The Nahuel Huapi Lake around Bariloche
In Bariloche it was time for another longer break and again Yasko and I could stay in a Casa de Ciclistas. Thanks to Esteban, who opens his beautiful house for cyclists like us. It was s a bit away from the city center and first we were swearing about this location, as we had to climb up a steep hill on a pretty hot day when we arrived there. Another problem was to find his house. House numbers in Argentina apparently aren’t logic at all. But eventually we succeded and just crashed down in the garden.
We had no plan how long to stay, but very quickly we both got very comfortable in Esteban’s house, so that neither of us made a move for our departure. The days were just passing by. There are quite a few things to do around Bariloche, somehow though I had no motivation to explore it. After moving on and seeing great landscapes every day, my mind was satisfied by it and I was more tempted by just hanging around and doing nothing.
We weren’t the only guests. Esteban had his cousin including his family there and later some other cyclists and friends arrived. Every night the small living room and the kitchen were packed with people as we tried to cook together. We adapted Argentinian habits quickly, what meant no dinner before 10pm, sometimes it got even nearly midnight till we started eating. I enjoyed the company, practiced my Spanish and learned a lot again. So glad that there are awesome people like Esteban.
Of course I had to do a couple of things as well. My laptop’s hard drive didn’t survive the bumpy roads of the Carretera Austral and I needed a new one. A computer shop was quickly found and the computer is running again as it was new. At the German consulate I applied for a new passport, as my one is expiring soon. It worked out easier then I initially thought. They even send it to Salta in the north of Argentina, where I can pick it up from another consulate in a few weeks, so that I don’t have to wait somewhere for six weeks. The only thing is, I had to pay about the double price as I would have in Germany. But travelling without a passport won’t work that easy, there’s no way to save that money.
One of the plenty lakes at the Ruta de los Siete Lagos
I made the 20,000km full.
After almost a week it was time to say goodbye to Esteban and his comfy house. For the next days we should follow the Ruta de los Siete Lagos, what means road of the seven lakes. Sounded great. But first we had to ride over a busy section and unfortunately I can’t tell anything good about many of the Argentinian drivers. Especially the bus drivers are mad. One literally pushed me from the road. The moment he overtook me, the driver honked super loud. It was scary and for a moment I had no idea what happened, that I automatically changed from the asphalt onto the soft gravel, what caused me to fall. Nothing happened luckily to me, but it was a scary situation. I still have no idea, where the sense of honking in the moment of overtaking is. It’s a bit too late for a warn signal.
Anyway, the next day the traffic got luckily less and we enjoyed the road leading along beautiful lakes and mountains. Somewhere just after Bariloche I also made my first 20.000km full. It’s just a number, but it was still a crazy feeling. I never planned to get that far, actually I’ve never planned to cycle at all or travel in South America when I started this trip more than two years ago. But that makes me even more excited about what will happen in the next 20.000km.
We camped about 20km before San Martin de Los Andes and just had to roll down a mountain into town the next morning. While that I discovered that something is wrong with my rear hub. We had a quick stop on the city plaza, where I decided to look for a bike shop. When I wanted to push my bike towards the road, I was wondering why the pedals are spinning as well. Somehow I got to the bike shop, where the hub gave up completely. I was so lucky, that it didn’t happen somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The shop could build me a wheel with a new hub, they needed till the evening though. Well, I had no alternative and so we prepared with lots of food from a supermarket for a day of waiting in a park. While sitting there, we bumped into Roxanne and Pablo. They are cycling tourists as well and invited us straightaway to stay in their apartment for the night. It followed a great night with good food and even better conversations with those two awesome people. We talked a lot about Cuba, as they both have studied there for five years. They just quitted their jobs recently and started travelling by bicycle. The apartment wasn’t actually theirs but from some friends who weren’t there at that time, so that they could stay for a while, before they wanted to continue riding further south. At the end I was even happy about my broken hub, otherwise I wouldn’t have met Pablo and Roxanne.
The next day was the last day of riding together with Yasko. I always loved the freedom of cycling alone, but it’s always a weird feeling to get back to it once you got used to have company. Usually it’s pretty hard to cycle with somebody, as everybody has a different pace and different camping habits and so on, but with Yasko it had worked pretty well. However, the junction came where we had to split. He went east towards Buenos Aires and I continued north.
Yakso, me and our fabulous hosts Roxanne and Pablo
After a month we finally had to split
Siesta at the Rio Alumine
From my Campspot
From there on I had no idea where to go, as there were quite a few options. I could go back to Chile for a while or just a short time or stay in Argentina. I had no idea what would be nicer and I wished to have a cycling buddy again, who would just prefer one or the other. Eventually I stayed in Argentina, as I assumed there would be less traffic. I rode over a gravel road again along the beautiful Rio Alumine. The landscape had changed a lot within a day. It got much rockier, dryer and dustier, just the River was like an oasis in the Valley. There were almost no cars or other cyclists either and only a few houses. I enjoyed the loneliness, though it was still weird to be alone. It was definitely a new part of my South America adventure.
I decided to leave Argentina, but just for a day. I left over the Paso de Ilcama and went back after a 900m climb over the Paso Pino Hachado. It was a long climb over switchbacks and a first taste of what will probably expect me further north. I just managed to reach the Argentinian border control before sunset. On half way up a car stopped next to me and started talking to me, I just understood half of it but before they left, they gave me bag of tomatoes. At least 3kg. I was happy about the tomatoes, but I still had carry them up the pass. Anyway, I cooked a great dinner out of it, thanks to those generous people. The next morning it was 50km downhill to the town of Las Lajas. From there I would continue over the Ruta 40 again.
I love the Araucaria trees
What an awesome sunset a Lago Alumine
It was a long way up over the Paso Pino Hachado
A first taste of what will expect me on Ruta 40. A dry and vast landscape.