After a 25 hour bus ride, I arrived in the city of Bariloche at 4:40 in the morning. Luckily, they have machines here which dispense hot water for free, so I was able to enjoy a couple cups of tea while waiting for the sun to come up. At 7, I made my way towards the city walking and saw a nice sunrise along with a cool rainbow going straight into the middle of the nearby lake. I walked around and found a nice hostel, got settled in, and then took a bus towads Lake Gutierrez.
Bariloche is the biggest city in the Lakes District, which is made up of many lakes throughout the region. So the main attractions in the area are to hike, kayak, or swim in the lakes.
I arrived to Lake Gutierrez to find a quiet lake outside of the city. Here, I ate a simple lunch of break, salami, and cheese, and then hiked a bit around the lake. To be honest, the hiking was nothing special. Good for a nice Sunday stroll, but nothing out of the ordinary for some decent views of a lake. There were some rocky beaches, so the boy in me came out and I had to skip rocks for a good 30 minutes.
The following day, I headed to Kilometer 18 outside of town and rented a biked to do the main attraction here, the Circuito Chico, or Small Circuit. This is a road that does a circle through the park and around several nice lakes, and is about 15 miles in total. This was me starting my bicycle training for my ride across the US. I stopped many times for short hikes or some views, but when I was on the bike, and I wasn`t taking it easy.
These lakes were absolutely beautiful. Many of them had small beaches, and the turqoise sand near the beach made it seem like we were in the Caribbean. Everything from lakes of 4 miles long to lakes of 100 yards long, there was a bit of everything. At the end of the circuit, there was a point called Punto Panoramico with a nice viewpoint, With the sun going down at that time, the colors of the lakes and islands were incredible.
I realized in that day that I really enjoy mountain biking, especially for tourism. I have never mountain biked much, but I hope to do more in the future.I especially like it for tourism since you are getting everywhere yourself, under your own energy, and not sitting in a car. More on that soon.
That night, I met up with a Couchsurfer and we went to a small concert at a nearby bar. It was an atmosphere I had never been in before, very very hippie. The bands were playing with the accousitc guitar, drums, and dijeridoos. Everybody sat on the floor (along with the bands) in the dimly lit room. The whole atmosphere was very relaxed and cool to experience.
Finally, the next day, I went with 2 French guys and 2 girls from the Netherlands in a rented car to the Route of the 7 Lakes, a popular route about 100 miles each way (from Bariloche to San Martin de Los Andes) that cuts around more lakes in the region. Unfortunately, the weather wasn`t great throughout the day so the views weren`t as they could`ve been. Also, there was a volcano nearby that erupted last June, and the volcano is still spitting out ashes. This created a fog of ash in the region that created a cool atmosphere, but blocked a lot of views.
I realized that I like when cars are used for transportation, not for tourism. Being cramped up in the car all day, only to get out once in a while at a small town or a viewpoint, wasn`t too exciting for me. It feels very restricting, and it feels like we`re just doing it for the pictures. Comparing this to the day before in bike, the biking for me was 100 times better. I must say that the Route of the 7 lakes was good, but it was overall a bit disappointing. Between the weather and being in a car all day, I feel like I could`ve done better things with my day. But live and learn!
Today I am taking another marathon bus ride of 19 hours to Mendoza, Argentina. There, I am hoping to do some hiking and also a wine tour, since this is the most important wine region in Argentina.
That is all for now. Hope everyone is doing well!