Friday, 23 September 2005

Argentina (Wk 2 - Bariloche)

We spent the second week in Bariloche, which is what can only be described as an alpine village located in the Andes, complete with chalets, ski resorts, and its own Atomic Research Centre. Which is why we were there, as that's where Silvia's sister and brother-in-law work, and where their two children (Leandro and Sabrina) are growing up.

The drive from Neuquén took about 7 hours, though mainly because we kept stopping to look either at dinosaur bones or the view, which was spectacular.

But even so, several hours were spent driving along the Patagonian equivalent of desert, where one half hour's worth of view out of the window is just the same as the next half hour's.

Bariloche itself is on the shore of a lake. It could just as well be Switzerland. The lake is fed from close to the Chilean border (the border itself is, more or less, defined by the highest peaks - and when there are no peaks, which way the rivers flow - if they flow to the Atlantic, they're Argentinian, and if to the Pacific, they're Chilean).

We took a boat trip towards Chile which was spectacular. Saw Condors... or at least, a couple of massive birds flying so high that we could only assume they were Condors. We walked through something very much like rain forest up towards a lake near which is a 1500 yr-old tree. Or so the plaque said. If we'd had more time we'd have gone into Chile. Maybe next time..