Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On the Go: Bariloche - El Calafate

We stayed 2 weeks in Bariloche and we loved it. The mountain air, the lakes, the charming orchestra of stars every night. It took us a little getting used to - the short days in this part of the hemisphere, the light appearing around 9:30am, all the shops closing from 1-4pm - but some how, fluidlike, we adjusted to the rhythm even if it meant feeling unproductive.

Then, BAM!! We were faced with one of the hardest decisions on our journey - when it seemed like all the hotels refused us (20 of them, either closed for the season or booked or did not accept dogs), after watching the dismal weather reports, snow storms in Ushuaia, the fear of the icy road conditions ahead (it is winter after all) - did we still want to continue or head back to Buenos Aires?

What we've learned living on the road is when we're unsure about what to do, it's best to just stop, take time to feel things out and trust our gut. And the mind play tricks too - especially worrisome, overwhelmed, fearsome minds - preventing us from seeing how things are, only how we believe them to be. It seemed an epic war of fears waged in our brains. But we didn't submit. We just accepted it, breathed through it and took back the reins. We'll see how far we get, we told ourselves - we can always turn back, but only we can decide for ourselves.

After 2 days on the road - a total of 25 hrs, we arrived in El Calafate late afternoon on Sat. The road conditions were amazingly good. Skipping the famous scenic roads of Ruta 40, we took the longer route along the coast toward Comodoro Rivadavia to be safe. It was a little icy leaving Bariloche in Esquel, but no major problems - other than the enormous rock that hit the windshield.

Overall, it was a long, but breathtaking drive - watching the the first rays of sun hitting the steppe landscape as it gleamed gold, where we smelled familiar skunk odor and saw all sorts of critters - sheep, cows, guanacos, buzzard eagles, emus running like chickens. We were never alone - supported by mother nature, prayers, the universe. Also, the dogs took their first steps on snow... 

What a beautiful experience, winter in Patagonia.

Love, mb

Day 1 - 17 hrs from Bariloche to Puerto San Julian. (read Cedric's full account)

We leave Bariloche a little past 6am under the cover the constellations, the milky way - glistening like pixie dust. By 10, light starts to peak through the clouds.

icy roads ahead in Esquel saw 2 over turned big rigs and a truck kissing ditch
buzzard eagle

guanacos crossing  

forever autumn foliage in patagonia
patagonia's dirty secret - drill baby drill 
rocky road windshield
setting sun over comodoro rivadavia

Day 2 - on the way to El Calafate (read full account)

what is this strange substance !??
our homey cabin @ balconies de los andes 

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