When we arrived in Bariloche, 3 coaches and 24 hours after Malargue, someone was a little grumpy (Matt) because someone forgot to look up the location of the hostel properly (me!). After asking a few Barilocheans (?) for directions, we managed to find Hostel Alaska anyway, and after a shower and a rest in our room in the charming chalet (A chalet! In Argentina!) we were both in a much better mood. That mood improved even more when we took the first bite of the beef we ordered in the nearby parilla. Best. Steak. Ever. Ordering steak in a restaurant back home will probably always be a a bit of a dissapointment from now on.
We spent our first day in Bariloche cycling around the ‘cirquito chico’. Although the circuit was, as the name suggests, on the smaller side, the uphill parts (which seemed to make up about 90% percent of the tour…) made it rather interesting. I noticed straight away that a month of having more cervezas and cigarettes (too cheap for our own good) than usual, in combination with a lack of real exercise didn’t do my fitness level any good. The amazing views (and downhill parts, so much fun!) made it all worth it though (even the sore bums the next day).
Even though there wasn’t any snow yet, we started our second day in the Lake District by taking a ski lift (which feels a bit funny when you don’t have skis attached to your feet) up to the Cerro Catedral, the highest peak in the area. After hiking the last few hundred meters up we were rewarded by amazing views of snow capped mountains, lakes and even a Chilean Volcano. We decided to walk back down to the base. Walking downhill was a bit harder than we thought (a lot of concentration was needed not to fall on our faces on the steeper parts), but it was really nice nonetheless. The overpriced beer at the end of the hike was the perfect end to another great day.
The rest of our days in Bariloche were spent doing some more hikes, organising our trip down south to Patagonia, buying an expensive laptop charger (I forgot mine in Malargue, knowing me something like this was bound to happen, but it still sucked anyway.) and having our first go at an Argentinian barbecue. I say we, but in reality it was Matt who teamed up with an Aussie guy we met at our hostel (we figured he’d know his way around a ‘barby’, and indeed he did) and they did very well. They even got some compliments on their beef by some Argentinian guests of the hostel. Enough said.
Our stay in Bariloche was the perfect mix of physical activity, outdoorsiness, and relaxing and recharging our batteries after a bit of an overdose of bus travel. Which was good since the next step on our itinerary was the two day bus trip down south to El Chaltén. More on that next time! Un beso!