After a lovely few days in Puerto Varas, we got on a bus and made our way to our first stop in Argentina: Bariloche. Bariloche is part of the Argentinian Lake District but is also the top of Patagonia, the region comprising of the Southern section of the Andes mountains, all the way down to the Southernmost tip of land before Antartica.
The bus journey was a face-to-the-window one for me. It went through a National Park, right next to a volcano that last erupted in 2011! I don’t think I can ever tire of seeing mountains or volcanoes. Maybe they wear off if you live next to one, but I just think the things nature built will never be boring.
After figuring out the bus system, our first stop was to get a view of the place. We made our way to Cerro Campanario, a low peak that offers pretty much panoramic views of some of the lakes and mountains in the region. It was beautiful. Obviously not a patch on our lovely Lake District, but very stunning.
We went up on a slightly overcast and hazy day which is a shame as we probably missed out on how vibrantly blue it could be and how far in the distance you might be able to see, but that’s just nitpicking. Look at those views!
Now I can’t remember if this was the same day or a different one, but we went kayaking which was amazing! It was also completely and utterly arm shattering. Neither Jonny nor I have kayaked before so we were put in a tandem kayak with each other. It was a small group and there were plenty of teachers/guides so I felt safe, considering I can’t actually swim and was just praying we didn’t capsize.
It was a gorgeous way to spend an afternoon. The sun was shining, the water was so clear and our only destination was a little stone beach so we could have a tea break and croissants. We also got our first sampler of the famous Argentinian mate, a tea like drink made from the leaves of a plant called yerba mate. Pretty much everyone drinks it and has been raised on it but us gringos come along and pull faces at it. I pulled a face. It’s very bitter and also quite smoky. Not a fan!
We headed back in our kayaks, getting into the rhythm of things and all of the instructors kept asking us if we really hadn’t kayaked before. We hadn’t. I’m just very good at shouting “1, 2, 1, 2!” and being bossy and competitive, ha. The guide who was kayaking with us on the way back asked us if we had done any water sports at all.
“I can’t even swim,” I said.
“She can’t swim!” Jonny said.
“I’m not joking, if I fall out of this kayak I will probably drown!”
He laughed again. I don’t think he thought I was being serious…probably for the best, ha!
Kayaking on the way back was hard, we were going into the wind and Jonny was having to do a lot of steering at the back, which meant I was having to paddle alone which was so knackering and it became a mental battle of ‘KEEP GOING’ by the end. But it was so much fun. After being taken back to our hotel and showering, we headed out for our first taste of Argentinian steak.
It felt so well deserved after pushing ourselves, but by the end of the meal, agonising pain had crept into my forearms! I was trying to rest them on the table but no position was comfortable. Nothing some Bolivian ibuprofen couldn’t sort out once we were back in our B&B though!
On our last day Jonny wasn’t feeling great, so I went and had a walk around the town. Bariloche’s town centre is a little touristy for my liking. For some reason, the St Bernard breed of dog (Beethoven!) is popular here to the point where you can have your photo taken with one in the town square. So there are these poor dogs having to sit around in one place all day for expensive tourist photos. Bariloche is also big on chocolate, with what felt like a dozen chocolate shops on one strip all selling chocolate.
What was cute were these trees that someone had put crocheted around. Totally random, but a lovely bit of art.
Our last day we got up bright and early to head to the airport and our next destination!