Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Grandest View in the World!

Bariloche is magnificent.Our tour guide Cecelia met us at nine and we joined a van full of people from Italy, Colombia, Argentina and a young couple from LA. The next five hours we drove along winding lakeshore roads past fabulous hotels and villas. We went to the famous Cerro Campanario. Here Gail got to do the wild and crazy thing of the trip. We boarded a chair lift and rode high up the mountain to the most incredible view either of us has ever seen. We could see the Tronador (Thunder mountain for the natives heard giant ice walls splitting off in crashing thunder sounds), which marks the border with Chile. We saw many lakes and all of them of them are ringed by the snow capped Andes. It reminded us of our trip to Switzerland and our hike up to Grindelwald. Except these views are frankly, much more grand and awe inspiring.
We rode back down the mountain on the chair lift feeling much more confident than when we first went up. The van took us across the bridge over Lago Moreno and on a 28 kilometer loop road through the National Park. There are 35 glacier lakes in this protected area. Under the Lopez Mountain, we saw the sheer vertical cliffs where the giant condor lays its eggs. We crossed over the quaint bridge where the waters from Lago Moreno flow gently into its much larger neighbor Lago Nahuel Huapi which is 66 miles long and has seven different lake fingers. It is huge. Then we came to the world famous Hotel Llao Llao. This fabulous place opened in 1934. It has its own golf course, chapel and a room only costs $500 - $2500 per night. We peeked over the hedge around the golf course and got some great photos. Outside the chapel Gail purchased pressed flowers in a frame. A fine souvenir of Patagonia. It's not like staying in the Llao Llao but it will remind us of this beautiful day. If a picture is really worth 1,000 words and beautiful scenery is priceless, then these photos should be the definition of Beauty in Wickipedia.  

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