Sparky Travels

March 12, 2011

Bariloche

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We arrived in Bariloche at 1:30am on the 7th of March and Angus, Hattie, Nick and I crammed into a taxi which dropped us off at our respective hostels. I got up in the morning and strolled down the street into town to see what Bariloche was all about. My timing was good as there was a mini Mardi Gras parade going on through town.DSC01788 DSC01789

After a steak lunch sandwich dinner for lunch I met Nick for beers before we headed back to our hostel for a free dinner. The hostels me and Nick are staying in (Hostel Inn & Marco Polo) both offer free dinners which is something I’ve never encountered before. Combined with the usual free breakfast, you don’t need to spend much money on food while there. An added benefit of Hostel Inn is the view from the terrace…

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The next day I met Nick on my way to Cerro Campanario, while he was leaving for Mendoza. I got a bus out to Cerro Campanario which was easy enough due to the area’s ingenious system where each location’s kilometre distance from Bariloche is used as the address. Just after kilometre 17 I got off the bus and took the chairlift up to the top. Apparently this place is listed as one of the 10 best views in the world by National Geographic (I’m sceptical about this ‘fact’) and it was certainly breathtaking.DSC01803

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After pasta with kippers and watching some champions league football with the guys and girls in the hostel, I met Matt and Joanne, friends from Pax hostel in BA. We went next door to a mediocre ‘Moving: travellers bar’ for drinkypoos and had a great old time.DSC01840 DSC01844 DSC01848

The next day was pretty miserable weather so other than lunch at a local fast food place called Morfy’s it was a day of chores.

I woke up early on the 10th and met Matt and Jo in time for us to be picked up for a day of rafting. The minibus took about 2 hours to get to our destination, most of which was along the famous R40 route which was beautiful (I’d missed this section on the bus in to Bariloche because it was night-time).

We arrived at our destination on the banks of the Rio Manso and tucked into a breakfast of pastries. Our group was mainly Argentinians, except for a solitary American girl (Andriana) who joined the three of us to make an English speaking gang.IMG_0210  

We donned our wetsuits, grabbed our oars and headed into our rafts. There were 14 or so of us so we had 7 tourists and 1 guide in each of the 2 rafts. After a quick safety briefing and practice we headed into our first of 11 rapids. The Rio Manso is a class III/IV river and it quickly became fast and hair raising as we were thrown about. IMG_0432IMG_0376 (Large)

The guides were great fun and initiated a war of the rafts where each was battling to throw the others into the water and steal their paddles. It was great fun to have our turn sitting at the front and it is certainly a good activity for team building. We were also learning a fair number of swear words from our Argentinean shipmates and got a chance to float down a quick (but safe) part of the river on our backs. IMG_0391

It was all over far too quickly even though it had been almost two hours in the water. We clambered out of our rafts and walked up a wee hill to a signpost marking the boundary of Argentina and Chile.

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Our lunch was a mass of barbequed meat and accompaniments which was to much even for our enlarged appetites, then it was back to Bariloche by minibus. It was a superb day and a great way to head through some beautiful scenery.

That evening Jo, Matt, Andriana and me all met up for drinks and ended up trawling the bars till 5am.

I woke up late on the morning of the 11th feeling fine so went and grabbed the gang from their hostels. We had breakfast in a coffee shop while we waited for Cello Vieja to open. Only a kilometre or so from my hostel, it is a chairlift that takes you up above town and then you can toboggan down to the bottom. It was some good silly fun but a bit of a rip-off since they only let you do it once.

A late goodbye lunch at Morfy’s was followed by a well deserved rest before dinner.

On the 12th I headed to the bus station after saying goodbye to Matt and Jo and boarded a bus to Mendoza.

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