Day 288: Bariloche – Argentina – April 1st

Sometimes, camping isn’t actually that bad. Sleeping in a dorm bed is generally alright, but the mattresses sometimes have a massive groove in the middle. Sometimes you can manage, sometimes you wonder why you paid money for this when your camping gear is in your backpack and comfier than most. Oh, but now our pad is leaking…damn.

The drive from Villa de la Angostura into Bariloche winds around a national park, Nahuel Huapi, and despite driving along lakes and mountains for the past couple of days, this was probably the MOST scenic of them all! It’s hard to describe.

It is nice to go against holiday traffic, as there was a 3km queue going into Bariloche. Argentine government always have these checkpoints in and out of any towns, and despite not really checking for anything (at least they are polite) they always come up to talk to you. So we’re not envying the people on their way back home, waiting probably an hour before actually getting on their way. Don’t complain about traffic back home, it happens everywhere in the world!

Around Bariloche, there’s a popular route known as Circuito Chico, or small circuit, taking you around the lakes and into the national park of Llao Llao along with other scenic locales dotting the landscape along the coastline of a magnificent lake. Cozy log cabins, intimate tea houses and world class resorts line the road of Circuito Chico and it really makes a perfect spot for a family vacation. We drove along, got off for a few walks around the park area and thoroughly enjoyed the views. It was funny, as now the tourists have left the “No Hay Lugar” signs have now dropped the No and morphed into “Hay Lugar”, all within a 2-day span!!!

Deep into the woods, a town known as the Swiss Colony exists with a small road and cozy log-cabin houses, delicate restaurants and meticulous gardens make an awesome weekend for all. And what’s another Argentine retreat without…..a craft brewery!! We stopped by for two pints, snapping photos of the seemingly German-inspired looks and taste before heading back to Bariloche to return our car, and call it an end to our road trip.

Back in town, we didn’t load our iPhone’s email and couldn’t find the directions to our hostel! We headed to the marvelously located tourism office, smack dab in the middle of central square, and got amazing help and an awesome map telling us where everything is. We drove up to the hostel, unloaded our packs and asked for our reservation……which wasn’t there! W T F? After a few minutes of panic, we logged onto the hostel wi-fi and realized WE WERE AT THE WRONG PLACE!!!! Haha…after traveling for so long, all the hostel names sound the same =P

We checked into the the right place, which was actually a house converted into a hotel. And my my, what an awesome house, with a beautiful backyard with the view of the lake and tasteful décor. The owner was a bit taunt, but the service and facilities were great for us to sit back and just chill out for the evening. We booked a late bus ticket, so spending an afternoon lounging around the yard reading books wouldn’t be a bad idea at all. And at night, we caught up with one of our friends from the Antarctic cruise too!

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