Posts Tagged ‘Bariloche’

Gnome, Sweet Gnome In Villa La Angostura

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Arriving at our cabaña, we discovered that "los gnomos" are part of its, er, charm.

Arriving at our cabaña, we discovered that "los gnomos" are part of its charm.

Our arrival to Villa La Angostura, about an hour north of Bariloche, set the tone for a wacky week. Driving the windy road on the shores of Lago Nahuel Huapi thrilled us with views of snow-capped Patagonian peaks but made poor Kyle throw up all over himself in the car. When we eventually reached our cabaña complex, called Guardianes del Bayo, we probably looked as bad as we smelled because an icy rain and wind left us bedraggled and shivering.

The living room decor includes antlers and this little gnome.

The living room decor includes antlers and this little gnome.

As we unloaded our belongings and cleaned up the mess, my eyes took in a babbling brook that cut through a well-kept lawn and a cluster of wood cabins, flowing past a play structure and under several arched footbridges. Then my ears caught a tune from long ago that was piped in from speakers somewhere — The Carpenters’ “Top of the World.” Karen Carpenter’s saccharine voice singing “I’m on the top of the world, lookin’ down on creation …” floated through the breeze and became a tape loop in my brain.

Then I began to notice pointy red hats on little bearded figurines inside and outside our cabaña. And then the sign with our cabaña’s name: Los Gnomos.

With a mix of shock and awe — uh-oh and oh, wow! — we realized we had booked ourselves into some kind of fairy-tale lodge where everything seems a little bit off. (more…)

Branching Out on Lago Nahuel Huapi

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Lago Nahuel Huapi, in the Andes foothills near Bariloche, as seen from our cabaña.

Lago Nahuel Huapi, in the Andes foothills near Bariloche, as seen from our cabaña (click to enlarge).

Lake Nahuel Huapi spreads and branches out in all directions around this pocket of the Andes foothills of Patagonia, and its water has mesmerized us since we arrived a couple of weeks ago. Its surface changes almost hourly with the weather, from a glassy reflection to white-capped waves. It even harbors its own Nessie-like legend, and the kids are fascinated by the idea that maybe, just maybe, a plesiosaur-like creature whom locals call Nahuelito is lurking in the waters just off our cabaña’s deck. (more…)

When It Rains…

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Morgan and I spent a lot of time last week doing travel research and making reservations while the stormy weather kept us mostly inside.

Morgan and I spent a lot of time last week doing travel research and making reservations while the stormy weather kept us mostly inside.

Before Morgan and I left in mid-August, we talked a lot about how there will be times when traveling gets tough, when we feel fatigued and worried about the myriad consequences of uprooting for a year, and when we second-guess our choices. We knew we’d feel homesick not just for home per se, but for friends and familiar routines, and we might feel pangs of regret. That’s why we added the “no regrets” phrase to our tagline — not because we’re blithely traipsing off in the world with nothing weighing us down but our backpacks, but rather because we knew from the start that doubt might haunt us, just as first-time home buyers flirt with buyers’ remorse when the repairs pile up and bills come due. “No regrets” is shorthand for “no turning back, so let’s make this work, and in the long run we’ll look back and be so glad we did it.” Or in Spanish, vale la pena. It’s what we say to each other and to ourselves to bolster confidence and commitment, because what we’re doing takes an occasional pep talk.

Last week was one of those weeks. (more…)

Welcome to Patagonia, Where Paradise Packs a Punch

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Going from Buenos Aires to the Patagonia lake district near Bariloche, which we did earlier this week, is a bit like leaving Los Angeles and landing near Tahoe — times ten. Everything seems exaggerated here: the countless mountain peaks appear more dramatic and in-your-face than even the Rockies, and their snowy caps seem whiter and thicker. The lakes (literally all over the map) curve around every bend, dotted with islands, and the water enlarges the landscape with its reflections. The grass looks greener and the waterfowl is weirder.

Our first view from the hotel by Lago Nahuel Huapi, near Bariloche. We were struck dumb as we took in the view (which extended in all directions beyond this IPhone snapshot); all we could say was, "Wow."

Our first view from the hotel by Lago Nahuel Huapi. We were struck dumb as we took in the view (which extended in all directions beyond this IPhone snapshot); all we could say was, "Wow."

(more…)