Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bariloche, Argentina

Due to all the travel issues we had over Christmas, our vacation plans changed a bit. We were planning on having two days in Bariloche, but since we weren't going to northern Chile or the Salt Flats, we decided to spend a few more days in Bariloche. Bariloche is right along the Andes mountains, next to Nahuel Huapi Lake.
The main, government buildings downtown were all designed in the 1930's with a Swiss-German architecture feel.

We rode the teleferico (gondola) up the side of the mountain to get a good view of the city.
Bariloche is known throughout South America as having good chocolate. I mean, chocolate shops were everywhere! We asked a taxi driver for his favorite place, and he said Mamuschka. So we went there. Twice. The bonbones (filled chocolates) were amazing. I wasn't all that impressed with the plain chocolate, but the ones filled with dulce de leche, mousse, coffee, almonds; they were amazing.
We went on one day hike before our friend Amy and her sister and brother-in-law arrived. It was an 8 hour hike, around 20 kilometers, with about almost 2 hours of ascent on the Cerro Catedral. The Cerro is the main ski mountain for the area in the winter. The hike was difficult, and this being our first hike in awhile made it even more difficult. For the last 20 minutes we were climbing over boulders. Our knees and feet were killing us by the time we got back, but, there were some beautiful views that you just couldn't get from anywhere else.
There was a whole area of burnt trees, from a forest fire, and they led themselves to some beautiful photos.
What was interesting about this hike also were the rock formations of the mountains.
This was the refuge at the top of the hike. If we had wanted, we could have brought up our tent and spent the night there.

We went on one other small day hike when our travel buddies arrived. This one was in the national park, by all these small lakes and lagoons.
On our last night in Bariloche, we went out to eat, at this hobbit house looking restaurant, completely built with local, Patagonian wood. I wish I would have brought my camera to take a picture of our meal. It was probably the best steak and lamb I've ever had. And the dessert, the chocolate spell,... well, it was devoured in minutes!

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