A fair ol’ hike to Bariloche.

17 Dec

What’s black and white and red all over? Kelly rae – the chinstrap penguin getting sunburnt all the way to Bariloche.

Jumping off the MS Expedition ship and the humps poking out front a clear sign we’d been a little heavy handed at the ship’s buffet dinners (never mind about the vodka), we yearned to get the legs moving again.

With just a day in Ushuaia before a long bus trip to Bariloche, we ditched the backpacks at the hostel and trudged out to Parque Nacional Tierra del Feugo. Banked against the channel, the fragrant forest has many treks with stunning views along the bays and rivers.

Our 20km, 5 hour hike through the park also took us into peat bogs and rivers showcasing massive beaver dams, now abandoned.

I did my best to use my new bird identification skills (see: GISS), only to have MC pipe up with the occasional ‘that’s a seagull’. Hmm. Seems one of us was scoffing bacon sandwiches during the majority of bird man’s lecture in Antarctica.

In any case, we slept well after our hike, though proving the early bird doesn’t always catch the worm, a 4am rise the following day marked the beginning of our 40 hour bus trip to Bariloche.  While the buses are incredibly comfortable here – better than planes I think – it wasn’t really a remarkably scenic bus ride. The most remarkable thing that happened was someone pinched MC’s neck pillow, causing an eruption of fire to spit from MC’s mouth and steam to flow from his ears. Hate to think what would happen if someone had stolen his bacon sandwich.

We quickly fell in love with Bariloche. Strung out along the shoreline of Lago Nahuel Huapi, and in the middle of a national park, Bariloche has one of the most gorgeous settings imaginable. Providing an abundance of activities does mean the town can get packed with tourists, but unlike other places (Cancun springs to mind), the Argentines haven’t slammed the coastline with a ridiculous number of high-rises and sky scrapers. The pretty log-and-stone buildings feel very cosy and welcoming – pubs included.

After spending a day pottering around town, we caught a bus out to the national park, getting off at the wrong stop (my fault of course) and hired bikes to cycle the Circuito Chico – a 40km battle up some impressive hills in 35C heat could only have been acceptable in the knowledge the legs had been rather dormant for a few days.

We were lucky with the weather – the slight haze over Bariloche is caused by Volcan Peurrehue in Chile.  It erupted in June this year (you may remember even Sydney was covered) and unfortunately the ash continues to spew over in the beautiful Lakes Districts in Argentina and Chile. Even on a not so windy day, in higher parts of the bike circuit I felt like I’d been eating sand. We had a lot of fun though and a great, albeit a sweaty and march fly swatting, day.  Here is Dorkus McGregor, sporting a safety vest only a construction worker could love…

Note to self: next time, apply more sun cream …

Day 3 in Bariloche – our first experience with Argentine hire cars entailed MC pelting through the scenic, but rocky, Ruta de los Siete Lagos…

In what is fast becoming a delightfully typical day for us – a beautiful potter around through stunning scenery, jamon y queso sandwiches by the lake, and a stop off in the arvo for beer and nuts to charge us onto into the evening, before stocking up for whatever the night entails.

Track record of hire cars and us tends to be slightly strained and there may have been a small issue with the Corsa… Dropping me off to shop for the night’s dinner…

MC then went to refuel the Corsa. Now, you can imagine of course South America is still stuck in the ‘anything I can do for a tip’ era, and only gas attendants are to fill up your car for you. When MC swung her into the bowser and found the bloke busy, and with his patience for these things about as large as my fingernail, he of course decided to fill her up himself (definitely his father’s son). An ignorance of the word for ‘diesel’ in Spanish and (luckily) a very pushy attendant desperately wanting his tip, meant the Corsa managed to escape with only 5L of the wrong fuel in her tank and lived long enough for us to drop her back to Bariloche Rent A Car. Hmm. Sorry about the Corsa.

After a free dip in the hostel’s jacuzzi (ahh, a touch of luxury) and devouring a cheap dinner of roast chicken and salad, we took in the view on a balmy night from Tangoinn Hostel’s upstairs deck. A little sliver of heaven.

x kel

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6 Responses to “A fair ol’ hike to Bariloche.”

  1. Lynn Morzenti December 25, 2011 at 12:49 am #

    We are enjoying the blogs immensely! Dad and I couldn’t help but laugh at the expression on your face Kel in the super duper special vest! It struck a real chord with me and I just wanted to jump right in the photo with you! Take care and keep up the fantastic stories. You have soooo many people going on this journey with you. Love you and miss you xoxo.

  2. wendy December 29, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    Kel – loving the blog Pete and I are following your travels on the world map – you and Matt are making us very envious and keen to travel ourselves!!! Your face in the super duper vest was a scream – how fit are you??? My New Years resolution to be as fit as your Mum!!! Dusting the old bike as I speak! Stay safe keep the stories coming Love Wendyxxxxx

  3. father bear December 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    Nice tan Kelly–looks like a Pom on a visit to Oz.
    Shirt buttons look under stress Matt—Too mucho jambon, queso y cervesa.
    Keep on flying the flag

    Father Bear

  4. Jim January 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    We’ve just been escaping the grey & rain & endless cbeebies through your photo’s. Still looks like Wales on a good day though…

    Hope you had a grand christmas and wishing you a happy new year. Thank you for your kind text. Ciao for now, Jim (& Claire peeing over my shoulder!)

    • wordsfromtheview February 5, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

      Hello Jimmy, hate to drag you and Claire away from Bristol’s peverse distractions, namely watching childrens tv at our age. Thanks for your commentary, emailed or otherwise – and yes, thankyou, they were bed bugs contracted previously in Iquique, not crabs.

  5. Jim January 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    p.s. that should have read “peering”.

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