The Argentinian Lake District
Trip Start Jan 10, 2008
21Trip End Jun 03, 2008
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Our first impressions were not good, as the streets were choked with traffic and the pavements with people. The faux-Swiss architecture also failed to impress this pair of word-weary travelers and we retired to our cramped dorm room with heavy hearts.
Speaking to people around the hostel it soon became apparent that the true charm of the area lay beyond the confines of the town in the surrounding mountains. It sounds pretty obvious now, but so many people had told us how nice the town itself was that we expected this to be the main attraction.
Other than fantastic scenery, Bariloche's other claim to fame is it's chocolate production. There are numerous chocolate houses who hand-make their own chocolate within the centrally located premises where they also sell the chocs. It seemed that there was an architectural war on between the chocolate barons, each keen to produce the most ostentatious facade for his shop. Amongst our favourites were Mamushka (with Russian doll theme) and Rapa Nui (with Easter Island theme).
The lakeside beaches were also very attractive so we decided to spend the following day beside Lago Gutierrez, one of the smaller lakes in the area. Despite the 'adventure' on the previous day, Lola was unperturbed by the prospect of getting into a 2 person kayak and hitting the lake. Fortunately, and thanks to the intensive training that we received prior to departure, our excursion onto the water passed off without incident. In fact, we had a great time and found that the peace and tranquility at the centre of the lake was welcome respite from the hastles of Bariloche.
You might have picked up from the previous few paragraphs that Bariloche wasn't exactly our favourite place. It was very easy then for us to decide to visit St Martin de los Andes for a few days before we travelled north to the heat of Mendoza. We were very pleased that we did, since in SMdlA we found the peace and quiet that was so conspicuously absent in Bariloche. We spent a few non-eventful days relaxing here before moving on again.