Monday, 9 November 2015

Lakes District, Chile and Argentina.

Pucon is a nice little place, very much a tourist resort, but pretty. It has the feel of a Swiss or German Alpine town, right down to the chalet style buildings and chocolate shops. Again, just one night there before carrying on south towards my chosen pass to Argentina. I rode smaller roads around one of the lakes, with superb volcano views (another blue sky day), before heading back to Ruta 5 with its alarmingly frequent toll-booths, from which motorbikes aren't exempt. The road was blocked at one point by some sort of demonstration; no idea what it was about. Lots of noise, banners and anger. They went down the lines of waiting motorists with a collection tin,  to which most people seemed happy to contribute. I was soon on my way again though; my Pesos intact.

One last night in Chile in the non-descript town of Osorno; nothing to recommend it other than as a convenient stopping place before heading for country no.6: Argentina.
The following morning brought leaden gray skies and a fine drizzle started as I set off. It was only about 75 miles to the border, through great scenery. I saw little of this though as the cloud enveloped the landscape; if only I'd crossed the day before under the clear blue skies! Stamping out of Chile was quick and efficient and then it was a ride over the pass to the Argentine side. Snow on the ground and patches of thick mist in places; but as I started to descend; conditions improved and the sun even poked through at times. After clearing the Argentine customs and immigration, the road continued to drop and wind its way around some stunning lakes. Despite the weather conditions; this was the best days riding I'd had in a while.

Bariloche was the target for the day; beautifully situated on a lake shore. The town itself was a bit disappointing. Apart from the central square and one or two roads running off it; the whole place felt a bit tired and run down (or maybe that's just how I am feeling?). It is a tourist town and maybe its just early in the season.
Getting cash from the ATM has been a challenge; most don't seem to work and those that do have a maximum limit of about £50, with a £4 withdrawal fee. Maybe its just because it was a Saturday afternoon, but there were queues of locals at most ATMs desperately asking those who'd just used it if it was working.
Sunday morning and there seemed to be some sort of charity fun run on in town; lots of people in fluorescent yellow shirts running around. It made me tired just watching it; so a Chinese for lunch and back to deciding "where next"? It feels like the trip is coming to a natural end; so I may head in the general direction of Buenos Aires and see how I feel as the miles roll by.

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