Little Switzerland (or maybe Big Switzerland)

Trip Start Aug 25, 2008
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Trip End Dec 16, 2008


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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I still can't get over how massive Argentina is!  I traveled 19 hours by over-night bus south from Mendoza along the Andes to the little alpine town of Bariloche.

Bariloche is Argentina's premier ski destination and one of the prettiest places I've ever seen.  It feels a lot like Switzerland - surrounded by the imposingly jagged and snow capped Andes, pine forests, and alpine lakes.  National Geographic rated Bariloche in the top 10 most scenic places in the world, and I would have to agree!

Unfortunately, I just missed the end of the ski season, so I didn't have an opportunity to sample Argentine piste - but a friend from my hostel and I decided to hike to the top of Cerro Catedral - the main ski resort here.  

They were still running the Gondola - so I suggested we rent snow shoes, take the gondola to the top, and snowshoe summit to summit... but he talked me into doing it the "authentic" way and climbing all the way to the top.  This is something I would never have considered back home.  Hike to the top of a ski hill?  Why would anyone do that?  Somehow it seemed like a good idea so we set off to climb the ski hill, while all the Gondola riders looked down in amazement at our tenacity (foolishness?) 

Snow shoes would have been a better idea.  By the time we got to the gondola station, the snow was knee deep and we weren't going any further.  But the Gondola station had beer, so we were saved!

We had a beer, enjoyed the scenery, and watched an entire bus-load of high school kids from Buenos Aires experience snow for the first time in their lives. 


Next up: Paybacks on my prior whitewater rafting trip, flying through the trees at obnoxious speeds, and trying not to hit cows in my first Argentine rental car experience.  


  



 
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