13th April – A painful mountain bike ride in the Nahuel Huapi National Park in Bariloche
Here we were again, broken,sour and walking like John Wayne. That’s just the 3hr mountain bike ride in Bariloche.
After our arrival last night, the Circuito Chico mountain bike ride was on our list of things to do in order to see some beautiful parts of Bariloche and the Nahuel Huapi national park.
Matt and Amanda are these two Kiwis we met at the breakfast table in the hostel and through conversations decided to do the cycle tour with them. They are really nice and laid back couple. Amanda sounds a lot like Kelly Quirke, I can close my eyes and when I hear her voice or laugh, I think it’s Kelly. They also live in Melbourne, they could be sisters.
So with the sandwiches we bought from a super mercado and catching bus 20, we arrived at our destination to hire the bike from Cordillera Bike.
The tour costs $80 ARS (£12), we hired a bike and did this 3 hr circuit of going up and down, it is a mountain after all, what did we expect. At various stunning views, we would stop and take photos and at one point we stopped at Llao Llao, hid out bikes in the bushes as requested by the bike rental company and hiked up this hill for 30 minutes.
It felt like we were doing a triathlon by the time we got to the top as we were in pain but the view was stunning. The mountains in the background, and around the coast line the water was very blue. Climbed back down and got on the bike and visited Argentinas most famous hotel Llao Llao Hotel which is located on one of the lower mountains within the Nahuel Huapi National Park between Nahuel Huapi and Moreno lakes which is framée by Mt Lopez, Mt Capilla and Mt Tronador.
At this point of our trek we were aching and when it was going uphill, Matt, Amanda and me would get off our bikes but Julie had the stamina and would carry on, this girl has a lot of energy.
Had lunch in sun on a wooden walkway that led to a lake and sat by the lake admiring this stunning view of being surrounded by mountains, another awesome setting. Bariloche is really beautiful.
The lunch break helped us recover and then we pushed further on, admiring lakes and scenery then we got to bar Gilbert where they make their own beer. We had a taster of three different types of beer courtesy of the bike rental company and then we chose one of the beers to enjoy. It was a great idea at the time but was difficult to get back on the bike again as we wanted to drink more and our arses was hurting sooo much.
The final stop in the tour was at Punto Panoramico where you get to enjoy the view of the three mountains, lakes and in the middle of all of this is Lloa Lloa hotel. When we saw this view, we understood why it’s the most famous hotel.
During the trek the one thing we kept talking about was the cheap restaurant down the road that we are going to enjoy steak and wine. The food didn’t disappoint, Julie and I had a lomo whilst Matt and Amanda had a chorizo. We chatted about travels, books, israeli tourists and ghost stories. Some of the stories I told of experiences with ghosts or spiritual beings gave me goosebumps and actually scared me at the same time.
It seems that it’s not just us that have experienced the arrogance, ignorance and disrespect of most israeli tourists we have come across, especially when they are in a pack. It’s sad because we have met two couples who were really nice and thoughtful but not sure what is given or taught to these guys who do national service and then get rowdy. I hear there are some countries or even hostels that do not want them. Really sad, wish they would realise what they are doing to their reputation because that’s what most non israeli tourists talk about. The fire that started at Torres del Paine which burnt around 30% of the park was also started accidentally by an Israeli I presume not following the rules. Wish some wouldn’t ruin it for others.
After dinner we then retired to our dorm and wish we had a room to ourselves as I was very very tired and need no disturbances.
On se réveille sans trop savoir quoi faire et on descend prendre le petit déjeuner.
À la fin du repas, on a décidé, on va faire le Circuito Chico a vélo et Amanda et Matt, deux néozélandais se joignent à nous.
Pour se rendre au point de départ, il faut prendre le bus (20,22 etc..) et descendre au kilomètre 18,5. De la, on loue les vélos (80 pesos pour la journée) et on attaque le circuit.
Ca ne fait que monter et descendre mais les montées sont vraiment pentues.
Sur le chemin, on fait plusieurs arrêts: le fameux hôtel Llao Llao (le plus célèbre d’Argentine), un petit trek pour admirer la vue sur les lacs alentours, une pause déjeuner au lac Escondido, un point de vue à Bahia Lopez et à la fin une pause bière pour goûter la production locale.
On rend les vélos vers 18h et on attrape le bus pour rentrer sur Bariloche.
À 20h30, on retrouve Amanda et Matt pour aller dîner. On a décidé de se récompenser pour notre dur labeur par un steak et du vin rouge. On nous recommande le restaurant El Boriche de Alberto, d’après certain c’est le meilleur steak d’Argentine et en plus ce n’est pas trop cher.
On se regale donc avec un bife de lomo avec une bouteille de Malbec, c’était très bon et pourtant je ne suis pas une fan de viande rouge.
Sur le chemin du retour, c’est black out et on doit terminer la soirée à la lampe torche.