The Most Isolated Part of Chile

Trip Start Sep 27, 2005
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Trip End Mar 07, 2006


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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Bariloche is on the edge of the Andes and lies close to the Chilean border. It is a place where Argentinians go to enjoy hiking and water sports. It has an enormous Swiss influence and looks very Alpine with lots of wooden buildings. We were there for 3 days and the weather was appalling. On the way from Pucon to Bariloche it started raining and then pouring. We passed innumerable hikers on the side of the road trying to hitch a lift somewhere to get them out of the downpour and trying not to look too much like drowned cats.
In Bariloche Jen, Jack, Andrea and I went for a fondue lunch. The restaurant did three types of fondue, cheese, meat and chocolate. We tried the cheese and the meat ones. The cheese was the usual dip your bread into the cheese and eat. It was very nice. The meat one involved a small cauldron of hot oil that you dipped your meat into until it was cooked to your taste and then eaten. That was really nice and by the time we were finished we were all stuffed.
The next day 4 of us decided to go and play golf. Anthony, Adam, Mike and I went to the golf course and only the conversation went,
Adam: "WeŽd like to play golf"
Pro:"No!"
Adam:" Why not?"
Pro: "Because the course is closed."
So we went to the 19th hole and played pool and had a couple of beers overlooking one of the nicest looking courses IŽve ever seen.

From Bariloche we went back into Chile to travel down the Carretera Austral. This is a road that travels through a province that you cannot drive to from the rest of Chile. The only way to get to it is via a ferry or from Argentina. It travels through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Andes. The mountains are much lower here than further north and there are lots of lakes between them. The first place we went to was called Futaleufu. This was a bit of a shock for us as the shops there had almost no food and Rachel, our tour leader, had to rush around town trying to find sufficient food for the next few days. When we got to the campsite she found out that they could cook a couple of lambs for us the next day if we wanted so the next day after people had been white water rafting, horse riding or hiking we had barbecued lamb. To do the barbecue they took 2 lambs from the flock on the farm, butchered them and then cooked them next to an open fire. They were delicious. The main problem with Futaleufu was the weather. It rained and rained so hard that the white water river that most people wanted to do couldnŽt be rafted because it was no longer a grade 5 it was now a grade 6. However, the campsite happened to have an outdoor hot tub and some of us sat in there for a few ours with the occasional shower to interrupt matters. It was a very nice way to spend a few hours.

From there we headed further south to visit the Ventisquero Colgante, or the Hanging Glacier. This is a glacier sits in a hanging valley between two mountains. Most of the group hiked for an hour up the side of the valley to get a better view of the glacier and from here we could see and hear lumps of ice breaking off the glacier and falling down the cliff to crash on the rocks below. It was very spectacular and we also had the pleasure of camping within sight of the glacier and waking up to its beauty.

From here we head back to Argentina to see another glacier!
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