Bariloche is an interesting place, especially during New Year's, right when we happened to be there. The city was teeming with students who had just graduated high school, taking their class trip, often all seen wearing the exact same outfits either on tour buses or storming the streets chanting their school song. This time of year also brings large amounts of Argentine tourists with their families, enjoying summer break. It also draws a lot of outdoor tourists from the US and Europe, as the Bariloche area has a lot of biking, climbing, hiking and skiing (in their winter) to do. What most people don't see is the other side of Bariloche, with the gravel roads and makeshift houses, where a lot of people live who moved there to try to find work in the tourism industry. The city has two sides, one all but hidden.
The highlight of Bariloche for us was to hang out with our friend Lisa for a week. We also had a really good time getting to know couchsurfer Carlos. We met up with him almost every day we were there. He drove us around the area, took Lisa climbing, and met us out at the bars several times. He was one of those people that you feel like you have been friends with for a long time, even when you have just met him. We really enjoyed hanging out with him and his friends. (So much so that we forgot to get a picture even...)
Just outside of Bariloche, there is a loop called the Circuito Chico, that has a lot of spectacular views. You can take a ski lift called Cerro Campanario up the mountain for about $10, or you can hike it instead. It turned out to be a little steeper than expected, but worth the hike.
(Lisa and Jill at Cerro Campanario)
(The hike down was fun too.)
We were actually in bed by 12:30 on New Year's - we had had too much fun the night before.
(Lisa attempting to open a wine bottle using her hiking boot. It didn't work that well - but it was cheap wine and the cork was really hard to get out, even using a cork screw. A good attempt nonetheless.)
After New Year's, we decided to be active (a resolution?), so we rented bikes and rode the 30 some kilometer (about 20 mile) Circuito Chico.
(It's nice that they have breweries along the way.)
(Jill en route)
(Dogs were a big theme in Bariloche, and this dog was named Bar Dog by us, as every evening he would come into South Bar, do several circuits to get pet, and then lay down under a table or in the corner.)
(Bariloche is also famous for its chocolate. This was at the chocolate museum. We didn't actually take a tour because they were not giving away chocolate samples. Only Lisa knows how their outdoor chocolate sample tastes)
(Nothing like some good beers on the beach to end an excellent vacation.)