Last night I left Mendoza. As the bus rolled out of the busy, hot station, I started to feel a bit of nostalgia for my friends that I left behind on the mountain and the mountain that would still remain unfinished for me. Even though we left late, there was still just enough light to see the silouettes of the Cordon del Plata, and el Vulcan Tupungato.
When I awoke this morning, the familiar, dry, windswept Patagonian steppe greeted me, a sight I remember well from traveling here a few years back. My excitement kept me from sleeping any more, despite being another 6 hours from my desination.
Slowly, as we neared Argentine route 40, the flat steppe began to tilt upwards. Rocky spires, mesas and blue lakes and rivers began to dominate the views out of the bus. We were getting closer.
Then when we were only about an hour outside of Bariloche, the opportunity to participate in one of my favorite Argentine bus ride traditions presented itself: Andesmar Bingo! When riding with Andesmar on a long trip, the whole bus will play bingo and compete for a bottle of Andesmar wine. I´ve yet to win it, but I still love the bingo.
I´m now getting settled in Bariloche and I´m excited to be here. It reminds me of Bend, Oregon mixed with Lake Tahoe. The town is surrounded by beautiful, green and glaciated mountains and it sits on the side of a massive lake, Lago Nahuel Huapi. I´m off for the afternoon to explore the town, search out climbing partners and figure out how to best explore this new spot over the next week or so.