We decided to take the middle of the 5 weeks that we are here to travel around Argentina a bit. A problem that we ecncountered is that this country is so damn big that buses literally take days to get from one place to another. So we decided to incorporate airline flights into this little side trip as we only have a week. It was a whole oreal to try to purchase the tickets over the phone, and Bob ended up going to the Aerolineas office finally to pay for the tickets (which have an updcharge since we are foreigners). We flew from the Air Park (their little airport in the middle of the city that makes domestic trips to Bariloche, a little South of here in the Patagonia region. Bob had been there before, but obviously I had not. The area is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It looks a bit like Colorado with it's huge mountains, but there is also lots of flat land too, as well as huge lakes everywhere. We'll upload some pictures soon as my description is not doing it justice.
Anyway, we stayed dorm room in a hostel in the middle of town for the first night, and the next day, took a 3 hour long, very steep, hike up one of the mountains, Cerro Lopez, to a refugio (shack) at the top. The views were amazing, although the dorm beds and general ambiance in the place left something to be desired. (Hey, I'm spoiled now that we have our own condo to stay in!) The next day, we hiked back down and went to another hostel, this one on top of a mountain (Cerro Otto) and secluded from just about everything, with more amazing views. We relaxed in the sun there (it is hot hot hot during the day when the sun is out which is about 9am to 10 pm), made ourselves a stir fry dinner as there are no restaurants close to this place, and had a good night's sleep in a private room. The next morning, we hiked down the mountain, a short 20 minute hike that I did in flip flops which was not my most intelligent move ever, and took a bus back into town.
We rented a car for the day and drove a 400 km loop to some of the surrounding towns of Traful and Langosta. For half of the trip, we were on rock and dirt roads, but the scenery was amazing. We turned our rental car in and took a bus to the bus station just in time to catch our overnight bus to Puerto Madryn.