View at our first stop after entering the national park.
Had a really interesting day today, even did a bit of exercise! Booked a tour for today with Lagos del Sur, which can be arranged through most of the hostels and some of the tour agencies. Our guide, Sonia, spoke very good English and explained everything in detail. We were collected by a very full mini-bus at abuot 9.15am and headed out of Bariloche
towards the mountains for our excursion into the national park. Interesting to see the residential areas out of the main tourist precinct of the city, home to the people who work in the hotels and restaurants in the centre. After stopping to buy our park entrance tickets, our first walk took us into the hills to see a waterfall with a 70 metre drop.
The suspension bridge on the way to the cane forest at Pampa Linda.
It was named Cesars Waterfall, after the man who first came into the area in the 1600s looking for the fabled city of gold and jewels (not found!). Our guide, Sonia, is very knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna, so pointed out lots of little plants and birds that we would have otherwise missed. After a walk of about an hour, we drove on to Pampa Linda where we stopped for lunch at a modern restaurant. We thought we were just getting a sandwich and a drink, but turned out we could have pasta or schnitzel with a side, plus a soft drink, so we were quite impressed. Noel had a beef casserole and mash and Melissa enjoyed a milanesa with fries (a crumbed schnitzel) - both very nice. We then drove on to the next walk site, which took us through a thick forest of the native cane to another small waterfall.
Waterfall at the end of the cane forest.
Last walk was about another hour and ended at the Ventisquero Negro glacier -we actually got quite close to the base so had a pretty decent look at it. Unfortunately, the Tronador was covered in thick cloud, but it did clear every now and then to show us a glimpse of the sheer size of the glacier coming down the mountain. Heard a few of the ´thunder´claps that signal bits of ice falling off the glacier and smashing below. On the long drive back to Bariloche we stopped for a couple of photo opportunities and enjoyed an alfajor from Sonia - this is a local specialty of two biscuits joined together with dulce de leche and covered in chocolate. Another fine Latin American invention.
Treated ourselves for dinner tonight. We went to La Alpina restaurant at Morena 98 and tried a couple of the local dishes.
The base of the Ventisquero Negro glacier, Mount Tronador.
We shared a starte of pates made from trout, venison and wild boar and then indulged in a cheese fondue - couldn´t eat it all, there was so much. Also had the best gin and tonic (apart from the ones we make ourselves). The tall glass came half full of gin, and you then mixed a big bottle of tonic in to taste. Took quite a while to be able to get enough tonic in to change the taste of the gin, so quite impressive. The waiter was very friendly and we can certainly recommend the place for good food and reasonable prices.