Sunday, March 23, 2008

Trip to Bariloche - Part 3

I decided that I didn’t want to go with the group on Saturday, because I wanted to go horseback riding in Patagonia. I’m glad I didn’t go with the group because I had more fun on my own. I also had more time to spend with my friend Lindsay.

The group didn’t have very good luck. The itinerary included a lot of travel by bus. Unfortunately, one of the buses broke down. Then the group was 8, but they didn't return until after 9. I’m glad I did my own thing.

This was my guide overlooking the lakes from one of the vantage points on the trail.

So in the morning I headed to Tom Wesley's Cabalgatas by bus. (Side note, the bus system for Bariloche is great and is very simple to use.) The bus left me off at the main road and I walked about a quarter of a mile back to the estancia (estancia is about the equivalent of ranch). It seemed at first that it was a small estancia, but my opinion changed once I saw all of the land that was part of it. Also this was one of two different locations that Tom Wesley’s family owned in Patagonia. The estancia in Bariloche just had trained horses, mostly quarter horses. On the other larger estancia in another part of Patagonia, they have a breeding and training facility It was about 40 pesos to go on an hour and half trek. It was exciting because I haven’t rode a horse for quite awhile.

This was my horse, saddled up and ready to go!

The guide was very nice. After I was on the horse we were able to talk for quite awhile. It was great because he didn’t speak any English, which surely helped me continue to use Spanish. It was really neat because we departed from the shed with a boxer-dog that accompanied us the whole time. I thought this was amusing because I doubt horses would like my dog, Molly--Lord knows the sheep detest her!

The trail was a bit steep at points. The horses were very used to going the same way, and I almost didn't have to any directing. It was cool because I would be in the middle of a forest and all of a sudden we’d walk to an amazing vantage point. Some of the views were completely amazing. I took some pictures of the experience. The next picture is one of my favorites, with the reflection of the island on the water. It was breathtaking to see.

This view is spectacular.

I definitely want to go on more cabalgatas, horse riding tours, while I’m here in Argentina. I had a lot of fun. We never had horses at the family farm growing up. The cabalgatas surely are an interesting way to see the terrain.

After the almost 2 hour ride, my guide was able to recommend several restaurants to eat lunch or dinner in Bariloche. We parted ways and I headed back to catch the bus. I also called Lindsay since we had previously decided that we would try to get together in town after my ride. We connected downtown and ate lunch at one of the recommended restaurants. We had a wonderful afternoon walking around the streets of Bariloche and going into several little shops.

Then I had this genius idea of going into a book store because I was looking for postcards, soduku, and pens. For my parents and friends who might find it strange that I went into a bookstore not to buy books, I will tell you that I have made a pact with myself only to buy 1 book at a time here—the one I’m reading—otherwise I’ll purchase so many books that I’ll never be able to return to the states with two suitcases.

However, I found my equal. Lindsay loves buying books as much as I do. She ended up with a hefty stack that just solidified our friendship. We’re both bookaholics. She admired my control. I had a bit of a quiver to buy a book, but I resisted through lots of breathing, haha. I’m sure my mother will be thrilled!!! I never found my soduko book here, but I did find pens—now my mother is rolling her eyes—this was a kind of pen that my research investigator used this summer, so I had to buy 2. See, I was controlled—we both decided we better get out of the store before we bought anything else.

…then we stumbled onto an artesian market…

I’ve learned that artesian or food markets are among my favorite places wherever I travel. Usually the people at artesian markets are interesting to talk to, and I also prefer home crafted things to the traditional over merchandized tourist items that are at many of the shops in towns like Bariloche. Lindsay went crazy and bought several pairs of earrings and other jewelry. It took longer for me to find some things, but I did buy some presents for friends/relatives. Some of you might be the recipients of them…hehe…

Many of the booths at the artesian market had knitted items in wool. So I started asking them if it there was a local yarn store, and I got the directions. I was very excited because the lady said that this particular store had great alpaca and llama yarn. After Lindsay and I were finished with the market, we walked up there. Of course the 2 shops closed about an hour before we got there. I’ll have to find natural fiber elsewhere. On a positive note, the one lady gave me a recommendation for a yarn shop here in Buenos Aires.

Lindsay and I got back early to Hotel Amancay so that we could prepare for dinner ahead of the group. Before we got ready, we decided to have an afternoon cocktail—oh the life! I had a wonderful daiquiri de frutilla—strawberry daiquiri. It was amazing. I have pictures of this drink in my album. It had really strawberries! Also for those Spanish speakers out there, frutilla is fresa here. If you say fresa people will just give you a “look”.

The group was supposed to get back at 8 so we would all take a bus back into Bariloche to eat in different restaurants in Bariloche. After dinner we would have the option to go out to different bars/baliches. The program had a bus that would pick us up at 1AM and 5AM to return to the hotel.

The night ended up to be pretty funny because the bus broke down for the group and they never got back until close to 9:30PM. Lindsay, myself, and all of the others who didn’t go on the trip that day were all waiting back at the hotel for them. We ended up going to the hotel bar and socializing over a bottle of wine.

We left to go to dinner shortly after 10PM. My friends and I decided we were going to go out that night. Our guides wanted us to eat quickly. I really wanted to go to a restaurant that had Patagonian lamb, but it ended up there wasn’t time for that. A group of us had a nice meal of carne de chorizo, which was quite good. We met our guides and they showed us some nice bars and later boliche’s to go to.

I think we had guides this night because typically Bariloche is a tourist area, and the prices change somewhat depending on how the opinion of the person that is at the door of the bar—if you get what I’m saying. We went to a Pub first for a few hours. Then the group headed to a baliche. I had a headache from the smoke in a pub so a friend and I took a taxi back to our hotel. It turned out to be a great day!

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Greg said...

Great photos!! The horse tour sounds (and looks) like a beautiful way to see the country.

I feel your pain about the book purchases...they are like crack to me!

Hope your travels continue to be great...I look forward to coming back and reading more!

neagley said...

Thanks for your comment. I'll have to look at your gardening blog. I love plants and biology.

How did you find my blog out of curiousity?