03-04/12/14 - Bariloche

Chocoholics look away NOW!!

Just a quick post today, on our last day in Argentina.

Bariloche is by far the noisiest place we have visited, especially at night.  Old cars roar and backfire and the lively crowds whoop and shout.  The first night, the main entertainment was the disco over the road and last night enthusiastic and good natured football fans were enjoying a match on TV in a nearby bar.  But we have sturdy earplugs and it all quietens down after midnight.  Martin described the approach to the town in yesterday's post, but in the clear light of a beautiful day we were able to appreciate its charms.  The lakeside setting, with its background of mountains, is absolutely stunning and we spent a happy morning strolling along the lake's edge.  The first three or four blocks back from the lake are given over to all things touristic and in our couple of days here we have no intention of exploring further!  For the first time on this trip we have encountered touts wanting to change our money - there were none in our previous stops.  There is a very fine cathedral, which looks more like an Anglican church than a South American Catholic one.  Outside, a large boulder sits embedded in the pavement, left exactly where it was deposited by a glacier some thousands of years ago.

Now, I must say a word in praise of Pilates! Some of you will know that I have suffered in the past with my back and I had some apprehensions about this journey.  But since I've been going to Pilates lessons, I have been much better and certainly I'm finding that a few judiciously chosen stretches, curls, twists and roll downs have a magical effect on Traveller's Back, Museum Fatigue and Bus Backside!  Thank you Sasha!

Finally, we cannot leave Argentina without mention of the Chocolate Shops.  We knew in advance about the Argentinian obsession with dulce de leche - a sort of caramalised, fudgy condensed milky substance that gets served with everything, unless you ask them to stop.  But no-one told us about the chocolate.  We told you earlier that we enjoyed hot chocolate in Ushuaia and there was more than one shop in that small town.  More in El Calafate.  But this place is absolutely stuffed with them!  And I'm not talking about cosy little boutiques - these are vast emporia - Temples to Chocolate!   Every shape, size and flavour that you could possibly imagine and quite a few that you couldn't.  Chocolate bars, chocolate selections, chocolate cakes, biscuits, drinks, ice-cream and gateaux. Chocolate with dulce de leche.  Chocolate with Big Meat.  Alright, I might have made the last one up.  But chocoholics among you (you know who you are!) had probably better steer clear - or sink into complete indulgence.

This afternoon we went on a gentle bus tour (we are gluttons for punishment!) around the lakes and mountain views.  Unexpectedly, it included a ride in a chairlift, which Martin had to brace himself for, but it was worth it.  The tour was advertised as being in Spanish only, but the super-helpful guide didn't want to leave us out so gave us plenty of information in English, including the fact that both lupins and broom are introduced species, and while lupins are welcome, broom is considered an invasive pest.  Now we know! 

So it's farewell, Argentina.  We've thoroughly enjoyed our visit.  Tomorrow, Crossing the Andes by Boat, which sounds like something out of Michael Palin, but it's what we are going to do ....

View NW over Lago Moreno Este

Panorama view SW from Cerro Campanario over Lago Moreno Oeste

View over Lago Moreno Oeste towards Mt Llao Llao - 1056m

View towards Bariloche from Cerro Campanario - 1049m