It was tough to leave the Northwest (probably more for me than for Terry) after having had such nice visits. But by about noon on Thursday we had arrived for a few hours in Cordoba after the worst bus ride of our trip. On the overnight bus, a tire blew out and a window shattered. So the ride was pretty cold and we didn't get much sleep.
In Cordoba we had just enough time to grab breakfast (more facturas), pick up some cash from a money order, and get lunch. We found a late afternoon bus to Bariloche that was on sale. This bus ride was to be the longest of the trip at 22 hours. Fortunately, there were no broken windows or flat tires on this ride. We made it to Bariloche on time!
We got into Bariloche late in the afternoon. There, we met back up with Mike, whose beard had grown nappier than ever. We stayed the first night in a reasonably nice hostel called Hostel Home. However, when Mike showed us his hostel, called Penthouse 1004, we knew we had to change our lodging place for subsequent nights.
That evening in Bariloche we tried some delicious chocolates, for which Bariloche is known. We also went to a pretty good steak dinner with two other travelers from Penthouse 1004, Rose from Holland and Jonas of Denmark. They were fun to eat with, and the steaks weren't all that bad. I wouldn't say it was the best steak, as Mike told me it would be. Nevertheless, I was more than content with the food.
I can't recall doing too much else that night. From this point on, our trip was much slower paced, which I think we definitely needed.
We headed over to Mike's Hostel, Penthouse 1004, and booked through Sunday. We then said goodbye to Mike, who took off on a LADE flight to El Calafate.
After saying so long to Mike, we headed out on the bus towards Cerro Campanario, which many people repeated to us was ranked the 7th best view in the world by National Geographic. I couldn't verify this myself, but could verify that National Geographic makes lists for just about everything, which makes this place's spot on the list less significant. And yet the view was absolutely stunning. Terry and I decided to hike up, whether to be cheap or for the sense of adventure, I know not. I guess it was a little of both. From the top Campenario, one sees a view of Lago Nahuel Haupi and it's various coves and peninsulas, along with the jagged peaks in nearly all directions. You shall see in the pictures below.
Instead of taking the same route down, Terry and I decided to do a little bit more hiking. We ended up finding ourself at pleasant little meadow before finding an outlet to civilization. On the first civilized road, we picked some raspberries, which were far less common than the plentiful black berries in Bariloche.
We headed back to down on the bus, went berry picking, got dinner, then hit the hay.
Also this day I had the best choripan I probably had the entire trip. Solid chimi and solid chorizo.
On this day Terry met a gal named Sam from the UK, who decided to join us on a mountain bike tour of "El Circuito Chico." El circuito chico is a bike loop of about 15 miles, with some little side trails. A bike company, with very friendly staff, rented us a mountain bike all day for about $13 USD. The price was well worth it. We biked to one of the ritzy-est resorts in Argentina, Llao Llao. We biked down peninsulas, and into a beautiful cove near Villa Tacul. We also saw Bahia Lopez and flew down a hill and over a bridge. The bike ride was somewhat difficult, but well worth every bit of resulting pain. The views and company were both delightful. Now I want to splurge on a bike back home.
We relaxed in the evening, making sure to take advantage yet again of the good eats and tasty sweets of Bariloche.
Terry and I decided it was right time to see the actual Bariloche instead of just tourist central. Well, we may not have "decided" this, but since we didn't really know what to do for the day, that is what we ended up doing. It was the, "let's just walk 'til we find something" approach.
We found a cool little street fair going on. Terry bought some empanadas, and we both bought some fruit, fruit we didn't get to eat much of on this trip. The prices were actually reasonable, and I began to realize that Bariloche wasn't all rich and touristy everywhere. We headed up a main avenue and found an LDS Chapel. We entered to see if by chance there were fellow Mormons. Indeed, there were. We found two sisters making floral arrangements (to no great surprise), one of whom mocked us for being single bachelors traveling the world. But it was in good humor.
We then went into a super market to find some items to prepare our own dinner that night. We then saw some hills, and walked up them. On the way we found some burned down forest which was a startling contrast to the greenery around. At the top, we found some curious cables, which we later learned were lifts for a winter resort we found on top of the hill. From the top, we had a great view of Lago Nahuel Huapi. There were search and rescue teams practicing climbing and repelling up top.
We followed some trails down the hill, on which we were nearly run over by rambunctious mountain biking youth. But the truth is that it made me want to be a mountain biking youth. Directly on the side of the trail, Terry saw one of the better black berry plants we saw in the area. So he decided to fill up his water bottle.
If I remember correctly, we passed the rest of the evening relaxing.
It was Sunday. That meant no more sleeping in like we had the last few days. For Terry and I are serious Mormons. I got antsy about Terry trying to print out his flight details for the next week, so I ditched him to head off to the church a little early. We were well-received by the Bariloche Centro Ward. I was especially impressed by the quality of both the Gospel Doctrine class and the Elder Quorum class. In fact, I wished my own ward had such quality lessons. We couldn't mooch any lunch off the members this time, though.
We pretty much just walked around, wrapped things up in the afternoon. And then we were off on an overnight bus to Puerto Madryn, Chubut.