Posted by: Dave | February 15, 2009

The Lake District of Argentina

Typical day on Ruta 40, the major highway that runs up and down the western border of Argentina. Imagine I-95 on the US east coast, or the 5 Freeway on the west coast - only unpaved and with guanacos, sheep, goats, rabbits, cows or giant hawks sitting in the middle of the road.

Typical day on Ruta 40, the major highway that runs up and down the western border of Argentina. Imagine I-95 on the US east coast, or the 5 Freeway on the west coast - only unpaved and with guanacos, sheep, goats, rabbits, cows or giant hawks sitting in the middle of the road.

I have fully intended to write about the great people I´ve met over the last month (locals, travelers, etc) and/or the amazing journey that has been the drive on “major roads” such as Ruta 3 and Ruta 40. But this beautiful country´s varying and dramatic landscape steals the show again.  I´m now in Mendoza, which is in central Argentina on the western border (near Chile) at the foot of the Andes – close to the largest mountain outside of the Himalayas, a peak called Aconcagua.  But what Mendoza is known for is wine… this is the Napa or Sonoma valley of Argentina.  More on that to come, I´m sure. 

My visit to the Argentinian Lakes District certainly deserves a great deal of attention and more photos. The tourism hub for the area is the town of Bariloche, which sits on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi in the national park of that name. In the winter it´s a ski destination, as the Andes surround the lakes and make for some of the most picturesque skiing in the world. The town itself is known for its location – and it´s the chocolate capital of Argentina. Of course I ate too much.  Bariloche has grown into a bustling tourist town itself, but its real purpose is to serve as the portal to the parks and slopes of the mountains around it. Municpal Park Llao Llao (pronounced “Jao Jao”) is the gem, sitting about 30km outside of Bariloche and nestled amongst several lakes. The plan included a hike up a mountain for a panoramic view of the area, and also exploring the Circuito Chico, which is the road connecting all of the lakes. Again… photos tell the best story.

First night in Bariloche and the moon is almost full...

First night in Bariloche and the moon is almost full...

The view on Punta Panaramico on the Circuito Chico. That´s the Hotel Llao Llao on the left... the most famous hotel in Argentina. Quite a setting. Just let it be said one more time, and apply it to all pics - the colors are real and unedited.

The view on Punta Panoramico on the Circuito Chico. That´s the Hotel Llao Llao on the left... the most famous hotel in Argentina. Quite a setting. Just let it be said one more time, and apply it to all pics - the colors are real and unedited.

I need a haircut... but the view is amazing. Mom - you asked for more pics of me... so here´s one!

I need a haircut... but the view is amazing. Mom - you asked for more pics of me... so here´s one!

The view from Cerro Lopez after climbing a quick 800 meters. Steep. As I´m loading these photos, I´m having trouble choosing which ones to show... they´re all so dramatic. Sorry in advance if it becomes overwhelming.

The view from Cerro Lopez after climbing a quick 800 meters. Steep. As I´m loading these photos, I´m having trouble choosing which ones to show... they´re all so dramatic. Sorry in advance if it becomes overwhelming.

Perfect weather above the Lakes District, and I could´ve stayed on this rock all day. (I love playing with the self-timer on the camera too.)

Perfect weather above the Lakes District, and I could´ve stayed on this rock all day. (I love playing with the self-timer on the camera too.)

The full moon rising over the Lake District and the Andes...

The full moon rising over the Lake District and the Andes...

Hopefully you can get an idea of how clear the water is in these lakes.

Hopefully you can get an idea of how clear the water is in these lakes.

The weather was again incredible for us, albeit a little windy after the first day. I took it pretty easy while my friends did a ridge hike where they had to battle winds that knocked them over (literally).  Again – super lucky with the weather… clear days like this make it easy to have amazing memories and fantastic photographs.

Leaving the Lakes District wasn´t easy, but the promise of wine country in and around Mendoza helped with that. Mendoza is a real city – about 1 million people live in and around it – and it´s good to be in a place that has some energy. Patagonia was great, its vast isolation and natural wonders are special and unforgettable, but it´s good to be back in a bustling city. The plan here is some more hiking and maybe some white-water rafting – and definitely a good amount of wine tasting. In fact, that was the priority for the first day here (yesterday), so I´ve already tried some of the region´s pride varietal: Malbec.  You have got to like the sign that greeted us at the first vineyard we rolled into:

For those of you who may not get the Spanish joke, "beber" is the Spanish word for "to drink" ... so it´s a play on the welcome greeting "bienvenidos". Good drinking!

For those of you who may not get the Spanish joke, "beber" is the Spanish word for "to drink" ... so it´s a play on the welcome greeting "bienvenidos". Good drinking!

It´s almost harvest time for this season´s grapes, so there are full vines everywhere. We´re headed out on bikes on Monday to explore more vineyards, and I´m sure there are plenty of pics to follow.  Looking forward to it…

Soon to become a nice Malbec 2009.

Soon to become a nice Malbec 2009.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. I don’t know if your writing this just to share with your family, or if you don’t mind if others of us take a peek. You’re brave! Thank you for traveling where I would not be bold enough to go, and letting us take a look at how it “feels.”
    Gin at http://highmountainmuse.wordpress.com

  2. So jealous kid.. glad you’re having an unbelievable time and keep traveling safe!

  3. wow, the moon! and the others, amazing! what a special spot!

  4. Hey Dave! Your trek is sounding great! Glad to hear that you are safe and sound. The photos are incredible! Colors especially. The moon was full here on Monday evening. Can a full moon over the Hudson with moonlight streaming into my apartment compare to your scene?! Don’t think so! 🙂

  5. We’re delighted that your adventure continues to please and excite. Beautiful pictures, beautiful beard. More from us later. Lots of love from both of us

  6. David-is that really a photo of the Unibomber?

  7. Gin – your message went into my spam inbox, so I just found it. Thanks for stopping in at the blog! Any/all are welcome to check it out. I’m glad you found it! I’ll check out your site …


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: