The city is actually more of a ski-town than a summer town, but it has been growing it's year-round identity these last few years. Anyway, it seems as if it's a city that is very in touch with nature, whether by business or by choice and love of it...
Hmmm... I'm feeling sort of travel-bookish. To get back to the subject: after two days of relative nothingness, I went out for a 5-day trek that became a 3-day trek plus two nights at a very nice lake called Perito Moreno. The mountains in the area of the town are very impressive, with huge evergreen forests and jagged, broken and pointed rock tips and cliffs. I also celebrated my birthday during the trek, and made myself a nice, festive meal (lentil "stew" with meat and onions and a box of wine). My intention was to do the entire trek by myself, something I hadn't done before, but by the second day I had already made a companion- Pablo from Buenos Aires. He was very laid back, to the point that it might become dangerous, at least while trekking. While I had my 200$ Gregory pack and all my carefully planned (and grown to be loved) camping gear, he came with an old school bag to which he tied two nylon bags on each side. He ended up eating my food, and I think also sharing my tent, and we became pretty good friends. Later I would hang out with him in Buenos Aires, in his natural habitat.
The 5-to-3 day change came partly because of him, along with a knee that hurt and various warnings about how hard the pass on the third day of the trek is supposed to be. I don't regret it at all, though- I ended up camping, by myself, on a small and secluded lake. I didn't see a living soul besides the daily 10-minute visit by "Jorge's" jeep trips. It's funny how quick I developed a superiority feeling over those who took the trip- they came, took pictures, and went away to 10 different spots like this, not enjoying it at all, while I was savoring the place, I thought to myself. And what did I do with my time? Read and cooked, maybe even wrote a bit, but mostly just walked around and swam in the lake. It somehow seems important to me to add that I was naked most of the time.
After that, we rented a car with two of Ruti's friends and the boyfriend of one of them (I know, it sounds awkward, but I can't find a more elegant way to put it), and went through the Siete Lagos (Seven Lakes) road, sleeping in a camping area next to San Martin De Los Andes, and came back through the mountains around the Paso De Cordoba, with many cliffs and desert-looking views, a road which was, to me, a lot more impressive than the lakes. The whole road is very much a scenic route, and is very popular amongst visitors to the area.
The day after that Ruti left towards Buenos Aires and Montevideo, and I stayed a couple more days. In that time, I did a 3-day trek to see the Black Glacier (basically a dirty glacier, but it looks kinda cool) and Cerro Tronador. I went to the former with Tamar, a friend from back home, and to the latter with Ruti's friends, and it was a beautiful experience. Two of the highlights were sleeping at a refugio that was perched between two big glaciers high up in the mountains, and actually touching one of them (after seeing about 40 glaciers of different shapes and sizes in the last month, this was the first one that I'd gotten close enough to to touch); and an amazing group of condors, 4 of them I think, that got to within 5-7 meters of us, soaring over us. Even though I had wanted to see a condor for the whole trip, I was still surprised by how impressive they were, flying so close to us. Alas, technology and the urge to document everything half got in the way: I gave myself about a minute to take it in, but then, fearful that they might fly away soon, I took out my camera and took some shots.
That's it for what I did in Bariloche and the area. From there I crossed back into Chile, where I was planning to do the Puyehue trek. I was alone again, having said goodbye to the various people I met during my time in Bariloche. Looking over my notes from Bariloche today, I'm surprised to see that by that time I had a pretty good idea of what the rest of my trip would look like, and I managed to go to all the places I had on my "to go" list except one.