Chao, Argentina… hola, Chile!
This morning I crossed into Chile, and am now in the tiny town of Puerto Varas! I’m already feeling a different vibe to Argentina, more relaxed and conservative. Not that I’m complaining after the madness of Buenos Aires!
I was a bit nervous as the bus rolled up to the border – my first ever land border crossing! Everything was OK, though, and the whole group was allowed through with no problems. Two officials even started talking to Amy and me, asking us where we were from and stuff. As soon as I said I was from Scotland one of the guys said, “Sean Connery! James Bond!”… is he the only Scottish person people know?! The conversation somehow ended with Amy dancing around and asking if the officials liked rock and roll! 😆
Yesterday, while still in Bariloche, I went with the group on the most amazing hike I’ve ever experienced. We hiked to three different spots in Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, each of them more spectacular than the one before. Firstly we walked (in the pouring rain!) up through an endless canopy of gorgeous trees to the top of a waterfall. I stood watching the water plunge down into the canopy, awestruck, and yet again I couldn’t believe where I was! After that we had lunch and then trekked through snow and slush to a hauntingly beautiful glacier in the middle of the mountains. It was quite a hairy experience, as my trainers had gotten so wet from all the rain that they didn’t have much grip left and I slipped and slid my way past the icy lake containing the glacier doing my best not to fall in! Our guide told us that the glacier was only a tiny fraction of the size it used to be, and I stared at the “small” rock-like specimen in front of me with a fresh wave of sadness and anger at the havoc climate change is creating on Earth.
Finally we hiked through a bamboo forest, crossing a rickety bridge and stepping carefully over streams, which was a surreal experience! I felt like I was in a computer game like Crash Bandicoot with all those mad-looking trees around me! The hike ended at another waterfall, but at the bottom of it this time. It was awesome to stand there and feel the icy spray splashing over me! 😀
All in all, my triple hike was the perfect way to end my travels in Argentina. Although I only visited Buenos Aires and Bariloche, I now know that this country is staggeringly beautiful and I hope to return one day to explore more of Patagonia!