Photos by Don and Lois Porter
On Tuesday, February 7, 2006 we took an AndesMar bus across the border and over the mountains to Bariloche, Argentina. The bus pulled out of the Valdivia station at 8:51am, only 5 minutes late. We arrived at the Chile border station at 12:30pm, and of course it took an hour to clear the Chilean formalities (this was to LEAVE Chile!). Meanwhile, our bus had a mechanical problem. The bus driver and his helpers declared it fixed enough at 3:30pm, although we did seem to move slowly from then on. We finally arrived at the Bariloche station at 7:30 (10 hours and 40 minutes, instead of the advertised 7 hours). We stayed at the excellent hosteria El Ńire. Of course we were totally starving, so we really enjoyed the dinner we had at La Granja. Walked around town gaping at the food goodies, especially chocolate and ice cream, in the shops, which were still full of hordes of people at 10pm.
Next day we bought our return bus tickets for Friday at an agency in town, saddened to discover that the only line going to Valdivia was the dreaded AndesMar. Strolled around town a bit, enjoying the views of the mountains across Lake Nahuel Huapi. We got a suggestion at the tourist info kiosk for a hike in the municipal park Llao-Llao, “a half-hour by bus”. We waited 20 minutes for a bus, which was totally jammed with people. It proceeded to break down half way to the park! Someone could make a fortune introducing preventive maintenance to Argentina. Another bus arrived soon, and we made it to the park, after an hour and 15 minutes on crowded buses. The bus stop for the park was near a fancy hotel with a fancy golf course. The scenery was spectacular and the woods very quiet and beautiful, with minimal people on the trails that skirted the shore of Lake Moreno. We took photos of a couple of large woodpeckers, and got a real good look at a Chucao (one of our favorite southern Chile birds), but no photos. Had some wonderful “semi-amargo” chocolate ice cream at the “Turista” chocolate factory downtown.
On Thursday we spent the morning shopping – apparently the principal form of entertainment in Bariloche, unless eating chocolate counts as entertainment. Bought some nice gifts, and a few books. Ate our big meal for the day at a nice restaurant – we both had lemon trout. We took the cable car (teleferico) to the top of Cerro Otto at 1:30pm, where we walked to a nearby peak, and enjoyed the views. Back in town we did a bunch of email at Tante Fride’s, where we bought some outstanding chocolate. And THEN … we did more shopping. Friday morning we took a walk along the lake shore, and braved the crowds on the main drag before eating delicious omelettes and then taking a taxi out to the bus station. There we boarded our AndesMar bus and left Bariloche at 3:50pm – the scheduled departure was 1:30pm but the bus had to limp in from Buenos Aires. Arrived Valdivia station at 11:20pm.
Back to Chile 2006 album