Wild Boar and Chocolate

4 06 2008

Posted by: Laura

Besides being an outdoor clothing company, Patagonia is a region that includes the southern half of Argentina and a portion of Chile. The northern part of the region consists of a flat exapanse of land dotted with alpaca ranches. As you travel south, you find mountains and volcanoes. At the end of the continent, fjords and glacairs dominate the landscape. We will be spending the next two or three weeks in this area.

We left the Lake District of Chile and crossed through the Andes mountains to enter Patagonia. Our six hour bus ride was one of the most scenic routes of our trip. The sun was setting as we got our first view of Lago Nahuei Huapi. The road wound aroung the perimeter of lake. I saw the pinkest clouds I have ever seen and a pefect reflection of the mountains in the smooth surface of the lake. Almost every beautiful lake we see, Chris and I joke about setting up a wakeboarding business. But this time, I just wanted to have the whole lake for myself. Never mind that the temperature of the water was probably freezing.

We arrived in Bariloche, Argentina, a ski town located on Lake Nahuel Huapi. Even though our visit did not coincide with ski season, we were excited to hike in the National Park surrounding the area.

The map in our guidebook uses a picture of a bus to mark the bus stations. When I glanced at the map of Bariloche, I quickly figured out how to get from the bus station to our hostel. We walked out of the bus station and toward the center of town. After walking about twenty minutes, Chris asked if we were close. “Dont worry, its only a little further.” Ten minutes later, I realized that the bus station where we had arrived was not the bus station marked on the map, but was, in fact, two miles away from the center of town. We only had a half a mile more to walk by the time we figured this out, so we just kept walking. Remember that Chris is carrying a guitar. The last half mile was very long and silent.

We found a hostel and decided that we deserved a nice meal (nice means the entree is around $10). We had heard that Bariloche specializes in wild game and fish. Anyone who has spent more than five minutes with Chris knows that he likes to eat any sort of dead animal. He began reading restaurant reviews to find the perfect place to eat. Argentinains eat late. The dinner hour picks up around 11:00pm. After our trek from the bus station, we were worried the restaurants would be closed, but we realized we were early for dinner at 10:00. Chris was in a much better mood after a a wild boar stew. I ate a perfectly cooked venison filet.

The next day, we realized that not only does Bariloche specialize in wild game, but we found a gourmet chocolate store on every corner of the main street. Could this town be any more perfect? We had the most amazing hot chocolate, which was essentaily melted chocolate. Chris was actually able to satisfy his chocolate craving with this raspberry chocolate mousse.

We took a bus thirty minutes down the lake to one of Argentina´s famous hotels, Llao Llao. Our guide book described a hike near the hotel as ¨delightfully easy¨ with ¨amazing views.¨ After stuffing ourselves with chocolate, we decided a delightfully easy hike was perfect.  We began walking the wooded trail and kept expecting the woods to open up to beautiful views of the lake.  After five miles of walking we ended up where we started, having only seen the overhanging trees. We decided that the views from our bus ride were much more impressive, so we headed back to Bariloche to watch the sun set over the lake as we ate ravioli stuffed with smoked salmon in a creme sauce.  

After three days in Bariloche, we have decided that we like the town´s priorities: wild game, fish, chocolate, outdoor activities, and a siesta from 1-5 everyday. 

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