The trip from Pucon to Bariloche was an adventure. Losing the girls only few minutes after leaving Pucon, crossing the border in foggy and freezing conditions, stopping over San Martin, a really nice town but quite cold and windy then, for four hours and finally reaching my destination at eleven at night. But my adventure was far from being over. Despite everyone telling me to book an hostel in advance because Bariloche is really busy, I didn’t listen to them and decided to wing it. The problem is, during summer, Bariloche is extremely busy and winging it just doesn’t work. Basically I walked non-stop from eleven until three in the morning, knocking at the door of every backpackers that exists. All of them told me there were fully booked and wished me good luck. As I learnt that night, luck wasn’t on my side. By two in the morning I decided to go to a hotel and pay four times the price, sadly either there were fully booked also or didn’t want to open their door at such a late hour. It’s incredible to think that even with plenty of money with you, you can be left with no accommodation; lessons learnt. With no options I had to do the only thing left: sleeping in the streets. Something that I never thought would ever happen to me, and that somehow my ego took a huge hit. On that night Bariloche was cold and windy. I had all the layers possible on me, found a spot where I could rest, put my bags down and tried to sleep. With no doubt, this was the worse night I ever had and the worse experience of my trip so far. I couldn’t close my eyes for more than few seconds, always making sure that no dogs will attack me nor some random drunk people bother me. On top of that, I was shivering from head to toe, sitting down on cold concrete floor with only my bags helping my back to rest. An experience I will never forget, four hours where you try to rest in vain and wondering how long it would take the sun to rise up, counting every seconds…
Thankfully by six thirty, the sun started to appear, the wind was still blowing strong so I decided to try my luck again at an hostel nearby. But at this time receptions were still not opened and when there were, I still got no chances. It was Friday and with the week-end approaching, getting q last minute reservation was mission impossible. So in a desperate attempt I went to the tourism office as soon as they opened and they could find me a hostel that was available. Before that I went to the bakery and was the first customer of the day, eating away some energy I desperately needed to regain.
On day two, I finally managed to book a hostel for a night, then sorted another one for the following night. The idea was to leave to Patagonia on Sunday. Once done, I took a nice and hot shower, had another snack and organised the following day. Jenni and Jemma confirmed they were on their way and would arrive at eleven tonight. After consulting them, we decided not to do a tour but hire a car instead and do our own tour. At night, the girls joined me at the hostel and we all had a proper rest.
On Saturday, we had a nice breakfast and change our hostel. We also put some clothes to wash and went to pick up the car at eleven o’clock. The idea was to spend the day all around the beautiful lakes that were surrounding Bariloche. But first we went to secure our bus ticket for the following day to El Calafate, Patagonia. A twenty seven hours bus ride ahead of us. Our bad luck continued to strike, this time heavier than before. Despite being close to midday on a bright and sunny Saturday we plenty of people at the bus station, our hired car got broken into while we were buying the tickets. And the main problem was that Jemma left her small backpack containing all the important items (passport, camera, iPod) in the back seats… Everything was gone!
At first when I saw Jemma’s reaction, I thought of a bad joke she was making but quickly realised that it wasn’t. Her bag and my jacket that was covering it were stolen. You can imagine how pissed and desperate Jemma was. The driver’s lock was slammed and no longer let the key go in. We got in front the passenger side and drove to the police station. We made our police report to two newbies. I was helping the girls with translation but it took a while to get everything down. Eventually we got that done and rushed back to get our laundry before the shop closes. By that time it was close to three in the afternoon. Despite our misfortune we decided to enjoy the few hours left with the car by driving to the lake still. We got some fast food on the way and drove towards San Martin. The scenery was gorgeous, the weather fantastic and even the wind did stop over night. The rest of the day was great and we did manage to enjoy it a lot, Jenni even went for a dip in the cold but lagoon-coloured lake. By half past seven we had to return the car. Not having extra insurance we had to pay for the damage to the driver’s lock…great! That night we also did some shopping. Jemma need to replace some items (warm jumper, flip flops, sunnies, etc.). And I also urgently needed a new jacket since my soft-shell one got stolen as well. So we bought all of those, had some Italian food and went to bed.
On Sunday, we got up early, grab a quick bit and left to the bus terminal. To finish off in style with Bariloche, our bus that was supposed to leave at eight thirty was three hours late. It was by midday that we finally left. Next stop El Calafate, the heart of Patagonia.