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Monday, February 22, 2010


This past weekend we took a little trip to an adorable little town called Bariloche. Bariloche is located approx. 2.5 hours southwest (by plane) of Buenos Aires. It's near Chile perfectly situated between the Andes Mountains and a long string of crystal clear lakes. Most of it's tourism comes in the winter (July-August) due to the ski resort, but we decided to go in the summer for a weekend of site-seeing, eating and relaxing.

We stayed at the Tunquelen Hotel which had simple rooms but a beautiful view. The main street in Bariloche stretches from the city center at kilometer 0.0 to the Llau Llau Hotel at km 25. The Tunquelen is located at km 24.5, putting it pretty much at the end of the circuit. (Side note: When researching this trip I was frustrated by the lack of addresses available, because most places are located on this circuit and have km. markers instead of addresses. Good to know for next time.) Here is the view from our balcony on the first (and only cloudy) day we arrived.
After checking into our hotel, we took the bus back to the city center to look around and grab a bite to eat. The downtown area is filled with chocolate shops and log cabin-style buildings. There are plenty of little shops selling handmade wool sweaters and leather items. We stopped at La Esquina (The Corner) for lunch where Jon was overjoyed to have Hungarian Goulash, a dish that his mom made growing up and he could probably eat everyday if given the chance. We had a really great lunch and spent the next couple of hours walking around the town, eating delicious chocolate and shopping. We stopped into two different chocolate shops that both handed out samples as we entered. I liked the second place, La Tourista, best because you could see the workers making each item right in front of you. It was a bit cold and windy that first day so after we had our share of fall weather, we headed back to our hotel for some afternoon coffee and a nap.

That night we walked 5 minutes from our hotel to go to this quaint Italian restaurant called Il Gabbiano. It was adorable, had only 10 tables or so and the entire menu was on a chalkboard. We had a delicious dinner of salmon ravioli and lamb ragout and finished it off with an apple crumble dessert that was amazing. Good day 1.

Day 2: We took a chairlift to the top of a mountain that had some amazing views. It was a beautiful, warm, clear day, so a perfect time for me to get over my fear of heights and make the most of my camera. I'll spare you the details - but here are some pictures that capture the view.
You can tell how we got warmer with time, we each shed about 2 layers of clothing. And then we both got a little sunburnt.
We took the chairlift back down and walked up the street a bit to a cafe called Bread. We sat outside and had a really pretty view of one of the lakes. The name was completely fitting for this place because as it turned out, we had the normal starter basket of bread and then ordered cheese fondue which came with, of course, bread for dipping. It was a carb-filled afternoon. The carbs came in handy a little later when we were riding the bus home and I suggested that we get off at a sweater shop around km. 18. The shop was a bust, and instead of waiting 20 minutes for another bus, I suggested that we walk back to our hotel. Now, if we were set up for a hike, this would have been fine, but we were holding a large camera bag, 2 jackets, a sweatshirt and scarves, it was 75 degrees or so and the walk was all uphill. Oh yeah, and my conversion from km to mile was a little off, I was thinking that it would take 30 minutes to walk home. (6.5 km = 4.03 miles. It was going to take us a little longer than 30 minutes...) Not to mention that we were walking on the shoulder of this windy road, which completely freaked my Exxon-safety-obsessed husband out. It was with good reason, we ended up catching the bus after about 2.5 km, but we did get some great pictures (like the one below) on the way.
That night we ate at El Patacon and for US$65 we each had a drink, an appetizer, a salad, a filet and a venison tenderloin. Amazing. This restaurant was highly recommended by our hotel, which is why we went, although their high selling-point was that Bill Clinton had dined there. They had no idea that this was almost a deal breaker for the restaurant. We're glad we went, it was delicious.

We finished off the weekend with lunch at the Llao Llao Hotel for lunch. This hotel is the talk of the town in Bariloche and if we ever win the lottery we just may go back and stay there. I looked into it and it's somewhere in the ballpark of US$500 per night, so a little outside of our price range. Once we were there we could see why it is such a destination - the hotel is amazing. It has everything you can think of in a hotel including a rental car office in the parking lot. The views are amazing and the service is impeccable. We stopped by before our lunch reservation and the staff was happy to let us sit outside, have a drink and sit in their comfortable deck chairs enjoying the view before our reservation. My kind of place.

We had a nice lunch, the food and service were great. The best part was the view of "Thunder" the only mountain completely covered with snow that was visible from our table.

The whole weekend was relaxing and fun, we had a great time. Bariloche is a great stop if you are looking for a rejuvenating weekend filled with food and site-seeing. Muy bueno.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds awesome! Glad you all were able to take a little trip and relax. I also love that Jon is reppin' the Hokies down in South America :)