Sunday, July 14, 2013


After leaving Mendoza on Monday morning, we headed to Bariloche via Buenos Aires.  While both Mendoza and Bariloche are on the western edge of Argentina, there weren't any direct flights to Bariloche so this necessitated traveling through Buenos Aires to get there.  We arrived in Bariloche about 11:00 p.m. and were pleasantly surprised by a welcoming party--Gustavo Videla, his wife Graciela, their three children and a friend.  Gustavo was the pianist for our church in Guaymallen, Mendoza during the years I pastored there and I also was honored to officiate at their wedding.  Despite the late hour of our arrival, we lingered for 45 minutes or so at the airport visiting and decided to try and reconnect again while we were there.  They were there on vacation, taking advantage of the winter school break.  

A light snow was falling as we were driven to the hostel where we were staying in Bariloche and the temperatures were around 33.  The next day was still quite cool with a light rain falling on and off throughout the day.  We decided to hang around the downtown area and do some sightseeing and shopping there.  We had an enjoyable day, finishing up by eating fondue together at one of the local restaurants.  We booked a tour as well for the following day of what is called the "Circuito Chico" (small circle) that stops at several tourist and scenic stops in the area and scheduled a boat ride on Lake Nahuel Huapi that featured 2 stops--one at the national park where the arrayanes trees are located (found only in Argentina) and the site of the cabin where Walt Disney reportedly was inspired to write Bambi.  The other stop was on the island of Victoria where we saw multiple species of trees and plants including some giant sequoias.  The highlight of the day was probably taking the aerosilla lift up to the top of Cerro Campanario.  The view from the mountaintop is absolutely breathtaking.  Snow-covered mountains, forests, and multiple lakes are all visible from the top.  We were told that National Geographic magazine proclaimed the view one of the 7 most beautiful scenic vistas in the world.

When we got back from the tour, we called Gustavo and arranged to meet with his family for dinner at a place that the hostel owner had recommended to us.  It's called La Fonda del Tio.  It has a long history, dating back to serving the European workers who originally went there to help with the construction projects and has some outstanding (and very abundant) food at quite affordable prices.  We had a wonderful time reminiscing with Gustavo and Graciela about the church, family camps, their wedding, etc.

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