Well, I didn’t exactly bike the entire 27 km because, as a pathetically, out of shape weakling, I walked my bike up the steeper hills. But for all intents and purposes, I biked the 27 km Circuito Chico this afternoon and I feel two things: accomplished, and absolutely exhausted.
Map of the Circuito Chico, which I biked today!
The circuit itself is a gorgeous, paved road that circles the eastern area of Bariloche, along the lakes and rivers of the area. The road slopes uphill, then downhill, then uphill again, revealing tree-lined views of the lakes and snow-capped peaks. I opted to do the bike journey solo, and took my sweet time stopping whenever I wanted to take photos, needed a breather or opted to walk my bike up the steeper, hillier sections. Luckily it only rained for a half hour or so in the beginning of my journey, and when the rain got so heavy I could barely see, I stopped under a clump of trees to wait it out, and was able to hop back on my bike (granted with a very wet butt and an awkward wet stripe down my back) a few minutes later as the rain lightened, then stopped for good.
Stella, very clearly in ducky heaven (probably because she didn´t have to pedal the bike!)
Bariloche is a polar opposite change from the 95 degree, sweat-inducing, desert heat of Mendoza and northern Argentina. I´ve traded my light cotton dress for a hood instead of sunglasses, leggings underneath my jeans, four layers beneath my windbreaker, plus my alpaca-knit gloves. Regardless of the frigid, and very indecisive weather (it´s sort of like being in Boston where you can wait 5 minutes and the weather will change) this lake region, at the very northern tip of Patagonia, is stunning.
View of one of the lake´s many beaches from right near my hostel
Yesterday I had a lazy, mostly indoors day, since it was colder, windier, and rainier outside than I wanted to brave, but during a break in the rain I took the ski lift up to Cerro Campanario and enjoyed an absolutely incredible 360 degree view of the lakes, rivers and mountains surrounding Bariloche. Worth every penny of the 60 pesos I paid to let the ski lift haul my lazy self up and down the mountain!
Nothing better than hot chocolate and raspberry tart to keep me company at the top of the ski lift, waiting for the rain to pass.
View from the ski lift!
And on my first full day in town, I met three boys in my hostel, and the four of us rented a car to drive 370 kilometers up north and around the seven lakes to San Martin. Michiel and Frank, Dutch brothers, Mario, a German guy, and I had some serious bonding time during our 13 hours in our Volkswagon Gol together, but we had an absolute blast. The weather didn´t exactly cooperate, and we had on and off rain and some serious cloud coverage for many hours, but we also got to see a gorgeous rainbow over one of the lakes, and a tiny bit of sunshine here and there.
Map of the northern roads we drove along
Boys being, well… boys, and climbing a giant rock that jutted out over the road
I also had my first attempt at driving stick shift — on an empty, and wide, dirt road in the middle of our journey. The photo of my skid marks from the first time I attempted to release the clutch and press the gas simultaneously is absolutely priceless, but Michiel was very patient and, eventually, I was able to drive for more than a minute or two without stalling out the car. Luckily for the boys, I only drove on that tiny stretch of road.
Poor, terrified Michiel
Tomorrow morning, I´m leaving Argentina and headed to Puerto Varas in Chile, my fifth and final country for my last 8 days of vacation. Fingers crossed the weather improves and I can snag some awesome views of the volcanos!
I would love nothing more than to post all of my millions of photos from the last 3 days, but my computer is truly dead, and aside from the photos I took on my cell phone and posted to Instagram, I have no way of uploading my DSLR´s photos to this shared computer, so these ones will have to do. I promise when I get back to the States and face funemployment once again, I´ll upload the pictures I wasn´t able to post!