Getting to Bariloche
After a month and a half, we said good-bye to Buenos Aires and began our epic journey West to wine country. On the way, we decided to take a 3-day detour to the Alps-like mountain town of Bariloche. Land of hiking, skiing, chocolate and ice-cream, Bariloche is located in Northern Patagonia on Lake Nahuel Huapi, about 20 hours by bus Southwest of Buenos Aires. Compared to the capital, it's a quaint, Swiss-inspired, hilly town nestled in the middle of Argentina's lakes district and the towering Andes.
There are many bus companies that run from Buenos Aires to Bariloche, but we took an overnight bus with Via Bariloche and it was a great experience. Not only did we save on one night's accommodation, but the fare included surprisingly tasty meals, movies and even wine!
We paid a bit extra for 'cama' seats, and I would absolutely recommend this option. The seats were very comfortable, came with blankets and pillows and reclined nearly all the way so we actually got a decent nights sleep.
By going via bus, we also got to see some of the surrounding landscapes outside Capital Federal. The terrain slowly morphed from busy metropolis, to lush, green pasture land, to barren desert, and finally to rocky, lake-dotted mountain ranges.
When we finally got off the bus in Bariloche, the air was cool and crisp, the sky was a bright, clean blue and the towering green mountains were majestic against the sparkling azure lakes that envelop the city.
After living in the heart of a 13 million person city, this was a much-needed respite for our minds, lungs and eyes. We quickly caught a city bus to our hostel, Hostel Achalay, for just $3 AR each and settled in for a 3-day hiking, biking, chocolate-filled adventure.
That night we took it easy and checked out downtown Bariloche. The main street was riddled with chocolate and ice cream shops, and we stopped into renowned chocolateria Rapa Nui to try out some sweets. I thought I had died and went to heaven when I bit into their Fra Nui, a perfectly ripe raspberry dipped in white chocolate and then dark chocolate. Oh wow!
The most interesting part of the evening though was when we caught a group of protesters marching through the streets against police brutality. We watched as they moved toward the center of the city and only found out later that about an hour after we saw them, they set fire to the police station and officials had to deploy tear gas and evacuate the building.