Monthly Archives: April 2015

Bariloche, Argentina–A Million Dollar View

Although San Carlos de Bariloche is the largest city in the Argentine Lake District (population 108,205), it didn’t feel all that big.  Bariloche is located just off the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi Lake and is surrounded by lofty mountain peaks from all directions.  Besides being in Argentina’s Patagonia, Bariloche is know for it’s Swiss alpine architecture and its chocolate.  Unfortunately Ryan and I weren’t in the best of health during our time there and did not fully get to experience the outdoors or the chocolate.  But this did not stop me from falling in love with the fresh, crisp mountain air, the excellent food, and the astonishing views that we did get to see.


The view from our apartment!

Just twenty minutes out of the city is the Campanario Hill Viewpiont.  The trip to the top of Cerro Campanario (Bell Tower Hill) which can be accomplished either by chairlift or by foot, was especially rewarding for the million dollar view it afforded.  Lake Lago Nahuel Huapi branching out below was well worth the 30-45 minute hike and just may have been the most lovely view I’ve ever seen (sorry Wyoming).


The view of Lake Lago Nahuel Huapi from the Campanario Hill Viewpoint

Besides the numerous outdoor activities in Bariloche, the food was excellent.  I ate possibly the best ribeye steak (bife de chorizo) I’ve had in my life at Alto El Fuego (sorry Daddy).  The meal began with a dish of Provoleta, plenty of freshly baked bread, and chimichurri sauce.  The steak was juicy and tender and accompanied by a side of mashed potatoes.  I couldn’t have been much happier or more full by the end of the evening.


Bife de Chorizo

I was sad to leave Bariloche after only 18 days, especially once my health had improved and I felt more like exploring, but our time in this magical place had abruptly come to an end.  All that remained of Barlichoe as we braved the twenty hour bus ride back to Mendoza were the pictures of the view and the savory flavor of steak still lingering in my memory.


Lago Nahuel Huapi Lake


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Mendoza, Argentina–Welcome to Wine Country


Me with friends Kristy and Justin enjoying a tasting at Bodega Navarro Correas Winery


Part of Trapiche Winery

Picture this.  The city of Mendoza, Argentina (population 115,000) is lined with leafy trees and deep concrete ditches.  Because of this, one would never know they were in the dessert.  In addition to all the trees and flowers, there is the downpour.  Although Mendoza’s average annual rainfall is only 8.8 inches, it rained a total of three days and two nights in the 42 days we were there.  Not bad for a girl who loves rain.


Argentinian grilled meat plate

The air in Mendoza smells of savory barbecue.  A grilled meat plate (Parrilla) is what you’ll likely order at many of the local restaurants.  Argentina is known for its excellent quality of beef and for it’s Yerba Mate tea, which Ryan has grown to appreciate.    Everywhere you look, people are carrying around little wooden cups filled with loose tea leaves.  They drink the tea through a slotted spoon, which deters most of the stems and leaves.  They also have a thermos and simply add new hot water to the cup.  They drink this all day long and take it with them wherever they go.


Yerba Mate tea straw


Yerba Mate tea stuff

 Those who don’t drink tea, drink wine.  Mendoza is one of the few places in the world that produces Malbec wine and is surrounded by orchards.  Argentina has the largest Malbec acreage in the world and Mendoza accounts for nearly two-thirds of Argentina’s entire wine production.  Here, vineyards are planted at some of the highest altitudes in the world with the average site located 2600-3600 feet above sea level.  While Malbec may be the most important planting in the Mendoza Province, also important are Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Chardonnay.


During our stay in Mendoza, our group did two different wine tours.  We went by both tandem bike and bus to explore these orchards and test the product.  Although the more official tours provided at wineries such as Trapiche, Bodega Navarro Correas and Bodega Luigi Bosca were packed with interesting information, the tandem bikes were a lot of fun, once we got the hang of things.  At all locations, Ryan, Justin and Kristy were responsible for finishing off my wine as I’ve never been a big fan (gasp, I know, what a waste).  However, I must say that although the excellent Malbec wine of Argentine still hasn’t won me over, I came to appreciate the complexities of a good red wine for the first time in my life.  In truth, it could be the first step to making me into an avid wine lover…some day.  Time, I feel, may be the next ingredient.




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