We were forewarned: this OAT trip would include several long travel days, some by plane, some by bus. Today’s transfer from Bariloche to Puerto Varas was expected to take from 8 AM to 4 PM, including the border crossings. We need to pass thru security for BOTH Chile AND Argentina, and depending on the mood of the guards, that could be brief or it could take hours.
Our route. Laura thoughtfully marked it with yellow “stickies” We started in the lower right hand corner and ended in the left lower corner, going up and around.
But that’s okay. Days in transit allow us to see the country and decompress. Our time in Bariloche was so jam packed, a day to chill was most welcome. The beautiful pool, spa and terrace at our hotel? I had no opportunity (and no energy) to try them
During our stay, we were treated to two very interesting lectures. The first, a talk by Hans Schultz about Nazis in Patagonia, was fascinating. The second took place the next morning. We learned about the “people of the land” from a member of the Mapuche tribe.
I can’t do either speaker justice blogging from my iPhone, so those stories will have to wait till I get home. I’ll also be sure to include the stories our local guide, Fernando, told us during our bus ride. Coming attractions include highlights of those two lectures plus stories about a Texas cowboy (Jarod Jones) the famous bandits, (Butch and Sundance)and a local boy(Ernesto Che Guevara).
But let’s get back to our second day in Bariloche . After the Mapuche talk, we ALL decided to take the optional trip: a float down the Limay (Crystal) River. Our group of 12 is very cohesive and very active. We all are opting to do EVERYTHING together!
Could that be a Moai atop that mountain?
Mike and I went in different rafts so we could photograph each other and our friends.
In addition to gorgeous scenery and crystal clear water, we also saw beautiful birds, like this kingfisher that Mike photographed.
I was never fast enough. My bird photos are mainly empty branches!
We were told that at the end of the trip, we would have a “snack”. Well, that “snack” turned out to be delicious quiche, the very best empanadas we’ve had (so far), delicious fried dough pastries, breads and jams, AND a wine tasting.
Next stop, horseback riding at a family owned ranch.
Mike’s horse allergy meant that we had a skilled photographer taking shots of our group.
By the end of our ride, we were all pretty hungry. What could be better than authentic Argentinian barbecue of beef, lamb and chorizo.
What is Mike doing? He’s throwing meat on the roof of the barbecue.
Why? To get this bird to come out of the tree so we could photograph it.
Fortunately, he stayed still long enough so that even I could photograph him!
By the time we returned to the hotel, I was as too tired to take advantage of the two for one drinks at the hotel bar!
What about that long ride to Puerto Varas? It wasn’t boring at all. The scenery was beautiful, plus Laura had a few surprises for us.
First was our celebratory drink when we crossed the border into Chile. Their Dulce de Leche is their equivalent to our Bailey’s Irish Creme.
Then, our lunch stop provided more than just great food. It was also the site of a self described car museum.
But it was so much more! There was also a model train village and ancient household tools that made out grandmothers’ lives “easier”
My favorite part, however, was hanging with this sweet little guy who wanted me to admire his hot wheels collection.
Can you figure out why I decided to end this post?