Bariloche and 7 lakes road trip

So I finally arrived into Bariloche, a town in the Argentine lakes and in Northern Patagonia, after a 28hr bus journey. By complete chance I ended up in the most wonderful hostel. By the end of my first evening there I was sat around a table with guests and staff from various different places having a beer.
The next morning my friends from Southern Patagonia had arrived and a group of 8 of us headed out to explore. Bariloche is a beautiful city that sits on the edge of Lake Nahuel and very close by there is stunning views. One of the best ways to get around is by bike, so that is what we did. At this stage the weather was cloudy and not too cold. I decided to go with wearing shorts with the hope the sun would come out. This proved to be a bold decision.
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We took the bus a few miles from the city and arrived at the bike hire place. Conveniently there was a nice walk to a viewpoint next door which we headed up. The walk was nice, the view incredible but unfortunately it had just started to rain so we quickly headed back down the hill. The rain seemed to be light and it looked to be clearing it so we hired our bikes and set off on what we were told was a 3 hour cycle. After about 15mins the rain became torrential. It continued this way the rest of the day. The cycle ride passes through beautiful surroundings and many great photo spots. I did not see any of these. Instead we all cycled the path as quickly as we could in order to get back home. By far the highlight of the whoke experience was getting back to the bike hire shop afterwards where they had a fire, tea and chocolate for us. I think this was the first time I had laughed for around 2 hours!
However, as is often the case with these things there was a silver lining. Having survived our experience we were all suddenly great friends and that evening we cooked together (steak and wine obviously) and all felt we had earned our meal a lot more than if the weather had been good!
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The following myself, Camila and Monika (2 girls I had met in South Patagonia) hired a car to do a couple of days road trip around the area. The famous road Route 40 takes you through stunning mountain scenery and past a number of different lakes. We finally set off in the car by late morning with Camila driving and me as co-pilot. The weather continued not to be on our side, so the photos all have rather large spots of rain in them! Since we had all come from places where we had spent a lot of time hiking none of us were keen to do anymore. Instead we spent a lot of time finding good places to have coffee and ate a huge amount of amazing chocolate (a speciality of the region). This proved to be a great way to spend our time!
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Both Camila and Monika were near the end of their time in Argentina, so we decided to indulge in some of the specialities of the area which included Barbequed Patagonian lamb, fresh trout from the lake and locally produced beer. In essence our road trip was as much about food and drink as it was about scenery.
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We arrived back into Bariloche on the 3rd day and had our first day of sunshine, so we headed down to the lake to soak up some rays.
IMG_2336A group of friends from the hostel decided that we should have an asado (barbeque), so a couple of us went to the supermarket to get the food. Just as we were buying the food the girl we were with collapsed and hurt her knee. We were really worried about her, so got someone to call the ambulance. After about 10mins we hear sirens assuming the ambulance has arrived, instead 4 firefighters walk in in full dress. One of them treats my friend (remaining in full fire gear throughout, including a helmet), after about another 10mins the ambulance finally arrived and a doctor sees my friend and sends her home.
The 2 of us who had witnessed this whole episode were feeling a bit shaken up, but after a beer we were ready to get back on with our asado. By this time it was pretty late and I was told food would be ready around 11.30pm. When I complained this sounded rather late I was told to stop being so English. We had a fantastic evening and drank far too much wine. I remember being taught to salsa dance, comparing my tiny tattoo with a guy who has a tattoo sleeve and trying the local drink called fernet which is disgusting.
I got into bed at 7am. I managed to make my bus later that day, only just though. 20hrs on a bus is not fun normally, but it is significantly less fun when hungover.

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