Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Intro to Argentina: from bad to worse

After much unfruitful research on a more scenic route to Argentina, we took the direct bus from Valdivia, Chile to San Martin de Los Andes, Argentina. The day started well enough. Volcano Lanin was there to greet us at the border. We thought that find good accommodation had not been so easy in Chile, but we had no idea what was in store for us in Argentina.

When we arrived in Los Andes bus terminal around 3PM, it was filled with travelers of all sorts. On our way to the tourist office, we walked by one guesthouse which turned out to be full . After standing in line for 10 minutes at the tourist office, we were told finding a room that night would be difficult, but were told about a $72US-room. We rushed over there in 8 minutes just to watch another couple take the last room. We checked a few more places on the way back to the tourist office, all full. This time we learned that the last $104US-room had just been taken, there might or might not be a $98US-room available, but there were definitely two $19US-beds in a hostel. Learning from our earlier lesson, we half ran to the hostel and secured our roof for the night.

Of all our travels, this is the very first time ever that we ended up in a dorm room. It had 3 bunk beds with en suite bathroom. But I was so shaken by the experience that I decided I would just pretend that I was in a sleeper train and sleep with my clothes on. We left our big bags in our room and went to secure our roof for the next night.

But first we needed some Argentine Pesos and luckily found an ATM that had money. Then, after much walking around and some kind help, we made a reservation at a hotel for a $66US room, only available for one night. Right after that we went back to the bus station to snatch up the last two tickets on the good side of the bus going to Bariloche in two days later. All the while it was overcast, cold, windy, and misting at times. We could not understand what all these people were doing in this place, especially ourselves!

To be fair, the town itself is very picturesque. Not that we are experts on resort towns, it is as lovely as they come. The next morning we moved to our new home at 10AM, showered and did laundry. It felt great! The sun was out. We hiked to a couple of miradores. It was evident why everyone was here, and we could not regret that we came too.

Volcan Lanin on the Argentina/Chile Border.

The San Martin waterfront; ready for action on Lago Lacar.

Lots of bicyclists in the Argentine Lake District. These cyclists were taking a break on the shores of Lago Lacar in San Martin.
Waterfront - Lago Lacar - San Martin de los Andes

View from Mirador Arrayanes to Lago Lacar. Wow!

View of Lago Lacar from Mirador Bandurrias.

And finally, a liter of Quilmes beer and with a pizza on the main drag in San Martin.


Anonymous said...

Appears to be a wonderful tourist town. No wonder you had a hard time finding a room. John looks relaxed with his beer.
Mom and Dad

Crash Eddy said...

Hey, John Sr., what are you doing out here Anonymous?