Back in Argentina we visited Bariloche, the destination which was originally supposed to be the venue of Lothar’s birthday (had the Padron arrived on time). We stayed at a huge house (is it already a villa?) at the outskirts of Bariloche (20min drive to the centre) where we could enjoy a lot of space and proximity to nature.
Due to our late arrival from the Carretera we went to one of Lonely Planet’s recommended restaurants, “El Fondo del Tio”. We weren’t disappointed. Although we were pretty hungry due to the long day driving from Chile the portions were overwhelmingly big (and yummy!) such that the first time on this trip we had to ask for take away boxes which were luckily provided 🙂
First thing in the morning was the visit to Cerro Campanario, a mountain at the western outskirts of Bariloche. The steep 45min ascent rewarded us with great views of the surrounding lakes and glaciers. There were a decent amount of clouds in the sky such that the water and peaks did not resemble their best post card shape but we’re still astonishing to glance at. Irina and the kids descended from the mountain via the gondola.
In the afternoon, we explored around the peninsula of Llao Llao with its famous luxury Hotel Llao Llao popular among celebrities and politicians. We also visited Colonia Suiza, a village founded by couple of Swiss families at the end of the 19th century. Some of the houses still show the Alpine character:
The core of the village has a beautiful market with food stands, hand crafted art, a small stage for musicians and a playground. We found this place so charming that we spent the remainder of the day there. We ate an interesting deer stew and drank yummy local beer.
Before leaving Colonia Suiza we stumbled over the brewery Berlina with a beautiful beer garden. Since Maja was napping and Leo found a lot of things which entertained with stayed for another round of yummy Ales and IPAs and watched a little bit of the Copa Libertadores final.
Cerro Otto was the destination of our second day in Bariloche. Ira got her deserved kids day off and Lothar took Leo and Maja with the gondola uphill (500 ARS, free for kids up to 5y).
This mountain was named after Otto Meling, a German speaking Alpine pioneer who climbed and explored many mountains around Bariloche at the beginning of the 20th century. In winter it is popular for cross-country skiing and in summer it offers great hiking opportunities. Apart from enjoying spectacular views over Lago Nahuel Huapi we took the opportunity to hike to the lookout point Piedra de Habsburgo.
The kids did a great job and I had to carry only Maja most of the way. The walk itself was beautiful with a refreshing smell of forest accompanying us all the way. The lookout at Lago Gutierrez were superb! At the end Maja was so tired that she fell asleep in dad’s arms 🙂 Mum was welcoming us back with a yummy dinner in the evening.
The next day we searched for a new tablet charger and learned that Bariloche and most likely most of Argentina won’t have it. Hence, we tried a couple of repair shops but no one felt that they could repair it. A recommended auto repair shop for Oscar’s window could not help us either since they did not have the replacement part. Unfortunately, we could not check these two items off our list.
We spent the rest of the day strolling through Bariloche’s pedestrian zone and visited one of its famous chocolaterias “Mamushka”. Unfortunately, we did not find out what the story with the name and the matroshkas is. There’s a good restaurant scene in the city and also very good ice cream (Jauja!). Apart from that we found though that most of Bariloche’s charm stems from its surrounding nature.
Road trip to “La Ruta de los siete Lagos” was the name of the game on our last day in the Bariloche area. The starting point was Villa Angostura,on the other side of Lago Nahuel Huapi. It’s a small little town with a posh character and reminded us a little bit of Starnberg in Bavaria. The main street is scattered with restaurants and shops and gives the place a very touristy touch. While Irina tried to convince Maja to nap Leo and Lothar climbed the Mirador Belvedere and enjoyed views of Lago Espejo (the second of the seven lakes). Afterwards the true road trip began from Villa Angostura:
Lago Nahuel Huapi – Lago Espejo – Lago Correntoso – Lago Escondido – Lago Villarino – Lago Falkner – Lago Machonico.
For us the most beautiful out of the seven was Lago Correntoso which apparently also always appears among the top 10 beaches in Argentina. Unfortunately, we did not bring our swim wear. Nevertheless, we could not resist dipping our feet into the turquoise water 🙂
It is a very scenic route and also great for cyclists and motorbikers. Plus there are ample opportunities to swim and to have a pick nick. We concluded the day with a great dinner at an Italian restaurant at Villa Agostura.