San Martin de los Andes to Pucon. Bloomin’ lovely.

23 Dec

After going grey in Bariloche (not I might add, the affect of 2 months travelling together, nor borne of any grave concerns of mine over the wellbeing of the afore-mentioned hire car, but more a slow accumulation of the ever present volcanic ash) it was time to head a couple of hours north in the Argentine Lake District to San Martin de los Andes… Charming in a chocolate box way, the town resembles a litle slice of Switzerland with it’s log cabins, manicured gardens and over flowing flower boxes.

Here for just a couple of days, we spend the first day wandering the pretty streets to the lake’s shore, where after trying to hold down our lunch in the gale force winds, we resign ourselves to the power of mother nature, and retreat into a little bar for an afternoon of beer with the only other brave soul out in such a breeze, Lexi, an aussie sheila from Brisbane.

Day 2 in S M saw us punishing ourselves for the previous afternoons over indulgence with a plan to complete 2 hikes in the day, a reasonable proposition of about 30k’s give or take. Kelly was very keen for this idea, me, more so for any shortcuts that might present themselves…. Thus fairly predictably we are half an hour into our walk and my ‘it looks a bit shorter that way’ suggestion see’s us being chased by a feral hound up a near vertical slope to the first of 2 lookouts we reached, Mirador Arrayan, by my estimation a saving of 3k’s and thanks to all the dog fleeing, about an hour.  See pic (mad hound not shown).

Returning back to the town – we started the second hike, up, up, up to the Mapuche reserve for a spectacular view over the Lacar Lake.

Then down and back again to the hostel with aching legs for a second serve of last nights dinner and a catch up with some fellow backpackers we had met first time around in Ushuaia, Bryn & Nicola.  A few games of ping pong and basketball, fought hard through the ‘yes, i’ll have another red, thanks’ haze, saw us seeing a late ending to the night.

An early (read 5am) start the next morning saw us on the bus which would take us over the border to Pucon in Chile, by midday we are sat on the high street waking up over coffee…

…and the 10 second wail of the volcano siren… blank looks exchanged by us and an absence reaction from any locals (plus for that matter any lava flowing down the pavement) after checking the time (midday) we draw the conclusion that it is just the daily test.

Keen to continue with some exercise, mountain bikes are hired the following day for a 30k cycle along some dirt roads, Kelly does much better this time than previously in Bariloche (read not getting the brakes mixed up and stacking it within the first hour)…

…and we make it back unscathed, though dripping wet, after taking in some stunning waterfalls.

Our third day in Pucon see’s a trip out to the national park for a planned 5 hour hike, we quickly realise after being dropped off that  the return bus goes in 4 hours – head down, bum up we ascend from 750m above sea level to 1350m to take in the lakes of the local national park, it rains all the way up and back, the views were worth it.

Sopping wet we get back to the hostel to pick up a hire car (word clearly hadn’t reached them) and head out to soak ourselves in the themal springs at los pozones, resisiting the temptation to wash our socks, it was bliss.

Day 4 in Pucon and leg power is set aside for the horsepower of our Suzuki Alto (I think it had change out of a twenty) to tour the surrounding lakes and optimistically tackle a spot of 4 wheel driving (it managed all of about a mile).

After treating ourselveles to a slap up meal we had a quick G & T with fellow Antarctican travellers Dan & Tan before catching the overnight bus to Santiago on which Kelly turned 26 and was treated to a packet of Mentos (not shared), a small box of chocolates (ahem, free from the hire car company and begrudgingly shared), an Argentine fridge magnet (small is beautiful, now misplaced, maybe attached to bus) a book and some earrings (covertly obtained whilst on ficticious trip to ATM). Happy Birthday Babe x

A brief pause at Santiago bus terminal we’re crossing over the Andes to Mendoza (where the wine comes from).

Cheers for now

Matt x

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4 Responses to “San Martin de los Andes to Pucon. Bloomin’ lovely.”

  1. Roy December 30, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Shortcuts…. Matt…. How many times have we discussed staying on the path!!!!… Good to see sage advice not being listened to again!!! 🙂 Happy New Years to you both!! x Roy & Nic

  2. From Mum January 12, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Loving all the photos and enjoying the entertaining asides on the trip. Good to see you both looking so happy and relaxed,or relieved, another day of punishing bike rides,hairy car trips and feral dog attacks literally behind you. Carry on with the adventure,much love Mum xx

    • wordsfromtheview February 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

      Watch this space mother – as by tomorrow night I shall doubtless be getting a fitfull nights sleep lying on straw, in a barn, as we are off to the Estancia in the morning. May well be craving any kind of car trip after this, hairy or not…. emailed Gem for horsing tips – she said ‘take mints’, brilliant, as they don’t sell them here. Hope the chimney is still attached, love Matt xx

  3. wendy January 13, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    Love the enjoyable and amusing way you are both unfolding your trip – feel like I’m seeing it too but then I wake up and realise its Monday for me! Stay safe love all the HP’s xxx

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