Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Argentine Adventures, Part 1

Wow, it's been a while since the last update, hasn't it? Our last 10 days were spent in Saskatchewan. We did a whirlwind tour of Saskatoon and only managed to meet up with three friends, as opposed to getting to see everyone, but it was a great visit nonetheless. Then we went back to Avonlea for the rest of our time in Canada. It was great to spend the time with everyone there and it was a sad, sad day when we left on Jan. 30th. I kept telling myself that June is only 5 months away so it's not that bad and I managed to stay pretty strong, by my standards anyways. :)

The kids did really well on the flights. We flew to Toronto and then had 8 hours there again so we got a hotel room again. The hotel room really saved us as I don't know how the kids would've done with waiting in the airport for that long. The flight to Santiago left at midnight so it was a little harder than the flight from Santiago, which left at 9:20. Aidan fell asleep in the hotel room and stayed sleeping all the way to the plane. He woke up a couple times to nurse but then he was out again until about 7:00. Kirsi was wired and didn't sleep until 2:00 am and she was up at 7:00 also. Yikes! But at least she was well behaved. We landed in Santiago at about 1:00 and got through relatively quickly.

We got home, dumped the suitcases in the playroom and started packing for Argentina. We got everything done and ready to go by 10:00 that night and then got up at 4:00 to head out. We were on the road by 4:45! The kids slept until 8:00, which was awesome because it allowed us to get a good 3 hours in without them really realizing they were in the car. We made it to Villarrica by 1:30 that afternoon, which was great time for us. We spent the afternoon just hanging out at the Hosteria de la Colina, where we had stayed last year and really enjoyed it. Kirsi loved running around the big garden they have and watching the fish in the fish ponds.

The next morning we headed out early, around 6:00 to be able to get to the border early and avoid long lines at customs and immigration. We drove through the National Park Puyehue, which was gorgeous. The pass through the Andes that we took, Cardenal Antonio Samore, was an easy and beautiful drive. There were very few switchbacks and it didn't even really seem like we were driving through the mountains. Customs and immigration went fine - lots of paperwork but no lines on the Chilean side and not much of a wait on the Argentinean side. It was strange, we had to go through Chilean customs in one building, then we drove about 50 km to get to the Argentine customs. I guess we're used to going through customs at the Canada/U.S. border where it's all at the same place.

We drove through Villa La Angostura, which is a cute little town with alpine architecture, on our way to Bariloche. Villa La Angostura is on the north side of Lake Nahuel Huapi and the surroundings are beautiful.

Bariloche is located on the south side of the lake and has some spectacular mountain peaks around it. Bariloche is a bustling town, filled with tourists in the summer and winter. People go there for the trekking in the summer - there are some huge trekking trips you can do from there - and skiing in the winter. I can only imagine how beautiful the mountains would be in the winter; they were impressive in the summer. Our cabin/apartment was located out of town along the main avenue and we were happy with it. We had a fridge and stove so we could make our own food, which was nice. When you're on vacation you tend to get sick of eating out, or at least we do. Most of the houses/hosterias/cabins/accommodations have an alpine-style of architecture. It's pretty but you get tired of seeing it over and over, you know? Here's what some buildings look like:

More on our stay in Bariloche in the next edition!
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