We stayed at Hostel Cordillera. What a good find! We highly recommend this calm, friendly and aesthetic place. It’s also an establishment that rents mountain bikes, sending most customers off on a pleasing local 25 km loop.
When we were only able to book the next leg of our journey for Thursday, we were happy to settle here for a bit of break after over a month on the road and some 1800 km pedalled.
2011/02/14: To Bariloche by Municipal Bus
It’s high season, and the 18 km of road from here to Bariloche is narrow and busy. The bus gives a different perspective, and rests the old legs. Our main errand was to visit the office of Turisur that organizes Cruce Andino, a trip westward through the Andes into Chile. The journey links three boat trips and intervening terrestrial connections are made by bus and are usually included in the price. There is a cheaper price for cyclists who use the boat segments only, and who pedal the 3 and 31 km sections of gravel road between lakes.
We could only get tickets for Thursday, which is what has quite fortuitously enforced a pause here. Tickets in hand, we strolled around Bariloche, a bit of an over-built lakeside ski town we were glad not to be staying in. We toured their paleontology museum: a small collection of fossils lovingly (but not very professionally) displayed inside a two-room corrugated tin shed.
The hostel cum bike rental staff were kind enough to let us use their workshop and supplies to clean and lube our bike chains.
2011/02/15: Hike up Cerro Campanario, 11 km Bike to Shop
We walked to and up this local peak, where we shared views with hordes who’d ridden up the chairlift. Later we cycled to the grocery store for dinner fixings.
2011/02/16: The 25 km Circuito Chico, plus 11 km to Shops Again
|View from Circuito Chito of lakes and Hotel Llao Llao, the Banff Springs Hotel of Argentina.
The views from the hotel and it’s surrounding golf course are spectacular;
so are its room rates.
We did the local circuit that the bike rental clients do, moving at a leisurely pace.
Later, after Skyping with offspring, we rode to the campground near the shops to meet the valiant Danish family who had followed us across the lake today. Because the buses had no space for all their gear, they had cycled the 60 km (2 days) of horrible loose gravel through the construction zone of the Camino de Los Siete Lagos. At one point the road was so rough they put both their kids in the trailer which had suspension. The tiny lads apparently thought the bumpy ride was a good laugh, but the parents were a bit alarmed.
Back at the hostel, we are trying to be organized for an early departure to the boat dock. Back to Chile we go!