The strange green color is caused by some reaction of sediments and minerals
Slacking, slacking, slacking on the blog lately. Sorry everybody…been having entirely too much fun lately to spend hours sitting at the computer. Once I’m in Buenos Aires and not traveling I should have more time for blogging so stay tuned for that…
Typical architecture of Bariloche
Now then…when we last left you we were enjoying the lovely lake district town of Pucon in Chile and I was still getting grief for not climbing the volcano. As it turns out, the volcanoes of Chile are awfully close to the volcanoes of Argentina where I also did not climb a volcano. It seems volcano climbing is not in my immediate future so instead I opted to explore the many, many other things the beautiful village of Bariloche, Argentina has to offer.
Scenes from the Valdivian Rainforest
In the winter, Bariloche is a major ski and outdoor sport/recreation center…while in the summer it is famed for its beautiful lakes, trekking, climbing, water activities and fabulous food and chocolate. Like much of the lake district of Chile, Bariloche was largely settled by European immigrants in the late 19th century…and a later claim-to-fame surfaced when it was found that a high-ranking Nazi of WWII ‘Hauptsturmführer’ Erich Priebke had been living there for years.
Puerto Pañuelo with swanky Hotel Llao Llao
Unfortunately, with only 2.5 days in Bariloche I really didn’t have time to do this place justice. One of the most popular activities is to hike through the wild surroundings staying at refugios (huts with eating and sleeping facilities) along the way. I would have liked to have at least done one overnight at a refugio but unfortunately couldn’t get it organized in time. Instead, on my first afternoon I opted to wander around the Parque Municipal Llao Llao located near the world famous Hotel Llao Llao. I ended up finding a lovely Swiss girl to pal around with as she was looking to do the same two hour jaunt and after getting slightly lost and yelled at by the snobby workers at the hotel for being too close the property we enjoyed a very easy but also beautiful trek through some Valdivian rainforest.
View of Bariloche and the lakes from Cerro Catedral
My second day I had opted to sign up for a boat trip that went through the major lakes surrounding Bariloche and to the Chilean border. After taking a boat through some amazing scenery we docked at a very interesting area of the lake that included another section of the Valdivian rainforest…which is native to only Chile and parts of Western Argentina. One doesn’t normally think of rainforests in temperate climates but in fact, the Valdivian version is the second largest temperate rainforest in the world…after the larger one that spreads from northern California to Alaska.
On my third and unfortunately final day in Bariloche I headed up to the top of Cerro Catedral which is the most popular ski mountain in the winter but in the summer you can still take a chair lift up for amazing views of Bariloche, the surrounding lakes and even Chile. It is also the start of several of the popular treks to the refugios. I got up early and headed straight up the mountain for some truly amazing views which I opted to enjoy while relaxing with a book and a cup of (real) coffee. The picture below with the small, cone-shaped mountain in the background is actually one of the volcanoes in Chile…though not Villarica from Chile 4.
View of Chile from Cerro Catedral
And why, might you ask, are we thanking god for Argentina? Because here in Argentina we drink real coffee. Yes, indeed my friends…my Nescafe days are over for good. And even better…my wine touring and drinking days are set to begin as my next stop is the city of Mendoza which is the biggest wine producing region in all of South America. More to come from Argentina so type to you later!