Welcome back to Argentina!
(pls note: my camera broke, so there will be only a few photos in this post)
After 2 great weeks in Chile, I crossed the border to Argentina another times. Funny, this time the immigration officer insisted in writing (by hand!) in my passport that I enter Argentina with a black bicycle! On gravel roads I made my way to Trevelin, meanwhile I meet the 3rd time Olli and Sabine (www.germansontour.de), who have been travelling with their camper-van for 2,5 years. With food for 3 days I headed into the Nationalpark “los Alierces”, where I arrived with the sunset to a beautiful free campsite in the Nationalpark.
Cycling through the Nationalpark was one of the highlights so far, I had the road for myself due to off-season, the road (rippio!) went along beautiful lakes and I had stunning views from the road.
Right after the Nationalpark I met Martn again, who entered the Carretera Austral at the same time (www.moder-on-tour.de). We cycled together towards El Bolson, the weather changing every 5 minutes. The region of El Bolson is famous for its relatively warm climate, so we could pick raspberries right next to road. In the afternoon we met Juan (Spanish cyclist, who started in Brasil, went down to Ushuaia and is now heading to Alaska).
From El Bolson, I left a bit earlier than Martin and Juan. That day I had to fight against the wind, had a beautiful uphill and finally found a camping spot in the woods next to the Lago Mascardi. Theses days it wasn’t very warm in the day, but as soon as it got dark the temperature dropped to 0°C or less.
With strong winds (this time as tail wind) I did the last 40km to Bariloche easily. Bariloche is the biggest town in this region (also called “Argentine Switzerland”). I went to the center, bought great dark bread, checked my emails and left the town on the “routa de 7 lagos”. I had to go around the north end of the Lago Nahuel Huapi, first with tail wind and than going down on the other side with head wind (almost comparable to the one I discovered in the south of Patagonia). After 3 weeks in areas with lots of water and green vegetation, the north end of the lake, which is desert, is quite a contrast. Going further into the direction West, along the lake everything became green again.
I was very happy when I arrived at the first free campsite of the Nationalpark after 95km, there was so much traffic on this road and the drivers (Buses and overtaking cars coming from the other side) behaved so badly that I had to go down of the road several times (next to the road there is always half a meter gravel). I decided to have a short day, 35km until Villa Angostura, where I spent the afternoon in the sun having coffee.
I went to one of the overpriced campsites (where I was the only guest) and I thought already the evening will be bit boring and I would have to drink the bottle of wine by myself. But in the evening 2 cyclists turned up, Julio from Salta (Argentina) and Fabio (www.binhocicloturismo.com.br) from Brasil, who has been cycling for a year already and has the most innovative bike bags. It was so much fun the evening with Julio and Fabio, great guys!
I continued the “routa de 7 lagos”, which got unpaved for a while but also had less traffic. In the night before my birthday I slept on a free campsite at the Lago Falkner, pitching up the tent no a meter away from the lake, having a campfire at night.
In the morning of my birthday I got out of my tent with a stunning few over the lake and the mountains. Unfortunately the strong wind brought dark clouds, so that I hurried up getting on the bike and cycling into San Martin los Andes. Arriving there after 50kms I allowed myself a good chocolate cake, went through all the Emails (thank you for all the good wishes!) and shared travel stories with Philip and Isa from Switzerland (www.tourdereve.blogspot.com).
After 8 days cycling with out break, I went to a hostel in San Martin los Andes and relaxed one day in the hostel. I made friends with the other Argentinans in the hostel and had good fun.
I also took the chance to buy new camera, so from the now on I will be able to post good pictures again.