6am we are up, no hot water so sadly no shower this morning. I get food and notice that my avocado is gone!! the pitfalls of travelling with people and staying in hostels… they steal your food!! I get the bags down to the truck and we are all ready to go at 7am to hit the road. Today is another day of just travelling. We get to the Argentina border by 10am and luckily for us its deserted so not many people and the crossing is quick which is rare apparently.
The one thing to remember when you arrive in Chile is they give you a slip of paper (PDI), keep it as you need it!! One of our group lost hers and had to go explain herself to the border patrol, thankfully they took it lightheartedly and from that point she was given a new PDI in the name of Whanita!! We are anticipating a big food inspection but all that happens is the border patrol guy comes onboard and says “no fresh fruit or veg, no meat or cheese”, we all say “no” and he goes “ok, you can go now!” … awesome, no fuss at all!
After the border we get to a small town called San Martin where we stop for lunch at around midday, as usual there are ATM dramas and the maximum you can get out is 1000 peso in the ATM which amounts to £40 just about, and then you are charged £4 for that. Barclaycard travel card doesn’t work here! Hopefully Bariloche is a bit better but at least for now I can buy lunch which I do. Then its back on the road again!
We get to Bariloche town at around 5pm, Ryan and Mark the Dragoman guys all get shopping as they are making us dinner this evening. Fabio directs us to the ATM, which at least here we can get more money out so I get what I think I will need for the rest of the trip hopefully. After these stops the money access becomes a bit harder, its probably also the last time we will have internet!! We have 2 nights here, which is basically one full day to do something.
I pop to grab some food and wine to be able to make lunch for myself and have something for the next trip as we are staying out of town and not likely to get to a super market again, we don’t want too much fresh stuff though as we are basically crossing back to Chile in 2 days!! However, having had my avocado taken from me I am keen to grab some more, hopefully they won’t go this time!
We get to Los Coihues campsite and hostel and are greeted by Sebastian the owner and Fred the manager. They take us through everything where we are staying, and how the hostel works and breakfast. Nico the administrator takes us through everything about the activities we can do. It seems everyone is focused on the cycle loop and the number 6 best view in the world according to National Geographic! Personally though having spotted a few kite surfers on the lake on the way in, I am more keen for a bit of water activity this time as I missed out on the lake in Pucon.
I talk to Nico about what I want to do and we agree, sailing, kiting and kayaking and we will find out which one’s are possible as it seems they don’t get many people taking up these activities so he is not so familiar. Anyway, the long and short is sailing if not on as they claim it will be too windy… hmmm! forecast has 10-15 knots so maybe they know something! I manage to coordinate a kite surf lesson for 2pm and then that is followed by river kayaking at 6pm. Sorted!!
There is some room drama apparently and I get asked to move to a different dorm, to be honest I am happy with the move as I get a bottom bunk this time which is good. The hostel is really lovely, has a great atmosphere and a nice set-up. I take a little wander round and check out the surroundings. I figure I should keep trying my Spanish as much as i can so go to the bar and order a Caprihinia. It doesn’t quite go as I planned when I am standing around for about 10 minutes and then handed a plate of pasta!!!! hmmm…. I have no idea how that could have happened at all but it definitely causes a lot of laughter behind the bar and eventually I get my drink!
Fred joins me at the bar as I am the only dragoman member who has ventured over, and he gives me a bit of an update on the place and then Sebastian the owner joins (apparently he was a super star rugby player in Buenos Aires!). Chat is broken up when the food is cooked and ready and I head in and join the others for our steak and veg dinner which is lovely. Over the course of the evening and after a few drinks I find my “tent buddy” (Krista from Australia) for our next stop which is all about the camping! and also manage to manipulate Mark into putting up our tent as the demonstration 😉 nice, lets hope he doesn’t forget!
Its a nice evening getting to know a few of the other travellers that I haven’t spoken to much, but as seems to be the case here nights are getting later and later!!