April 17-26: Bariloche, San Martin, and back to Chile


It’s been a while since I’ve last posted. The cold has since kicked in, and Harry and I have been staying in hostels and hosterias. I also got myself the heaviest down jacket I’ve ever owned, thanks to a Patagonia sale event in Osorno, Chile.



He clearly doesn’t mind his temporary admission to human quarters!



On April 18 we left Chile, crossing into Argentina via the Samore checkpoint in the Andes.



The border region between Argentina and Chile is famous for its lakes, but the weather forced us to keep driving.



Welsh immigrants established a tea house culture in the area, offering opportunities to warm up right by the water.



The sun came out occasionally. Bariloche reminded me of Geneva; although not even half the size of her Swiss counterpart, the city boasts a similar tradition of chocolatiers, amazing views of nearby mountains, and the same capricious weather.



This scene could easily also be near Lac Leman, right?



Huemul Island, the site of Argentina’s first attempt to develop nuclear energy in the 1950s, is visible at the far left. The project–run by a German con man with support from Peron–failed completely.



Thanks to Bernabe and his cousin Tuti, Harry and I got an entire house to ourselves! We stayed here for two nights before moving into a small pension out of town run by a Slovenian couple.



At Pulperia Salamandra I made an exception from my vegetarian rule, and it was well worth it: I had the best steak of my life.



Harry and I went for walks in the temperate rain forests whenever it wasn’t raining too hard.



Turns out he loves chewing on dry bamboo!



Even though the temperatures remained frigid, his genes demanded that he test the waters.



I was worried that he might catch a cold — but so far, so good.



Of course we also had to pay a visit to the famous Llao Llao hotel 25km west of Bariloche. It was here where the idea to drive from Alaska to Patagonia took shape in 2009.



Aside from its chocolate manufacturers, Bariloche is also known for its local breweries. Above: Blest microbrewery, next door from Berlina (which I actually liked better).



On April 25 we had successfully sat out the bad weather, got up early, and left Hosteria Katy after breakfast.



We waved Bariloche good-bye…



… and headed north toward San Martin de los Andes.



We opted for a detour via Villa Traful since the day was gorgeous.



This part of Argentina is without doubt among its finest, and I promised myself to return again during the southern summer and with more time for hikes.



Villa Traful is located on the shore of a crystal-clear lake with the same name.



The scenery reminded of our visit to Crater Lake in Oregon.



Near San Martin, Harry just couldn’t resist anymore. I gave him a hearty rub afterwards.



Much smaller than Bariloche and without the latter’s architectural sins (i.e., multi-story concrete buildings next to old wooden homes), San Martin is among the most romantic urban getaways I’ve come across on this trip…



… and it is also home to one of Argentina’s few Vizsla breeders. Harry and Huesos (“Bones”) got along fabulously…



… despite Huesos being ten years younger than 11 year-old Harry.



I watched the dogs play while enjoying yet another local beer brand.



On April 26 we drove back across the border to Chile. Unfortunately an overzealous Chilean customs official made us throw away Harry’s dry food even though I was able to show that I had, in fact, bought it in Chile a week prior. US$40 wasted — and my general opinion of Chilean mentality (inflexible, donnish, drab) took another hit.



The landscape to the east between Osorno and Puerto Varas is dominated by massive volcanoes, all currently covered by snow.



Arguably the most iconic among them, Volcan Osorno is visible from 80km away.



We briefly stopped in Puerto Montt, the southernmost city on the Chilean mainland…



… where I sampled salmon ceviche right off the boat.


Argentina-Chile 26Apr16

It was already dark when we took the ferry from Pargua to Chiloe Island.



In Ancud on Chiloe we found a Swiss-owned hostel where we stayed for the night. We are now so far south that the sun only rises around 8:30AM.


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