It is Saturday night in Bariloche and our final night in this town. Bariloche (big foot) is considered the gateway to Patagonia. We stayed at suite hotel right on the lake called Lirolay. A really nice resort with very friendly and helpful staff. Lirolay is located 7 km outside of the downtown so we decided to rent a car. I was able to make use of my international drivers license. We finally got some exercise on this leg of the trip. Yesterday we hiked up a mountain which had the same pitch as the Grouse Grind. We were treated some spectacular views of the surrounding lakes and mountains once we reached the top. Today we drove 80 km to the other side of the lake to a town called Villa La Angostura, a quaint town with shops and restaurants up and down the Main Street. We were able to do another hike in the national park today. Sunny indicated that she would prefer "flatter" terian for hiking. Maybe next year a Saskatchewan vacation will be in order.
The car rental has enabled us to explore the surrounding area. We went to Llao Llao, pronounced yow yow to check out the hotel which has similar stature and prestige as the Banff Spings Hotel. We drove in the driveway but were not allowed to stay as the were hosted a golf tournament. We proceeded on to Catedral which is the local ski resort. It has a village at the base of the mountain and apparently it is favourite destination for Brazilians. The police set up check points along various roads and you are supposed to slow down when entering. Today we were pulled over and the policeman spoke no English . I just handed him the registration papers and my international license. I had know idea what he was saying but what I provided seem to satisfy him.
We have an excellent restaurant, El Patacon, across the street from our hotel. Last night they were cooking two lambs on a spit in the fireplace in the main foyer. The Patagonia lamb is delicious.
We found downtown Bariloche to be very touristy and tacky. The town did not have a good vibe. Tomorrow we start the next leg of our journey as we fly to El Calafate.