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We flew from the chaos of Bs As domestic airport to Bariloche on the 29th. Bariloche is located in the Andes halfway down the length of Argentina and is probably the most stunning town I have ever see, location wise. It is situated right on the massive Nahuel Huapi lake, which is a beautiful royal blue, and surrounded by snow capped mountains.
It is also the chocalate making centre for Argentina - at least 10 different chocolate shops in the small town centre. We figured that we were therefore obliged to try as many as we could out so as to compare the quality. It was all very good, and relatively cheap for good chocolate.
Our first day in Bariloche it was pretty windy, but on the following day, the winds were at near gale force. It was hard to walk around, and there were waves from the lake about 1 metre high! All we could do was to sit in the hostel which had great water views, watch the wind waves and eat chocolate!
Fortunately the wind died down on 31st. We had a great last day to 2007. We headed out of town, along the lake to Cerro Componerio (1,049 masl), one of the mountains that fronts on to the lake - from lakeside we caught a chairlift to the top of the mountain. Up the top, the views were even more beautiful than what we had seen so far. The mountain was surrounded with other lakes, besides Nahuel Huapi, and what wasn´t blue lake was either green or more snow capped mountains in the distance. Absolutely stunning, and the cafe at the top served great empanadas as well.
When we got back to lake side, we walked along the road to the bicycle rent shop. After my success in Bolivia, it was time to end 2007 riding a bike - fitting as my new years resolution is to buy one and take up cycling. We cycled around the 30km ´circuito chico´(little circuit), which involved cycling past a lot of the lakes that we had seen from the top of the mountain, through Llao Llao park and past Argentinas most famous hotel (famous due to its position on a peninsula surrounded by lakes). I even managed to peddle up some of the hills, and got used to using gears on the bike. New years resolution is looking good!
After the cycle, which took about 4 hours, things started to go a bit pear shaped. We thought we would stop off at a microbrewery that we had seen on the way out from Bariloche - only to find out after getting off the bus that it was closed. We then waited about an hour for another bus, a long wait after looking forward to a beer.
We eventually got back to town, and spruced ourselves up ready to see out the new year. We headed back into town to find a place for a few drinks before dinner, only to find both pubs in town (and there were only two) shut. We were pretty hungry after the bike ride, so decided to have an early dinner - at 9pm instead of 10.30. Nearly all the restaurants were capitalising on New Years by having fixed price menus which were a rip off. We had dinner at an unsatisfactory steak house, and were finished by about 10pm. We wondered around, looking for somewhere to either drink or at least buy some wine to take back to the hostel. All to no avail, no shops open, restaurants only doing fixed price deals and not allowed to sell take aways. Hence we were home, in bed, as we could find no drinks, by 10.30pm!
We later found out that Argentina had gone into daylight savings on the 30th, so what we thought was midnight, was actually 1am. So we didn´t even get midnight right!
More photos can be seen here.