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12 January 2013 / leggypeggy

Bariloche—rising from the ashes in Argentina’s Lake District

Bariloche

The greyish view from Cerro Campanario

How is it that I—the great geography nut—don’t know the names of so many of the places we have visited in South America?

Is it a gap in my education?—No!
Is it inadequate research on my part before the trip?—You bet!

San Carlos de Bariloche, a resort town on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi, is another one of those places I should have known about, but didn’t. It’s in the heart of Argentina’s Lake District. I thought the only famous Lake District was in the UK. Oops!

Plovers

Plover parents nesting on an ashy/sandy beach

I also knew that a volcano erupted in Chile in late 2011. But I didn’t know that most of the ash blew in to Argentina and blanketed, in particular, Bariloche and surrounds.

You don’t notice the ash at first. Plants are in flower, birds are nesting, tourists are crowding the steep streets of the town, but a closer look shows that several centimetres (perhaps more) of ash are still there.

The property next door to the campground where we stayed had a thick layer of ash under its trees and bushes. There was plenty of ash on the beach too.

But for me, the ash was most obvious in the landscape views. We took the chairlift up to Cerro Campanario (a small mountain about 17 kilometres from Bariloche). It was a bright, sunny day, and the panorama was beautiful, but it seemed a bit grey. The mountains are covered in ash and snow, so what you think is rock is really ash. And the trees seem to have a film of grey too.

But the ash doesn’t stop you from enjoying the experience. The chairlift ride, especially down, gives excellent views, and you can see almost 360° from the top.

I do know what would have spoiled the outing for me. Some people say they walked up Cerro Campanario in anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes. If Poor John had known in advance, he’d have had me trudging up the near vertical slope, and it would have taken me a couple of hours.

Footnote: You may have read about riots and looting in Bariloche in December. News reports implied that the troublemakers were poorer folks from Bariloche. They were disgruntled because financial relief that was provided to them after the volcanic eruption was about to end.

Chairlift at Cerro Campanario

You can walk or ride. I rode

6 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. mickeydownunder / Jan 13 2013 10:49 am

    Gday! I am geographically gifted too! And always love a cable car majestic view! The ash would be unique too!

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Jan 13 2013 11:14 am

      The views were fantastic and huge! And the ash reminds you how powerful Mother Nature is.

      Like

  2. lmo58 / Jan 13 2013 2:05 pm

    Hi Peggy,
    It looks a bit like snow also. But those views are spectacular. And don’t worry that you didn’t know about one particular area you visited. Heavens! No one could comprehensively research all the areas you’ve been to.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Jan 13 2013 4:19 pm

      The white bits are snow, but virtually all of the light grey is ash. But as you say, the views are spectacular.

      Like

  3. Sartenada / May 30 2017 3:52 pm

    This place was known in the 70s, when I visited Argentina.

    Liked by 1 person

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