After getting off the Navimag early Monday morning we took a bus from Puerto Montt, Chile across the Andes to Bariloche, Argentina with our new friends Tessa & Simon. We'd asked Andrea, our boat host, nicely if we could get off early (normal time was 9am) as we wanted to catch the 8am bus - and avoid the other 46 people who were likely headed in the same direction as there's not much going on in Puerto Montt.
So we managed to catch the early bus and for a few hours had it all to ourselves. Scenery was fantastic! Wish i'd taken some photos now. Weather was gorgeous (well sunny but cold, which has become my new gorgeous - better than rain and snow we had in Torres del Paine) Border crossings were fine and we were in Argentina early afternoon.
Really liked Bariloche. In general pretty town with fabulous views of the lakes and mountains. Lots of good coffee and chocolate shops and trekking and biking trails. We decided to stay till the weekend and booked ourselves in for 3 mornings of spanish. We intended to do "active stuff" in the afternoons but were so tired from 4 hours of private tuition (just us 2 and teacher) and the late nights drinking with Tess & Simon that we could do nothing more than laze in the hostal and read books and do spanish homework.
Cerro Caterdrale "Walk"
Friday there was no school as it was (another!) public holiday so we went for a walk (read trek/scramble/climb). As Ben described to me "we take the ski-lift up and walk along the ridge and back down past the refuge through the valley" - silly me thought that by taking the ski lift up we'd be at the top and that the ridge would be a nice flat stroll so we could take in the views. I suppose I should have asked more questions but I reckon subconsciously I have learned it is better for me to not know what is coming next so i can't worry/moan! :-) Anyways, I think it was a tad trickier than Ben was expecting too. After we took the cable car up to the first station, we got the man to start up the ski-lift for the second ascent (very funny) and then started to walk uphill to the top of the ridge.
When we got up there the wind tried to blow us back over and we started to go along the ridge (read scramble and climb over rocks - and this was a well marked trail). After an hour of scrambling (and I just checked with Ben, I'm not exaggerating) we cross over the top and into what I can only describe as a crater - the rock formations were spectacular...see photos. So now I'm thinking we must be heading down...
We climb out of the crater and can now see down the valley and there is a large lake frozen over... this side of the mountain is out of the sun and precariously icey so not so much fun getting down. We then trudge through snow alongside the lake to the refuge. Pretty much downhill from here with a few mini-hills thrown in to test my tired legs (I am still feeling it 2 days later) and lots of fab dodgy bridges to cross over what must have been dozens of ravines as we hurried to get back for the 6 o'clock bus. as we dropped back into the ski-resort valley and could see the bus approaching we legged it the last couple of miles for the bus to have a rest and not leave till 20mins later! :-) Lots of fun! (no really it was a nice day and good to get fresh air and stretch legs after the boat and spanish school)