path and eventually to the relative warmth of the shower block. Thankfully the hot water promise came through and after a while the feeling returned to numb fingers and toes.

We spent the evening playing cards with the owners, drying our clothes over the small wood-burning stove, exchanging stories and drinking wine.

The night was spent in a cold bunk house with about four blankets to keep us warm (and a few spoders to boot). I had a bit of a funny tummy and as I went to bed I enjoyed the irony that the one time I may need to be making night-time excursions to the bathroom it was in another building a cold walk away...thankfully there was no need in the end!

Yesterday we went for a nice walk around a small lagoon surrounded by a lovely forest with dappled sunslight coming through the trees before gathering our stuff together and heading back to Bariloche. Nice.

No comments: