When you’re in a travel routine, it's surprising how far and fast you can move. But it gets tiring. Up early to sightsee. Night bus to the next stop. Sleep. Sight see. Back on the bus.
Maybe you're thinking, 'yeah right... stop moaning... half your luck’. As fabulous as travelling is, it makes you weary.
What will each stop will bring? Will it be one of those places where you hang your boots up for a few days?
For me, Bariloche is one of those places.
We had arrived late at night with no reservation and begged Hostel 1004 for a bed. It's a penthouse with a killer view and a good reputation. Thankfully two travellers had checked out late.
I've literally arrived in Bariloche when I have to rush back to Buenos Aires to sort out my passport and get a camera fixed. So I arrive back at the hostel knackered. Geezer is pretty much sitting where I left him days earlier.
Bariloche has one of the top ten views in the world (as voted by National Geographic) and is also one of the top ten places to fish in the world. So we feel pretty good about kicking back here – so good in fact that I get a sudden urge to cook (happens rarely). I research Argentinean recipes and make a kick arse meal of steak with the most delicious salsa that accompanies everything here.
In my absence Geezer has made friends. American Ned, a fishing expert, tells Geezer he will take him fly fishing. A pool of dribble forms underneath Geezers chin at the thought of a boys fishing trip. He's been talking about fishing since we reached Patagonia.
So the next day, Geezer heads off with Ned and I’m contemplating a day of leisure when an English girl pops her head in the kitchen to ask whether I’d be interested in a girls shopping trip to El Bolson – a tiny hippy town. It’s market day there. Bring it on sister!
I have five minutes to throw on jeans and bolt to the bus where I bump in to two English girls we’d shared a room with in El Chalten.
We arrive back later that night for wine tasting at the hostel (never a good idea combining backpackers with cheap wine). I discover La 10 Empanadas across the road (it’s like finding the midnight kebab mecca) and we gorge ourselves on arguably the best empanadas in Argy Bargy (empanadas are like mini pastries stuffed with just about anything – cheese, tomato, spinach, meat).
I stagger to bed at some ungodly hour while realising that I’ve promised to go on a 25km bike ride in the morning around the Circuito Chico trail of Bariloche.
I wake up with a cheap red wine hangover and stumble to the bus. But it’s not till I’m on the bus that I realise everyone is looking chipper and has bike pants on. I stare down at my entirely inappropriate attire and wish I’d eaten something. A few kms in, my bike chokes and everyone has bolted for the hills except Geezer who is waiting patiently for me. My pants keep catching in the pedals, the seat is no bigger than a pear and harder than rock, the gears keep slipping and I’m so hungry I could eat the handlebars.
So I hurl my bike off into the distance (well not really but it’s what’s going through my mind), declare I’m going home and fold my arms with a ‘hmph’. Geezer (still waiting patiently) swops our bikes over and we finally get going. I later hear him muttering choice words to the crappy bike that he has so gallantly taken over. Thanks Geez!
All I can say is thank God the views are amazing because riding (or getting off and pushing) 25km up and down mountains with a hangover, an empty stomach and a sore backside is hard work. The view we see at the top is pretty special. We can see most of the seven lakes surrounding Bariloche and castle-like houses in the distance. It reminds me of Austria or some place Swiss.
Back in town I launch head first in to the biggest bowl of pasta while Geezer opts for beer on the balcony. I inhale my pasta, pay the bill and wonder if I’ve said something stupid in Spanish to the waitress who goes off chortling to herself. It’s not until I look in the mirror that I realise I have helmet hair, mascara smeared down to my chin and a big chunk of spaghetti stuck to my face. Noice.
Having every intention to leave the next day we decide to stay the next night as well – because – well it is just so damn nice here and we want to see the chairlift that takes you to this top ten view... which by the way is pretty stunning – but top ten?? You decide!
We stay up late that night chatting to the staff at the hostel – one of whom takes a shine to Geezer and tells him that she wants him to stay but that perhaps I can keep travelling.
Cue **nervous laugh** from Geezer.
We have been here six fabulous days... and the staff call us into the lounge to present Geezer and I with a bottle of red to thank us for staying. We are flawed. It’s not often that you come across a place that makes you feel like you’re at home.