23.12.2011 - 29.12.2011 30 °C
San Martin de los Andes
As we mentioned we spent Christmas day in San Martin, Argentina, a smart resort favoured almost entirely by Argentinians (and us). We treated ourselves to a day of sitting on the beach, very quickly dipping into the lake (melted snow is not for the faint hearted) and of course, the usual overindulgences of food and wine.
In South America, they call the festive bird of choice 'Peru meat', which we initially laughed at but then reflected that was a bit rich given it is called the equally nonsensical 'turkey' in English.
Before we left we popped into the ubiquitous Irish bar and found a cocktail list with English names. The ones which particularly caught our eye were, "Shit on the grass" (Creme de menthe with Baileys on top) and... "Irish car bomb" (Guiness, Jamesons and Baileys). Impressively tasteless!
Since then we've been in Bariloche, Argentina's major lakeside resort. Here we learned that it is very easy to eat 1/4 kilo of chocolate per day when every street has chocolate shops the size of supermarkets. Given the Germanic/Eastern influence in the town, we've feasted on fondue, goulash and sauerkraut and must have gained 5 kilos each in three days. But hey, that's what Christmas is for!
Beyond eating, we also took in the view over the lakes and went for a swim in a couple of the local lakes (still very cold but we've hardened to it!). We attemped to go on a hike to start working off our bloated bellies but we were attacked by the world's most determined horse flies so had to turn back after 2 kms as the locals thought we were ill, owing to our ferocious swiping at the air and cursing.
On our last day in Bariloche, the volcano which has so blighted their tourist industry made itself felt and we awoke to a haze of ash. Whilst it is easy enough to breathe it does leave a noticeable coating on the skin and carries a slightly sweet, rotten smell in the air. The morning after when we headed off we noticed ashen sand covering the pavements and roads and pondered that it must be a real pain for those who live there.
Now, after yet another 2.5 hour border crossing (we have now thorougly debated Schengen from every angle), we find ourselves in Chile again and hopefully on the verge of seeing some penguins... but more on that next time. We leave you with a panoramic picture of the rather beautiful lakes around Bariloche - and wish everyone a very happy new year!