Day 31- 20 February 2017

Spanish word of the day: el colectivo- bus

Bariloche- hmmm how do I feel about Bariloche? To be honest the start to this leg of the trip was my least favourite. The least charming. The least Argentinian. There was just something about Bariloche town that made me feel out of sorts- get me out of here. I’d rather be back home. A feeling I just can’t describe. But I didn’t like it. Then again it has been raining and grey. So not fair to judge.

So what do do when it’s raining in a place that exists for adventure and expeditions like hiking, rafting, paddle boarding, zip lining and cycling… well we get the hell out of the depressing town and eat of course!

A 30 minute bus ride to LLoa Lloa (pronounced in Argentina as ch-ow ch-ow) we found ourselves on a magnificent golf resort and spa. Thanks for the recommendation Pat and Fabiana! Heaving with Americans and tourists this place is a cosy and comforting space when the weather outside was much less inviting. A massive resort. Dark wood, rich colours and a country cabin like interior that made us just want sit straight and sip our Malbec looking at the unlit fireplace (it’s still technically summer after all). The purpose of our visit however was an afternoon tea that would make an Englishman gasp!

All you can eat and drink (tea not alcohol) for the equivalent of £28. And we were determined to get out money’s worth. And yes we did. With no where else to go- staring at the miles of mountains, lakes and lawn in front of us from behind water droplet marked glass, we just kept eating.

Arlette the queen of dulce or anything sweet opted for all things chocolate, dulce de leche or berry- kissed. Me more of the saltado kind of girl, chose the savoury sandwiches (and obviously some sweet too- I mean, it’s tea time). I think I went back and forth 5 times for a mini salmon and cream cheese bun!! I definitely got a few stares!

Rolling back to Bariloche on a bus of course- we had a good nights sleep. And both said a little prayer for the weather to turn. And when we woke up- it had! Blue skies and ready to get this active portion started.

So now some practical stuff… my advice for those of you interested in doing the Bariloche area. Get out of the town as soon as possible. There is no need to stay there other than to use it as your base to land in and then get out. It’s crowded. Full of people. With very average food (Other than the chocolate…go chocolate shopping and then bolt) and no amount of quaintness or charm. That is found in abundance in the surrounding areas. I would also advise you rent a car. The bus routes are great and effective but to have the freedom to explore the area and the surrounding lakes is prize one. Why didn’t we do that you may be thinking? Because I may be many things but a good driver I am not (combined with my lack of direction and the other side of the road factor). So buses it was!

We got on a bus to Villa la Angostura and immediately felt a sense of relaxation and calm. It is a small village north of Bariloche set on the Nahuel Huapi lake. We arrived at our home for the next 3 days nestled in the woods with pine trees lining every inch of the horizon. Away from the hustle and disorganised bustle of Bariloche centre… this is exactly how I had imagined our time here to be.

Villa la Angostura… I don’t really know what to say about you. Except if tranquil and calm was in a dictionary… your picture would be next to it. We went walking to explore the area around our hosteria and this is what we found… I never knew such perfection could exist.

So all this is just a preview or trailer of what’s to come. Paddle boarding. Kayaking. Bicycles and walking is on the agenda, so stay tuned because this leg is just getting started.

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