South America Drive

Bariloche, part 2

This post finishes our time in Bariloche.


us top of CatedralWe had high hopes of doing LOTS of skiing at the renowned Catedral. Unfortunately, the warm weather and rains followed us from San Martin. The ski runs were icy and high winds occasionally closed the upper lifts. Occasionally, they only charged for a 1/2 day since many runs were not open. We did get in a few days of skiing: enough that we realized we liked the previous ski area, Chapelco, better. Although Catedral is larger than Chapelco, many of the “runs” at Catedral are really just cat walks.



The main attraction of Catedral is the view from the mountain top. It is considered the best and they were spectacular.



Students arriving at Catedral, not much snow left.


Bariloche is a destination for the high school spring break crowd. Town was swamped as over 100 buses filled with teens from all over Argentina arrived in Bariloche. Certain hotels catered to them; glad we were not staying at one of them. The teens were having a great time, but they were loud. Even in the chalet, they would start shouting chants. Many people walked out unable to hear above them. Each member of a group wore the same jacket with their tour’s specific colors. They moved en masse. At first, many of them went skiing. As the weather got warmer and the snow got worse, they mainly went sledding. Literally hundreds of kids arrived during the time we were in Bariloche. Perhaps that is another reason we preferred Chapelco.

hills overlooking Bariloche and LLoaLLoa

With lots of down time, we surveyed the surrounding area. In the center of the picture is a bridge of land leading to a lovely resort called Llao Llao, just outside of town: too expensive for us and they don’t take dogs.



Couldn't resist taking this picture of our car in this setting . . . looks like an ad for Toyota.

Couldn’t resist taking this picture of our car in this setting . . . looks like an ad for Toyota.



mountain rapids







When we returned in 2015, we were thrilled to find the Ruta de Siete Lagos had been paved. The drive went much quicker, even with lots of snow. The lakes were at an all time high level and the rivers were impressive.



Fabula Lake HouseOn our return visit, we stayed for a few days at a place called Fabula Lake House. It is owned by a retired champion snowboarder named Walter Rodriga and his equally talented wife, Miriam Esteban. They built a beautiful lake home where he rents out rooms to guests. He is also a talented chef.











When not being fed by Walter, Chris found this guy selling hot sausages with homemade chimichuri salsa, basically from the back of his pickup. Chris said it was one of the best he has ever eaten.



We came across this  . . . The Atomic Center. A research center of the National Atomic Energy Commission. Within this complex, a few select students are chosen for advanced degrees in Physics and Nuclear Engineering. Nearby is INVAP, a high technology company that designs and builds nuclear reactors, state-of-the-art radar, and space satellites. Pretty impressive for this small town.

While in Bariloche, we found a gal to watch the dogs for a few days. We realized we were running out of US cash. Since the blue exchange rate (8.5) was so much better than the official rate (5.2), we decided it was worth the run. Besides, we had not really seen much of Chile, yet.  As you near the border, you will see a huge area filled with dead trees. We considered a fire, but it did not look charred. We later learned that a volcano had erupted in 2011. The volcanic ash was so thick it killed the trees. Little did we know that two years later we would get to experience living in an ash cloud.


A surprising treat was finding a high school classmate (just over 30 students in my class) living in Bariloche. What are the odds?




Norie has a view from her back yard that I would die for. Sadly as we returned to this area, she and her husband, Alec, decided to move to Panama.

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