Monday, January 11, 2010

San Martin de los Andes and lots of fish!....

Bariloche was a city stretched out around a great lake of about $30,000 population. It's grown fast and furiously with tourism.  Our next stop, San Martin de los Andes, is a bit smaller, is a tourist town too, but sure felt better to me.... it still felt like a town, with different neighborhoods..better laid out, with the town folks putting restirctions on high raises etc.   It's a town with lots of roses and gardens and stone and timber houses, and all the food we had seemed to have more care taken in preparation.... again lots of wild game and berries and great locally brewed beer...

this was just too much like Oregon, no?  but there is far more variety in trees and plants due to long hard winters and less chance of one species taking over (like the variety you see in Northern Alaska). This house was right across the street from our old classic hotel, Hotel Tourismo, $30 dollars a night with breakfast.

We signed up to go fishing with these two brothers (pic below, )  in the Lanin National Park....about an hours drive from San Martin de los Andes.  This is the volcano in the park, taller than Mt. Hood. 

yeah, well this is one of about forty fish caught.  rainbow, brook and german brown.  we were in a 12 foot pontoon boat and it was blowing a little much for heading to the middle for deep down trophy browns.  trolling the shallows - with great huge wet fly streamers -  was great. we pulled over in wind protscted coves and were equally succesful with dry stuff.  nobody goes to this lake. There are 50 lakes and 50 miles of stream within a half hour of the city, so, why drive far?

On our drive to the park, I saw my first authentic gauchos at work.....  4 or 5 batches of cowboys and maybe 200 head movin´on up tp the high ground summer grazing.

...just another regular fish.  our guide fishes some very southern argentine streams that empty through chile into the pacific with his dreams on the really big chinook.  felt bad about not having some show off photos.

Dave was in heaven.  jamye still caught more fish

da lake, looking towards chile, yes it´s summer and cold.

art is maybe best when it´s fun. 


so, this is the red deer of south america, of course, a life size likeness, but seems to me to be a smaller elk.  saw some huge racks on retaurant walls.  it is also available in restaurants.  some are farm raised, some hunters with special licensing shoot, process and sell to restaurants.  same with the wild boar.  and is that a great taste treat.  on the way to the south coast for, hopefully, giant prawns and langostinos caught the same day.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bariloche and San Martin de los Andes... Lake Tahoe like area of Argentina?

Last week  I got sidetracked with the amazing scenery on our bus trip from the Atlantic coast to the Andes and the Lakes District.  We stayed in Bariloche in a small cabin  for 6 days, then another amazing bus ride and 6 more days, including Christmas, in San Martin de los Andes.  Down the hill from our cabin in Bariloche was the lake and the highway, with a bus running every 20 minutes. This year's weather has had everyone baffled, as instead of mild summer days, we had torrential rains, grand wind storms , followed by sun... all in an hour or two....
(Dave's words in italics)         
this place is kind of lincoln city, pretty dressy, lots of rentals, lots of things for tourists to spend on, pretty spendy.  gorgeous mountains and forests and huge deep lakes.  like the high cascades except our trees are bigger and our mountains are but speed bumps along side the andes.  but, moving on.

downtown bariloche, sidewalk table, 90% tourists.  that doesn't mean foreigners but people from buenos aires taking their drawn out summer break in the mountains.  like i intimated, good stuff ( the food ), very dressy, and a bit more expensive than it warrants.  hell with it, we're vacationing too.

the classiest buildings in the city, real stone, real log construction are all government spots.  the fancy hotels, restaurants etc. have the look without the constructivist detail and necessary skilled dudes.  this government takes care of itself first!

the tiny cabin at the very top middle right below the ridge line was our place.  little fridge, two burner gas cooker with one cubic foot oven and a view that most people would try to buy immediately.  300 feet sbove the lake, another 500 feet to snow level ( this was, after all, the first day of summer ) and about 20 kilometers from the city center. - the bus comes by every 20 min.,  two kilometers in each direction encompasses maybe a dozen restaurants.  all for us, the bloody tourist life blood of this naturally brilliant place.

next stop, san martin de los andes, christmas eve.  a capella quartet, really excellento, performing christmas tunes in the street.  german, italian,  english, spanish - all that they sang was in the language in which it was writ, terrific.  we are on the terrace of an ok restaurant across the street and the music turned the meal into a very special treat.  the day after next, we go fishing at the foot of a volcano, but more about that later.    

And here was our best holiday meal knocked my socks off.... everything beautifully done that this region is famous for... roasted wild boar and  patagonia lamb.. subtle yet rich sauces, fantastic.