The bus ride to Bariloche from Osorno was just a few hours and we arrived around 10:00 p.m. We checked the guidebook for a place to stay and gave the hostel a call. We confirmed that there was a room with a double bed and private bath and told the lady we would be coming shortly.
The outside looked rather nice, however, the inside left quite a lot to be desired. But, we were exhausted and accepted the room. So far it has been the worst place we have stayed! The lady gave strict instructions to not turn up the heat (which was set on minimum) and, while we were still in the room, proceeded to turn off all the lights. After she left we turned them all back on since we needed them to be able to see anything at all! To give you an idea, the bed looked like an invisible person was sleeping in it, it was so bowed, the shower curtain had duct tape keeping it together, and the sheets were so scratchy, Travis had to sleep with a shirt on!
The next morning we went around to different agencies to find out about the different excursions that were offered. We selected one that would take us up to Cerro Tronador on Friday. After that, we toured a wonderful museum that explained a lot of the history of Argentina, as well as Bariloche, specifically. The guide who was a volunteer explained everything to us in English. He asked where we were from and when we told him St. Louis, he immediately knew that it was in Missouri. That was a shock, because most people haven't even heard of the state, much less the city. We discovered that his sister lives there and her husband is a big shot at Energizer!
After the museum we had heard there was a chocolate factory, but upon arrival, it was basically just a window with some workers spooning chocloates onto wax paper. So much for a tour of the factory! Since we were so sore from our trek to the volcano, we were just happy to have a day of rest and relaxation and enjoyed seeing the town.
Our excursion took us to the Ventisquero Negro (black glacier), Cerro Tronador, and Salto Gargantua del Diablo. The guide gave us a lot of interesting information and there was time at each stop to get out and enjoy the scenery. The black glacier, the only one in the world, is formed by ice falling from a hanging glacier above, down the side of the mountain made out of black volcanic rock, where it picks up dirt, rocks and other debris. This ice collects lower in the valley and reforms into a glacier that has alternating bands of white, black and gray. This new glacier moves further down the valley and eventually breaks off into the lake at the bottom.
Cerro Tronador was massive. At the very peak, there was a cloud just above it that didn't seem to ever move. We finally figured out that that the wind was picking up the snow and whirling it into the sky, making it appear to be a cloud. We moved on to the base of the mountain and took a trail that led to the waterfall. It was enormous and very beautiful. At the end of the trail, there was a sign that said not to go past that point because of potential avalanches. However, many people were not heeding the sign and you could clearly tell that there would be an even better view if you went a little farther. We decided to join the crowd and were rewarded with a specatular view of the waterfall dumping into an ice cave.
After returning from our hike in Nahuel Huapi National Park (see next entry) we took a day trip to go white water rafting on the Rio Manso. It was Class III rapids, so there was a little excitement, but it mainly got us ready for our trip to Rio Futaleufu, one of the best rivers in the world to raft. There were 12 people and we were split up into two boats, one for those who spoke Spanish and one for those who spoke English. We went with the Spanish boat, which had a honeymooning couple from Mexico, a lady from Buenos Aires, and a couple from Los Angeles. The water was ice cold and the sky was cloudy, but we kept fairly warm in our wetsuits and enjoyed the trip immensely.
At one point, we went surfing on a wave and everyone had to be on the down river side of the boat to keep from flipping. The poor lady from Buenos Aires was at the bottom of the pile, gasping for air, gurgling, and hanging on for dear life. Meanwhile, Travis was at the front of the boat, laughing his head off and having the time of his life, not knowing what was happening behind him. The guy in front of him had no clue that he was supposed to move to the down river side and as far back as possible in order for us to get out of the hole. I guess he couldn't hear because eventually we all joined together to yell at him at the same time. "Sergio, atras!" Throughout the rest of the day the group was giving him a hard time, telling him, "atras" and comparing him to Leonardo DiCaprio posing at the front of the boat going down in the Titanic. It was the joke of the day, and saved Travis, the hyena, from ridicule.