Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Argentinian Lake District

Where were we? yeah, right, in Pucon.
Driving the road from Chile to Argentina, one notices the great difference between the Chilian Andes and the Argentinian ones. same for the Parallel Lake Districts.
Being so close apart, only a mountain-side away, the Argentinian lake district is just not the same:
I'll start off, from the border crossing. Next to the Argentinian checkpoint, stands Vulcan Lanin, with all its pride. 3,747 meters above sea level, and only 900 meters taller then the already known Villarrica, but goddamn, can it showoff! the great view we had, made me decide I can skip coming back here and rush all the way (still with Oren.Liliya) to San Martin de Los Andes.
San Martin de Los Andes, welcomed us with opened arms, being empty (without Israelis), and quiet (without Israelis).
Now having the time for it, I booked a tour guided van, going to the Seven Lakes for the next day (the main reason was of course getting rid of Oren.Liliya!).
The tour was supposed to take me around the Argentinian Lake District, seeing, as you might have guessed, 7 lakes. (I counted 6)
There was a very pleasant fellow guiding the tour. Very young, yet with very much knowledge. All in Spanish.
The microphone volume was set way to loud, but nobody except me seamed to notice. maybe speeches you don't understand are more annoying...
We drove in a rainy day, and couldn't see everything I wanted to see, stopped just on planned stops (not in the other magnificent places I saw through the windows). When we did stop, it was for short breaks in Miradors (lookouts), and everyone else did not understand why I was running ans rushing around (to take the best photos I can of course).
At mid day (just as the sun got out of the clouds finally) the van stopped at Villa la Angostura. A beautiful little town, touristic, on the shore of Lago Nahuel Huapi, and with nothing to do there for the 2 hour break we took.
Once going back on the van, the sun hiding again, we rode the last hour of the drive, without stops, until we arrived to my beloved Bariloche.
That night, I said my goodbyes to the Lake Districts (both), with a large stake, at Parrilla Don Alberto.
The main Difference between The Argentinian and The Chilain Lake Districts will be the weather you fall upon. seeing lakes without sun is a shame. they usually have a mirror effect, which will not show on a cloudy day.
The scenery around the lakes, is where the change happens..
On the Chilian side, volcanoes and small towns (almost untouched by tourism), higher mountains and good sea food!
On the Argentinian side, lots of Chocolate, better roads, and great meat!
Except for that, try seeing them both with a rented car, so you could stop when, and where ever you like.
If I had ant other option but the Touristic van, I would take it. Not having a drivers licence or people to share a rented car with, made my decision for me.

Tips for the Argentinian Lake District:
1. Rent a Car - you'll good deals from Bariloche, and you can see, stop and make your own rute as you like it.
2. Restaurant 'La-Andina', Bariloche - Cheap, good food (Empanadas, Pizzas, Pastas), and good people.
3. Volcan Lanin - Seeing it on a good day, just worth all the drive. (Check the weather first, its a long drive)

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