Day 6: Buenos Aires to Bariloche & Circuito Chico!

Trip Start Dec 02, 2008
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Trip End Dec 26, 2008


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Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 6: From BA to Bariloche and Circuito Chico
Los Juncos, Monday, December 8th

Today is an ending and a beginning.  We are leaving Buenos Aires and our comfortable Art Suites.  It has been our first visit to Buenos Aires and we have enjoyed experiencing Argentine music and tango dancing, their daily schedule of life, learning their history, walking their streets and getting a feel for the culture.  We feel we have just been at the tip of an iceberg; there is always so much more to learn and experience!  It has also been our first experience renting an apartment and the Art Suites is a highbred of sorts between a hotel and apartment, because of the services that are provided.  Just great!  We highly recommend the Art Suites (www.artsuites.com.ar).

We are beginning the nature oriented part of our trip.  We are flying to Bariloche and for the next sixteen days, we will visit four national parks and drive the Seven Lakes Route.  After our BA experience, we need the rest! 

When we check out of the Art Suites, we give them our return flight information of when we return to BA and also depart for the US.  Since we are arriving on Christmas Eve and departing on Christmas day, Angelina suggests that they make the taxi transfers for us in advance; evidently it can be difficult on a holiday to find taxis.  We are appreciative of their local knowledge and their suggestion that will make things go more smoothly for us. 

As we wait for the taxi to take us to the domestic airport, we speak with Herman, today's doorman, and he tells us about Bariloche, the mountains and lakes.  How "lindo" (pretty) it is and he asks us to eat fresh trout for him.  He says the trout and the lamb are the best!

It is a short taxi ride, maybe 20 minutes, from the Art Suites in Recoleta to the domestic airport.  Our Spanish is improving and Harvey is able to have a conversation with the driver about our time in BA and how we are exhausted with the tango lessons, music, eating and walking and that we must go to nature to rest.  The driver plays U.S. pop music on his car radio and tells us he doesn't tango, that it is for the tourists.  We talk about eating carne (meat) and wine (vino) and more and more vino. 

The domestic airport is modern and we easily find the LAN airlines counter. The LAN check-in is quick.  LAN is part of the One World Alliance with American Airlines, so we will accrue more miles for another trip!  We notice that the female LAN staff are young, look very striking in their uniforms and all wear red lipstick that provides a certain dramatic look.  Harvey wants me to photograph them.  We are surprised that the flight departs on time.  It is only a 2 hour flight, but with a  one hour time zone difference, it will be only 1 hour on our watch.  We leave at 12 noon and arrive at 1 PM.  During the flight, the TV monitor displays a show similar to candid camera that is so funny; it's a great choice because you do not need to understand a language to enjoy.  We are looking forward to the restful part of the vacation!

Bariloche!
So, here we are at the Bariloche airport!  Anna from Wild Patagonia meets us as we leave baggage claim.  I have corresponded with Anna for months now, planning this Lake District trip and I am glad to finally meet her in person.  The car rental company is supposed to be here at the airport, but they are not.  Anna contacts them and finds there is a mixup; she coordinates a remise to take us to Posada Los Juncos where we are staying the night and in about one hour the car rental company will deliver our car there.  We are thankful that Anna has greeted us and smoothed things out for us!  We agree that Anna and her husband will join us at 9 PM for dinner tonight at Los Juncos.

We arrive at Posada Los Juncos, (http://www.visitlosjuncos.com), and receive a warm greeting from Flavia.  We immediately feel comfortable at this bed and breakfast that is about 20 minutes out of Bariloche, on the lake. It is small with lots of atmosphere; much like a home in Tuscany. We chat with Flavia, who speaks English, and she suggests possible walks for the afternoon accessed along the Circuito Chico (Short Circuit).  We look at the map that Anna has provided and the walks are in the same area.  When our car arrives, we head out to drive past the well known Llao Llao Resort into the Municipal Park on the peninsula.  We decide to walk towards Sendero Cerro Llao Llao and along the way we meet a couple from Switzerland and Israel who are traveling around Argentina for many months.  At the top of the hill, we find a beautiful overlook of three lakes and innumerable mountains.  The view is breathtaking, and I feel so glad that we are here!  What a panorama!  Harvey takes out his iphone and plays some beautiful guitar music, and then chooses some pieces of his that he played for his mother who passed away earlier this year.  We both think of her and his father, hoping that they hear his music now, and hope that they are both feeling peace.

We take showers and freshen up before dinner, choosing to go down before 9 PM to chat with other guests.  We meet a young woman from London who is traveling independently for four months, and a couple who are from London and Australia, traveling for six weeks between their relocation from London to Sydney.  There seem to be many young people in Argentina who are traveling for an extended time. 

At 9 PM, Anna and her husband, Gabriel, arrive.  We kiss on both cheeks and warmly greet one another.   We sit on the couches, take out maps and talk about our coming time in the Lake District.  They orient us about the trees, animals and driving.  We learn that seeing snakes is rare (thank goodness) as is meeting a wild boar.  But if we should meet a wild boar, then we should act like we are bigger than we are and it will be scared off.   It so happens that there is a monkey puzzle tree on the Los Juncos property, which I learn from them.  I am glad that we have gotten to see one, since I was not sure that would be possible.  Gabriel explains that there are forests of these but they are further north than we will be going.  I am content to have seen one!  Anna and Gabriel are reviewing the activity possibilities in each of our locations for canoeing/kayaking, horseback riding, boat rides, hiking and driving directions.  There is no shortage of possibilities and we can structure the days to be as active as we want.  This is one of the reasons that I chose to plan our stay in the lake district from Anna.  I had originally gotten the name of Wild Patagonia from a TripAdvisor who had gone on a privately guided one week trek with them.  When I checked out their website, www.wild-patagonia.com, I saw that they do a variety of outdoor wilderness trips as well as private trip planning.  When we were younger, we would have done the camping and wilderness trips they offer.  But now, at 59, we like our creature comforts and prefer active days but coming back to a warm shower and comfortable bed at night!  I still wanted someone with local knowledge of the area to help decide how much time to spend in each park and make suggestions of activities.  I did not want to just be booked by a travel agent into hotels.  What was that going to do for us in terms of making the best use of our time in each place?  In planning the itinerary and places that we are staying, Anna has shown that she listens to our preferences and looks to match us with appropriate lodging and the number of days in each location.  She has shown an attention to detail and excellent follow through, as well as personal care as in driving to look over a place that I read about on TripAdvisor that she was not familiar with.  I appreciated that she did that without my asking!

We continue to talk as we enjoy the excellent candle lit dinner offered at Los Juncos.  The lamb was scrumptious as was the appetizer and dessert! 

When we return to our room, facing the lake, we have the chocolate truffle left by the side of the bed. From city to country all in one day.  BA is like a world away.  Argentinians are so warm and friendly, we feel so comfortable being here. We put our heads on the pillows and within minutes we are asleep.

Today's photos!
http://www.margieswebgallery.com/galleries/argentina/Day6%2012-8-08/
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