Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nahuel Huapi to Bariloche

Friday 9th

8am Freezing...

9am Freezing...

Got up at 10:30. Too cold to venture from the sleeping bag til the sun cleared the mountain and hit the tent. Tried to make coffee, but water bottles frozen solid, so I used the stove to heat the tent instead. I knew it would be cold last night, clear skies, 1100m altitude, this lattitude at this time of year - but NO COFFEE - that´s serious!

Today was going to be a breeze. Only 45kms to go to Bariloche, most of the climbing done yesterday... and a tail wind. Easy life. Time for some serious dawdling....

3 lakes seperated me from Bariloche, Lagos Guillelmo, Mascardi and Gutierrez - all of them used as poster boys for the area and one or other of them by the road side for 35 of the 45 kms. Wow, what a days ride ahead, and almost predictably now, more perfect weather. Alfter a freezing night, I rode in shorts and tea shirt again under a blazing sun. Perfect.

Observe....



Oooooh....



Aaaaah....



Nice....



And I have sooo many more...

And then Bariloche. After cycling over 2000kms to get to the jewel of the Argentinian lake district, you hit this shanty town on the outskirts. It was certainly a shocker for me seeing wood and tin huts giving way to poorly built desolate looking apartments. Most countries have learned the knack of hiding the ugly side of urbanisation away from tourists, but Argentina just seems to want you to take it all - warts and all. So the main road from one of the best National Parks, and also from the airport parades tourists to admittedly beautiful downtown Bariloche, via a couple of kilometers of blight.

Michael got here before me and an email revealed he had a sweet deal on a hostel. Room with a view of the Nahuel Huapi lake, 28 pesos (4 pound 50), central location, breakfast included. Sounds good and the team is reunited to hit the town - and the laundrette.

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