Wednesday 25 November and we’re back to Argentina. This country is expensive compared to the others, but one thing I know is that I love it and would happily return for a holiday in future. Bariloche is Argentina’s biggest lake district city so as you may guess a tourist magnet. It’s got some great shops (expensive), is Argentina’s chocolate capital (I’m in heaven), some great restaurants, and the main attraction is a visit to the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi (the oldest Argentinian national park in Patagonia, in the foothills of the Andes mountains). I’m staying at Hostal Barraca which is in an excellent location but not very exciting, oh well its only for a couple of nights.
I change my remaining Chilean pesos into Argentenian ones and go and have a long lunch with Kristi, a sandwich with garlic herb butter smothered chips – piling on the pounds! It’s a bit nippy out so still hat and scarf weather, and a constant desire for hot beverages. We go round the shops and I fall in love with a pair of slim white Havaianas, this is a Brazilian brand of flip-flops and pretty much EVERY back-packer male or female ends up with a pair of these eventually! They’re expensive so I’m told to wait until I get to Brazil where they’re less than half the price. I take ages browsing chocolate and pick a selection of the dark variety, my favourite. The group rejoins for dinner but I’m still full from lunch so watch them eat fondue at Alpina restaurant. The shops are still open so I go and buy the flip-flops and get it out of my system! We decide to go for quick drink before bed and I opt for hot chocolate. I’m served a mug of steaming hot milk with a slab of chocolate on the side that I’m told to dunk in. It melts in minutes and I imagine it will taste sickly sweet. To my delight it is one of the best hot chocolates I have tasted in my entire life, this is a chocolate paradise after all.
The following day I take a trip to the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi. It’s up to an hours drive away from Bariloche and well worth a visit. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and the weather today just perfect-another day for the memory bank which is now over-flowing! We see huge lakes with waters that look unreal, the colour is so strong and rich, everywhere you look is like a painting, a postcard picture. We stop to take a look at some black glaciers, the sun is hot but there they remain, amazing. We drive through the park making various stop to admire the surroundings, breathe in the air and take lots of photos of course. There is so much beauty here, I just love the variety of landscapes in South American countries, the crazy differences in altitude make you go crazy but there is so much diversity in every way you could use word in relation to people, food, culture, weather and environment (I could go on and on) that makes travelling here so exciting and so much fun.
On our return to Bariloche we go back to Alpino for a great cup of tea (it’s not tetleys but it will have to do) and take a walk around the outdoor markets selling various souvenirs and this and that. Later we have a huge steak meal for dinner and I am exhausted, definitely an early night tonight as tomorrow we’re going somewhere I have been extremely excited about for days…Buenos Aires!